What kills Rafa!

Discussion in 'Pro Match Results and Discussion' started by Mike Sams, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    The crosscourt topspin forehand is a solid weapon for Nadal. It tends to put many players on the defensive. The most they can do is return it right to Nadal. Djokovic on the other hand has one of the greatest backhands in history. And with it, he can return the cc topspin forehand effortlessly anywhere he chooses, be it cc or dtl.
    Andy Murray also has a good counter for Nadal's cc topspin forehand except he doesn't have a dtl backhand like Djokovic's and instead prefers to hit cc.

    Here's an example of Nadal's cc forehand followed by Djokovic's answer. Djokovic goes dtl.

    [​IMG]

    Here's another example of Nadal going cc forehand followed by Djokovic's response. Nadal leaves the court open.

    [​IMG]

    Same thing again. Open court...

    [​IMG]

    Nadal was still using this same tactic throughout Indian Wells. Del Potro didn't have the legs or the formidable backhand to do much with it.
     
    #1
  2. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    The last picture was actually a forehand down the line. Quite evidently, Djokovic goes down the line like a pro's pro.
     
    #2
  3. Clarky21

    Clarky21 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Messages:
    12,686
    You fail to mention the reason this shot is so easy for Cvac(and anyone else for that matter)to attack is because Nadal is dropping the ball too short. Look at where Cvac is standing in those pics to hit that shot. If Nadal would actually get some depth for once it wouldn't so easy for Cvac to step in the way he does.
     
    #3
  4. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    Nadal was hitting it the same way throughout Indian Wells. It's his patented shot. Djokovic's strength is the dtl backhand. Nadal's actually hit the ball deep in some of these instances and Djokovic has attacked it without a problem.
     
    #4
  5. TCG

    TCG Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    652
    Well apart from the DTL backhand Djoker also pins Rafa to the backhand corner using his cross court forehand. He draws an UE the same way Rafa does against Roger. Unless Rafa improves his backhand drastically that pattern would repeat more often than the DTL backhand pattern.
     
    #5
  6. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    The other elements we've completely dismissed are speed and defense. Two of the most important things in tennis today on the unforgiving slow surfaces. You can have a dtl or cc forehand but you need speed and defense too. If you have the whole package then you're likely ranked in the top 4. Although Djokovic and Nadal do it the best overall.
     
    #6
  7. Breaker

    Breaker Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    7,734
    It is actually the reason only players with elite backhands/movement can attack him consistently, your choices are either to step in and take risk by taking the ball on the rise like Davydenko/Djokovic/Nalbandian do -- or wait behind the baseline and concede court position either through attempting to run around it or hit a high backhand which pretty much puts you behind in the point once the nadal gets it back.

    If he consistently hit deeper with the same trajectory the ball would kick up right into most players' sweet spots.
     
    #7
  8. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    yeah, I can't see him hitting it deeper and getting the same bounce.
     
    #8
  9. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    ^^ This. His forehand is basically a kick serve.
     
    #9
  10. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    30,219
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    Some points go that way and in others, Rafa's forehand gives Novak sheer hell. He's one of the only guys that can run Djokovic from pillar to post like a voodoo doll and leave him sprawled on the court or praying to the olympian gods.
     
    #10
  11. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    6,125
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Looks like an inside-in forehand that djoker hit.
     
    #11
  12. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,912
    It's good analysis no doubt. But let's consider also the fact that Nadal is already the player with most wins against Djokovic at the moment, so it's not like Djokovic is not killed in some way too.

    Also the surface they play on makes a great difference too. Djokovic almost owns Nadal on hardcourts, but doesn't have the consistency to deal with Nadal on clay.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
    #12
  13. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    Bit of an out-of-date analysis to be honest. If you watched the 2012 clay court season unfold, you would have seen Nadal stop using that crosscourt forehand into the backhand and instead either slice down the middle or hit the forehand down the line into Djokovic's forehand. Djokovic had very little answer to that for the whole clay court season until the rain came in RG, and very little again the next day. Nadal figured him out. Djokovic now needs to find the answers when they next play.
     
    #13
  14. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    4,667
    I wouldn't say Djokovic played that bad the next day...they were both holding serve until Djokovic DF'd the match.
     
    #14
  15. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    Djokovic lost serve twice the next day, Rafa was a break down in that 4th set overnight. I wouldn't say he played that bad no, but the pattern of the previous day (before the rain) re-emerged.
     
    #15
  16. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    Djokovic played at 60% of his level in the clay court season IMO. He didn't play well at all at RG. His performances against Seppi and Tsonga prove that. Even still, he ran Nadal nearly ragged in the final and had Nadal basically just defensively pushing balls back in many of those rallies. Djokovic 2011 would've been an entirely different specimen altogether. Will be interesting to see if Murray, Del Potro, Federer and some surprises pop up this year on clay.
    I didn't find Nadal all that dominant against Wawrinka in Monte Carlo last year and he got crushed by Verdasco in Madrid, blue clay or not. Could be some surprises in store this season.
     
    #16
  17. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    You can keep trotting out the same "Djokovic 2011 was unbeatable" argument. What about Nadal 2010 who also won 3 slams (and beat Djokovic in the US Open final pretty comfortably)? The fact is, every player has high points and low points form-wise. Djokovic was excellent in 2011 and figured out how to do damage to Nadal. Nadal changed his game in 2012 and won the next three matches. He simply didn't let Djokovic play at that level. It's an irrelevant argument to say 2011 Djokovic was 40% better. It's also not true. Djokovic lost to Federer at the 2011 French Open but beat him comfortably in 2012 - why was that?

    As for "nearly running Nadal ragged" in that French Open final, the only part of the match he had any hold was when the rain came and the court completely changed. Other than that it was pretty much one-way traffic.

    Oh and crushed by Verdasco in Madrid? Are you kidding me? I watched that match live and it was one of the worst performances I have ever seen by either player - absolute rubbish tennis, tentative, full of errors and very low on quality. Now I know you are kidding.

    I like the way you highlight one or two performances across an entire clay court season (only one of which he actually lost anyway) as evidence he will struggle this season.

    Let's talk facts:

    22 Masters Series vs 9 (that's poor)
    11 grand slams vs 6
    19 to 14 head to head record in Nadal's favour (despite that miraculous 2011 run)

    Arguably the two players aren't worth even comparing at the moment in the grand scheme of tennis greats. The gap in achievements is as big between Nadal and Djokovic as it is between Djokovic and Murray. In fact Murray is arguably closer to Djokovic than Djokovic is to Nadal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
    #17
  18. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    That's exactly my point though. Nadal's performance against Verdasco showed how error prone he can be. And it was odd because of how dominant Nadal was against Davydenko the day before.
    Also the RG final last year was far more competitive than the scores indicate. Nadal allowed Djokovic to swing freely on the ball at times. It wasn't a case of Nadal figuring out how to play Djokovic. Djokovic's level was below par. It wasn't a high quality match from either side but Nadal is a master at spinning and pushing balls in and forcing errors.
    Also Federer gave up in that semifinal. He let Djokovic take the win. He didn't want to play Nadal in the final. It was obvious in his play and his temperament that day.
    Also, Djokovic has 13 Masters Series Titles. Not 9.
    Djokovic has 2 WTF titles and a lopsided H2H in his favor over Nadal on hardcourts.
    Nadal is 2-1 against Djokovic on grass.
     
    #18
  19. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    Also, last I saw, Nadal was the one who injured himself while trying to solve Djokovic. It cost him 8 months of his prime. Djokovic took his losses and was back on court the next day winning more titles while Nadal was whining and moaning about how lucky Djokovic is for being injury free.
     
    #19
  20. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    BTW, I never said Nadal would struggle this season. I said things could be more competitive this season looking at some of the improved play from players outside of the top 4 who could be extremely dangerous if any of the top guys are off their game.
     
    #20
  21. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    It's also funny how you consider Djokovic's 2011 as being a miraculous run but say nothing about Nadal's miraculous run in 2010 where he won 3 Slams and brought out a freakish Ivanisevic serve at the US Open which came and went just as quickly. :lol: Nadal never came close to serving like that again. Possibly him and Djokovic were pumping eachothers' behinds with needles privately in the restroom.
     
    #21
  22. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    9 Masters 1000 titles for Djokovic (not 13). I think you are counting 4 titles before the 250/500/1000 rankings came in.

    Count them up:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Novak-Djokovic.aspx?t=tf

    But anyway, I agree with some of your points. But Nadal did what he had to against Djokovic last season on clay. The overall matches were fairly one-sided. They got progressively more competitive I agree (MC was a blitz but Djokovic had other things on his mind as we know). Madrid was odd I agree because the Davydenko match was so different.

    All said however, it comes back to the same point that both players have had peaks and troughs in the last 3-4 years. 2011 Djokovic was great. 2010 Nadal was great. It will be interesting to see them both peak at the same time. I still give the edge to Nadal on all but the faster lower bouncing hard courts (and probably indoors too).
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
    #22
  23. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    I certainly wasn't implying anything untoward about Djok's 2011 run. It was miraculous - the greatest season ever arguably in the modern era. I have seen Nadal pull out those 130+ mph serves but he doesn't usually use them. He hit one at 128 on Sunday night. So he can do it. Plus he was using a longer racket handle that tournament so he got a greater trajectory. He has since changed that.
     
    #23
  24. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Messages:
    750
    I haven't heard the longer racket theory before. Source?
     
    #24
  25. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    I counted 13 again. What exactly are you counting??? :lol:

    2007 - Miami, Montreal
    2008 - Indian Wells, Rome
    2009 - Paris
    2011 - Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Toronto
    2012 - Miami, Toronto, Shanghai
     
    #25
  26. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    BTW, I find it hilarious that you consider Nadal's 2010 great but not his 2011 considering the only man in the entire sport who beat Nadal in ALL of those finals in 2011 was Djokovic.
    If not for Djokovic, Nadal would've won everything in 2011 as well. But of course, Nadal fans can't accept that their boy got stomped by a simply superior player that year.
    Nadal was playing better in 2011 than he was in 2010. The only thing that changed was Djokovic!
    You already got your wish regarding both Nadal and Djokovic playing peak for peak. The result was Djokovic 6-0 in 2011 over Nadal.
     
    #26
  27. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    Why didn't he pop some 130s when Djokovic was on top of his *** at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011?
     
    #27
  28. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    They weren't Masters "1000" titles pre 2009. Splitting hairs to a degree I know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
    #28
  29. pds999

    pds999 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,552
    I remember the commentators at the time speculating on it. I have since seen Nadal himself say it was due to a change of grip but that longer term he preferred to have more control on the ball and lower speed. That US Open wasn't quite so freaky as everyone says anyway. He didn't suddenly serve every ball at 135mph. It was the odd serve that went 130mph+ and I have seen him hit serves that fast since.
     
    #29
  30. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,259
    So, 10-9 then, not 22-9 ( in M-1000 ) :)
     
    #30
  31. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    How did you get 22 Masters titles for Nadal if you're only counting Masters "1000" titles? :lol:
    Nadal then only has 10. Not 22!
     
    #31
  32. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    4,667
    I think the ones Rafa won were Masters 1000. But, the others weren't until later.
     
    #32
  33. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Montreal, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris are all Masters and they all count as Masters titles. Always have.
    Nadal has 22, Djokovic has 13.
     
    #33
  34. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,259
    My goodness!!!

    There are people here who must have started watching tennis last year or something...
     
    #34
  35. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    They're all Masters titles. The bulk of Nadal's Masters titles were before Masters 1000 was introduced.
     
    #35
  36. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    30,219
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    This is a 5 star post.
     
    #36
  37. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    How can it be 5 stars when he made a very convenient error in Djokovic's MS titles count? :lol:
     
    #37
  38. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    5,270
    If they weren't Masters 1000 titles pre 2009 then why did you tally Nadal's MS titles count at 22?
     
    #38
  39. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4,116
    Location:
    The 6
    Lol it's the usual **** Support Group thing. :lol:
     
    #39
  40. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    30,219
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    Boo hoo, **** this, **** that, you're so cool :)
     
    #40
  41. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,943
    Apparently in Mike's world it's still 2011. I wish I could travel back in time, too.
     
    #41

Share This Page