Billie Jean King: Nadal 'could need a year' to rebuild confidence

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I think Nadal's problems are more physical than mental, although obviously the physical issues are going to have an effect on his mentality.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
His legs are so heavy as a result he cant hit the ball well enough. This is by no means mental. I wish it would be mental then ı would still hope for a better results in the future. Now what he needs is to maximize his talent.I dont want to bash Tony but ı feel like Rafa needs new coach.His service and his court position can improve he can have a more aggressive mind set.
 
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cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
I think Nadal's problems are more physical than mental, although obviously the physical issues are going to have an effect on his mentality.
I disagree. I think it is the other way around--i.e. more mental than physical. So I agree with BJK.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I agree with BJK. I think it is mental. It can BECOME physical, but that's mostly what I've seen this year. Lack of belief. Lack of belief can tear anyone apart.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I disagree. I think it is the other way around--i.e. more mental than physical. So I agree with BJK.
Oh come on. The signs have been clear since 2012, when he was gone from tennis for 7 months. He came back and played his way into excellent form once again with an excellent 2013, but since the 2014 Australian Open he hasn't looked the same, aside from 1 more French Open title.

Nadal plays a grinding style of tennis, has been at the top of his sport since 2005 playing that style, having dominated tennis on clay so utterly for so long. He isn't getting any younger either.
 

Fed881981

Hall of Fame
I think Nadal's problems are more physical than mental, although obviously the physical issues are going to have an effect on his mentality.
I could see the physical fatigue too. But, we cannot underestimate the mental part. An interesting quote about this:

"He is the first player I have actually heard at that level say he has absolutely no confidence," said Ilana Kloss, a former doubles champion and current commissioner of World TeamTennis.
 

ivan_the_terrible

Hall of Fame
Is it that he's gotten older and getting back in top form after long layoffs is thus harder?

We've seen what a beast he is on return from his many injury time-outs, so why is this time different? This time he was away for a minor operation, it wasn't even an injury.

So, why is there a mental/no confidence issue? It's really weird tbh
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Oh come on. The signs have been clear since 2012, when he was gone from tennis for 7 months. He came back and played his way into excellent form once again with an excellent 2013, but since the 2014 Australian Open he hasn't looked the same, aside from 1 more French Open title.

Nadal plays a grinding style of tennis, has been at the top of his sport since 2005 playing that style, having dominated tennis on clay so utterly for so long. He isn't getting any younger either.
So? He lost confidence at the AO 2014 and it hasn't returned because he was out for another few months since then. Of course there is some physical decline but for me it appears more mental than anything else.

We shall see how he tries to remedy the situation. Perhaps a psychologist is in order or another voice on his coaching team.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I could see the physical fatigue too. But, we cannot underestimate the mental part. An interesting quote about this:

"He is the first player I have actually heard at that level say he has absolutely no confidence," said Ilana Kloss, a former doubles champion and current commissioner of World TeamTennis.
Nadal has always been open like that. He said the same in his early round matches at the 2011 French Open. Nadal likes being the underdog with a mentality of staying in the present, and has openly said that he couldn't handle it mentally if he went into a match convinced that he was going to blow his opponent away.

Back when Nadal was playing his best tennis at the French Open in 2008, it was his mobility and energy that caught the eye. That was what ensured that nobody would be beating him there. Nadal dictated matches, and had his opponents scrambling to even keep up with him.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
I also agree it's more physical than mental. At some point it has to be physical decline, and that seems like right now. He just turned 29. It makes sense.

If you say it's mental then that means that when Nadal sorts this out, whatever it is, he'll be as good as he was once upon a time. He's not getting back to 2013 level where he won 2 majors and 5 MS in one year. I'm pretty sure about that.

I still think he wins 1 (2 at most) more major(s), but this is not mental anymore. Just because someone cannot see the loss of foot speed or something else physical on TV does not mean it's not happening.
 
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coupergear

Professional
I think his service game is getting exposed. People are punishing him on his second serve. When he doesn't have the wheels he once had, he can't compensate for a pedestrian serve anymore. He's on his heels immediately. It would be tough, but he needs to retool his serve and work on more variety, dare I say net play. Not his comfort zone, but change is needed.

When Michael Jordan lost explosiveness in his first step, he developed a deadly mid-range jumper.
 

rh310

Hall of Fame
No, it really looks to me like there's some sort of health issue. Like his body has just hit the wall, and that's it.

He's done for GS titles.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
I also agree it's more physical than mental. At some point it has to be physical decline, and that seems like right now. He just turned 29. It makes sense.

If you say it's mental then that means that when Nadal sorts this out, whatever it is, he'll be as good as he was once upon a time. He's not getting back to 2013 level where he won 2 majors and 5 MS in one year. I'm pretty sure about that.

I still think he wins 1 (2 at most) more major(s), but this is not mental anymore.
No, I don't think he will be as good as he was once upon a time and obviously there is some physical decline with his movement but I think most of his problems are mental and that is causing the physical problems. I don't know if the confidence issues are because of some injury he had and he is afraid to do what he did in the past physically or if he has noticed a slight slow down as he ages and that is making him lose confidence. Something is going on there.

I still think he will come back and win a couple of more slams and I still don't feel that Federer's record is completely safe. We will find out in the next year.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Is it that he's gotten older and getting back in top form after long layoffs is thus harder?

We've seen what a beast he is on return from his many injury time-outs, so why is this time different? This time he was away for a minor operation, it wasn't even an injury.

So, why is there a mental/no confidence issue? It's really weird tbh
Is it weird, really? I think it's amazing that Nadal has been this successful for this long with his style of play. Muster was a player with a very similar playing style to Nadal, and he had a quick decline after his hugely successful period from February 1995 to March 1997. By 1999, he was struggling to win matches on the tour, even though he said he had been working harder than ever in practice and with his racquets to try and get things right, yet his match results only went downhill. Hewitt was a grinder who had a quick decline. Chang is another etc.
 
N

Nathaniel_Near

Guest
Nadal can't last.

I see the main problem being one of physicality. He knows it and it crushes him mentally. These are tough times for Nadal, and one of the most fascinating things to see will be how Nadal sorts out his issues (if he can).


But he certainly has a multitude of issues right now, though it's worth remembering that he's still a top player - some perspective, lol.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
No, I don't think he will be as good as he was once upon a time and obviously there is some physical decline with his movement but I think most of his problems are mental and that is causing the physical problems. I don't know if the confidence issues are because of some injury he had and he is afraid to do what he did in the past physically or if he has noticed a slight slow down as he ages and that is making him lose confidence. Something is going on there.

I still think he will come back and win a couple of more slams and I still don't feel that Federer's record is completely safe. We will find out in the next year.
It doesn't have to be a conspiracy theory all the time you know. :) Something doesn't have to be going on every time Nadal (or any other ATG) is on a down slope. He's 29. I don't think it's as hard to explain as you're trying to make it.

Was Federer's 2010 decline more mental than physical? I would say no. Was Federer the same physically in 2010 as he was in 2007 for example? Again, IMO no.

Nadal will win one major IMO, but his issues are physical at this point to me.
 

smoledman

G.O.A.T.
Nadal is mentally crushed because he only has a Plan A(uber grind). There is no Plan B(quick strike tennis) and if he tries he'll end up out of the top 10 and def no more big titles and no more King of Clay.

He's f***ed.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
Is it weird, really? I think it's amazing that Nadal has been this successful for this long with his style of play. Muster was a player with a very similar playing style to Nadal, and he had a quick decline after his hugely successful period from February 1995 to March 1997. By 1999, he was struggling to win matches on the tour, even though he said he had been working harder than ever in practice and with his racquets to try and get things right, yet his match results only went downhill. Hewitt was a grinder who had a quick decline. Chang is another etc.
Come on Rafa has more weapons than this guys and thats why he played 20 slams finals and won 14 slams.However there is no such thing that everyone is going to play till mid 30s. Even Fed despite doing well on the tour only won 1 slam for the last 5 years.
 

Elektra

Professional
Nadal is mentally crushed because he only has a Plan A(uber grind). There is no Plan B(quick strike tennis) and if he tries he'll end up out of the top 10 and def no more big titles and no more King of Clay.

He's f***ed.
I don't think he is one dimensioned, I think his game plan with Uncle Toni's methods are just not working anymore.

He has a good all around game if he uses it more often. To preserve his body he needs to play smarter.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal can't last.

I see the main problem being one of physicality. He knows it and it crushes him mentally. These are tough times for Nadal, and one of the most fascinating things to see will be how Nadal sorts out his issues (if he can).


But he certainly has a multitude of issues right now, though it's worth remembering that he's still a top player - some perspective, lol.
As usual, we agree. I think Nadal is finally starting to realize that his style is catching up to him, and that is making/compounding the mental issues. I do think it's a bit of both, but it starts with the physical side.

It's no shame. He's been a pro seemingly forever, but it should be said that guys with styles like Nadal have faded quickly before. None quite as great as Nadal, to be fair.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
It doesn't have to be a conspiracy theory all the time you know. :) Something doesn't have to be going on every time Nadal (or any other ATG) is on a down slope. He's 29. I don't think it's as hard to explain as you're trying to make it.

Was Federer's 2010 decline more mental than physical? I would say no. Was Federer the same physically in 2010 as he was in 2007 for example? Again, IMO no.

Nadal will win one major IMO, but his issues are physical at this point to me.
Federer was not injured throughout his career (with absences) the way Nadal allegedly has been. They are completely different players.

I agree with you that at age 29 with all that mileage there is going to be some physical and mental decline but IMO from what I am seeing right now with his game it appears to be more on the mental side of things.

We are going to find out in the next year. Sit tight.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
As usual, we agree. I think Nadal is finally starting to realize that his style is catching up to him, and that is making/compounding the mental issues. I do think it's a bit of both, but it starts with the physical side.

It's no shame. He's been a pro seemingly forever, but it should be said that guys with styles like Nadal have faded quickly before. None quite as great as Nadal, to be fair.
Muster faded fast. After winning 1997 Miami, he was the clear world number 2, had gone 111-5 on clay in 1995-1996, and had won 21 tournaments in just over 2 years. He never won another tournament after 1997 Miami, and only reached 2 more tournament finals (1997 Cincinnati, 1998 Estoril). In 1999, he could barely win a match. After the 1999 French Open, he left tennis.

We can look at what happened to Hewitt after 2005, and what happened to Chang after 1997.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Federer was not injured throughout his career (with absences) the way Nadal allegedly has been. They are completely different players.

I agree with you that at age 29 with all that mileage there is going to be some physical and mental decline but IMO from what I am seeing right now with his game it appears to be more on the mental side of things.

We are going to find out in the next year. Sit tight.
I'm buckled in for the ride. Nadal's response to these problems should be fascinating.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Muster faded fast. After winning 1997 Miami, he was the clear world number 2, had gone 111-5 on clay in 1995-1996, and had won 21 tournaments in just over 2 years. He never won another tournament after 1997 Miami, and only reached 2 more tournament finals (1997 Cincinnati, 1998 Estoril). In 1999, he could barely win a match. After the 1999 French Open, he left tennis.

We can look at what happened to Hewitt after 2005, and what happened to Chang after 1997.
That's what I was getting at, and as I said, none quite as great as Nadal.
 

Mick

Legend
IMO, the real problem is Djokovic has become too good. Not only Nadal could not beat him the all the top players who have played Djokovic this year could not beat him.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Muster faded fast. After winning 1997 Miami, he was the clear world number 2, had gone 111-5 on clay in 1995-1996, and had won 21 tournaments in just over 2 years. He never won another tournament after 1997 Miami, and only reached 2 more tournament finals (1997 Cincinnati, 1998 Estoril). In 1999, he could barely win a match. After the 1999 French Open, he left tennis.

We can look at what happened to Hewitt after 2005, and what happened to Chang after 1997.
LOL @ comparing Muster, Hewitt and Chang to Nadal, an ATG.

Weren't you the one saying Nadal would win this FO come hell or high water again a few days ago? Now that he lost to Djokovic in the QF you are all of a sudden saying he is a cripple?
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
LOL @ comparing Muster, Hewitt and Chang to Nadal, an ATG.

Weren't you the one saying Nadal would win this FO come hell or high water again a few days ago? Now that he lost to Djokovic in the QF you are all of a sudden saying he is a cripple?
In all fairness, style and greatness don't have much if anything in common. If Nadal is burned out (I don't think he is, to be clear), it doesn't matter if he's an ATG or if he's Nadal, he can't do much about it short of maybe taking another break.

The comparison is made on styles not level of greatness.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Nadal is having an off season like Murray last year or Fed 2 years ago. The big question is whether he can come back in 2016, when he will be turning 30 or whether it will be a case of "basta, I've done enough already and my body/mind can't handle the challenge anymore".
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
i think he should get a sports psychologist and it would help if he developed some of that self assurance/overconfidence/arrogance that djokovic and federer (i think federer hides his) have...maybe uncle toni trained him to think of himself too modestly?
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
IMO, the real problem is Djokovic has become too good. Not only Nadal could not beat him the all the top players who have played Djokovic this year could not beat him.
Cool story bro. But Nadal has lost to 9 different players this year, not even all of them in top 10.
It's not 2011 anymore. This time it's about Nadal himself, not about Djoko.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
i think he should get a sports psychologist and it would help if he developed some of that self assurance/overconfidence/arrogance that djokovic and federer (i think federer hides his) have...maybe uncle toni trained him to think of himself too modestly?
He isnt as humble as some people thinks. I am saying it as a fan.
 

Mick

Legend
Cool story bro. But Nadal has lost to 9 different players this year, not even all of them in top 10.
It's not 2011 anymore. This time it's about Nadal himself, not about Djoko.
yeah but he kept on improving. He beat some good players at the French Open.
Had his QF opponent not been Djokovic, he probably could have made it to the Semi-Final

and that's my point. No matter how good you are, you run into Djokovic right now and you are toasted.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
In all fairness, style and greatness don't have much if anything in common. If Nadal is burned out (I don't think he is, to be clear), it doesn't matter if he's an ATG or if he's Nadal, he can't do much about it short of maybe taking another break.

The comparison is made on styles not level of greatness.
If he is not mentally motivated any longer he can't do much about it but if he still has the will he can do a lot about it.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
yeah but he kept on improving. He beat some good players at the French Open.
Had his QF not been Djokovic, he probably could have made it to the Semi-Final
Anyone maybe except Federer or Ferrer would beat him among the players who reached QF stage.
 

Mick

Legend
Anyone maybe except Federer or Ferrer would beat him among the players who reached QF stage.
i don't know. I think he could have a problem with Murray and Wawrinka but the rest, I think he could have beat them. Just my opinion.
 
N

Nathaniel_Near

Guest
IMO, the real problem is Djokovic has become too good. Not only Nadal could not beat him the all the top players who have played Djokovic this year could not beat him.
Yes, this is part of the problem. It's not like anybody else has been able to hang with Djokovic physically for the long haul either.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Yes, this is part of the problem. It's not like anybody else has been able to hang with Djokovic physically for the long haul either.
No it's not part of the problem. There are 8 other players out there Nadal could not "hang with". That goes way beyond the matchup with Djoko.
 

JustBob

Hall of Fame
It's called decline and no amount of psych therapy is going to change that.

There, I just saved Rafa thousands of dollars. :)
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
yeah but he kept on improving. He beat some good players at the French Open.
Had his QF opponent not been Djokovic, he probably could have made it to the Semi-Final

and that's my point. No matter how good you are, you run into Djokovic right now and you are toasted.
There is absolutely no guarantee he would have beaten either Murray or Wawa (who both tore him apart during clay season). He did not play good players before quarter at RG. He played the lowest ranked players of all the favorites by far. Then he played Sock, a completely inexperienced newbie at RG.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
on the bright side i think hes in a better space than a month or 2 ago (apart from his ranking falling..). i did notice though that djokovic looked MUCH physically fitter than nadal yesterday. i think murray is fitter too.
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
I think it's maybe 10% confidence related. The speed and patterns he has always relied on aren't helping him right now. He looks a little slower and that has nothing to do with confidence.
 

OddJack

G.O.A.T.
Sillyness confidence argument again.

29 is old in tennis age.

Old

Old

Old.

They said the same thing about Rodge at first. They quit finally. And that was Rodge with all his grace.
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
Federer was not injured throughout his career (with absences) the way Nadal allegedly has been. They are completely different players.

I agree with you that at age 29 with all that mileage there is going to be some physical and mental decline but IMO from what I am seeing right now with his game it appears to be more on the mental side of things.

We are going to find out in the next year. Sit tight.
I think we have been seeing a pattern for a while now. He has been losing matches he never used to lose to players that he has never lost to. This has been going on for well over a year.
 

NGM

Hall of Fame
Oh no, not "confidence" thing again.

I don't want to say anymore about his physical decline because it is too obvious to me. Nadal barely runs today compared with the running machine we saw 7 years ago. Now he has only "standing" forehand to rely on. That fearful running forehand down the line has gone for good.

What I want to address is how physical decline affect to Nadal's career. It has a scary meaning for Nadal, because he can not fix it by working harder. He can not become younger. He has to play smarter and differently which he has refused to do till date. Nadal does not want to adapt or he just can't? I don't know and I don't pay much attention because he is not my favorite. But he doesn't change, he doesn't survive. I just think that Nadal is not a type of person who is willing to change. An evidence for this is Nadal stays with Tony for his whole life, even when it becomes obvious that Tony can not give any fresh thought to his nephew anymore.

One thing I said long before that there was absolutely no dominant clay courter can play with success beyond their 30s. Their body is aging faster than their peers because of that infamous grinding style.
 
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