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Crisstti
12-27-2011, 02:19 PM
INTERVIEW: RAFAEL NADAL. Spain's top tennis player takes stock

"I've been too predictable a player"

By JUAN JOSÉ MATEO - Manacor - 26/12/2011 - Translated by nou.amic for http://www.VamosBrigade.com

We're in the lion's den. Rafael Nadal (Mallorca, 1986) is sitting on the terrace at Manacor tennis club, where he started playing when he was a child, and can't help his gaze straying to the match being played by a pair of forty-year-olds while he talks to EL PAÍS. It's chilly. He's wearing a woollen hat. The conversation leads off from one of his favourite songs, Vuela Alto (Fly high), by Julio Iglesias, with lyrics made-to-measure for his ironlike personality, his penchant for self-criticism, his brilliant career and his results in 2011, when he won Roland Garros and the Davis Cup and was defeated six times by the Serbian Novak Djokovic.

Question:
"Llegar a la meta cuesta / te cuesta tanto llegar / y cuando estás en ella / mantenerte cuesta más / Procura no descuidarte / ni mirar hacia detrás / o todo lo conseguido / te lo vuelven a quitar"
"Reaching your goal is hard / it's very hard to get there / and when you're there / staying there is even harder. / Try not to be taken off guard / don't look back / or all you have obtained / will be taken away from you" . Do you see yourself reflected in that?

RN. I like Julio Iglesias and that song a lot. The lyrics are good. They say interesting things, things with meaning...

Q. "Aquí no regalan nada / todo tiene un alto precio / peldaño que vas subiendo / peldaño que hay que pagar"
"There are no gifts given here / everything has a high price / every step you climb / has to be paid for" the words say. What mental toll have you paid for your losses to Nole?

RN. One loses a bit of intensity over the years. The intensity in your belief in yourself, in your concentration, in being positive, in believing things are going to go well.. these are all in the mind. You gradually lose a bit of this over the years. You get burnt out by competition. I've spent seven years practically without being out of the top two in the world. It's the same as when they say I have a lot of injuries. I don't get injured much. I've had problems many times, but those that have been injured a great deal are Del Potro, Tsonga.. With seven years without dropping from the top two in the world and with the way tennis functions, it's impossible for me to have been much injured. It's always the same. They talk for the sake of talking. Many people write giving their impression, not quoting the statistics. I've had difficult moments, problems, but not really serious injuries... and it appears I get injured a lot.

Q. I was asking you about your head not your body.

RN. It's the same thing. My head was fine during the first half of the year, not perfect, because I was missing that bit more in the matches against Djokovic. But I was fine: I accepted the defeats, I went back to working, fighting... but clearly I lacked a little bit more level in my tennis. When you have that, your brain responds better. My game needed to have been less predictable. I was far too predictable many times during the season. These are things I have to get back for 2012. Perhaps I won't get it back for January... but I must have it back by April.

Q. You're very self-critical in public. Roger Federer isn't..

RN. Everyone has his own way of seeing things and of trying to recover from situations. He has a different mentality, a different way of playing and different weapons from me. Mentally, he has been very good, though he's not distinguished for that but for his brilliant complete game. I, on the other hand, am distinguished for my concentration, for my high rhythm of play, for a very high level of mental capability to overcome circumstances... and that, which is the best I have, is what I can't lose. At a certain moment, I might lose my forehand, but the best of what I really have is my drive, the intensity in my legs, my concentration and the spirit to go that bit extra. That's what I've been lacking at certain given moments. I have to get it back if I want to have options of returning to winning.

Q. I suppose you're referring to winning majors, not matches.

RN. I'm referring to me winning. Not depending on others. Depending on myself. I've realised that this year I won very many matches, but in more of them than I should I was more dependent on my opponent than on myself. I was a bit lacking in intensity in everything: legs, shots and mind.

Q. They used to call you Triturbo. Are your legs at the level they were in 2010?

RN. No. They were worse in 2011. At a lower level of intensity. I put it all down to my head and my form of training. These last few years I've had some problems with my knees, and the problem with my foot. All my life, till I was 19 or 20 years old, I always practised at a very high level of intensity. Because of all those things, you start taking precautions. You end up practising with more care. This gradually takes away a little bit of your intensity. That's not the problem I have at the present moment, because I've been doing it for five years and I do it perfectly. The problem is to up my mental level and that of my legs.

Q. Djokovic has done many things well. What things have you done badly against him?

RN. Not to have gone that extra bit.

Crisstti
12-27-2011, 02:20 PM
Q. Explain that.

RN. I failed in our first match, in Indian Wells, which I should have won because the match depended on me at every moment, until I began to play very badly. Winning that match would have taken away the anxiety in many of the others. In Miami, I had heatstroke and in spite of that I fought till the end. I was very close to winning. The final that hurts is the one in Rome. What did I do badly? Not to go that extra bit. I did go the extra bit in the third set of the US Open final. I went to the limit and I made him go to the limit. In fact, it was because my hamstring got really tired, where I had that cramp after the match against Nalbandian, which left me hobbling a bit all tournament... I took him to the limit. If I had been fine at the start of the fourth set, we'd have seen what would have happened. I had him to break him straight off when he served first, that would have changed the match. He was groggy. Then he won that game, broke me... OK.

Q. Your conclusión?

RN. That to go that extra bit I have to play more inside the court, overwhelm. There (at the US Open) I overwhelmed him at times, whereas before I had the sensation it was him who dominated the point all the time. There both of us did. It was a very hard match. I can win or lose, but at least I have to go to the limit. To get to that point I have to do the same in the other matches, be more aggressive in those other matches, so that this is my level, so I don't have to play above it. There have been moments in 2011 when I've lacked a certain extra something. It was the second time in my career that I got to the final of three of the season's Grand Slam tournaments (the other was 2010). That must be appreciated. How many seasons in my career have I made 10 finals? Plus Spain ended up winning the Davis Cup. It has been a good year, but the level demanded of me, both personally and from outside, is very high. The first seven months were very good. Then there were many ups and downs. After the US Open, I found it more difficult to go on. You have to be self-critical, accept what you have done badly... but you shouldn't be too self-critical. You have to be self-critical but without making a drama of it. If not, you enter into a spiral in which nothing is ever enough. It's a good mentality, but it shouldn't make you unhappy with what you do, but rather make you ambitious.

Q. What are your hopes for 2012?

RN. At the end of the year, which was a very good one, I felt bad. Very bad against Tsonga. Not an absolute disaster, but I didn't win [in the Masters Cup] because anxiety got the better of me. But the match returned to be mine for the taking, without me being myself.. and he's the world number six! I said to myself: "If I do a bit more, I'm close to returning to winning anything". That's the motivation. Recovering the extra desire that makes you give a bit more of yourself. Got to get back to cruise level, and at an even higher level than before if possible. From Indian Wells until Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in London, that's when I have to recover my best level.

Q. Also looking to the future. What values would you want your children to inherit from you?

RN. The most important thing in this life, before anything else, is to be a decent person, well-mannered. It's not for me to say if I am, but I try to be. It's important to be eager to get involved in things, not be someone who couldn't care less. There are folk that go to play a futbito match, for example, and well, don't run. I don't understand it. The same if you're at school and you go along to do an exam... I'm not saying you should be a phenomenon but at least be interested in what you do. Get down to it. Make an effort. Do the things you do with love. I don't understand things any other way.

Q. This season you've withdrawn from the Davis Cup. "They have legitimate reasons for abandoning the team, but not the ones they have given," wrote Antonio Martínez Cascales, Juan Carlos Ferrero's coach.

RN. First of all, I haven't retired from the Davis Cup. There's no trial of strength. I'm pulling out of all these political topics, I'm tired. I devote myself to playing tennis, which is what I know how to do least badly.

Q. At times it seems as if you get involved in all the polemics: with Pedro Muñoz, ex president of the federation, the Davis Cup, the blue clay they want to use at the Madrid tournament...

RN. It's not that I get involved in them all but that I say what I think about what I believe is wrong and can be improved. I feel I have to. Somebody has to say it in the end, and if the others don't say it, I feel obliged to do so. Normally, if I'm the only one that thinks it, I don't say it. But if the great majority of people think it, usually I speak out. I don't get into any pickles. Take the Davis Cup: before saying it publicly, I went to speak to the International Federation and explained the situation to them: "You are committing suicide." It's the truth, and I'm not saying it for my personal benefit. It's for their benefit : the reality is that things are bad and not in the favour of what is a very special competition. They don't make the effort to improve it. It can't be understood. It's not just a question of money. Why don't they have a Davis Cup spread over two years? Two rounds in the first year and two in the second. Well, because it doesn't interest them economically. When a competition is played so many years after another, it loses a bit of its value. If all the best players don't compete, it loses value. That's what they are favouring, and they don't realise it. That's my theory.

Q. What's your solution?

RN. To be played over two years and have the sponsors pay more, because you'll probably be able to get them to, as it will be more exclusive. They're the ones that are complicating the situation. I would like to go on playing... but I have to find space for it. Me, this one, that one, and the other. In the end, there's no room. It's the same with the ATP calendar, the same with everything. What can't be is that the tour advances, such as in the level of the players, the physical and mental demands, the aggression with which it's played, that it's better than 10 or 15 years ago... and on top of that you have to play more. Before it was played more on clay and grass and now it's played on hardcourt. Much harder on the body! It's worse! We are in favour of the tour being harder. It's not logical. It's a clinical topic. It's a question of health. That's my fight: not earning more money. It's better for everybody for the players to have a longer career. It's been demonstrated that when there are drastic changes in the ranking, people lose interest. In recent years, Federer, Murray, Djokovic and I have always been there each time. That rouses interest, because it creates rivalry, the feeling that those are special matches. People get hooked on something that already has a tradition. There have to be favourable conditions for this to happen, in my time or for those that come afterwards."

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/He/sido/tenista/demasiado/previsible/elpepidep/20111226elpepidep_1/Tes

GOAT BAAH!!!
12-27-2011, 02:44 PM
but 2011 was simply a transitional year between 2010 and 2012 for him anyway.

Mansewerz
12-27-2011, 02:48 PM
Very well spoken from Nadal. I like how he says "tennis is what I do least badly". I love that phrase.

Rock Strongo
12-27-2011, 02:52 PM
He should serve and volley. OMG IF RAFA SERVES AND VOLLEYS!

asafi2
12-27-2011, 03:05 PM
I stopped reading after he implied that he lost Miami because of a heat stroke, and lost the US Open because his hamstring was hurting from when he played Nalbandian.

Povl Carstensen
12-27-2011, 03:06 PM
Every year is a transitional year from the year before to the year after.

Mustard
12-27-2011, 03:07 PM
I stopped reading after he implied that he lost Miami because of a heat stroke, and lost the US Open because his hamstring was hurting from when he played Nalbandian.

Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

World Beater
12-27-2011, 03:07 PM
I stopped reading after he implied that he lost Miami because of a heat stroke, and lost the US Open because his hamstring was hurting from when he played Nalbandian.

LOL.

the interviewer never asked him about those matches...

he made excuses right out of the blue.

Nadal is in fine form!

Crisstti
12-27-2011, 03:09 PM
Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

Of course, everyone noticed that. Won't stop the trolls, of course, lol.

asafi2
12-27-2011, 03:14 PM
Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

The reason he was struggling so much was because Joker had him on a string. Have you ever seen Rafa run so much? My point wasn't that Rafa didn't look tired, it's that the reason he was tired was because Joker was toying with him and moving him side to side and not so much from a "heat stroke".

World Beater
12-27-2011, 03:22 PM
Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

nadal was clearly struggling.

but it was a combination of the intense play in the match and the weather.

funny, djokovic is the one who usually gets killed in the heat not nadal.

celoft
12-27-2011, 03:24 PM
Djokovic completely out-Nadaled Nadal this year.

Mustard
12-27-2011, 03:27 PM
The reason he was struggling so much was because Joker had him on a string. Have you ever seen Rafa run so much? My point wasn't that Rafa didn't look tired, it's that the reason he was tired was because Joker was toying with him and moving him side to side and not so much from a "heat stroke".

Do you even know what you're talking about? The match was about as close as it gets. Djokovic had no "hold" over Nadal at that stage. In fact, all 7 of Djokovic wins over Nadal before 2011 were all on hardcourt in 2 straight sets, so Nadal was actually pushing Djokovic more than usual. If you look at their epic matches of the past, Nadal always had the edge in the fitness and the intangibles, and Djokovic only won if he blew Nadal off the court.

The 2011 Miami final saw a qualitative change in the situation, where Djokovic was fitter than Nadal in the crunch time of the match late in the third set. Had Nadal won either the Indian Wells or Miami final, I'm certain 2011 would have turned out a lot differently than it did. Djokovic took big confidence from beating Nadal after going into the trenches with him.

Dilettante
12-27-2011, 03:28 PM
The reason he was struggling so much was because Joker had him on a string. Have you ever seen Rafa run so much? My point wasn't that Rafa didn't look tired, it's that the reason he was tired was because Joker was toying with him and moving him side to side and not so much from a "heat stroke".

Oh, for God's sake. If you've seen tennis since 2005, you've seen Nadal runing from side to side in many, many, MANY matches, and in most of those matches he won.

That's the main reason people talk about his mileage. Some years ago people talked, rightly so, about his not so economic movement on court, his eternal defensive running pursuing every single ball, even many rival's shots that semeed winners, etc.

So you can say whatever you want, but making Nadal run from side to side never, and I mean NEVER, was the way to beat him in a match before. The usual way to beat him was hitting flat and very aggresive groundstrokes that he didin't manage well. But making him run? He overran almost every single player until 2011.

Mustard
12-27-2011, 03:30 PM
Djokovic completely out-Nadaled Nadal this year.

That is very true. In all their matches from Madrid onwards, Djokovic seemed to have the match on his racquet while Nadal was being dictated to rather than doing the dictating himself. Nadal has been in the same place Djokovic was against Nadal before 2011, but Nadal doesn't blow opponents off court unless he is in top form and feeling very confident.

asafi2
12-27-2011, 03:35 PM
Do you even know what you're talking about? The match was about as close as it gets. Djokovic had no "hold" over Nadal at that stage. In fact, all 7 of Djokovic wins over Nadal before 2011 were all on hardcourt in 2 straight sets, so Nadal was actually pushing Djokovic more than usual. If you look at their epic matches of the past, Nadal always had the edge in the fitness and the intangibles, and Djokovic only won if he blew Nadal off the court.

The 2011 Miami final saw a qualitative change in the situation, where Djokovic was fitter than Nadal in the crunch time of the match late in the third set. Had Nadal won either the Indian Wells or Miami final, I'm certain 2011 would have turned out a lot differently than it did. Djokovic took big confidence from beating Nadal after going into the trenches with him.

Easy tiger. I never said Joker dominated him that match, but had him on a string. What I am referring to is essentially how each point played out. While both players were running a ton, it seemed as though Joker was making Rafa run even more than him.

And I agree that in every match prior to 2011, Rafa has been more fit, but I believe Joker is the more fit player now.

And yes, I know Rafa runs like a rabbit in almost every match, but to me it seems as though the Joker and Rafa points are so excruciatingly long that it didn't surprise me that Rafa got so tired in that heat.

He did struggle physically, but I think that is more because of Joker's play and not so much the heat. Rafa in that interview made it seem like the reason for his play was because of a HEAT STROKE.

BeHappy
12-27-2011, 03:43 PM
I agree with Nadal's analysis 100% and actually it's exactly what I've posted before. I'm excited to hear he's going back to his 2007 aggressive baseliner game and he's going to take from clay to the hard courts and Wimbledon!

It was just incredible to watch Nadal dominating every rally with his forehand. Can't wait to see it again.

It's really so refreshing to see a top player actually change their tactics instead of making the same stupid mistake again and again and again. Do you think you'd ever see or hear Roddick changing from his stupid cross court approaches or powder puff forehands?

pound cat
12-27-2011, 04:13 PM
I agree with Nadal's analysis 100% and actually it's exactly what I've posted before. I'm excited to hear he's going back to his 2007 aggressive baseliner game and he's going to take from clay to the hard courts and Wimbledon!

It was just incredible to watch Nadal dominating every rally with his forehand. Can't wait to see it again.

It's really so refreshing to see a top player actually change their tactics instead of making the same stupid mistake again and again and again. Do you think you'd ever see or hear Roddick changing from his stupid cross court approaches or powder puff forehands?

At last, at last, he's become aware of the shortcomings of his game that have been discussed in forums such as this for a long time. Now let's see if he does something about them in 2012.

Or is he just sick and tired of playing tennis? (I'd rather be golfing, and playing soccer, and fishing)

Mike Sams
12-27-2011, 04:21 PM
Didn't Nadal turn up the intensity in the 3rd set of the U.S Open final and then run on fumes when the 4th set came along? :-?

Mike Sams
12-27-2011, 04:23 PM
At last, at last, he's become aware of the shortcomings of his game that have been discussed in forums such as this for a long time. Now let's see if he does something about them in 2012.

Or is he just sick and tired of playing tennis? (I'd rather be golfing, and playing soccer, and fishing)

Reminds me of Federer trying to convince himself and others that he could beat Nadal at the French Open in 2007. Even telling the media "I have a plan" and then proceeding to lose anyway. :lol:

Mike Sams
12-27-2011, 04:26 PM
Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

He wasn't physically struggling in Madrid or Rome though was he? :)

Crisstti
12-27-2011, 04:49 PM
The reason he was struggling so much was because Joker had him on a string. Have you ever seen Rafa run so much? My point wasn't that Rafa didn't look tired, it's that the reason he was tired was because Joker was toying with him and moving him side to side and not so much from a "heat stroke".

"Toying" with him?. Isn't this the match that went to a third set tiebreak?.

Do you even know what you're talking about? The match was about as close as it gets. Djokovic had no "hold" over Nadal at that stage. In fact, all 7 of Djokovic wins over Nadal before 2011 were all on hardcourt in 2 straight sets, so Nadal was actually pushing Djokovic more than usual. If you look at their epic matches of the past, Nadal always had the edge in the fitness and the intangibles, and Djokovic only won if he blew Nadal off the court.

The 2011 Miami final saw a qualitative change in the situation, where Djokovic was fitter than Nadal in the crunch time of the match late in the third set. Had Nadal won either the Indian Wells or Miami final, I'm certain 2011 would have turned out a lot differently than it did. Djokovic took big confidence from beating Nadal after going into the trenches with him.

Yesp, certainly. Novak took huge confidence from thosetw wins and Rafa just the opposite.

Easy tiger. I never said Joker dominated him that match, but had him on a string. What I am referring to is essentially how each point played out. While both players were running a ton, it seemed as though Joker was making Rafa run even more than him.

And I agree that in every match prior to 2011, Rafa has been more fit, but I believe Joker is the more fit player now.

And yes, I know Rafa runs like a rabbit in almost every match, but to me it seems as though the Joker and Rafa points are so excruciatingly long that it didn't surprise me that Rafa got so tired in that heat.

He did struggle physically, but I think that is more because of Joker's play and not so much the heat. Rafa in that interview made it seem like the reason for his play was because of a HEAT STROKE.

He was playing well. And he clearly stated he had a heat stroke...

Didn't Nadal turn up the intensity in the 3rd set of the U.S Open final and then run on fumes when the 4th set came along? :-?

Isn't that pretty much what he said here?

Reminds me of Federer trying to convince himself and others that he could beat Nadal at the French Open in 2007. Even telling the media "I have a plan" and then proceeding to lose anyway. :lol:

Except that Fed had not managed to beat him... Rafa has beaten Novak... many, many times.

sportsfan1
12-27-2011, 06:47 PM
Good interview, but the solution to the Djoker problem that it was 'lack of intensity' is a bit too simplified. As they like to say, it's more of a matchup issue, and it was more to the point when Nadal previously said that his 'game doesn't bother Djoker anymore'. This could well turn out to be a more persistent problem along the lines of Nadal himself for Fed.

SLD76
12-27-2011, 06:58 PM
"Toying" with him?. Isn't this the match that went to a third set tiebreak?.



Yesp, certainly. Novak took huge confidence from thosetw wins and Rafa just the opposite.



He was playing well. And he clearly stated he had a heat stroke...



Isn't that pretty much what he said here?



Except that Fed had not managed to beat him... Rafa has beaten Novak... many, many times.


BTW, this is one of those posts I am talking about, rofl.

OddJack
12-27-2011, 07:34 PM
Good interview, but the solution to the Djoker problem that it was 'lack of intensity' is a bit too simplified. As they like to say, it's more of a matchup issue, and it was more to the point when Nadal previously said that his 'game doesn't bother Djoker anymore'. This could well turn out to be a more persistent problem along the lines of Nadal himself for Fed.

Yes interesting interview, and I agree "lack of intensity" and " that extra bit" are vague. He does not talk strategy at all. That Djoker returned his serves consistently deep. That Djoker burned him with BH winners whole year and that he kept going there anyways.

He says the intensity is not there, then what happened to it? If he can be intense in USO 3rd set then why cant he keep it up? He talks about his knee problem and that " the hamstring was tired". I believe it's his body that failing him. I can see a hot Tomic or Raonic, if he pulls them, giving him real trouble in AO.

Kurte954
12-27-2011, 07:57 PM
I think the first set of Miami cast in stone the rest of Nadal's losses to Nole in 2011. I think when Rafa played Nole at Indian Wells, he was surprised and confused by the "new" Djoker. In Miami, Rafa got out to the 1-5 lead in the first set, and basically stopped playing, showing some sort of "I got this set. I don't need to break your serve again" attitude. This seemed to insult Nole, who got that much more focused and determined. The Serbian engine built up steam and momentum, and Nadal was a little lucky to hold to take the first set 6-4. Nole DID have Rafa on a string and toyed with him in the second set. He got Rafa with a couple dropper/lob combos, which has to hurt a mover like Nadal. It seemed to me, Nole figured out what he needed to do mentally and tactically to beat Nadal during the Miami final while establishing himself in Nadal's head. Nole will have to have a significant drop in his level in 2012 for Rafa to overcome the mental hurdles to win against Djoker again, no matter the surface.

Sentinel
12-27-2011, 09:25 PM
Good.

Rafa is transitioning to the point where he can say "I've been too one-dimensional a player".

Vamos !

fruitytennis1
12-27-2011, 09:52 PM
When it came to crunch time...and really almost all the time Djoko was so clutch and confident that no one really had anything on him.
Rafa really didn't have gear 2.0 this year...and thats not saying he didn't play great against Djoko but he was missing the 110% necessary to beat Djoko

namelessone
12-27-2011, 11:11 PM
Yes interesting interview, and I agree "lack of intensity" and " that extra bit" are vague. He does not talk strategy at all. That Djoker returned his serves consistently deep. That Djoker burned him with BH winners whole year and that he kept going there anyways.

He says the intensity is not there, then what happened to it? If he can be intense in USO 3rd set then why cant he keep it up? He talks about his knee problem and that " the hamstring was tired". I believe it's his body that failing him. I can see a hot Tomic or Raonic, if he pulls them, giving him real trouble in AO.

Why would he expose his strategy against Djoko in a interview, assuming he had one?

And yes, of course Nadal's body is failing him, the guy played a style that's very hard on the body, on HC most of the time, for 7 seasons running at the very top of the game. This year we've seen Nadal more tired more often, sweating like crazy(though in some instances it was because of the flu) and generally missing another gear to go to. He is also slower on his feet IMO.

That intensity you are talking about needs backing up by his body and again, Nadal is not 19 anymore.

And look, top players don't think about their opponents games, they think about their own games. Nadal is not gonna think "well Djoko returned amazing this year"(even if he says it), he thinks "my serve should have been better to overcome it".

You talk about NOT going to Djoker's BH. Sorry OddJack but that's impossible, that is the standard CC shot for a lefty. It's like if Fed would never go to his opponent's forehand. Nadal's major problem has been staying too far out and hitting short. DEPTH is Nadal's main problem against Djoko because it basically gives Djoker instant control of the point, off both sides. This hitting short thing that I keep talking about and getting criticized for(making excuses and such) is what absolutelly KILLS Nadal in any Djoko matchup these days but not only. It's one thing to give up a short ball when Djoko returns at your feet but when you do so with a normal rally ball you have a problem.

If Nadal wants to win any match against Djoker he needs to focus on getting the ball deep off both sides, fix that mediocre BH, try to serve better(Nadal, not a world class server, served 29% in one set of the IW final - LAWL) and go DTL more. All of these are important but depth is crucial.

jamesblakefan#1
12-27-2011, 11:17 PM
Q. Explain that.

RN. I failed in our first match, in Indian Wells, which I should have won because the match depended on me at every moment, until I began to play very badly. Winning that match would have taken away the anxiety in many of the others. In Miami, I had heatstroke and in spite of that I fought till the end. I was very close to winning. The final that hurts is the one in Rome. What did I do badly? Not to go that extra bit. I did go the extra bit in the third set of the US Open final. I went to the limit and I made him go to the limit. In fact, it was because my hamstring got really tired, where I had that cramp after the match against Nalbandian, which left me hobbling a bit all tournament... I took him to the limit. If I had been fine at the start of the fourth set, we'd have seen what would have happened. I had him to break him straight off when he served first, that would have changed the match. He was groggy. Then he won that game, broke me... OK.

Cue *********s talking about how arrogant Nadal is since every match depends on him - oh wait, of course they won't do that.

I mean, is this a parody? Every match he loses it's because he's injured, sick, or didn't try hard enough? Heatstroke? Really? Are you kidding me? This guy is a hypochondriac x1000. It's hilarious. Even Nadal fans have to laugh at some of this mess and wonder what's going on in the guy's cabeza. It really shouldn't have taken him an entire year, and 6 matches in specific against Djoker, to realize what he was doing wasn't working.

Mike Sams
12-27-2011, 11:22 PM
Why would he expose his strategy against Djoko in a interview, assuming he had one?

And yes, of course Nadal's body is failing him, the guy played a style that's very hard on the body, on HC most of the time, for 7 seasons running at the very top of the game. This year we've seen Nadal more tired more often, sweating like crazy(though in some instances it was because of the flu) and generally missing another gear to go to. He is also slower on his feet IMO.

That intensity you are talking about needs backing up by his body and again, Nadal is not 19 anymore.

And look, top players don't think about their opponents games, they think about their own games. Nadal is not gonna think "well Djoko returned amazing this year"(even if he says it), he thinks "my serve should have been better to overcome it".

You talk about NOT going to Djoker's BH. Sorry OddJack but that's impossible, that is the standard CC shot for a lefty. It's like if Fed would never go to his opponent's forehand. Nadal's major problem has been staying too far out and hitting short. DEPTH is Nadal's main problem against Djoko because it basically gives Djoker instant control of the point, off both sides. This hitting short thing that I keep talking about and getting criticized for(making excuses and such) is what absolutelly KILLS Nadal in any Djoko matchup these days but not only. It's one thing to give up a short ball when Djoko returns at your feet but when you do so with a normal rally ball you have a problem.

If Nadal wants to win any match against Djoker he needs to focus on getting the ball deep off both sides, fix that mediocre BH, try to serve better(Nadal, not a world class server, served 29% in one set of the IW final - LAWL) and go DTL more. All of these are important but depth is crucial.

I'm guessing Nadal and his Uncle never thought of any of this. :lol:
It's one thing to sit on your chair typing like you know what the hell you're talking about. It's another to step onto the court with Novak Djokovic and try to implement such strategies. Simply put, knowing is one thing but getting out there and executing is a whole other thing altogether.
And by the way, telling Nadal that he has to "serve better" and "fix that mediocre BH" isn't exactly advice he can use. How many times does he and just about every other player in the world have to hear this type of nonsense from non-players who sit on their chairs eating Cheetos as opposed to actually being on the tour and dealing with the grind year after year?

jamesblakefan#1
12-27-2011, 11:23 PM
Nadal was clearly struggling physically in the third set of the Miami final, especially when compared to Djokovic. That was the most striking thing about the match, that Nadal looked less fit than Djokovic. It seemed absurd.

Yeah, but struggling is one thing, but to take that to the extent of being heat stroke? Come on man! Lesbehonest here. If that was the case Nadal would pretty much suffer heat stroke in every hot match, since I'm pretty sure he's played in hotter conditions, at the USO for example in best of 5 over best of 3 in Miami. Nadal got outfitted (if that's the term) by Djoker, and to grasp at straws he pulls heat stroke out of his arse. I almost have no respect for anything Nadal says after this interview. Pretty much every major loss he had this year was because of injury/not trying hard enough, according to him himself.

Mike Sams
12-27-2011, 11:25 PM
Good.

Rafa is transitioning to the point where he can say "I've been too one-dimensional a player".

Vamos !

He's the same player he always was. The only difference is that now it's not the Federer/Nadal show any longer. Younger hungrier guys are stepping up.

tennis_pro
12-27-2011, 11:35 PM
Except that Fed had not managed to beat him... Rafa has beaten Novak... many, many times.

You mean the real h2h stands at 17-0?

DeShaun
12-27-2011, 11:38 PM
One problem I have noticed with his game lies in its three-pronged approach. So, say that he has three weapons with which to hurt you. Firstly, he creates and sustains significant pressure with just his intensity levels alone. Secondly, his game owes a major debt to his defensive skills. Lastly, his game off the ground aims often, it seems, merely to confound with extreme lefty spin forehands. The problem concerns only his intensity levels and defensive skills: each and the other is independently subservient to his overall fitness; neither weapon is particularly effective unless he is physically humming along at towering work rates. (pardon the expression) Which can leave him only with his forehand to inflict hurt with, and that alone seems inadequate.

namelessone
12-28-2011, 12:20 AM
I'm guessing Nadal and his Uncle never thought of any of this. :lol:
It's one thing to sit on your chair typing like you know what the hell you're talking about. It's another to step onto the court with Novak Djokovic and try to implement such strategies. Simply put, knowing is one thing but getting out there and executing is a whole other thing altogether.
And by the way, telling Nadal that he has to "serve better" and "fix that mediocre BH" isn't exactly advice he can use. How many times does he and just about every other player in the world have to hear this type of nonsense from non-players who sit on their chairs eating Cheetos as opposed to actually being on the tour and dealing with the grind year after year?

Judging by the way Nadal has played in the last year I would guess not.

Those things I wrote up there affect Nadal massively when facing Djokovic but it's also becoming a problem against other guys on the tour. Behind the whole invincible aura thing(or whatever you wanna call it) of the past stood some solid tennis, which is what Nadal used to do.

Serving better and hitting the BH is not something that is impossible to do. These are not just my words, I have heard guys like Wilander say the same things. No one expects a sampras serve or a murray BH but struggling to hold serve and having trouble getting the ball past the service line is not something a champion like Nadal should be having problems with. Not constantly at least.

People here like to talk about finals, titles and bla bla but for me the most important is the level of play. Nadal's best match this year was one that he actually LOST - the Miami final and the good matches I can count maybe on one hand. Considering Nadal played around 80 matches in 2011 that's cause for concern.

jamesblakefan#1
12-28-2011, 12:26 AM
Nadal only has an invincible aura on clay. On HC and on grass guys with the proper weapons always go into a match thinking they can win, hence his relative VINCIBLILTY on those surfaces in comparison to clay. Don't get me wrong, Nadal is a great GC player for this era and a very good HC player, but players know that he is much more beatable on these surfaces than he is on clay.

Biscuitmcgriddleson
12-28-2011, 12:33 AM
He should serve and volley. OMG IF RAFA SERVES AND VOLLEYS!

Well he does have better numbers then Johnnnnny MAC at the net :)

reversef
12-28-2011, 02:21 AM
I think the first set of Miami cast in stone the rest of Nadal's losses to Nole in 2011. I think when Rafa played Nole at Indian Wells, he was surprised and confused by the "new" Djoker. In Miami, Rafa got out to the 1-5 lead in the first set, and basically stopped playing, showing some sort of "I got this set. I don't need to break your serve again" attitude. This seemed to insult Nole, who got that much more focused and determined. The Serbian engine built up steam and momentum, and Nadal was a little lucky to hold to take the first set 6-4. Nole DID have Rafa on a string and toyed with him in the second set. He got Rafa with a couple dropper/lob combos, which has to hurt a mover like Nadal. It seemed to me, Nole figured out what he needed to do mentally and tactically to beat Nadal during the Miami final while establishing himself in Nadal's head. Nole will have to have a significant drop in his level in 2012 for Rafa to overcome the mental hurdles to win against Djoker again, no matter the surface.


This is actually where you can see that he didn't play with the same intensity this year. He became a little more lazy and more easily distracted. But not only against Djokovic. He did that against very different players, from journeymen to Djokovic. This is not surprising, all the players lose some intensity as they get older.

Concerning the rest of your post, I would say that Djokovic has always known how to beat Nadal, the match-up has always been in his favor IMO. But the other factors were in Nadal's favor (intensity, stamina, mental toughness). This year, it was different. Nadal had less of those things, Djokovic had much more.

joeri888
12-28-2011, 02:27 AM
Reminds me of Federer trying to convince himself and others that he could beat Nadal at the French Open in 2007. Even telling the media "I have a plan" and then proceeding to lose anyway. :lol:

He had the believe of a champion, that did the trick in the end imo.

mandy01
12-28-2011, 02:39 AM
Reminds me of Federer trying to convince himself and others that he could beat Nadal at the French Open in 2007. Even telling the media "I have a plan" and then proceeding to lose anyway. :lol:
Uhm...so what else is he supposed to do as the World no. 1, winner of multiple majors etc? Never believe he can defeat a guy whose game he basically knows inside-out after having him played so many times? :rolleyes:

reversef
12-28-2011, 02:42 AM
Do you even know what you're talking about? The match was about as close as it gets. Djokovic had no "hold" over Nadal at that stage. In fact, all 7 of Djokovic wins over Nadal before 2011 were all on hardcourt in 2 straight sets, so Nadal was actually pushing Djokovic more than usual. If you look at their epic matches of the past, Nadal always had the edge in the fitness and the intangibles, and Djokovic only won if he blew Nadal off the court.

The 2011 Miami final saw a qualitative change in the situation, where Djokovic was fitter than Nadal in the crunch time of the match late in the third set. Had Nadal won either the Indian Wells or Miami final, I'm certain 2011 would have turned out a lot differently than it did. Djokovic took big confidence from beating Nadal after going into the trenches with him.

It's true that Djokovic took big confidence from the win in Miami. But it's also Nadal who lost a lot of confidence after his 2 defeats. In Madrid, he seemed completely lost. I don't understand his reaction. IW and Miami were on Hard Court, Djokovic's wins were quite logical. But Rafa didn't see it this way: he completely lost confidence, even on clay, and played an awful match in Madrid. After that, you know that he's in big trouble...:-?

mandy01
12-28-2011, 02:51 AM
Even I don't understand how Nadal lost confidence after two basically very close matches against Djokovic on a Hard Court when Djokovic himself was supremely confident. But it was there in their matches. You could see Djokovic believed more. Let's see how next year pans out. Still early to judge the future of their rivalry.

Russeljones
12-28-2011, 02:58 AM
Really interesting take on things from Nadal. He is smarter than he looks.

Big_Dangerous
12-28-2011, 03:18 AM
He should serve and volley. OMG IF RAFA SERVES AND VOLLEYS!

His serve isn't good enough for that.

tennis_pro
12-28-2011, 03:40 AM
His serve isn't good enough for that.

his volleys arent good enough either

unless we're talking about easy putaways nadal is so famous for

rafan
12-28-2011, 07:25 AM
If only Rafa would improve his serve. It often drives me crazy to see this great guy losing cheap points because his serve has gone. I mean he is a great strong guy with strong shoulders and some of his shots are so accurate they are super human but sometimes with his serve he looks as if he is still playing somewhere in the top hundred!

MichaelNadal
12-28-2011, 12:34 PM
Do you even know what you're talking about? The match was about as close as it gets. Djokovic had no "hold" over Nadal at that stage. In fact, all 7 of Djokovic wins over Nadal before 2011 were all on hardcourt in 2 straight sets, so Nadal was actually pushing Djokovic more than usual. If you look at their epic matches of the past, Nadal always had the edge in the fitness and the intangibles, and Djokovic only won if he blew Nadal off the court.

The 2011 Miami final saw a qualitative change in the situation, where Djokovic was fitter than Nadal in the crunch time of the match late in the third set. Had Nadal won either the Indian Wells or Miami final, I'm certain 2011 would have turned out a lot differently than it did. Djokovic took big confidence from beating Nadal after going into the trenches with him.

Yep, even Nadal said it himself in the interview. He played IW and Miami way too safe, and it came back to haunt him when clay season rolled around.

Mustard
12-28-2011, 12:42 PM
Yep, even Nadal said it himself in the interview. He played IW and Miami way too safe, and it came back to haunt him when clay season rolled around.

Yes, those matches were vital. Before 2011, you just knew that Djokovic was thinking "How on Earth can I beat this guy Nadal when he is so fit, so determined, so relentless, that he always beats me in these epics?" The Indian Wells and Miami finals, especially Miami, made him realise, "I can dig deep and actually beat Nadal from a set down when I'm under pressure, so why not do this all the time when I play against him?" Likewise, Nadal would have been thinking, "I could always beat him when the going got tough, yet now I can't."

Nathaniel_Near
12-28-2011, 12:52 PM
Q. Explain that.

What can't be is that the tour advances, such as in the level of the players, the physical and mental demands, the aggression with which it's played, that it's better than 10 or 15 years ago... and on top of that you have to play more. Before it was played more on clay and grass and now it's played on hardcourt. Much harder on the body! It's worse! We are in favour of the tour being harder.

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/He/sido/tenista/demasiado/previsible/elpepidep/20111226elpepidep_1/Tes

I see, Rafael, I see. Probably talking about physicality but nonetheless these dubious assertions must certainly be highlighted.

Mike Sams
12-28-2011, 01:25 PM
Yep, even Nadal said it himself in the interview. He played IW and Miami way too safe, and it came back to haunt him when clay season rolled around.

Nadal is a natural pusher though. Ask him to be aggressive and he's uncomfortable. The man's game is built for clay.
It's like asking Chris Byrd to fight like Mike Tyson. How can you really go out of your natural element? You can't really. You just naturally resort to what you do best. Nadal is a pusher by design. His game is to force the error. When he gets threatened or nervous, he then resorts to moonballing.

Mike Sams
12-28-2011, 01:26 PM
Really interesting take on things from Nadal. He is smarter than he looks.

He's just repeating what his Uncle told him years prior. Go and read up on any Toni interview. Nadal's pretty much mimicking Toni throughout. :lol:

CDestroyer
12-28-2011, 01:44 PM
He's just repeating what his Uncle told him years prior. Go and read up on any Toni interview. Nadal's pretty much mimicking Toni throughout. :lol:

Thats hilarious. His interview didn't sound like thoughts out of Nadals mind. He seems much dumber in reality than that.

Mike Sams
12-28-2011, 02:06 PM
Thats hilarious. His interview didn't sound like thoughts out of Nadals mind. He seems much dumber in reality than that.

There was another story in 2008 at the Olympics where Nadal, living in the village there, took all his different coloured clothing, mixing white with red, and dumped them all in the washing machine together. :lol:
See what happens when Uncle Toni isn't around to supervise him both on and off the court?

Mustard
12-28-2011, 02:12 PM
There was another story in 2008 at the Olympics where Nadal, living in the village there, took all his different coloured clothing, mixing white with red, and dumped them all in the washing machine together. :lol:
See what happens when Uncle Toni isn't around to supervise him both on and off the court?

I bet most lads in their early 20s would do exactly the same unless they do their own washing on a regular basis.

kragster
12-28-2011, 02:45 PM
One problem I have noticed with his game lies in its three-pronged approach. So, say that he has three weapons with which to hurt you. Firstly, he creates and sustains significant pressure with just his intensity levels alone. Secondly, his game owes a major debt to his defensive skills. Lastly, his game off the ground aims often, it seems, merely to confound with extreme lefty spin forehands. The problem concerns only his intensity levels and defensive skills: each and the other is independently subservient to his overall fitness; neither weapon is particularly effective unless he is physically humming along at towering work rates. (pardon the expression) Which can leave him only with his forehand to inflict hurt with, and that alone seems inadequate.

This post is bang on the money. Nadal's greatest asset by far is his intensity because everything else is dependent on it. When you're playing a world class player like Djokovic or Federer, being even 5% off in intensity can mean running down 1 less ball in every 20 ball rally, serving 5 mph slower etc, ultimately leading to defeat.

THAT BEING SAID, I think it is also points out that the fact that in the past Rafa has substituted good strategy and game planning with intensity and gotten away. Rafa is able to redline his game much more often than any opponent which is a great ability to have and the reason he's a champion. But after a certain amount of mileage even the best lose intensity. Rafa does well vs Federer because outside of intensity, he brings a very definite game plan (high balls to BH). With Djoker, I think that Rafa, in the past, won a lot of matches by being able to be more intense than Djoker. This was also because Djoker would have a lot of mental/physical lapses. But it was inevitable that the intensity would some day drop. Perhaps it will return but I think Rafa needs more in his arsenal than just intensity if he wants to consistently beat Djokovic. He needs a definite game plan. Baseline to baseline trading of rallies with pace, I think NO ONE is beating Djokovic. But if you mix up junkballs and drop shots, Djoker is much less comfortable. That's why Murray usually always gives Djoker a hard time, he keeps changing the pace.

Alternatively, if Nadal wants to rely on intensity/physicality to win finals, he needs to conserve energy during early rounds. Find a way to win easy vs the early round folks. Then he might have enough in the tank to bring all the physical/mental intensity for the finals/semis vs the Fed/Djoker/Murrays of the world.

SLD76
12-28-2011, 03:22 PM
This post is bang on the money. Nadal's greatest asset by far is his intensity because everything else is dependent on it. When you're playing a world class player like Djokovic or Federer, being even 5% off in intensity can mean running down 1 less ball in every 20 ball rally, serving 5 mph slower etc, ultimately leading to defeat.

THAT BEING SAID, I think it is also points out that the fact that in the past Rafa has substituted good strategy and game planning with intensity and gotten away. Rafa is able to redline his game much more often than any opponent which is a great ability to have and the reason he's a champion. But after a certain amount of mileage even the best lose intensity. Rafa does well vs Federer because outside of intensity, he brings a very definite game plan (high balls to BH). With Djoker, I think that Rafa, in the past, won a lot of matches by being able to be more intense than Djoker. This was also because Djoker would have a lot of mental/physical lapses. But it was inevitable that the intensity would some day drop. Perhaps it will return but I think Rafa needs more in his arsenal than just intensity if he wants to consistently beat Djokovic. He needs a definite game plan. Baseline to baseline trading of rallies with pace, I think NO ONE is beating Djokovic. But if you mix up junkballs and drop shots, Djoker is much less comfortable. That's why Murray usually always gives Djoker a hard time, he keeps changing the pace.

Alternatively, if Nadal wants to rely on intensity/physicality to win finals, he needs to conserve energy during early rounds. Find a way to win easy vs the early round folks. Then he might have enough in the tank to bring all the physical/mental intensity for the finals/semis vs the Fed/Djoker/Murrays of the world.


All this reminds me of the Sampras book when he talked about Hewitt. He said something to the effect that once Hewitt lost some of his intensity, he became diminished.

celoft
12-28-2011, 03:29 PM
Nads saying he's been too predictable a player this year is kinda p00ping on Nole's season, no? Nads a sore loser for sure.

kiki
12-28-2011, 03:32 PM
Uhm...so what else is he supposed to do as the World no. 1, winner of multiple majors etc? Never believe he can defeat a guy whose game he basically knows inside-out after having him played so many times? :rolleyes:

Sad thing is that, yes, Nadal is one of the most predictable players ever, may be the most...and still, Federer hasn´t found a way to beat him...which makes so predictable a Nadal vs Federer match result.

celoft
12-28-2011, 03:36 PM
Sad thing is that, yes, Nadal is one of the most predictable players ever, may be the most...and still, Federer hasn´t found a way to beat him...which makes so predictable a Nadal vs Federer match result.

As predictable as the Djokovic vs Nadal match results these days.

nadalwon2012
12-28-2011, 03:46 PM
Nadal has hit the nail on the head. Imagine if Nadal mixed things up and started playing more drop-shots, lobs, varied speeds and bluff net charges. This kind of change is exactly what Nadal needs. Great to hear Nadal indicate this.

nadalwon2012
12-28-2011, 03:47 PM
As predictable as the Djokovic vs Nadal match results these days.

Djokovic will never lead Nadal head2head.

kiki
12-28-2011, 03:49 PM
As predictable as the Djokovic vs Nadal match results these days.

True.Federer will probably never beat Nadal in a major anymore...but what will happen between Djokovic and Nadal?

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 03:54 PM
Nadal has hit the nail on the head. Imagine if Nadal mixed things up and started playing more drop-shots, lobs, varied speeds and bluff net charges. This kind of change is exactly what Nadal needs. Great to hear Nadal indicate this.


It's one thing to talk about what he needs to change than it is to actually do it. Nadal has a habit of pointing out that he needs to improve but never actually doing it when he plays his matches. I don't expect this to change any time soon as we will all see at the AO in a few weeks. He will still be playing meek,defensive,no serve,terrified tennis you just wait and see.

TennisFan3
12-28-2011, 06:23 PM
It's one thing to talk about what he needs to change than it is to actually do it. Nadal has a habit of pointing out that he needs to improve but never actually doing it when he plays his matches.

This is why it's useless to read Nadal's comments lately. It's all about execution IMO, which has been lacking from Nadal on court against the very best.

I mean everyone and their brother knows that Nadal needs to step inside the court and hit the ball on the rise. For most of the year, his backhand has been lame, he's been hurt while changing direction (his standard backhand DTL) because he cannot place the ball deep. He has shown total inability to finish points when he's ahead on the rally or gets a short ball. Not to mention the big serve (which used to save his a** in late 2010) is AWOL. The result is that he needs to play OUT OF HIS MIND to even come close to getting a set against Djoko.

Most analyst/commentators were saying this as early as IW/Miami when he lost to Djokovic. The straight set defeats at clay further emphasized this. I'm pretty sure his coach Toni also told him the same thing, as well as Moya who he trains with often. Obviously no one advised him to moonball 50 feet behind the baseline, and get bageled by Fed, Murray and straight setted by journeymen.

It's not rocket science. It's pretty clear what Nadal needs to do on court, but I'm not sure whether he's willing (or even capable) of doing so at this point in his career.
I also find it funny how people expect something magical to happen just because it's 2012 instead of 2011.

cc0509
12-28-2011, 06:27 PM
This is why it's useless to read Nadal's comments lately. It's all about execution IMO, which has been lacking from Nadal on court against the very best.

I mean everyone and their brother knows that Nadal needs to step inside the court and hit the ball on the rise. For most of the year, his backhand has been lame, he's been hurt while changing direction (his standard backhand DTL) because he cannot place the ball deep. He has shown total inability to finish points when he's ahead on the rally or gets a short ball. Not to mention the big serve (which used to save his a** in late 2010) is AWOL. The result is that he needs to play OUT OF HIS MIND to even come close to getting a set against Djoko.

Most analyst/commentators were saying this as early as IW/Miami when he lost to Djokovic. The straight set defeats at clay further emphasized this. I'm pretty sure his coach Toni also told him the same thing, as well as Moya who he trains with often. Obviously no one advised him to moonball 50 feet behind the baseline, and get bageled by Fed, Murray and straight setted by journeymen.

It's not rocket science. It's pretty clear what Nadal needs to do on court, but I'm not sure whether he's willing (or even capable) of doing so at this point in his career.
I also find it funny how people expect something magical to happen just because it's 2012 instead of 2011.


Especially when Nadal himself has stated that he may not be able to make anything happen in January but it is important to do so in April. That does not inspire tons of confidence in my opinion unless he is just BS'ing and using reverse psychology.

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 06:29 PM
This is why it's useless to read Nadal's comments lately. It's all about execution IMO, which has been lacking from Nadal on court against the very best.

I mean everyone and their brother knows that Nadal needs to step inside the court and hit the ball on the rise. For most of the year, his backhand has been lame, he's been hurt while changing direction (his standard backhand DTL) because he cannot place the ball deep. He has shown total inability to finish points when he's ahead on the rally or gets a short ball. Not to mention the big serve (which used to save his a** in late 2010) is AWOL. The result is that he needs to play OUT OF HIS MIND to even come close to getting a set against Djoko.

Most analyst/commentators were saying this as early as IW/Miami when he lost to Djokovic. The straight set defeats at clay further emphasized this. I'm pretty sure his coach Toni also told him the same thing, as well as Moya who he trains with often. Obviously no one advised him to moonball 50 feet behind the baseline, and get bageled by Fed, Murray and straight setted by journeymen.

It's not rocket science. It's pretty clear what Nadal needs to do on court, but I'm not sure whether he's willing (or even capable) of doing so at this point in his career.
I also find it funny how people expect something magical to happen just because it's 2012 instead of 2011.


Oh,I know. It's ridiculous to think anything is going to change with this guy in only one month when he couldn't do anything different for nearly an entire year. Nothing is going to change at all. It's going to be the same defensive garbage tennis we have seen from him all year long. Not to mention the injuries are already starting and the new season hasn't even started yet. Doesn't stop him from chasing the money playing a useless exo in Abu Dhabi,though.

bullfan
12-28-2011, 06:31 PM
Djokovic will never lead Nadal head2head.

Never say never. I hope Nadal has been making fixes to his game.

bullfan
12-28-2011, 06:32 PM
Especially when Nadal himself has stated that he may not be able to make anything happen in January but it is important to do so in April. That does not inspire tons of confidence in my opinion unless he is just BS'ing and using reverse psychology.

Actually, it makes me wonder if he wants to work on his game, and then premiere it in April. It wouldn't give folks as long to work on adapting to it. Who knows, we'll find out in the next year.

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 06:35 PM
Actually, it makes me wonder if he wants to work on his game, and then premiere it in April.


Don't hold your breath waiting for him to change anything. He hasn't changed jack in nearly an entire year. He's incapable of change. He just cannot do it.

Crisstti
12-28-2011, 06:36 PM
Yes interesting interview, and I agree "lack of intensity" and " that extra bit" are vague. He does not talk strategy at all. That Djoker returned his serves consistently deep. That Djoker burned him with BH winners whole year and that he kept going there anyways.

He says the intensity is not there, then what happened to it? If he can be intense in USO 3rd set then why cant he keep it up? He talks about his knee problem and that " the hamstring was tired". I believe it's his body that failing him. I can see a hot Tomic or Raonic, if he pulls them, giving him real trouble in AO.

He says in the interview that he needs that level of intensity regularly, so that it isn't really doing something extraordinary.[/quote]

And look, top players don't think about their opponents games, they think about their own games. Nadal is not gonna think "well Djoko returned amazing this year"(even if he says it), he thinks "my serve should have been better to overcome it".

Of course, and that is the way it should be.

[QUOTE=namelessone;6194445]You talk about NOT going to Djoker's BH. Sorry OddJack but that's impossible, that is the standard CC shot for a lefty. It's like if Fed would never go to his opponent's forehand. Nadal's major problem has been staying too far out and hitting short. DEPTH is Nadal's main problem against Djoko because it basically gives Djoker instant control of the point, off both sides. This hitting short thing that I keep talking about and getting criticized for(making excuses and such) is what absolutelly KILLS Nadal in any Djoko matchup these days but not only. It's one thing to give up a short ball when Djoko returns at your feet but when you do so with a normal rally ball you have a problem.

If Nadal wants to win any match against Djoker he needs to focus on getting the ball deep off both sides, fix that mediocre BH, try to serve better(Nadal, not a world class server, served 29% in one set of the IW final - LAWL) and go DTL more. All of these are important but depth is crucial.

Couldn't agree more with you.

I'm guessing Nadal and his Uncle never thought of any of this. :lol:
It's one thing to sit on your chair typing like you know what the hell you're talking about. It's another to step onto the court with Novak Djokovic and try to implement such strategies. Simply put, knowing is one thing but getting out there and executing is a whole other thing altogether.
And by the way, telling Nadal that he has to "serve better" and "fix that mediocre BH" isn't exactly advice he can use. How many times does he and just about every other player in the world have to hear this type of nonsense from non-players who sit on their chairs eating Cheetos as opposed to actually being on the tour and dealing with the grind year after year?

You do realize it's a message board, right?. Do you think only pros should be allowed to post?.

It doesn't matter anyway if it isn't advice Nadal can use. He isn't reading this.

Yeah, but struggling is one thing, but to take that to the extent of being heat stroke? Come on man! Lesbehonest here. If that was the case Nadal would pretty much suffer heat stroke in every hot match, since I'm pretty sure he's played in hotter conditions, at the USO for example in best of 5 over best of 3 in Miami. Nadal got outfitted (if that's the term) by Djoker, and to grasp at straws he pulls heat stroke out of his arse. I almost have no respect for anything Nadal says after this interview. Pretty much every major loss he had this year was because of injury/not trying hard enough, according to him himself.

Where did you buy your crystal ball?.

There's nothing unbelievable about having a heat stroke. Probably happens often.

Crisstti
12-28-2011, 06:37 PM
Even I don't understand how Nadal lost confidence after two basically very close matches against Djokovic on a Hard Court when Djokovic himself was supremely confident. But it was there in their matches. You could see Djokovic believed more. Let's see how next year pans out. Still early to judge the future of their rivalry.

He's himself said that the defeats that affected him most were those two close ones, because he felt eh should have won.

Nadal is a natural pusher though. Ask him to be aggressive and he's uncomfortable. The man's game is built for clay.
It's like asking Chris Byrd to fight like Mike Tyson. How can you really go out of your natural element? You can't really. You just naturally resort to what you do best. Nadal is a pusher by design. His game is to force the error. When he gets threatened or nervous, he then resorts to moonballing.

In part agree, but think about the DC match against del Potro. He was threatened, nervous (getting blown off the court, really), and became more aggressive instead of doing what you said.

Thats hilarious. His interview didn't sound like thoughts out of Nadals mind. He seems much dumber in reality than that.

I know it's hard to understand for you and others here, but there are other languages other than English, and people may well sound different in their native language.

Of course, Rafa doesn't sound stupid in English either.

This post is bang on the money. Nadal's greatest asset by far is his intensity because everything else is dependent on it. When you're playing a world class player like Djokovic or Federer, being even 5% off in intensity can mean running down 1 less ball in every 20 ball rally, serving 5 mph slower etc, ultimately leading to defeat.

He pretty much says that in the interview.

[QUOTE=kragster;6195510]THAT BEING SAID, I think it is also points out that the fact that in the past Rafa has substituted good strategy and game planning with intensity and gotten away. Rafa is able to redline his game much more often than any opponent which is a great ability to have and the reason he's a champion. But after a certain amount of mileage even the best lose intensity. Rafa does well vs Federer because outside of intensity, he brings a very definite game plan (high balls to BH). With Djoker, I think that Rafa, in the past, won a lot of matches by being able to be more intense than Djoker. This was also because Djoker would have a lot of mental/physical lapses. But it was inevitable that the intensity would some day drop. Perhaps it will return but I think Rafa needs more in his arsenal than just intensity if he wants to consistently beat Djokovic. He needs a definite game plan. Baseline to baseline trading of rallies with pace, I think NO ONE is beating Djokovic. But if you mix up junkballs and drop shots, Djoker is much less comfortable. That's why Murray usually always gives Djoker a hard time, he keeps changing the pace.

Alternatively, if Nadal wants to rely on intensity/physicality to win finals, he needs to conserve energy during early rounds. Find a way to win easy vs the early round folks. Then he might have enough in the tank to bring all the physical/mental intensity for the finals/semis vs the Fed/Djoker/Murrays of the world.

Makes me think of what Moyá says in Rafa's biography, that he (Moyá) thinks Rafa should play more aggressive in the early rounds.

In the interview though, Rafa says that he thinks he needs to have that intensity in his regular play.

cc0509
12-28-2011, 06:37 PM
Djokovic will never lead Nadal head2head.

That is only because Nadal may quit before that happens! :mrgreen:

cc0509
12-28-2011, 06:39 PM
Don't hold your breath waiting for him to change anything. He hasn't changed jack in nearly an entire year. He's incapable of change. He just cannot do it.

He has worked hard before to make changes, why do you think he can't do so now? You think his desire to do so has evaporated and he is mentally not up to the challenge?

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 06:41 PM
That is only because Nadal may quit before that happens! :mrgreen:


At least he would be spared anymore beat downs by ****. Besides,I think quittin' time is coming sooner than people expect for Nadal.

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 06:42 PM
He has worked hard before to make changes, why do you think he can't do so now? You think his desire to do so has evaporated and he is mentally not up to the challenge?


Yes. That and he has deteriorated physically so badly. He is already injured again and the season has not even started yet.

TennisFan3
12-28-2011, 06:44 PM
Especially when Nadal himself has stated that he may not be able to make anything happen in January but it is important to do so in April. That does not inspire tons of confidence in my opinion unless he is just BS'ing and using reverse psychology.

Yep. Fortunately Nadal is SMARTER than some of his more rabid fans on this blog. Nadal knows (as well as anyone) that it will take some time for him to make the required adjustments, assuming they are even possible. There will be no fundamental change in the few weeks between the fiasco at WTF and the AO, just because it's a different year. That's just silly.

Nadal is a big confidence player. More so than guys like Fed, Djoko, Murray, DP etc.
Aggression doesn't come naturally to Nadal. He only dictates play when he's on one of his runs and has a string of victories and solid momentum behind him. That is why his career has been so uneven.

In beating Nadal at IW/Miami 2011 and especially at clay, Djokovic stripped off Nadal's confidence completely. This is why Nadal has played way worse in the later part of the year than he did in the beginning.

Nadal will need some good victories behind him to work his way back to form during the summer of 2012 and then try win tournaments. If he doesn't have a good first few months, 2012 could end up being worse than 2011...

cc0509
12-28-2011, 06:45 PM
Yes. That and he has deteriorated physically so badly. He is already injured again and the season has not even started yet.

But he has always been nursing some sort of injury throughout his career. All the top guys have some kind of issue or injury at most times.

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 06:48 PM
But he has always been nursing some sort of injury throughout his career. All the top guys have some kind of issue or injury at most times.


True,but he just had PRP done again on his knees which had him limping around,and he has a shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing up until just a few days ago or so. He also hasn't been able to practice his serve at all,and we all know his serve needs the practice badly. He is already starting off the new season on the wrong foot. That does not bode well for 2012,imo.

cc0509
12-28-2011, 06:54 PM
True,but he just had PRP done again on his knees which had him limping around,and he has a shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing up until just a few days ago or so. He also hasn't been able to practice his serve at all,and we all know his serve needs the practice badly. He is already starting off the new season on the wrong foot. That does not bode well for 2012,imo.

Oh boy, I predict many excuses in the future from the *******s based on that info! :lol:

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 07:15 PM
Oh boy, I predict many excuses in the future from the *******s based on that info! :lol:



I'm not making excuses for him. I am just stating the facts. Injures have prevented him from practicing in the offseason which is going to affect his already struggling game when the season starts back up. He already seems incapable of changing anything as it is,and not at least being able to practice will hurt him in the long run.

nikdom
12-28-2011, 07:15 PM
Oh boy, I predict many excuses in the future from the *******s based on that info! :lol:

Fresh new injuries! Should last until the FO for excuse making.

cc0509
12-28-2011, 07:19 PM
Fresh new injuries! Should last until the FO for excuse making.

No doubt! :lol::D

cc0509
12-28-2011, 07:22 PM
I'm not making excuses for him. I am just stating the facts. Injures have prevented him from practicing in the offseason which is going to affect his already struggling game when the season starts back up. He already seems incapable of changing anything as it is,and not at least being able to practice will hurt him in the long run.

I am not referring to you, I am referring to some of the more unreasonable Nadal fans who will be making excuses until the cows come home based on that injury report you just gave!

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 07:26 PM
I am not referring to you, I am referring to some of the more unreasonable Nadal fans who will be making excuses until the cows come home based on that injury report you just gave!


Oh,ok. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. ***** like Vernonbc,MariaRafael,Nadalwon2012,and Crisstti are going to descend upon that information like vultures. :shock: Well,maybe not Vernonbc or MariaRafael since I have made it onto their ignore lists. The truth hurts some of these folks too much I guess. :lol:

niff
12-28-2011, 07:31 PM
Oh,ok. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. ***** like Vernonbc,MariaRafael,Nadalwon2012,and Crisstti are going to descend upon that information like vultures. :shock: Well,maybe not Vernonbc or MariaRafael since I have made it onto their ignore lists. The truth hurts some of these folks too much I guess. :lol:
You mean foe list :cry:

Biscuitmcgriddleson
12-28-2011, 07:31 PM
Nadal has hit the nail on the head. Imagine if Nadal mixed things up and started playing more drop-shots, lobs, varied speeds and bluff net charges. This kind of change is exactly what Nadal needs. Great to hear Nadal indicate this.

So out of curiosity, would a half net charge be running to the baseline? He stands pretty far behind that line and a fake net charge wouldn't be that easy to accomplish

cc0509
12-28-2011, 07:34 PM
Oh,ok. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. ***** like Vernonbc,MariaRafael,Nadalwon2012,and Crisstti are going to descend upon that information like vultures. :shock: Well,maybe not Vernonbc or MariaRafael since I have made it onto their ignore lists. The truth hurts some of these folks too much I guess. :lol:

Or how about CMM? Every time somebody even mentions a potential Nadal injury on the Nadal News thread, she goes ballistic and tells them they should not talk about injuries on "here." As if real tennis fans don't have other sources of info with the internet these days and would not be made aware of this information. You could not write this kind of comedy even on a sitcom! :lol:

Clarky21
12-28-2011, 07:55 PM
Or how about CMM? Every time somebody even mentions a potential Nadal injury on the Nadal News thread, she goes ballistic and tells them they should not talk about injuries on "here." As if real tennis fans don't have other sources of info with the internet these days and would not be made aware of this information. You could not write this kind of comedy even on a sitcom! :lol:


Lord,how could I have forgotten her? She probably has me on her ignore list as well. :lol:

ViscaB
12-28-2011, 08:43 PM
Interesting read. I like his self-criticism and the fact that he speaks his mind and that he is not a puppet of the ATP like most of his colleagues.

aldeayeah
12-29-2011, 03:03 AM
It's good that he shows some genuine self-criticism that doesn't sound like an excuse.