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salsainglesa
05-16-2009, 08:52 AM
Hey, what tactics do you think work best against nadal on clay?
maybewe can come up with a plan to beat him.

dont you dare running around your backhand, because he will have you running all over the court after that shot, so you better win it, right there, but because nadal is sofast you actually wont win the vast majority of times.
agood bh is a must.

dont try to win the running game.
so, playing o his strength will play against you.

its all i came up with...
where doyou thnk you should servethe most of the time, and during the crunch time.
Is there any pace that bennefits the rival and not nadal?

what about hitting deep to the center? so he wont have to run

what shouldyou do to short balls?


trying to do a plan against him is hard, he doesnt have much weaknesses.

Messarger
05-16-2009, 08:58 AM
For the serve definitely pull him outwide and hit to the open court after that. Down the middle he will just direct the ball to your backhand. and again. and again. and again. Pulling him outwide will give you more time to set up for your shot or even run around and blast a forehand.

EtePras
05-16-2009, 09:42 AM
-Hit winner on every point
-Never hit an error
-Get to 6 games before he does

Cenc
05-16-2009, 09:50 AM
1) slice serve and volley
2) attack his backhand
3) mix it all with drop shot
4) short crosses
5) mix all what is mentioned and a good player with all those skills should have a chance

35ft6
05-16-2009, 01:01 PM
In theory, you have to go for broke, be serving big, attack the net effectively and often, and be nailing backhands down the line consistently (assuming you're a righty). Serve and volleying won't work, and waiting for Nadal to make mistakes or lose it mentally won't either. You have to gamble. The one person who would pose a unique challenge to Nadal, I think, at his prime would be Guga. But still, huge edge to Rafa.

35ft6
05-16-2009, 01:05 PM
1) slice serve and volley
2) attack his backhand
3) mix it all with drop shot
4) short crosses
Nadal's backhand is rock solid. He can come over it, slice it, and rip clean winners out of nowhere. And short balls, he eats them up. I think that's one of the reasons Fed almost ruined his game coming over his backhand more in order to prepare for Nadal, he used to slice more, play a way less conventional game, but no matter how short Fed sliced it, Nadal could rip forehands off low balls up the line AND crosscourt.

gj011
05-16-2009, 01:06 PM
Hey, what tactics do you think work best against nadal on clay?
maybewe can come up with a plan to beat him.

dont you dare running around your backhand, because he will have you running all over the court after that shot, so you better win it, right there, but because nadal is sofast you actually wont win the vast majority of times.
agood bh is a must.

dont try to win the running game.
so, playing o his strength will play against you.

its all i came up with...
where doyou thnk you should servethe most of the time, and during the crunch time.
Is there any pace that bennefits the rival and not nadal?

what about hitting deep to the center? so he wont have to run

what shouldyou do to short balls?


trying to do a plan against him is hard, he doesnt have much weaknesses.

Just watch today's match and you will see the plan.

NamRanger
05-16-2009, 01:07 PM
Just watch today's match and you will see the plan.


Aggressive hitting, coming forward relentlessly, sticking to your gameplan, serving well, returning aggressively, and hitting dropshots. That's what we've all been saying :(

Fredrik
05-16-2009, 01:30 PM
In theory, you have to go for broke, be serving big, attack the net effectively and often, and be nailing backhands down the line consistently (assuming you're a righty). Serve and volleying won't work, and waiting for Nadal to make mistakes or lose it mentally won't either. You have to gamble. The one person who would pose a unique challenge to Nadal, I think, at his prime would be Guga. But still, huge edge to Rafa.

And a great post by 35ft6, the master of player descriptions and understanding of the dynamics of the pro game!

I think youre spot on. Especially about Guga, he could give him problems. I still think Nadal would prevail most of the time.

Also, your post further down about Roger abandoning his short slice as a consequence of being taken to the cleaners by Rafa is something rarely mentioned. But, hey, why did he stop using that shot? He was rocking the world with it back in 04-05.

To beat Nadal on clay: Hope he has a really bad day (like that happens a lot ;)). Or do what he does, only do it better and more aggressively. Nobody does that yet. Heres to hoping that a player with that kind of game comes along before Nadal is too old to have real battles with him.

35ft6
05-16-2009, 01:49 PM
I think youre spot on. Especially about Guga, he could give him problems. I still think Nadal would prevail most of the time. The bedrock of Nadal's game on clay is that crazy kick forehand to the ad side/opponents backhand. He makes it land short on purpose so people can't take it on the rise and are instead forced to hit it above their shoulders. It's nuts. Watching closely one day, noticed Novak had to hit some backhands above head level! Even a tall guy with a great two hander can't hit anything aggressive off a shot like that. So players start anticipating that shot, leaving themselves open for the best lefty inside out forehand in tennis history. It's crazy cuz you know everybody knows that's exactly what Nadal is going to do but they still can't stop it. Eventually it takes its toll.But, hey, why did he stop using that shot? He was rocking the world with it back in 04-05. Not sure. Against everybody else, it was super effective. Once he started coming over it more, he became a different player, more conventional and predictable. Before, when guys played Fed, they were playing against somebody they really couldn't prepare for, a guy who could do all kinds of things with the slice to throw them off balance. But when he started coming over the ball more, he became familiar, the players didn't seem as uncomfortable.

I think Roddick made a similar mistake trying to figure out Federer. His coach tried to turn him into a modern day Wilander, more patient, more point construction instead of just hitting guys off the court. He moved further behind the baseline, hit his forehand loopier, started hitting slice a LOT, and attacked the net at really strange times. I mean, he never left the top 10 so it wasn't a horribly failed experiment, but it seems like recently he's playing more aggressively, realized that at the end of the day, he's a power player. I guess in the end, maybe it was good for his longevity. His net game is much improved and his slice is pretty good, but for a while it was painful to see him running around 10 feet behind the baseline. When he's on the attack, Roddick looks like a decent, smooth athlete, but when he's on the defensive playing "smart" tennis, he looks like a big clumsy goon.

Fredrik
05-16-2009, 02:54 PM
Yes, I remember it looking like the other players were scared to death of the short, cross slice. It was spinning off to the side as well, and Fed used it to get a gimme to the forehand. Something with less pace and length to tee off on and it was impossible to predict which way he would go with that forehand. If the opponent managed to squeeze a cross off it (back to Feds backhand), Fed would be happy to serve up another, even more angled slice, or play a one-two with a drive and a slice. And get the gimme to the forehand.

As we know, it was total dominance for a while. He was sharp, he was unpredictable and more often than not he had the match won before he set foot on the court. Felt that way to me watching, and Im sure that feeling would be exaggerated if I had to play him;-)

With Nadal we are seeing another form of dominance. Perhaps the most brutal, bring-it-on style of a modern day No. 1. You (35ft6) talk about his inside out forehand, and it is an incredible shot. Like the kicker to the ad court, everyone knows that the inside out ripper is coming, but the question is when.

Im at awe with the fact that Nadal has the power and the shots to end points almost at will, but chooses not to until hes got his opponent in the dirt. Heck, playing one game against the guy can take 20 minutes if it suits him or if he is facing break points.

One thing is for sure; we are witnessing all-time greatness here. (No, no, no: Dont get carried away; Im not saying Nadal=GOAT ;))

Cenc
05-16-2009, 03:07 PM
Nadal's backhand is rock solid. He can come over it, slice it, and rip clean winners out of nowhere. And short balls, he eats them up. I think that's one of the reasons Fed almost ruined his game coming over his backhand more in order to prepare for Nadal, he used to slice more, play a way less conventional game, but no matter how short Fed sliced it, Nadal could rip forehands off low balls up the line AND crosscourt.

its still obviously weaker than his forehand that is a top 5 forehand of all times

Jimmyk459
05-16-2009, 03:13 PM
-Hit winner on every point
-Never hit an error
-Get to 6 games before he does

This is it!!!!!! FINALLY SOMEONE HAS FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!


....well done, you....

salsainglesa
05-16-2009, 03:32 PM
In theory, you have to go for broke, be serving big, attack the net effectively and often, and be nailing backhands down the line consistently (assuming you're a righty). Serve and volleying won't work, and waiting for Nadal to make mistakes or lose it mentally won't either. You have to gamble. The one person who would pose a unique challenge to Nadal, I think, at his prime would be Guga. But still, huge edge to Rafa.

But, how and when could be the best of times to attack the net?
how about making a diference in how the short ball arrives, maybe you have more of an advantage if the short ball comes crosscourt from his fh, or when he goes dtl with his fh, or the same with his backhand...

i think, wehn coming tothe net against nadal, from anypossition, its a suicide to open up the angles, it has to be a shot than never surpasses the sidelines or else you open up the court for him to shoot on either corner.

novak did send him a gazillion bh down the line, on their lastmeeting in mote carlo, and they didnt seem as effective as what he tried to do today.
That basically was, trying to hit one more shot adn run! almost outnadal's nadal...

what i would like to design is a game plan, like wehenver you have te upperhand on the rally, where to shot, and what to aim for... for instance, what is itthat you want to achieve with the down the line backhand, and keep hitting those until, you achieve that shortball, it could be cross court or down the line, after you get that ball you are looking for, where to shoot next, and have two or three options... if you succed in either option, you win thepoint, if not having a contingency plan to come back and repeat from thebegginingof the pattern...

also, there must be patterns of movility, how a player moves atfirst, and how does his movement is affected after a long rally... in nadal's case this is a dauntingtask... hemoves so well...

salsainglesa
05-16-2009, 03:34 PM
onething that djokovic did quite well today was attacking his serve, almost always crossourt... to the corner...

Fate Archer
05-16-2009, 03:39 PM
I think the dropshot is an effective play against Rafa. There was a thread a few days ago, where people were saying how useless it was to dropshot Nadal, cause he is the demon of speed. Wrong.

In the Australian Open and in today's match, with the premise that the dropshot was well executed (didn't bounce high like a mini lob or drop dead at the net), the great majority of these points came to Djokovic or Fed when they tried.
The intention is not to go directly to a dropshot winner against Rafa, but to take him out of his confort zone and construct a passing shot or even lob him. A well constructed passing shot should be the right decision.

Djokovic did that when he had a match point against him, and the dropshot wasn't even really well executed, but it gave a lot of room to pass Nadal right after.

I wouldn't say that it's the best shot in a decisive point, since an accurate dropshot needs a really good dose of precision, and that's really off when the players are in the nerves of the decisive moments.
But it could pay off really well in the beginning of games, either helping to construct good 15-0 or 30-0 on your serve without going through critic moments, or even constructing a lead or earning some free points on Nadal's serve.

I wouldn't exactally call Nadal's backhand rock solid too, as some like to praise. It's definitely not his greatest weapon, and it can be broken in the most critic moments. When Nadal becomes nervous, usually the first shot to go off is his backhand.
He can certainly make some incredible shots out of it, but it's much more preferable to go for his backhand on certain moments.

On the serve aspect, serving big and well is always a must against him, you'll want as many free points as you can, but I would say that the wide slice serve (especially if you're righty) in his backhand is a good one on first serve at the deuce side, while on the ad side, a good 1st serve would be to kick it wide and angled as well. I think wide serves can be more effective against him because he returns way behind the baseline, and that creates the angle that can hurt him on the serves.

Other than that, as other people have said, go for the break. And TAKE IT AWAY his slice serve on the ad side. Nadal is a percentage-tennis player, he will not go for a winner on serve, he will most of the times use good placement on his serve to put him in a better positon at the start of the point. That's how he earns lots of free points.
So place yourself at a position where he can't attack you with his lefty slice serve as much as he wants, and if Nadal blasts a flat one in the middle, too good for him, the risks of serving a flat one in the middle are much higher.

Using angles on the crosscourts is a good one too, Nalbandian does that a lot against Rafa, and it may work because of the same reasons mentioned in the serve, as above said. But maybe that's too much to ask.

In the end, mix all that with the best of your game, and try the best yourself. Winning against Nadal doesn't mean to outclass him in the technical department (several players can do that), but it means to oulast and outwill him.
Many Nadal wins are based on this last subtle but really important detail, but that can't be very helped. Some players are just that mentally stronger.

In the end of the story, a lot easier said than done.

rod99
05-16-2009, 03:41 PM
i would hit short angled topsin forehands out wide to nadal's backhand to get him off the court. then you've got to watch out for his crosscourt backhand return, which he hits much better/bigger than the backhand down the line. if his return lands short then hit behind him more than hitting to the open court. that neutralizes his speed. davydenko has had success with this before.

you've got to attack his second serve. take away his slice serve out wide in the ad court by running around the backhand and crushing your forehand. you'll lose some of these gambles but it'll at least put something in nadal's head to think about.

maddogz32
05-16-2009, 04:26 PM
the only way to win agaisnt nadal on clay is to never hit an error, otherwise it is virtualy impossible

Nanshiki
05-16-2009, 05:19 PM
Actually you can beat him if you just peg him with every shot.

tenis
05-16-2009, 06:09 PM
-Hit winner on every point
-Never hit an error
-Get to 6 games before he does


Yep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sh@de
05-16-2009, 07:25 PM
If you ask me... you need a damn high first serve %age. Ground game needs to be solid with few errors. Good use of dropper is mandatory. Pummel the second serve. Play like there's no tomorrow, and you simply cannot buckle mentally.