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-   -   Observations from the latest Nole-Nadal clash (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=461302)

mcenroefan 04-21-2013 09:14 AM

Observations from the latest Nole-Nadal clash
 
Observations from the latest episode of Nole-Nadal:

In sum, Nole is the better player and has been the better player for the last few years.

Reasons for his superiority over Rafa:
1. Return of Serve: This is one of the primary reasons for his dominance. Nole has developed one of the best ROS in the history of the sport. Thus, when they both bring their A-Games, Nadal will always struggle more than Nole to hold serve. One interesting stat from today’s match is that Nadal had a 71% first serve percentage and still lost the match is straights.
2. Serve vs serve: I will give a slight edge to Nole here although I think Rafa’s serve is looking better than ever.
3. Ground strokes and stroke patterns: Again, Nole is simply superior here in virtually every facet. Nole really doesn’t have a weak stroke and Nadal’s BH is a hindrance when playing Nole. Rafa has done a good job of improving his inside out FH in order to counter the usual patterns that Nole brings against him but it hasn’t been enough b/c, in the end, Nole can still get to Rafa’s BH enough to cause problems.
4. Nole’s ability to take it on the rise and go offensive: Although Nole generally prefers the longer rallies (he won approx. 2/3 of all rallies over 10 strokes today), when his energy is lagging, he can step into the court and hit outright winners with greater consistency than Rafa. In fact, I think this is a vastly underutilized area of Nole’s game in general. He plays too defensively for his talent.

What can Rafa do:
1. Endurance: Hope that he can extend the match and get to Nole’s legs: This is the only area in which I would give an edge to Nadal. He has greater stamina than Nole.
2. Take a few more balls on the rise and run around more BH’s to hit the FH: I think Nadal has started to make this adjustment but it wasn’t enough today. Watch the point at 2-3, Love-15 on Rafa's serve in the 2nd set for a good example of a winning pattern for Rafa.

Areas in which they are close to equal:
1. Will to win: Nadal owns this category against most players but I think Nole is neck and neck with him at this point
2. Court Coverage: I think Nole is slightly better here at this point but it is very close

What Rafa can’t change:
1. The overall dominance of Nole’s ROS
2. The fact that Nole has less holes in his groundstrokes than Rafa

Can Rafa still beat Nole? Absolutely……whenever he can get to Nole’s legs or his form on the day is a level or two above Nole’s form. Also, if Rafa can continue with his adjustment of stepping into the Court and hitting the inside-out FH, that may change the overall patterns of their matches.

Most interesting aspect to the coming year from my perspective: What will happen between Murray and Nadal when they happen to meet in a big match. Can Murray turn the mental tide and reverse Nadal's recent dominance in their match-up. A rested Nadal vs. a new crowned GS champion....could be fun to watch.

Summary: A very enjoyable match between two great champions.

NatF 04-21-2013 09:22 AM

The ROS of killed Rafa today. It's the weakest part of game.

sureshs 04-21-2013 09:23 AM

Should Nadal retire?

axel89 04-21-2013 09:25 AM

wrong forum again lol

NatF 04-21-2013 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7358994)
Should Nadal retire?

Nope. He's got a few years of top level tennis left. He'll bounce back. He should only retire if he can't settle for being #2 ;)

ctoth666 04-21-2013 09:59 AM

My observation is this: I thought Djokovic was going to win, actually, based on what I saw in the quarters and semi's. But Nadal did not play at a high level, and I felt that he was far from his clay court best. Perhaps a lack of match play against top level competition? I'm not sure, but presumably Nadal's level will rise and he will be the favorite at the French Open. Obviously, Nadal and Djokovic will have a rematch before he FO, and that will be a much better indication of form.

Mike Sams 04-21-2013 10:04 AM

The thing about Djokovic is that when he gets broken, he breaks right back. Anybody not notice how often he does this against Nadal? :-?

Relinquis 04-21-2013 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcenroefan (Post 7358975)
[...]
4. Nole’s ability to take it on the rise and go offensive: Although Nole generally prefers the longer rallies (he won approx. 2/3 of all rallies over 10 strokes today), when his energy is lagging, he can step into the court and hit outright winners with greater consistency than Rafa. In fact, I think this is a vastly underutilized area of Nole’s game in general. He plays too defensively for his talent.
[...]

He can only do this when Rafa hits short. Otherwise, he is by far the less aggressive of the two. Djokovic's bread and butter is retrieval and baseline grinding. He's not an aggressive player and is not an all courter. He can only do it when people give him short balls.

You even saw it in this match, the moment Rafa started to find depth on his shots, it was time for Novak to do the splits and block/flick back balls on the run.

If you want to see solid aggressive baseline play against Rafa you have to check out Davydenko, he has the mentality to go for his shots rally after rally and come in on deep balls. I don't see Novak able to do that as it doesn't play to his strengths.

Was a good match overall and Novak played to his strengths, retrieval, return of serve and consistency.

OddJack 04-21-2013 10:10 AM

The observations you provide are ok, but not new.

Some are wrong. Like when you say "Nadal get to Nole legs" That hasnt happened, will not happen. Rafa is the one doing most of the running because Nole is dominating the rallies.

Djok won most of the rallies with 10 shots or more. That means he not only defends better but also Nadal has nothing to hurt Djok with. How can get to his legs then?

Do you remember any points in the match that Nadal was able to break Novak Backhand? maybe NONE.

corners 04-21-2013 10:19 AM

The low bounce on the wet court was the biggest factor today. As usual, people overreact and draw too many conclusions based on the outcome of one single match. Next match could be very different.

Clearly Djoker has the edge on the return of serve, and his backhand is so good that he takes away the usual crosscourt advantage that Rafa enjoys so much against other players. To my mind, those are the only points I'd agree with strongly from the OP's list. In other areas the two players are pretty equal. Rafa's forehand is significantly better than Nole's, but Djoker handles it better than most players because of his very strong forehand grip (and the high natural contact point that it gives him) and his incredibly solid backhand. But again, the low bounce today made it easy for Nole to step in and play close to the baseline today. Had the bounce been higher I think the rallies would have been more even.

But in general it looked a lot more like Djoker vs. Nadal 2011 than 2012. That might continue into their next match, but might not. Let's just wait and see. These matches are all very close, and the second set could easily have gone to Rafa. The conditions suited Djoker better today and he was clearly in better form than Rafa was. Next time the situation could be the opposite.

Start da Game 04-21-2013 10:21 AM

you missed the most important observation, bro......the surface was not clay today......it was damp mud.......that is the sole reason why nadal lost......the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys......

djokovic, a player with severe movement issues on the real dried out clay, beating nadal at montecarlo of all places, that too in straight sets.......you know something was wrong.......

Mighty Matteo 04-21-2013 10:21 AM

Nadal did not play aggressively enough. If he had, he would have won the match. Whenever Nadal is ahead in the point on clay, it is almost impossible for the defender to get back into the point. The points in the match where he was the one dictating play was when he was the most successful. He was letting Djokovic move him side to side. He basically fed Djokovic approach shots.

shaysrebelII 04-21-2013 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Start da Game (Post 7359152)
you missed the most important observation, bro......the surface was not clay today......it was damp mud.......that is the sole reason why nadal lost......the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys......

djokovic, a player with severe movement issues on the real dried out clay, beating nadal at montecarlo of all places, that too in straight sets.......you know something was wrong.......

Severe movement issues? Sure, he's behind Nadal in terms of clay court movement, but he's the second best clay courter in the world (and has been for several years now) and has the best all-around movement in the game.

Start da Game 04-21-2013 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shaysrebelII (Post 7359180)
Severe movement issues? Sure, he's behind Nadal in terms of clay court movement, but he's the second best clay courter in the world (and has been for several years now) and has the best all-around movement in the game.

his movement is garbage on clay.......he slips a lot, has no control on the slide or balance, struggles to change direction and loses footing whenever he tries.......struggles even against the likes of seppi and wawrinka on clay.......

just watch him play nadal on the actual clay next time.......the damp conditions today provided novak exactly what he wanted.......good footing throughout the match and slow conditions which enable him to stand and deliver sledgehammer blows with his backhand.......

no other way was nadal going to lose a montecarlo final in straight sets.......

Start da Game 04-21-2013 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monfed (Post 7359197)
You need to chill. All is not lost for Ralph. He's still a lock for Rome and Rome so I don't see the need for so much butthurt. :lol:

i am never butthurt......as a fan i take his losses equally.......i am just explaining why he lost......this is not an excuse but a reason why he lost.......there is no excuse for any loss in which he was fit.......

OddJack 04-21-2013 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Start da Game (Post 7359152)
you missed the most important observation, bro......the surface was not clay today......it was damp mud.......that is the sole reason why nadal lost......the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys......

djokovic, a player with severe movement issues on the real dried out clay, beating nadal at montecarlo of all places, that too in straight sets.......you know something was wrong.......

Disagree. Damp, if it was as you say, makes it even slower, which is advantage Nadal.

"....the dampness held the surface firm and allowed novak the gripping he enjoys.."? And how is that nadal cant enjoy that??

Whats gripping is the delusion some Nadal fans have, that " there is always a reason not related to Nadal when he loses and if it is related to him then it must be injury".

90's Clay 04-21-2013 11:00 AM

We'll see what the French Open holds when its for all the marbles. Until then who cares.

What this match sums up.. Nadal played like crap through the whole tournament. Amazing he even made the finals

abmk 04-21-2013 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Start da Game (Post 7359205)
his movement is garbage on clay.......he slips a lot, has no control on the slide or balance, struggles to change direction and loses footing whenever he tries.......struggles even against the likes of seppi and wawrinka on clay.......

just watch him play nadal on the actual clay next time.......the damp conditions today provided novak exactly what he wanted.......good footing throughout the match and slow conditions which enable him to stand and deliver sledgehammer blows with his backhand.......

no other way was nadal going to lose a montecarlo final in straight sets.......

this is an absolutely pathetic joke .......... nole moves very well and slides very well on clay ...hell he slides a lot on HC itself, WTF makes you think he can't/doesn't slide well on clay .......

his movement in weakness to an extent is on grass, not on clay , yet he beat nadal comfortably on grass in wimbledon 2011 ..:lol:

face it, fact is joker beat nadal in straights ...deal with it ...........

says a lot about CC GOAT nadal if djoker can go on a run of 8 games vs him in damp conditions ( RG 2012 ) and now the first few games here ........can't even adjust to the conditions even on his fav surface , they have to be picture perfect for precious rafa ........ bah !

OddJack 04-21-2013 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by abmk (Post 7359258)
this is an absolutely pathetic joke .......... nole moves very well and slides very well on clay ...hell he slides a lot on HC itself, WTF makes you think he can't/doesn't slide well on clay .......

his movement in weakness to an extent is on grass, not on clay , yet he beat nadal comfortably on grass in wimbledon 2011 ..:lol:

face it, fact is joker beat nadal in straights ...deal with it ...........

says a lot about CC GOAT nadal if djoker can go on a run of 8 games vs him in damp conditions ( RG 2012 ) and now the first few games here ........can't even adjust to the conditions even on his fav surface , they have to be picture perfect for precious rafa ........ bah !

True, one of very few who consistently is able to slide on hard courts. His athleticism if not better is up there with Monfils.

Talker 04-21-2013 11:23 AM

If Djokovic can straight set Nadal at MC he can beat him anywhere.
This has to play on Nadal's mind, losing one of his most cherished events to his biggest rival.

Nadal knows that Djokovic is taking quite a bit away from him, 3 slams and now working on clay masters.

Clay was Nadal's refuge for so long and Djokovic is not going anywhere.
It should be interesting from here on out.


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