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View Full Version : Ok guys....What is really going on with Nadal's backhand..?


GOAT BAAH!!!
04-24-2011, 09:17 AM
Nadal often winds up in the first row of the stands running around his backhand this year.....and while his game was always based around his movement and dictating with the forehand; I've never seen (bar his late 2009 confidence dip) him play so tepidly off the bh wing.

It was never an epic Nalbandian/Safin esque rocket but his cross court was money, especially AO 2009 and for USO 2010 he was stepping in and knocking it dtl. Now we have the slice king...?

Djoker saw this in Indian Wells/Miami and made him pay......

Do any of you technical junkies see anything amiss or is it mostly a confidence shot...?

WTF?!

NamRanger
04-24-2011, 09:23 AM
Nadal often winds up in the first row of the stands running around his backhand this year.....and while his game was always based around his movement and dictating with the forehand; I've never seen (bar his late 2009 confidence dip) him play so tepidly off the bh wing.

It was never an epic Nalbandian/Safin esque rocket but his cross court was money, especially AO 2009 and for USO 2010 he was stepping in and knocking it dtl. Now we have the slice king...?

Djoker saw this in Indian Wells/Miami and made him pay......

Do any of you technical junkies see anything amiss or is it mostly a confidence shot...?

WTF?!



Nadal's BH is not a weapon unless he is playing extremely well and extremely confident. He also really can only go one direction hard, thus you can basically give up down the line for the most part and guard cross court.


Not to mention he is very predictable if you roll it up high to his backhand, he will roll it back towards the middle or crosscourt.



It's one of the major reasons why he loses when he does. Of course it's tough to beat him despite this slight flaw in his game (which he has improved over the course of time, it used to be really bad in 2006-2007 where he got severely picked on this side).

Jeepers
04-24-2011, 09:28 AM
I noticed it too, he can rip his backhand stupidly hard, but very rarely does. I sometimes see him so desperate to run around it he ends up hitting a really weak forehand and is reall out of position thus ends up losing the point, when he could of just hit a decent backhand XD

djones
04-24-2011, 09:28 AM
I think it's lack of confidence on that shot, like he can't decide whether to hit a topspin or a flat shot, and ends up with something in between.

Omega_7000
04-24-2011, 10:15 AM
He's getting old & the hungry players are on his tail (Djokovic, Murray, DelPo). Age catches up with everyone. It's inevitable...Look at Fed for example.

Nadal has been in the top 2 for SIX years. Every additional year from this point on will keep increasing in difficulty...Not to mention his injury prone style of play won't help him much either.

YKB might be on to something here...

Omega_7000
04-24-2011, 10:26 AM
Then some new poster will sign up with the id CLAYGOAT BAAAH!!! with a tardish picture of Nadal like this for example,

http://lifeissavage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/nadal-face.jpg

He will start making similar threads about his fav player. The cycle continues....

GOAT BAAH!!!
04-24-2011, 10:37 AM
Then some new poster will sign up with the id CLAYGOAT BAAAH!!! with a tardish picture of Nadal like this for example,

http://lifeissavage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/nadal-face.jpg

He will start making similar threads about his fav player. The cycle continues....

It's ok Omega....you will always have mirka and her lindor truffle collection to nustle you as you watch youtube footage of wimbledon 2006 longing for the days....

Omega_7000
04-24-2011, 10:43 AM
^^^ Don't get upset. I'm just stating the facts.

Ralph
04-24-2011, 10:47 AM
What are you suggesting? That my favourite player is Roger Federer!?

Well, he's one of them without doubt. The matter is, my real name is indeed Ralph ;) I wouldn't be so silly as to use such a condescending username as Goat Baah and put a picture of Roger as my avatar.... I do think that the said user talks some good sense on occasion though, as he has with this particular thread.

TennezSport
04-24-2011, 11:16 AM
Nadal's BH is not a weapon unless he is playing extremely well and extremely confident. He also really can only go one direction hard, thus you can basically give up down the line for the most part and guard cross court.

Not to mention he is very predictable if you roll it up high to his backhand, he will roll it back towards the middle or crosscourt.

It's one of the major reasons why he loses when he does. Of course it's tough to beat him despite this slight flaw in his game (which he has improved over the course of time, it used to be really bad in 2006-2007 where he got severely picked on this side).

Very nice analysis indeed.

Cheers, TennezSport :cool:

TennisFan3
04-24-2011, 12:38 PM
Nadal often winds up in the first row of the stands running around his backhand this year.....and while his game was always based around his movement and dictating with the forehand; I've never seen (bar his late 2009 confidence dip) him play so tepidly off the bh wing.

It was never an epic Nalbandian/Safin esque rocket but his cross court was money, especially AO 2009 and for USO 2010 he was stepping in and knocking it dtl. Now we have the slice king...?

Djoker saw this in Indian Wells/Miami and made him pay......

Do any of you technical junkies see anything amiss or is it mostly a confidence shot...?

WTF?!

Truly speaking, Nadal's backhand, on an AVERAGE BASIS, hasn't really been as good as it was before his injury. His backhand was great in Wimb 2008 and absolutely insane in AO 2009.

Since 2010, Nadal's backhand has been ON and OFF. At times it's been good ( Wimb 2010 against Murray, Soderling etc) and at others it's been absolutely awful (Toronto, Cincy 2010).

Overall the backhand is not the money shot it was in AO 2009 where he could hit winners at will. Nadal uses the backhand these days, mostly, as a rally shot to eventually line up a forehand and take control of the pt.
The flip side of that is that he covers a lot of court, protecting one side at the expense of the other. ( Reminds me of the great Steffi graf..)

There doesn't seem to be that much wrong technically with the shot except the timing is a bit off sometimes. Nadal struggles, especially, when he changes direction from cross court to down the line (he usually gets late and hits it wide), and also when he changes from the slice to the topspin backhand. So he ends up shanking his backhand a lot more.

Mostly he just restrains his swing from the backhand these days, and it's no longer as big a weapon as it was before. He's still good with backhand passes but not so much in neutral rallies as an offensive shot. So the players who change direction well and can hit the ball up the line (Djokovic for ex) put Nadal under pressure.

IMO, Nadal will need his backhand for the hardcourts especially. He might be able to get through clay and grass with his forehand alone, but on hardcourts (where the ball penetrates more), players like Delpo, Murray, Djokovic etc are good at attacking Nadal's backhand and pushing him on the defensive all the time. I just don't see Nadal winning as much on hardcourt, with his current backhand..

MichaelNadal
04-24-2011, 12:48 PM
Yeah the crazy thing is he hits at least 1 each match that is AO-2009 worthy. But he seems to be tentative and just lack confidence in it, only using it to keep the ball in play most of the time. It's purely mental, and he has to just stop respecting flat hitters so much and really HIT his backhand bc the ability is obviously still there.

TennisFan3
04-24-2011, 12:56 PM
Yeah the crazy thing is he hits at least 1 each match that is AO-2009 worthy. But he seems to be tentative and just lack confidence in it, only using it to keep the ball in play most of the time. It's purely mental, and he has to just stop respecting flat hitters so much and really HIT his backhand bc the ability is obviously still there.

Yep. The thing is Nadal hasn't actually been forced to his his backhand, aggressively for the past yr or so. He's still winning without it, and I believe he can continue to do so on clay and grass, because he is just so good on the natural surfaces w.r.t his movement and can make almost everything a forehand.

However, we saw a change up in IW and Miami, where Djokovic beat Nadal even though the Serb was not at his best. Now also Delpo is coming back, and he especially will be a huge threat. Then there is Murray, Soderling etc.

Against players like these, Nadal's regular pattern of (cross court forehand to opponent's backhand) does not work, coz these guys have the ability to hit big on high balls from their backhand in either direction. The only way Nadal is beating them will be to hit his backhand flat and go more for his inside out/DTL forehands.

Otherwise the hardcourt losses will keep on mounting as those guys keep getting better..

nadalbestclass
04-24-2011, 01:08 PM
Yep. The thing is Nadal hasn't actually been forced to his his backhand, aggressively for the past yr or so. He's still winning without it, and I believe he can continue to do so on clay and grass, because he is just so good on the natural surfaces w.r.t his movement and can make almost everything a forehand.

However, we saw a change up in IW and Miami, where Djokovic beat Nadal even though the Serb was not at his best. Now also Delpo is coming back, and he especially will be a huge threat. Then there is Murray, Soderling etc.

Against players like these, Nadal's regular pattern of (cross court forehand to opponent's backhand) does not work, coz these guys have the ability to hit big on high balls from their backhand in either direction. The only way Nadal is beating them will be to hit his backhand flat and go more for his inside out/DTL forehands.

Otherwise the hardcourt losses will keep on mounting as those guys keep getting better..

Both your posts are very good. I saw Novak really going at Nadal's backhand and it was making Rafa nervous. He can't let that become a gaping hole in his game. Esp since there are some days when his forheand is not clicking.

NamRanger
04-24-2011, 01:16 PM
Truly speaking, Nadal's backhand, on an AVERAGE BASIS, hasn't really been as good as it was before his injury. His backhand was great in Wimb 2008 and absolutely insane in AO 2009.

Since 2010, Nadal's backhand has been ON and OFF. At times it's been good ( Wimb 2010 against Murray, Soderling etc) and at others it's been absolutely awful (Toronto, Cincy 2010).

Overall the backhand is not the money shot it was in AO 2009 where he could hit winners at will. Nadal uses the backhand these days, mostly, as a rally shot to eventually line up a forehand and take control of the pt.
The flip side of that is that he covers a lot of court, protecting one side at the expense of the other. ( Reminds me of the great Steffi graf..)

There doesn't seem to be that much wrong technically with the shot except the timing is a bit off sometimes. Nadal struggles, especially, when he changes direction from cross court to down the line (he usually gets late and hits it wide), and also when he changes from the slice to the topspin backhand. So he ends up shanking his backhand a lot more.

Mostly he just restrains his swing from the backhand these days, and it's no longer as big a weapon as it was before. He's still good with backhand passes but not so much in neutral rallies as an offensive shot. So the players who change direction well and can hit the ball up the line (Djokovic for ex) put Nadal under pressure.

IMO, Nadal will need his backhand for the hardcourts especially. He might be able to get through clay and grass with his forehand alone, but on hardcourts (where the ball penetrates more), players like Delpo, Murray, Djokovic etc are good at attacking Nadal's backhand and pushing him on the defensive all the time. I just don't see Nadal winning as much on hardcourt, with his current backhand..




What? Are you serious? Nadal's backhand was constantly picked on all the time even before his injury.


The matches you listed / tournaments you listed were Nadal playing at his supreme best, thus every single one of his shots were good (including even his net game).



A huge reason why Nadal was/is so strong on clay is because his backhand cannot be picked on here, and even if you roll it up high it is so tough to get the ball past him when he hits it back towards the middle / crosscourt with some topspin.


HCs is a different story; that is why he has had some horrible losses to guys like Djokovic, Nalbandian, Davydenko, etc.

TennisFan3
04-24-2011, 01:26 PM
What? Are you serious? Nadal's backhand was constantly picked on all the time even before his injury.


While what you say is true, I was referring to the period after which Nadal improved.

It is no secret that before 2008 Nadal was more of a counterpuncher than an offensive player and his backhand, serve etc was weaker. In fact, he didn't make a hardcourt slam SF until 2008.

Around the spring of 2008 - Rafa made some big improvements in his game. He truncated his backhand swing and started driving it harder and flatter. He put some more pace on his serve. He improved his court positioning and transition game dramatically. All those changes won him 3 slams in 8 months (starting from F.O 2008. ). All through this time, Nadal was offensive from his backhand, and I recall commies mentioning that his backhand was a better shot than his forehand on hardcourts.

So IMO through mid 2008 - 2009 until injury, Nadal's backhand was better overall than it is now. AO 2009/IW 2009 was obviously the peak of his backhand hitting, when the cross court winners almost became high percentage for him. He got Fed because of that in the AO.

Of course after this Nadal's game started deteriorating slowly. He got injured, lost his #1, #2 ranking and almost a year worth of slams. It took him a year to recover his game, and even then some parts like the ROS and backhand never came back 100%. He also lost a bit of explosiveness and speed, which is apparent in his game these days.

Mustard
04-24-2011, 03:38 PM
Nadal's peak as a player was April to August 2008 and also at the 2009 Australian Open, so it's no surprise that Nadal's backhand was better then than it is now.

li0scc0
04-24-2011, 03:49 PM
This is the same guy that has won 2 straight tournaments with easy straight set victories, right? And almost won in Miami on hard courts? Just wanting to make sure we are talking about the same Rafael Nadal, and not some newcomer named Biff Nadal.

SStrikerR
04-24-2011, 04:57 PM
Nadal's peak as a player was April to August 2008 and also at the 2009 Australian Open, so it's no surprise that Nadal's backhand was better then than it is now.

I'm not a Rafa fan, but...he won 3/4 grand slam tournaments last year. How are 08 and 09 his peak as a player?

35ft6
04-24-2011, 05:36 PM
Nadal often winds up in the first row of the stands running around his backhand this year...My interpretation has always been he can do this because his footwork is so good. Every player runs around their backhand, but almost nobody runs around it as much as Nadal, I've seen him hit forehands from outside the deuce side doubles alley. For most players, that would put them at a huge disadvantage, they would basically have to hit a winner to stay in the point. For Nadal, he can rip up the line or hit an extreme inside out forehand so easily that it opens up the court for him. Even if his opponent can hit it into the open court, Nadal is fast enough to cover it and he's kind of daring them to go for it.

I haven't noticed his backhand looking any weaker. I agree he can absolutely murder balls off that side. Federer says it's like playing a guy with a forehand on both sides.

Ripster
04-24-2011, 06:09 PM
I've never understood why Nadal goes to such lengths to run around his backhand which is IMO a really solid shot. If he had a Roddick backhand that would be one thing but the guy has one of the best backhand's out there...

35ft6
04-24-2011, 06:15 PM
I've never understood why Nadal goes to such lengths to run around his backhand which is IMO a really solid shot. If he had a Roddick backhand that would be one thing but the guy has one of the best backhand's out there...They talked about this during a broadcast once, why even the guys who have better backhands than forehands run around their backhands. It's because you can hit more spots with a forehand and really take over a point with that shot. At the pro level, solid doesn't cut it. You have to impose yourself as much as possible and a forehand is better for that. Even if the post match statistics show more unforced errors were committed by the forehand side, people generally go for bigger riskier shots off the forehand side.

Also, on short balls, you can hit on the move and put way more action on the ball with a forehand.

GOAT BAAH!!!
04-24-2011, 06:26 PM
Some really great responses guys....thanks.

Lets see how this thing holds up in Madrid.

aldeayeah
04-24-2011, 06:56 PM
Overall the backhand is not the money shot it was in AO 2009 where he could hit winners at will.
This is just wrong. He hit a few winners, but he was nowhere close to hitting them "at will".

Forehand Avenger
04-24-2011, 07:27 PM
It's ok Omega....you will always have mirka and her lindor truffle collection to nustle you as you watch youtube footage of wimbledon 2006 longing for the days....
This post is hella funny.

TheNatural
04-24-2011, 08:30 PM
Nadal often winds up in the first row of the stands running around his backhand this year.....and while his game was always based around his movement and dictating with the forehand; I've never seen (bar his late 2009 confidence dip) him play so tepidly off the bh wing.

It was never an epic Nalbandian/Safin esque rocket but his cross court was money, especially AO 2009 and for USO 2010 he was stepping in and knocking it dtl. Now we have the slice king...?

Djoker saw this in Indian Wells/Miami and made him pay......

Do any of you technical junkies see anything amiss or is it mostly a confidence shot...?

WTF?!

Its the hollow noodle racket that he uses. Agassi tried it and was amazed that anyone could play with that noodle. Agassi, Nalbandian, safin, Joker would all struggle with their backhands if they also used the hollow noodle of a racket that Nadal uses.

GOAT BAAH!!!
05-08-2011, 06:14 PM
This kid really has to fix this wing.

Djoker is Goating and at that level he is not missing on either side.

Nadal cant keep running around the BH OR looping it meekly OR netting it/sailing it long when attempting to add pace.

The "Moya" school of cross court forehand all day-all night play has to shut it's doors for the rest of 2011.

MichaelNadal
05-08-2011, 06:19 PM
It's weird, it looks great in some rallies. At least he isn't slicing it so much. The problem is how often he's hitting UE's with it. I don't think it's declined, it's just much less consistent.

The-Champ
05-08-2011, 06:26 PM
I think Nadal is just trying to copy Moya's game. All forehand!

Rickenbacker4003
05-08-2011, 07:18 PM
^^^ Don't get upset. I'm just stating the facts.

So was he. :twisted:

Rickenbacker4003
05-08-2011, 07:19 PM
I don't know, Fed's backhand has been a liability all his career with 16 slams.

tlm
05-08-2011, 07:28 PM
His back hand is looking weak that is for sure, especially compared to jokers.

Nextman916
05-08-2011, 08:45 PM
he doesn't own the timing to go dtl, nor crush the ball crosscourt consistently.

Fate Archer
05-08-2011, 09:11 PM
he doesn't own the timing to go dtl, nor crush the ball crosscourt consistently.

This. It was never too good to begin with. It's mostly a confidence shot, so it's bound to be up and down.

Ripster
05-08-2011, 09:18 PM
He wasn't hitting his backhand very well against Djokovic today. It seemed like he was looping it and not driving the ball.

mellowyellow
05-09-2011, 07:33 AM
I think if you find his mystery serve and its origins, you will find Nadals backhand as well ;)

Gorecki
05-09-2011, 07:52 AM
Nadal's BH never was something to write home about... but hey... maybe i'm just being my usual self...

namelessone
05-09-2011, 08:01 AM
Nadal has 2 confidence shots:

1)DTL FH
2)CC slapped BH.

When he is "feeling" his game so to speak, these are extremely powerful weapons that allow Nadal to dominate most guys from the baseline.

Nowadays however Nadal is hitting most of his shots either more in the centre(not angled enough) or not with enough depth(watch yesterday's match again and count how many times Nadal plays tennis with the service line). Not to mention that he is running away from his BH like he's scared of hitting it.

Nadal can let a short ball go with his usual game when those two up above work. The deep, slapped, CC BH(even on the run) sends opponents defending their fh corner and the DTL fh does the same thing, only it is actually even more deadly.

MichaelNadal
05-09-2011, 08:16 AM
Nadal has 2 confidence shots:

1)DTL FH
2)CC slapped BH.

When he is "feeling" his game so to speak, these are extremely powerful weapons that allow Nadal to dominate most guys from the baseline.

Nowadays however Nadal is hitting most of his shots either more in the centre(not angled enough) or not with enough depth(watch yesterday's match again and count how many times Nadal plays tennis with the service line). Not to mention that he is running away from his BH like he's scared of hitting it.

Nadal can let a short ball go with his usual game when those two up above work. The deep, slapped, CC BH(even on the run) sends opponents defending their fh corner and the DTL fh does the same thing, only it is actually even more deadly.

I agree, you can TELL when he's confident and when he isn't. When Nadal is playing with confidence, he is absolutely amazing.

dominikk1985
05-09-2011, 08:22 AM
his BH sucks at the moment. but so does federers. and still they both won about 80% of the last 25 slams:D.

NamRanger
05-09-2011, 08:39 AM
Nadal's BH never was something to write home about... but hey... maybe i'm just being my usual self...


What are you talking about? Nadal's backhand is clearly better than Federer's forehand. Namelessone says that Nadal is capable of crushing backhand winners all day hitting crosscourt angle winners, while also going down the line like a Safin with lightning speed.


Come on!

namelessone
05-09-2011, 08:58 AM
What are you talking about? Nadal's backhand is clearly better than Federer's forehand. Namelessone says that Nadal is capable of crushing backhand winners all day hitting crosscourt angle winners, while also going down the line like a Safin with lightning speed.


Come on!

:-?

All I said was that when on Nadal slaps that CC BH deep when confident instead of rolling it over the net, not that he is safin+agassi+djokic+murray combined.

mike84
05-09-2011, 09:01 AM
i think it looked worse against djokovic because djokovic plays very smart

he attacks the opponents weak spot and beats it to death thats why nadals bh was landing so short inside the court he was exposed



the same thing nadal does to rogers one hander just attack relentlessly

Cesc Fabregas
05-09-2011, 09:06 AM
All players run round their backhands to hit forehands, even players with far better backhands like Murray do it. It's easier to dictate points with the forehand.

Gorecki
05-09-2011, 09:10 AM
:-?

All I said was that when on Nadal slaps that CC BH deep when confident instead of rolling it over the net, not that he is safin+agassi+djokic+murray combined.

that my dear friend is a whole lot of whens... so deep inside you know i was right to begin with!

Gorecki
05-09-2011, 09:14 AM
I agree, you can TELL when he's confident and when he isn't. When Nadal is playing with confidence, he is absolutely amazing.

so, copernicus, you want to tell us any other universal law?

here is one: Nadal is 100% victorious when he won...

Another... : You can tell the federer is playing in Wimbledon. you can see him in whote & gold...