Nadal trying to sprint through a marathon?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by exruda, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    Anyone can take over all other participants of a marathon by sprinting at the start line, but is sure not to achieve a great result at the finish line by doing so.

    Wonder if anyone else has the impression that Nadal is trying to sprint on his career, when maybe he should drop a little pace?

    First his foot injury, now the shoulder. Are those signs he is getting tired with playing so intensively in every match?

    PS. I'm not a Nadal hater, just curious of your opinions.
     
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  2. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    With elite marathon runners averaging a 5 minute mile for the entire 26 miles, that is a sprint for the average joe so maybe Nadal just wants to be an elite marathoner before he's run a long distance race.
     
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  3. snark

    snark Rookie

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    Yeah, few people can even run a mile at that pace.
     
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  4. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    Does not contradict my analogy, though, because if they were running the whole distance like a sprint it would take them an hour :)
     
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  5. Simon Cowell

    Simon Cowell Rookie

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    No one is even close to being as fit as Nadal on tour. He's the kinda guy who will sprint to the service line after being out there for 5 hours.
     
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  6. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    OK, but that's just my point -- he can do it for one match, one tournament, one season, but how much longer?
     
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  7. BabolatFan

    BabolatFan Semi-Pro

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    Yeah exactly. Over time, it will backfire on this guy down the road. I know he's as fit as a race horse now but he's doing like 200m dashes and his style will tax him big-time.
     
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  8. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Uh, well, not exactly true, even with today's obesity epidemic, plenty of guys can run sub 5 minutes for one mile. I ran 4:42 at The Arlington mile (a slight downhill run) when I was 42. I ran much faster in high school and got my ass handed to me at districts by several guys who were 10-12 seconds faster and they got their asses handed to them at States. Todays best high schoolers run sub FOUR MINUTE miles or very close to that mark. Didn't Webb run something like 3:57 as a high school senior? (I'm too lazy to check, so just relying on memory)

    Anyway, the jury is out whether the vigorous game Nadal plays is something an athlete can do for 10-12 years without breaking down. I'm guessing he can't and shouldn't. He's a great competitor though, and pretty smart, so I'm sure he will start playing more economical tennis.

    -Robert
     
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  9. D-Bomb

    D-Bomb Rookie

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    I've been thinking the same thing about Nadal. It doesn't seem like the way he plays now is really gonna hold up for another 10 years. He'd have to adopt a different playing style, which would probably mean losing more matches, given that stamina and quickness are some of his biggest assets.
     
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  10. dh003i

    dh003i Legend

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    Summary: Nadal cannot play this way very long. He's already had an inordinate amount of injuries. His tennis-style makes him injury prone.

    However, if he switches to another style, he won't be as good. He isn't a good player because of his mastery of the subtleties of the game. He's a good player because of his stellar defensive game, which is based on enormous speed and running like crazy. If he stops doing that, or when he loses that, his quality of play will decline substantially.
     
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  11. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    Well, I think that he showed us all playing on grass this week that he has something more to his game than just running down everything which comes to his side of the net on clay, or at least he has great potential in this matter, too.
    What I was thinking is that perhaps he should concentrate now on improving on that, rather than carry on with all the sprint effort of the defensive game. But I guess knows it himself by now :)
     
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  12. unjugon

    unjugon Rookie

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    The same was said about Hewitt. "Once he loses the edge on his speed....once he loses the fire and desire...."

    Watch now, all that is minimized now, and he is still winning!
     
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  13. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    Since today :)

    but had quite a significan break, didn't he?
    And his game isn't nearly as physical as Nadal's
     
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  14. HollerOne5

    HollerOne5 Semi-Pro

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    You have to realize, even though he wont admit it, that dh003i is a Nadal hater, and unable to give valuable, objective viewpoints, rather than subjective ones (in which he intensely likes to think of his beloved Federer when talking about Nadal).

    The fact is, it is impossible to know if Nadal could be great on grass by adapting and changing his game. He is only 20, and he has plenty of time to change his game if he wants. He already has a mental edge over most of the competition, so I don't think adding new elements of his game would hurt his results in the long-run. Let's just wait and see what happens at Wimbledon before we speculate.
     
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  15. unjugon

    unjugon Rookie

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    On the contrary, you could say that Hewitt´s game is more physical, since he doesn´t have the arms Nadal has. And they both run as much during a match.
     
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  16. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    Well, I do not believe the size of the biceps tells us all about the power that can be generated with it.
     
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  17. textbook strokes

    textbook strokes Semi-Pro

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    I know they are not the same, but Agassi`s game is not effortless neither, and he did well for many years. He never won too many easy points with serve, and liked long rallies himself.
     
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  18. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Semi-Pro

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    Seriously...if Nadal manages to keep up his current playing pace by 25 I would annoint him as the greatest athlete ever to grace a tennis court.
     
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  19. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    You can't even compare Nadal to Hewitt. The only similarities are that they are fast and they are fighters. Hewitt's speed and fighting spirit has somewhat declined over the years, but his game still works because it's not about hitting the ball hard. Hewitt's shots are effortless. Nadal's shots take all the strength he has. And Hewitt has declined quite a bit this year, so imagine how much Nadal will decline as he gets older. If he can manage to stay at the top for the next 10 years, he'll be considered one of the greats. I'll be surprised if he does, but I know not to underestimate him.
     
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  20. equinox

    equinox Hall of Fame

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    Nadal will probably retire by age 25-26.
     
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  21. Midlife crisis

    Midlife crisis Hall of Fame

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    According to this site:

    http://www.runnersweb.com/running/rw_news_frameset.html?http://www.runnersweb.com/running/vo2.shtml

    A person running a single mile in five minutes would require a VO2 max of 59.7 ml/min/kg, something maybe one in a couple of hundred thousand people, or less, can do. A average mid-20 year male old has a VO2 of around 40, so this is 50% above average, or clearly in the "exceptionally fit" category
     
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  22. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    Man it's comments like this that make this board feel like a school yard of 6 year olds.
    I agree with dh003i, if he switches styles he'll probably last longer on the tour but won't win as much. I guess he has to weigh up what's most important to him. Most players never even win 2 grand slams, and he's only 20, so I doubt he'll have too many regrets so far.
    As for the guy that said "No one is even close to being as fit as Nadal on tour", he played only 7 sets on grass after RG and his body started giving out. Federer played another 14 sets on grass after RG which his body coped with well enough to see him win the title, injury free, fit for Wimbledon.
     
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  23. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I agree with everything you've said, superman. The same argument you've put there goes for Agassi too (given someone else mentioned him), in fact even moreso! His swings are compact, he uses the opponent's power brilliantly, and he has some bigger weapons than hewitt when required too. Both Agassi and Hewitt play excellently economical tennis, exactly the opposite of how Nadal currently plays.

    So true! It's funny how people think of 'fitness' and determine it by only 1 or 2 criteria, often the ones closest to their heart. Some hear fitness and think "strength", some think "size", some think "speed", some think 'endurance', few think 'all of those plus more plus injury free'!.

    Many, when it comes to Nadal, seem to say that he can run forever, thump the ball forever, and note that he has biceps the size of tree trunks. But fitness includes being "ready to compete", managing what you do and how you do it so that you can keep doing it! There's actually a solid 7 to 10 recognised elements of fitness, but I'll save that discussion for another thread ;).

    As for this thread as a whole - I've been waiting for someone to start for some time, I've avoided it for fear of it being an F v. N thread, which to some degree it already has become. I'm on the side of those that have said Nadal will have to change his game to increase the longevity, but I equally hope that he can change his game and learn how to do other things along the way... he is an incredible shotmaker even on non-powerful shots, and who knows what we can look forward too!

    The teenage Agassi played a somewhat different style of tennis to the late 20's / early 30's Agassi, and yet he was significantly successful with both styles. Maybe Nadal can evolve similarly.... The teenage / early 20s Philippoussis, on the other hand, played a massively physical game to great effect (I'll never forget the match where he beat Sampras at the AO in straight sets in '96 - thumped him clean out of the country :)), but equally he has been dogged by injury throughout his career. I hope the same fate does not happen to Nadal....
     
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  24. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    My thoughts exactly!

    nah, I think there is only one mention of Fed here :)

    It would be a shame if Nadal had to finish his career early due to injuries, but imo he's going straight in that direction now, unfortunately.
     
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  25. armand

    armand Banned

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    Like all other players, Nadal will begin to show signs of slowing down in a couple of years, I think. And when that happens, a huge advantage of his will be gone. Yes if he slows down a bit now and doesn't treat every singular point like it's his last, he can save himself a bit. But I think he will still slow down in 3 yrs or so.

    It'll be very interesting to see how things develop. Hope he doesn't fade.
     
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  26. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I'd like to run a 5 minute mile for just 1 mile.
     
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  27. Amone

    Amone Hall of Fame

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    Consider, though, that every time you hit the ball, you have a chance of getting an injury, and every time you don't GET injured, the percentages stack. Nadal's game, at least on hard and clay courts, is to hit the ball as many times as needed, or even more if it could serve to give him an advantages. He hits the ball more than most of the people on tour, so the percentages, they do stack up against him. So maybe it really has nothing to do with fitness, ne? But that's just a theory.
     
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  28. arnz

    arnz Professional

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    A whole lot of people cannot run a mile at any pace (running being defined as both feet off the ground for some period during the stride, as opposed to walking, of course).

    Be happy you can, even at a slow pace.
     
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  29. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Hmm, I like your thinking - it's an interesting twist, but....

    1. The percentages stack up more against him imho, as he puts so much effort into shots that are just rally balls, so his chance of getting injured on any particular shot is above average simply due to the extra effort, and

    2. Some of the time he chooses to 'hit the ball more than most people on tour" is to wear the opposition down. He knows that he is "endurance fit" enough to not have to risk going for unnecessary winners, and he is "fast" enough to get to extra balls to reduce the opponents chances of hitting winners. Both of these facts tie this "hitting the ball more than most" intrinsically back to fitness.

    That's if I've understood your thinking correctly, anyways :)
     
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  30. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

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    Assuming that Rafael stays relatively injury free, to change his style of play, he will have to hire an other or additional coach besides his uncle Tony. Family is very, very important to Nadal and is one source of his mental strength. But, is his uncle the best choice to teach him to play on other surfaces besides clay? He can keep uncle Tony on board, as he should. He will need another coach to help him play smarter on faster surfaces. Without the addition of another coach, watching Nadal on a tennis court will indeed just be a memory in ten years.
     
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  31. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    The best I've done was 6:15. Not a bad mile in my book, but I'd like to break the 6 minute mark one day.
     
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  32. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

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    my best is 6:24 for the mile, and 13:20 for 2 miles.
     
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  33. tennis_nerd22

    tennis_nerd22 Hall of Fame

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    i dont think nadal is "sprinting at the beginning of the marathon" rather that he just got a major head start, and has to use it
     
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  34. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Where did you get the "one in a couple of hundred thousand people" comment? Averages for 20-29 year olds were noted on that site and a much broader range was quoted. Also, it gave me 59.4! Maybe my typing economy is better? :) Also, a high VO2max is no guarantee of a fast time if your economy is lousy, and vice-versa. I believe Frank Shorter tested in the high 60's once, though he told me in an email that he had tested much higher subsequently. (We were having a semantic war on one of the running forums and I just sent him an email and he responded!) Oh, and doesn't the Jack Daniels protocol give a pretty high number for VO2max? It's a '70's calculation. Don't know how accurate it still is. Also, VO2max is weight sensitive and since so many kids are obese, their VO2max is going to be lower if those stats are from today's kids. (The data may be 30 years old, plus I think that site is less of a science site and more of a rough guesstimate site for runners and triathletes. Ken Parker is a great guy, but no scientist. He's just cut and pasted some old info into a fun database. IMHO, and no knock on Ken.)

    Maybe it's because I "run" with a different crowd (runners, cyclists and triathletes) that I think any young male should be able to run a 5 minute mile. I've been beaten so many times it seems that EVERY BLOODY RUNNER is faster than me. :) I do know the Marines had very slow time requirements for their Combat Readiness Test. I think it was about 30 minutes for 3 miles run in combat boots, pack, and rifle.

    For the record, I do my relatively easy 3 mile runs, on a hilly course in about 24 minutes at my age with asthma. If I had to run from Al Quaida, I might break 21 minutes, but that would be my max I'm sure. I haven't run a mile TT recently, but I'd guess I'm in the 6:15-30 range on a track. My polar HRM (625sx) uses a protocol very roughly similar to VO2max, but age adjusted, and I'm at 51 currently, though I've been as high as 59 when very fit for distance work.

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the input.

    -Robert
     
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  35. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Nadal seems to be in great shape to me,i think he will still be good until he is at least 28.Like most pros they start to decline after that.

    Some of you think he is going to slow down in a couple of years?At the ripe old age of 22,get serious.This kid is a super athlete with determination that doesnt stop.

    Roddick doesnt play long points + he is hurt all the time,Fed took time off last year because of injurys also.A lot of players are getting injured because of the grind.

    Nadal should cut down on playing time some,but i dont see all these injury problems that so many predict.It just make you wonder how many are hoping he gets hurt.
     
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  36. exruda

    exruda Semi-Pro

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    But he uses blind power all the time :)

    there are injuries and injuries.
    A sprained ankle is a mishap;
    a shoulder that is sore due to overuse is not bad luck.

    Quite the opposite.
    We want him to slow down so that he doesn't get hurt!
     
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  37. The Pusher Terminator

    The Pusher Terminator Banned

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    In the history of Tennis have you evr seen a guy with a build like Nadal? He has the legs of a soccer player, the upper body of a linebacker and the arms of a body builder. This guy was built to last!
     
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  38. HollerOne5

    HollerOne5 Semi-Pro

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    He's in great shape, but he's not as big as people think. His legs are huge yes, but his upper body is more extremely defined than huge. If you actually saw him in person you'd realize he isn't massive, just extremely defined. The muscles also protrude more when he is in the middle of making a shot, so it could be sort of an illusion.
     
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  39. arosen

    arosen Hall of Fame

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    Rafa's shoulder was simply hurting from hitting too many balls recently. Overexertion + wise decision=retirement from an unimportant match.
     
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  40. Luca

    Luca New User

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    a bit of envy, maybe?? lol ;)
     
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  41. dandy2fast

    dandy2fast Rookie

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    No, he doesn't still win, he used to be the #1 player and now he is more more often out of the top ten than in.
     
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  42. framebreaker

    framebreaker Semi-Pro

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    amen amen. end of discussion
     
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  43. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I think I half-agree :). I think a fit and regularly-playing Hewitt is a top-10 player, no question. Maybe even edge of the top five, he plays some consistent tennis.

    I just think he's going to have trouble to win another slam or two, he doesn't have a big enough game against the current crop in the slams. I think he'll still make it deep into slams, but to have the stamina to win the way he does and string seven matches together against the currrent players, as well as not occassionally get blasted off the court by safin / fed / etc on a big day - a very hard ask.
     
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  44. mileslong

    mileslong Professional

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    OMG your are so obsessed with this guy. you need to explore your tendencies, this goes far beyond enjoying someone tennis game...
     
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  45. VamosRafa

    VamosRafa Hall of Fame

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    So what if Rafa's career doesn't extend into his late 20's? Perhaps it's better to have a shorter, spectacular career than a longer, ho-hum one.

    I'm sure any player who has played as much tennis as Rafa has over the past few months would have a few aches and pains. Most guys who win Roland Garros skip the grass season altogether, and get ready for hardcourts. Rafa isn't doing that, but he should take some time off after Wimbledon.
     
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  46. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    A new and refreshing post from someone who, judging by your username, is a 'fan', no less! Well done, VamosRafa, you make a good point.

    I hope you'll permit me to paraphrase you and take it one step further...

    So what if Rafa's career doesn't extend into his late 20's? Perhaps it's better to have a shorter, spectacular career than none at all!.


    It's a fair point - the strength of his game is his speed, endurance and the explosive way he hits the ball, and we know this may not be something he can do forever....but if he hadn't have played like this, he may not be #2 in the world, clay-king, etc etc. Better to have been king for a year (or two, three or four, who knows?) than not at all...
     
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  47. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    Susan, no need to be defensive here. I don't think people are criticizing Nadal -- in fact, most of the forum and most of the people I know are a little astonished by him -- but simply speculating about the possibilities. No one has said it would be to his detriment if he has a short and spectacular career.

    But wouldn't any informed observer wonder just how long he could keep this up? He expends far, far more energy to play the game than anyone we've ever seen. It seems entirely reasonable to wonder what costs he will incur as a result, since his style of play is almost unprecedented.

    None of us here professes to be an expert, but his game certainly looks like it would be difficult to maintain over a number of years on the tour. It's not "energy-efficient" in the same way that Agassi's, Hewitt's, Sampras's, or Fed's have been, albeit in different ways.
     
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  48. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Nice post Gully, some good points. On the comment above, I always try and think when anyone (including me) claims an "absolute". And it's been bugging me who else plays like Nadal, effort wise. And the winner is....

    THOMAS MUSTER!!!

    He put maximal energy into many strokes, he was built like a truck, and he played well on clay! From memory, he did have some injury troubles (i'm willing to stand corrected here), but we may never know what hurt him how, as having his legs crushed by a drunk-driver must have had some far-reaching impacts....
     
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  49. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    Agreed, OrangeOne. (Who is OrangeOne? The Thing?)

    Nadal reminds me of Muster a lot -- but with better defense, better touch, and -- still even more energy than the Moo Man. I think Muster swung at the ball more violently and offensively, especially on the backhand. And I'll hold by the "anyone" -- as Nadal's energy-expenditures start apparently well before the matches begin.
     
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