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Rafa beats Roger in the Battle of Surfaces

02.05.2007 | Off Court

“Who is going to be the king of both surfaces?” was the question that circulated when both players announced to play an exhibition match on a customized half-clay, half-grass court in

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Majorca . In the end, it was the 20-year-old world number two who snatched a 5-7 6-4 6-7 (10) in an incredible tie-break thriller against our world number one.

In the run-up to the battle of surfaces, which wasn’t to be taken too seriously in terms of tennis statistics and rankings, Rafa invited Roger for a short trip around his home island. In a motor yacht they cruised around the Spanish island, together with invited guests and sponsors and did some sightseeing in

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Majorca. Both of the athletes were ratherexcited about the opportunity to meet on court under such special circumstances.

"The result is not the most important thing. It's about having fun out there," Roger said. "It's going to be exciting and a good atmosphere. It doesn't always need to be crazy serious out on the match courts."

Organizers needed 19 days and $1.63 million to create the court, which divided the surfaces by halves for a unique match in which both players could receive on clay and hit a winner on grass - or vice versa.

Already the advance sale let

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anticipate, that the event was going to be a big success: It took not more than three hours to sell all 7’000 tickets for to an enthusiastic crowd of tennis fans.

Roger first did some warming-up at a local tennis club and then switched to the indoor court, which is normally used as a velodrome.

The opening three games went with serve, Nadal kicking off proceedings by serving from the clay end, Roger responding in kind and Nadal holding at the grass end. Then, despite serving on grass, Roger lost his way to hand Nadal a 3-1 lead. The Spaniard consolidated the break and came close to a 5-1 lead but Roger recovered from 0-30 down to hold from the clay end.

It proved crucial as our tennis star recovered the break from the clay end before holding on grass to draw level at 4-4. Service games were traded again before Nadal held on grass and broke Roger from the opposite end to take the set. 

 

Our champion came out fighting in the second set, immediately breaking Nadal, who was serving on his favoured clay. That proved to be enough to eventually take the set 6-4 and level the match.

In the decider Nadal broke serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, but Roger hit straight back and then held serve to level at 3-3. Neither of the players could force a decisive break and the match went into a tie-break.

Roger claimed the first mini-break to go 2-0 up, and led 4-2 at the changeover. But Nadal came back on his favoured surface to force another change of ends at 6-6. The pair could not be separated, changing ends again at 9-9, but Nadal's finally broke at 11-10 for victory.

At the end, both champions did their best to show the spectators a thrilling and tight exhibition match – which at least sounds very promising for us for future duels between the two tennis stars.

 
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05/03/2007 | 12:59 PM
hey rog,
its d silence b4 d storm.....
well here v are......all o us........waitin 4 d storm 2 arrive.......
may d god take over.........
P.S:cant wait.......
05/03/2007 | 12:02 PM
Hey Roger,

No worries, it was an exhibition, and besides not on neutral grounds. You've found a way to defeat Henman, Hewitt and Nalbandian too after several losses and now you lead them head to head. ATPranking will be safe, because Nadal is constant
05/03/2007 | 11:37 AM
It sounds not fair to Roger because the venue was actually at Nadal's hometown.... and it is also a disadvantage for Roger when he was at the grass court since the balls lands faster on the grass side making Nadal play at his best..

well, at least bot
05/03/2007 | 11:33 AM
It may be disappointing for us but at least you still had the gutts to be yourself in that game....



Anyway, as they say " there's more in playing than winning.." just keep it up! we love you!



lol
05/03/2007 | 11:16 AM
Dear Roger

its hard for the fans to see u not win.But this match was very close indeed.Nadal seemed to stuggle for a while.
You did manage seal a set with 6-4.So i think you have very well improved on the clay court surface.Hope u atleast defeat him i
05/03/2007 | 11:06 AM
We just want the French.
05/03/2007 | 10:39 AM
I think you were the better player generally, Roger, on the mixed surfaces, but Nadal seems to be able to find something extra at key points in his matches to enable him to get the win. You had more of an advantage when you were on the clay hitting onto t
05/03/2007 | 08:41 AM
Even with this kind of matches you can't beat him ... i did get sick Roger ...

05/03/2007 | 08:39 AM
Hi Roger:
This lost is Nothing it's just for fun and interesting but the most important is coming tourement (Rome) focus in this tourement and play better than MC, introduce best of tennis you can to show all the weorld you are Number1 and nobodyelse.
t
05/03/2007 | 08:28 AM
Good morning Roger.
Well to be honest I am not happy with your lose but I find your idea of playing in two surfaces very smart.Of course nobody is the KING in a friendly play.As you said, it has only to do with having fun...So keep having fun!!!