After having watched the quarterfinal match in Rome where Rafael Nadal took on and lost in straight sets Novak Djokovic we couldn’t help publishing this article hoping that Toni Nadal will take a note of it :)
Nadal is just obliged to work on a number of components. The first of them is the serve. The way he served against Novak is unacceptable. It’s so unwise to send the high bouncing ball to the centre of the court. This type of serve is ideal for aggressive returners. Elite players, like Murray and Djokovic, easily catch the initiative right from the Spaniard’s first serve. To compare, watch how Kei Nishikori serves. The Japanese has no great physics to serve big and that’s why he used versatility and send balls next to the lines thus making his opponent play constant guessing game trying to figure out where the ball will touch the ground. Nadal was as an open book for Nole.
Finishing shot. Nadal overplays the situation and chooses the most risky option to end the point. All or nothing. But what for? It’s more advantageous to play a rally and realize where your opponent is and then wrong foot him, hitting the ball in the other direction. What does Rafa? He decides on the toughest solution and hits many balls out or right into the net, which is very inefficient. In key moments he spends force and energy in vain and loses otherwise easy points.
Playing on attack. It’s more complicated. Once you’ve decided to attack – do it, no matter how difficult it can be. Put pressure on your opponent. Stay in both offensive and defensive positions may be too hard (and this is the way Nadal spend the entire quarterfinal match against Novak). The Spaniard has it all to take the momentum on attack: velocity, power, footwork. Go ahead, Rafa! But no. He makes step back and hits the ball from the baseline at the medium speed to the half court. As a result, top players receive excellent attacking opportunities while Rafa keeps running along the baseline spending his efforts and building just another attempt to attack.
We hope the job will be done before the French Open and Rafa will show his top tennis to prove it again who the King of clay is!
Relevant news:ATP Barcelona Final Preview and Prediction: Rafael Nadal against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
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French Open SF preview and prediction: Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem
Madrid Masters preview: Will Thiem take revenge on Nadal?
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