Young Rafa

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Cindysphinx, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Tennis Channel broadcast the Madrid Masters final between Nadal and Coria last night, which happened four years ago I think. Did anyone else catch it?

    I noticed some differences in how Nadal played then compared to how he plays now. Back then, Nadal cracked every backhand. He rarely took his other hand off the racket, and he didn't hit 1HBH slice much if at all. Now, Nadal seems slow moving to his BH side, often arriving too late to drive the ball. He's slicing a lot, and I think it is getting him into some trouble.

    The other thing is speed. Young Rafa was crazy fast. He tracked down Coria's barrage of drop shots, usually arriving in plenty of time to hit aggressively. I think now Nadal is a tad slower, which is affecting the rest of his game. He even seemed a bit slimmer through his hips and legs, so maybe the extra weight is slowing him down?

    I am surprised to see such a big difference (and frankly, a big decline) in a young athlete in just a few years. Maybe Uncle Tony needs to get a bit more involved in Nadal's training.
     
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  2. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    I saw some of it. I think Nadal's game today is better than it was then (e.g. improved BH, more variety, better volleys, better tactics, etc). I do feel as if Nadal moved better back then however. I seriously doubt additional training would result in restoring his foot speed to what it was 4-5 years ago. I suspect he has to be more careful in how he trains these days given the issues with his knees. I suffer from patella tendonitis and really pay a price if I over do things training off the court.
     
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  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Eh? What match is this?

    Head-to-Head - Rafael Nadal 4-1 Guillermo Coria
    2003 Monte Carlo R16: Guillermo Coria def. Rafael Nadal (7-6, 6-2)
    2005 Monte Carlo F: Rafael Nadal def. Guillermo Coria (6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5)
    2005 Rome F: Rafael Nadal def. Guillermo Coria (6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6)
    2005 Beijing F: Rafael Nadal def. Guillermo Coria (5-7, 6-1, 6-2)
    2006 Monte Carlo QF: Rafael Nadal def. Guillermo Coria (6-2, 6-1)

    Rafa will never again be as mobile as he was in 2005.
     
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  4. rommil

    rommil Legend

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    When I was younger I served the ball from one end of the court and ran to the other side to return it. I was fast.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    #5
  6. dmt

    dmt Hall of Fame

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    lets relax and wait for the claycourt season to begin to see how rafa is doing. If he can make 2 consectutive semi finals on masters 1000 events on his WORST surface (and only lose in 3 sets to the two champions), then he has an excellent chance of winning Monte Carlo and Rome.
     
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  7. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    I tuned in from time to time too. Pretty much agree with you. Rafa's BH variety is a huge plus; as is the ability to handle things at net. And his serve keeps getting a little better all the time. Basically he's taken a clay centric game and improved it to translate better to other surfaces.

    What about Coria? He could cover some court back then and pound groundies too.
     
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  8. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Or your serve was hopelessly slow. :)
     
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  9. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Coria's form at 2005 Monte Carlo was nothing like what it had been during his 31 match win streak on clay from July 2003 to May 2004. Coria only played well in patches at 2005 Monte Carlo, but his form was much better in Rome 3 weeks later, where he was involved in an all-time classic final against Nadal. The 2005 Rome final is one of the best clay-court matches I've ever seen, with Coria on the losing end again. In July 2005, Coria started to be affected by the service yips, which eventually ruined him as a player.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
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  10. rommil

    rommil Legend

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    That could not be further from the truth......
     
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  11. fantom

    fantom Hall of Fame

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    I noticed that he has slightly changed his forehand takeback over the years. Back then, he held the racquet much farther away from his body. Now, the head of the racquet gets pretty close to his head on the takeback.
     
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  12. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Every time I see Coria's face it turns me off. He strikes me as a really unhappy individual who seems to suffer through everything and prefers to make anyone who is near him feel his pain. It's hard to appreciate his tennis with such a dispicable attitude.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Coria sure looked lost in that match. Dang. How many unsuccessful drop shots did he hit, anyway?
     
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  14. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Way too many. Coria is one of the unluckiest players I've ever known since I became a tennis fan, and his negative body language didn't do him any favours.
     
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  15. Big Dave

    Big Dave New User

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    i saw that match last night.... great match, i'd never seen it before. I agree with you, i noticed Nadal cracking every backhand, rarely using the slice.

    It sounds like the concensus of other posters is that Rafa has purposly altered his game so he's more competetive on other surfaces. He's a better player now i think, but he sure was fun to watch.....what an athlete....so fast out there, so physical....he's slowed a little bit.
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It is true that Rafa has more tools now (e.g. slice BH), but I really do think this has come at a great cost. He gave an interview recently in which he said he thinks his BH is coming along, that he is resorting to the slice less, and he seemed to think this was a positive development.

    My take on it is that he started hitting the slice BH because every player needs this shot on tour. As he got better at it, it was no longer a liability.

    The problem now is that he doesn't use his BH slice strategically like Federer does, to draw his opponents in or as a deliberate change-up. Rafa uses the slice to avoid taking an extra step, to compensate for being late, to have to run less. I think this is a very bad thing, and I think this is a significant reason for his inability to win over the best players.
     
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  17. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I can see what you're saying, but you've picked a big benchmark there. Federer's slice is sublime, it comes from someone who is the best player ever (or thereabouts) and who has depended on it for 20+ years, 15 of them being in international competition. As you've highlighted, Rafa has had to build his - he no doubt survived much of the junior ranks blasting 2HBHs, and simply not needing the slice.

    What am I saying? When I think of Federer's slice, I think of it in a 'Graf' league, a league that most players will never, ever reach, even if they try. What Federer did to Murray in the AO final - alternating backhands TS / Slice / TS / Slice - that's hard as a drill, let alone against one of the better players around, let alone as a strategy to break someone down!

    Nadal is reaching the stage we all knew would happen relatively early for a player like him - the batteries are down at 80 or 90%, and I don't think they'll ever get to 100 again.
     
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  18. Jchurch

    Jchurch Guest

    Ha worst surface! His worst surface is the fast hard courts. These were slow hard courts. If these had been Cincy or Montreal/Toronto then your statement would have been fine.
     
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  19. Outbeyond

    Outbeyond Legend

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    Knees, knees, knees...

    Kneed I say more?
     
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  20. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Some other interesting comments by 18 year old Rafa:

    "I'm not made for five sets on clay, and when it was 2-0, 3-0 in the 3rd set, I stopped playing for the last few games."

    just a few weeks later he won a 5 set, 5 hour final in Rome.
     
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