Originally Posted by zagor
Nadal did get Novak in matches that went to the distance before 2011 but how many of those wins were due to Nadal outlasting him instead of just being mentally tougher? Remember their brutal 2009 Madrid SF? Novak had 3 MPs but Nadal raised his level and saved them, he stepped it up a notch while Novak tightened up.
Also as I said before in this thread, while Nadal played overall great tennis on HC and grass in 2011 I'm not convinced his endurance was on the same level as before, IMO his time on tour coupled with his playing style took a toll on him in that regard.
I should've added one crucial thing in that post after using the word outlasted ...... the % of long rallies won in these matches ...nadal used to comfortably win majority of these long rallies , even more so at the crucial junctures...nole had to go for his shots more to cut down these long rallies ..... since 2011 that wasn't the case ....nole happily went back and forth playing 'ping pong' vs rafa ....
increased fitness also can lead to increased confidence/mental strength and I suppose that was part of reason for novak's increased mental toughness .... he could back himself to win long rallies vs anyone
and he could go the distance ......which is why even on HC, he went for the 'safer' (!) method of grinding down rafa rather than trying to blow him off court (as he used to before )