PDA

View Full Version : Nadal needs to raise his level


vtmike
04-20-2009, 09:26 AM
Uncle Toni says Nadal needs to raise his level
~ Ricky Dimon

Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, says Nadal's clay-court game has to improve after the world No. 1 ran into some trouble in both his semifinal and final matches at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

When you're as good on clay as Rafael Nadal is, apparently winning a Masters Series event is not even good enough. At least not when your uncle is the one coaching you.

In the aftermath of his nephew's 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 victory over Novak Djokovic in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday afternoon, Toni Nadal said that the world No. 1 must pick up the pace as the clay-court season progresses.

"He played a good third set, but it's obvious he must play better than this week," explained Uncle Toni. "He was missing a little confidence in his game and you could see that his serve was incredibly weak. But it's the first tournament on clay this season for him and I hope that with some more matches, it'll get better. We know that there's a lot of work to do before Roland Garros."

Before dropping the second set to Djokovic on Sunday, Nadal squandered a break lead in the second against Andy Murray in the semifinals, only to subdue the fourth-ranked Scot in a tiebreaker.

The Spaniard, who has now won five consecutive titles in Monte-Carlo, will be seeking his fifth straight French Open crown next month. He has never lost a match at Roland Garros, and nobody other than Nadal has won the title there since Gaston Gaudio's improbable triumph back in 2004.

While Murray and Djokovic could be encouraged by testing Nadal on clay, it has to be a little discouraging that Nadal won the title in Monte-Carlo--and only lost one set the entire week--without playing his best. Even Uncle Toni could see some good news.

"But he still won," Toni admitted amidst his high expectations. "It's a very important tournament for us and to win for a fifth time is incredible."

http://www.tennistalk.com/en/news/20090420/Uncle_Toni_says_Nadal_needs_to_raise_his_level

Uncle Toni is basically saying that even though Nadal did not play his best, he still won...So that means if he plays at full potential there is no point in playing the FO...just give him all the trophies? or is uncle Toni playing mind games? Do you think he was not at his best in Monte carlo?

charliexd
04-20-2009, 10:03 AM
He clearly wasn't at his best. He played poorly (compared to what he's capable to do on this surface) during the whole tournament. He has another gear and in RG he'll show it.

himynameisNIKE
04-20-2009, 10:09 AM
i agree^ i too noticed he wasnt playing well and i think RG brings out the best in him

illkhiboy
04-20-2009, 10:14 AM
I think at this rate of external and internal pressure, Nadal is headed for a mental collapse not too far from now. I think his descent might be pretty ugly, but I don't believe it will happen in the next two years. 2011 or so is when I expect Nadal to break down.

vtmike
04-20-2009, 10:16 AM
I never get the feeling he is enjoying his tennis like Fed or Sampras...It always looks forced for some reason...

dextor
04-20-2009, 10:19 AM
I never get the feeling he is enjoying his tennis like Fed or Sampras...It always looks forced for some reason...

I've heard that either Nadal or someone on behalf of Nadal said that he likes the competition more than the game, can someone confirm this?

Nadal_Freak
04-20-2009, 10:22 AM
Nadal has never dominated Monte Carlo. It is a very slow surface and it neutralizes some of his topspin that RG would maximize. But I do agree that he can serve much better than what he showed at Monte Carlo. The slow surface helped him get away with serving weak this week. The importance of his serve will be bigger in Rome and Madrid (conditions are faster).

mandy01
04-20-2009, 10:25 AM
Nadal has never dominated Monte Carlo. It is a very slow surface and it neutralizes some of his topspin that RG would maximize. But I do agree that he can serve much better than what he showed at Monte Carlo. The slow surface helped him get away with serving weak this week. The importance of his serve will be bigger in Rome and Madrid (conditions are faster). he won it last year without dropping a set....
point is-he cant always be at his very best.He still played very well IMO...

mandy01
04-20-2009, 10:26 AM
I've heard that either Nadal or someone on behalf of Nadal said that he likes the competition more than the game, can someone confirm this?
yeah..he likes to 'fight' for the win...he himself said that..
Whatever :roll:

The-Champ
04-20-2009, 10:28 AM
I have been saying this since the beginning of Monte Carlo. Rafa didn't seem too confident in his shots, in fact very tentative. Unlike in previous years even though he lost sets, he looked more determined and very focused. I also believed that Novak actually played better last year in hamburg, and had he brought that game yesterday in Monte carlo, he might have won that final...Maybe. Rafa's mental lapses during this week is worrying, and hopefully he can recover from that. The burden of being no.1 and being the man to beat is probably catching up to him. Roger has set such high standards and Rafa probably is thinking too much about that, rather than just setting his own legacy through his own inimitable fashion.

Sleepstream
04-20-2009, 10:29 AM
I have an odd feeling that even if Rafa were to win all 4 slams, Toni would still say that he needs to improve and practice more. I'm sure Toni won't be ultimately pleased until Rafa wins every tournament without losing a point. If it's not 6-0 for every set for every match, it's not good enough.

Nadal_Freak
04-20-2009, 10:29 AM
he won it last year without dropping a set....
point is-he cant always be at his very best.He still played very well IMO...
The point was he had some very close sets that took a long time to win. But Monte-Carlo being so slow, you just got to be slightly better and you win in straight sets most of the time. You can't luck out by your serve being dominant.

Blinkism
04-20-2009, 10:30 AM
Yeah he needs to improve if he wants to spank everyone 2008-style. But right now, his form is similar to his 2006-2007 form on MC. I mean, he's still the best on clay, though.

mandy01
04-20-2009, 10:31 AM
I have an odd feeling that even if Rafa were to win all 4 slams, Toni would still say that he needs to improve and practice more. I'm sure Toni won't be ultimately pleased until Rafa wins every tournament without losing a point. If it's not 6-0 for every set for every match, it's not good enough...either that or its a way of forcing onseself into that mindset before the start of every tournament..I find that commendable.Ofcourse the duo overdo their 'illusion for improvement'thingy at times..but thats ok...

mandy01
04-20-2009, 10:33 AM
The point was he had some very close sets that took a long time to win. But Monte-Carlo being so slow, you just got to be slightly better and you win in straight sets most of the time. You can't luck out by your serve being dominant.
yes, but the weather this year was far worse...Nadal played two matches in one day..it takes its toll at some point.Anyway,it wasnt a huge blip..at no point was Nadal at a serious risk of losing a match

Nadalfan89
04-20-2009, 10:49 AM
If he plays in the FO like he played at MC then I'm not 100% sure he'll win it.

Losing a set on clay is unacceptable and I hope feels extremely bad about it.

TheNatural
04-20-2009, 11:14 AM
Nadal is just warming up

"The serve is really important because I was serving better in the beginning of the season.

"In this tournament I didn't serve very well. Especially my second serve, sometimes it was 120 kph, so that's a disaster.

"I have to play more, I have to serve better next week. I am going to have two days to work on this."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01387/rafael-nadal_1387750c.jpg

Rafael Nadal 'missing confidence' as Roland Garros looms (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/rafaelnadal/5188618/Rafael-Nadal-missing-confidence-as-Roland-Garros-looms.html)

"I'm not thinking about Roland Garros yet. I'm focused on Barcelona and Rome. There are more important tournaments before Paris. I haven't played to my level on clay yet. I'm still not at my best, so I have to improve if I want to have chances."

All-rounder
04-20-2009, 11:43 AM
If he plays in the FO like he played at MC then I'm not 100% sure he'll win it.

Losing a set on clay is unacceptable and I hope feels extremely bad about it.
losing a set has no affect on the result and its that nadal still won monte carlo for the 5th time as a nadal fan you are pretty silly to say he won't win french just because he dropped 1 set and still won the title

edberg505
04-20-2009, 11:46 AM
Nadal is just warming up

"The serve is really important because I was serving better in the beginning of the season.

"In this tournament I didn't serve very well. Especially my second serve, sometimes it was 120 kph, so that's a disaster.

"I have to play more, I have to serve better next week. I am going to have two days to work on this."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01387/rafael-nadal_1387750c.jpg

Rafael Nadal 'missing confidence' as Roland Garros looms (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/rafaelnadal/5188618/Rafael-Nadal-missing-confidence-as-Roland-Garros-looms.html)

"I'm not thinking about Roland Garros yet. I'm focused on Barcelona and Rome. There are more important tournaments before Paris. I haven't played to my level on clay yet. I'm still not at my best, so I have to improve if I want to have chances."

Wow, so he's not giving any credit to Novak or Andy? Well, he's smug one isn't he?

Grizvok
04-20-2009, 11:47 AM
He definitely hasn't been his best which is probably scary for the competition.

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 11:56 AM
If he plays in the FO like he played at MC then I'm not 100% sure he'll win it.

Losing a set on clay is unacceptable and I hope feels extremely bad about it.

Funny sentence in your signature. When did Rafa ever say that? :shock:

GameSampras
04-20-2009, 11:58 AM
What the hell is uncle phony talking about? He won Monte Carlo for christ sakes. He needs to raise his level on clay? Are u kidding me? He can beat the field today going 50 percent the clay competition is so bad and he is so far light years ahead. Gimme a friggin break. Why put more emphasis on clay? How dominant does Nadal need to be? He should be worrying about winning a USO and complete the career slam. Not winning a 3000th Clay court title

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 12:03 PM
Wow, so he's not giving any credit to Novak or Andy? Well, he's smug one isn't he?
That was a general comment on his own game, it had nothing to do with any match in particular.
I like Toni and Rafa's attitude. There is no point in falling asleep on one's laurels (that's how one starts losing) or starting believing the media hype that one's invincible. You have to be aware of the things that are not working and work on them as well as you can. I agree that Rafa has to work on his serve , he got broken too often during Monte-Carlo (Miami as well).
Good luck to him to fix that problem, I'm sure he'll be fine in the end.

CCNM
04-20-2009, 12:04 PM
Wow, so he's not giving any credit to Novak or Andy? Well, he's smug one isn't he?
Apparently he's starting to act like Fed now too? ha ha ha! I'm sure Rafa's worst looks just as good as his best.

matchmaker
04-20-2009, 12:05 PM
What the hell is uncle phony talking about? He won Monte Carlo for christ sakes. He needs to raise his level on clay? Are u kidding me? He can beat the field today going 50 percent the clay competition is so bad and he is so far light years ahead. Gimme a friggin break. Why put more emphasis on clay? How dominant does Nadal need to be? He should be worrying about winning a USO and complete the career slam. Not winning a 3000th Clay court title

I think Uncle Toni is right. Nadal was not at his best. There were lapses during his matches when he gave the impression to be shaky.

I believe he really is going to need his extra gear. Murray and Djokovic were very close to upsetting him.

The game at the top is very hard. You lose half a step and you lose many matches, look at what happened with Fed.

Cesc Fabregas
04-20-2009, 12:07 PM
Monte Carlo is the worst clay tourment into terms of the clay for Nadal and he still won with only dropping one set I don't think he should worry that much.

edberg505
04-20-2009, 12:09 PM
That was a general comment on his own game, it had nothing to do with any match in particular.
I like Toni and Rafa's attitude. There is no point in falling asleep on one's laurels (that's how one starts losing) or starting believing the media hype that one's invincible. You have to be aware of the things that are not working and work on them as well as you can. I agree that Rafa has to work on his serve , he got broken too often during Monte-Carlo (Miami as well).
Good luck to him to fix that problem, I'm sure he'll be fine in the end.

Well, maybe his game was as effective because of the people on the other side of the net. I have no doubt that if a certain former #1 had said the same thing some people would be ready to have him drawn and quartered.

ezdude1970
04-20-2009, 12:11 PM
what you guys wanted him to say? oh nadal is so great on clay he should stop practicing and try 1/2 as hard when he competes on clay. nadal is a true champion, and his partnership with Uncle T produced some impressive results on all types of surfaces. so whatever, these 2 are saying people should take notice.

and it is a sign of a true competitor always trying to improve even though it appears you are 10 miles ahead of your closest rival.

sheq
04-20-2009, 12:25 PM
what you guys wanted him to say? oh nadal is so great on clay he should stop practicing and try 1/2 as hard when he competes on clay. nadal is a true champion, and his partnership with Uncle T produced some impressive results on all types of surfaces. so whatever, these 2 are saying people should take notice.

and it is a sign of a true competitor always trying to improve even though it appears you are 10 miles ahead of your closest rival.

yea right...he should try something crazy like winning the monte carlo,barcelona,rome,madrid,french open :) that makes him the greatest clay court player ever whatever happens after that

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 12:37 PM
Well, maybe his game was as effective because of the people on the other side of the net. I have no doubt that if a certain former #1 had said the same thing some people would be ready to have him drawn and quartered.
He got broken in every match he played at Monte-Carlo, it's obviously not the opponents. He can also tell if his serve is weaker than usual (heck I can tell too).
One should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his game.
That is never why Federer got criticized at all. Federer gets critized for trash talking other players and admire his own game a little too much. What Nadal and Toni are doing is the exact opposite! They're making an uncompromising evaluation of Rafa's weaknesses in his current level of play and acknowledge the high quality of the competition by admitting Nadal has to keep working to have a chance at RG.

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 12:43 PM
yea right...he should try something crazy like winning the monte carlo,barcelona,rome,madrid,french open :) that makes him the greatest clay court player ever whatever happens after that
He was very close to doing that in 2007, he won everything + a final at Hamburg.

swedechris
04-20-2009, 12:46 PM
I have an odd feeling that even if Rafa were to win all 4 slams, Toni would still say that he needs to improve and practice more. I'm sure Toni won't be ultimately pleased until Rafa wins every tournament without losing a point. If it's not 6-0 for every set for every match, it's not good enough.

You are on to something of their strength here. they are like that. want perfection on every point and seem not too waiver form that , ever.

On the flipside, it could lead to a burnout in a year or 2 though, IMO.

GameSampras
04-20-2009, 12:57 PM
Well maybe Toni is right in doing what he is doing. He may be running Nadal into the ground physically. But look at how Nadal has improved his game over the last year or so. Fed needs a coach like that consistently on him. He may get some of his hunger back and willing to improve his game. The way Roger is going he may not even a tourney this year. He needs someone to push him

TENNISSLAVE
04-20-2009, 12:59 PM
I think he will lose his no.1 ranking in 2010. .his style takes too much out of him and he will age earlier than most others becuse of that .

Cesc Fabregas
04-20-2009, 12:59 PM
The result of the tour should be worried Nadal won on clay that doesn't really suit him (damp, slow and it wasn't kicking up high) and he only dropped one set.

RalphNYC
04-20-2009, 01:03 PM
Rafa needs a new racquet.

raiden031
04-20-2009, 01:04 PM
It is refreshing to know that Nadal is starting to face some of the rediculous expectations that Federer has faced over the years. Maybe the pressure will start to affect him as it did Federer.

fastdunn
04-20-2009, 01:06 PM
Although I also felt similar way as Toni felt, I can easily recall a few occations when Nadal was pushed much harder in clay seasons last 4 years or so....

vtmike
04-20-2009, 01:15 PM
Rafa needs a new racquet.

You mean he needs to switch to a bigger head size? :)

vtmike
04-20-2009, 01:19 PM
Wow, so he's not giving any credit to Novak or Andy? Well, he's smug one isn't he?

He sure is...Apparently whenever Nadal gets a tough match or loses, he is either,
a) Tired or
b) Did not play as good as he normally can

Its never due to the guy on the other side of the net...

luckyboy1300
04-20-2009, 01:27 PM
He got broken in every match he played at Monte-Carlo, it's obviously not the opponents. He can also tell if his serve is weaker than usual (heck I can tell too).
One should analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his game.
That is never why Federer got criticized at all. Federer gets critized for trash talking other players and admire his own game a little too much. What Nadal and Toni are doing is the exact opposite! They're making an uncompromising evaluation of Rafa's weaknesses in his current level of play and acknowledge the high quality of the competition by admitting Nadal has to keep working to have a chance at RG.

that's not the real reason at all. your apparent hate for fed, and you don't have to admit it, certainly gives us the impression of your golden double-standards. if rafa says this, nothing wrong, still humble. if fed says that, he's worse than serena williams.

nadal was not yet playing his best yet always wins with 6-1, 6-2, or 6-3 sets? he loses a set against a good clay-court player and now he says he wasn't at his best? are you kidding me?

egn
04-20-2009, 01:30 PM
Hey as much as it seems extreme that is a good attitude to take. Okay I won not lets push it further. Nadal has the capabilities of beating the top 10 all in straight sets at the French Open so why not harness your skills to ensure it. Nadal gets props from me and so does Uncle Toni. There is nothing wrong with saying "push it, get better"

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 01:30 PM
that's not the real reason at all. your apparent hate for fed, and you don't have to admit it, certainly gives us the impression of your golden double-standards. if rafa says this, nothing wrong, still humble. if fed says that, he's worse than serena williams.

nadal was not yet playing his best yet always wins with 6-1, 6-2, or 6-3 sets? he loses a set against a good clay-court player and now he says he wasn't at his best? are you kidding me?
I know the score looks like he was playing great but when you actually watch the match, you can see he was struggling on his serve more than usual. He played well against Djoko though but if you consider his 5 matches of the week, I think he lost his serve more often than usual and if he can do something about it, it's good, no?

pound cat
04-20-2009, 02:44 PM
eurosport.com



Rafael Nadal wrapped up a fifth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title and is overwhelming favourite to make it five in a row at the French Open, but his uncle and coach Toni is still not happy.

More StoriesNadal victorious at Monte Carlo
ATP Barcelona: LIVE Scoring
World number one Nadal enjoyed a 6-3 2-6 6-1 victory over Novak Djokovic in the final to equal the record of five titles set by New Zealander Anthony Wilding a century ago.

He is now 23-1 in clay court finals, with his only loss coming at Hamburg in May 2007 to Roger Federer and has pulled level with the Swiss with 14 Masters crowns.

Uncle Toni however wants more.

"He played a good third set, but it's obvious he must play better than this week," said Nadal senior.

"He was missing a little confidence in his game and you could see that his serve was incredibly weak. But it's the first tournament on clay this season for him and I hope that with some more matches, it'll get better.

"We know that there's a lot of work to do before Roland Garros. But he still won.

"It's a very important tournament for us and to win for a fifth time is incredible."

tennis-hero
04-20-2009, 02:57 PM
Joker has improved so much on clay he finally might make it NOT A WEAK CLAY ERA

the truth is Djokovic is the best clay court player on the planet right now and he choked away the final

GameSampras
04-20-2009, 03:04 PM
Joker has improved so much on clay he finally might make it NOT A WEAK CLAY ERA

the truth is Djokovic is the best clay court player on the planet right now and he choked away the final

I think we need some more legit clay threats and great clay court players to come along to make this era not look weak. There is very limited depth in today's clay field across the board. Djoker is improving but once a headcase always a headcase usually. Djoker has proven he cant really keep a consistent level of high play up. He will play lights out great tennis, and look like the best in the world, than turn to crap in the blink of an eye. Its happened since early 08

UncleRico.
04-20-2009, 03:04 PM
If Rafa came out and said, 'Novak and Andy pushed me very hard, I believe they are a threat for my fifth FO.' wouldn't really say much for his confidence level.

Tennis is a very mental sport, giving your opponents the belief to win isn't a smart strategy.

Federer dominated the way he did by crushing spirits, not just forehands and backhands.

danb
04-20-2009, 03:12 PM
Sorry - I just think this is BS for media. Rafa is not a machine, he played good enough to win. What does Toni expect? 6-0 6-0 against everybody every day?
C'mon Tony, if I wasn't a Rafa fan I'd say this sounds cocky.

pound cat
04-20-2009, 03:45 PM
Sorry - I just think this is BS for media. Rafa is not a machine, he played good enough to win. What does Toni expect? 6-0 6-0 against everybody every day?
C'mon Tony, if I wasn't a Rafa fan I'd say this sounds cocky.


I think Toni just doesn't want Rafa or become complacent. Nada's intreview made it sound as if everything was going alon swimmingly (except for the serve which he had 2 days to tweak it!? before Barcelona. ?

Toni's not dumb enough to say that Rafa played great in Monte Carlo, because a lot of the time he didn't. And Nadal does need to serve bigger and better, and it will not happen in 2 days of practice.

VivalaVida
04-20-2009, 03:57 PM
I know the score looks like he was playing great but when you actually watch the match, you can see he was struggling on his serve more than usual. He played well against Djoko though but if you consider his 5 matches of the week, I think he lost his serve more often than usual and if he can do something about it, it's good, no?
after an year of talking up Rafa's clay court abilities on this forum, I think you expected him to hit a 100 percent first serves, convert all break points, win every set 6-0. :lol: just kidding. I think nadal is going hard on himself. He played great when it really mattered and if he does that he will continue winning.

grafselesfan
04-20-2009, 04:02 PM
Joker has improved so much on clay he finally might make it NOT A WEAK CLAY ERA

the truth is Djokovic is the best clay court player on the planet right now and he choked away the final

I like Djokovic but that is one of the dumbest statements I have ever heard.

Federer_pilon
04-20-2009, 07:13 PM
Nadal has never dominated Monte Carlo. It is a very slow surface and it neutralizes some of his topspin that RG would maximize. But I do agree that he can serve much better than what he showed at Monte Carlo. The slow surface helped him get away with serving weak this week. The importance of his serve will be bigger in Rome and Madrid (conditions are faster).

In the past you kept saying that Monte Carlo is the closest to RG in terms of speed and bounciness ...and now you're saying it's very slow?? I get it that you're a Nadal fan; I am too...but you gotta stop this cr*p. You're ridiculously biased...

seffina
04-20-2009, 08:00 PM
Nadal is just warming up

"The serve is really important because I was serving better in the beginning of the season.

"In this tournament I didn't serve very well. Especially my second serve, sometimes it was 120 kph, so that's a disaster.

"I have to play more, I have to serve better next week. I am going to have two days to work on this."

"I'm not thinking about Roland Garros yet. I'm focused on Barcelona and Rome. There are more important tournaments before Paris. I haven't played to my level on clay yet. I'm still not at my best, so I have to improve if I want to have chances."

Wow, so he's not giving any credit to Novak or Andy? Well, he's smug one isn't he?He's not smug at all. Part of the article was from the final press conference. And in that conference by the way he gave Djokovic plenty of credit as well. He also felt (like I do) that Djokovic played better at Hamburg last year. It's not smug to know when you are playing worse than you're capable of. He knows Djokovic is a great clay court player and frankly he has seen Djokovic play better than what he played in Monte Carlo. Novak played really well, of course, but it was obvious to anyone who watches Rafa that he wasn't playing his best yet. His second serve sucked and he was broken not simply because of his opponent's skill, but his errors as well. His errors to winners ratio while positive was not as good as it is can be on clay.

First bolded part:
Q. What would you like to improve most?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, the serve is really important because I was serving better in the beginning of the season. This tournament I didn't serve very well. Especially the second serve was sometimes 120 kilometers per hour. So that's disaster. Yeah, I have to play more, have to serve better next week. I gonna have two days to work.He was answering a question that specifically asked him what to improve.

I'm not sure where the second bolded part came from, but in no way does that indicate that he is smug or didn't give anyone credit. I don't know how one can come to that conclusion based on two snippets. In fact the second bolded part, he is saying that at his current level he feels that he has to improve so he would have his chances. I think that is giving his opponents credit than taking it away. He feels that they are capable of more and he has to do more to counter that.

Uncle Tony is just a hard nosed coach. Rafa does love to compete and I have also read that he loves the competition more than the game, but I don't think it means that he doesn't love the game. Just because you love to compete doesn't mean you don't enjoy what you're competing in. I see quite a lot of joy in his tennis. It might have a different quality to it than some of the others, but I see nothing in how he's on the court that indicates he would be anywhere else than the tennis court.

Anyways, this type of coaching works for Rafa and that's what matters. He would irritate the crap out of me, but none of my coaches have ever liked me very much. :)

Nadal_Freak
04-20-2009, 08:14 PM
In the past you kept saying that Monte Carlo is the closest to RG in terms of speed and bounciness ...and now you're saying it's very slow?? I get it that you're a Nadal fan; I am too...but you gotta stop this cr*p. You're ridiculously biased...
They finally showed a good angle of Monte-Carlo this year. It looks almost exactly like Hamburg. Nadal still would rather play on a ridiculously slow clay court over hard courts but Roland Garros (and Davis Cup in Spain this year) is by far the best clay for him. Credit to Djokovic and Murray to figure out that Nadal is vulnerable on this type of clay and willing to grind it out.

thalivest
04-20-2009, 08:16 PM
I dont see what the big deal is. He didnt play his best or even up to his usual level of clay court tennis in Monte Carlo. Anyone who thinks he did probably has not seen him play on clay often. That is all his uncle is saying. Yeah he pulled out the win, but he can perform alot better than that and might even need to as it looks like Djokovic and Murray are both improving on clay.

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 08:26 PM
He's not smug at all. Part of the article was from the final press conference. And in that conference by the way he gave Djokovic plenty of credit as well. He also felt (like I do) that Djokovic played better at Hamburg last year. It's not smug to know when you are playing worse than you're capable of. He knows Djokovic is a great clay court player and frankly he has seen Djokovic play better than what he played in Monte Carlo. Novak played really well, of course, but it was obvious to anyone who watches Rafa that he wasn't playing his best yet. His second serve sucked and he was broken not simply because of his opponent's skill, but his errors as well. His errors to winners ratio while positive was not as good as it is can be on clay.

First bolded part:
He was answering a question that specifically asked him what to improve.

I'm not sure where the second bolded part came from, but in no way does that indicate that he is smug or didn't give anyone credit. I don't know how one can come to that conclusion based on two snippets. In fact the second bolded part, he is saying that at his current level he feels that he has to improve so he would have his chances. I think that is giving his opponents credit than taking it away. He feels that they are capable of more and he has to do more to counter that.

Uncle Tony is just a hard nosed coach. Rafa does love to compete and I have also read that he loves the competition more than the game, but I don't think it means that he doesn't love the game. Just because you love to compete doesn't mean you don't enjoy what you're competing in. I see quite a lot of joy in his tennis. It might have a different quality to it than some of the others, but I see nothing in how he's on the court that indicates he would be anywhere else than the tennis court.

Anyways, this type of coaching works for Rafa and that's what matters. He would irritate the crap out of me, but none of my coaches have ever liked me very much. :)
What a wonderful post, very well written and with great insight.

veroniquem
04-20-2009, 08:28 PM
after an year of talking up Rafa's clay court abilities on this forum, I think you expected him to hit a 100 percent first serves, convert all break points, win every set 6-0. :lol: just kidding. I think nadal is going hard on himself. He played great when it really mattered and if he does that he will continue winning.
You're absolutely right but it's Rafa (and Toni)'s style to go hard on himself. As long as that works for him, I guess it's OK...

luckyguy
04-20-2009, 09:03 PM
it was also apparent that the best way to beat rafa is to go to the net, djokovic did that many times over. sampras and mcenroe were right all along..

Nadal_Freak
04-20-2009, 09:06 PM
it was also apparent that the best way to beat rafa is to go to the net, djokovic did that many times over. sampras and mcenroe were right all along..
Yawn. You can't come to the net unless you got great approach shots against Nadal. Basically you got to beat Nadal at the baseline with an aggressive shot to finish it at net. You got to wait for a weak shot. You'll have to grind a little bit to get that opportunity. To grind, you can't have any weaknesses that Nadal can exploit. Both Murray and Djokovic have no obvious weaknesses from the baseline. The backhand side is huge.