How can Rafa be more competitive against Nole on HC....

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
Serious question - looking for genuine answers and not trollling :) How can he change things?What tactics should he try?Or maybe he is doomed on HC?

Thiem, Med, Tsitsipas all present far greater difficulties against Nole on HC....Rafa can beat these guys on HC yet seems to have zero chance on HC against Nole....I understand about match ups but it’s kind of strange at this stage there is such a gap....What are they all doing and maybe Rafa isn’t doing on HC?I understand he can’t replicate their games but is there something he could look at and maybe employ?
 

Mike Sams

Legend
Serious question - looking for genuine answers and not trollling :) How can he change things?What tactics should he try?Or maybe he is doomed on HC?

Thiem, Med, Tsitsipas all present far greater difficulties against Nole on HC....Rafa can beat these guys on HC yet seems to have zero chance on HC against Nole....I understand about match ups but it’s kind of strange at this stage there is such a gap....What are they all doing and maybe Rafa isn’t doing on HC?I understand he can’t replicate their games but is there something he could look at and maybe employ?
Were all those matches easy for Nadal on HCs though? Medvedev, Thiem and Tsitsipas took Nadal to the brink in their more recent meetings on HC. Nadal didn't have it easy at all.
 

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
Were all those matches easy for Nadal on HCs though? Medvedev, Thiem and Tsitsipas took Nadal to the brink in their more recent meetings on HC. Nadal didn't have it easy at all.
You are dead right there but the gap seems enormous between Rafa and Nole on HC....I just saw Agut there and thought “even this guy gives Nole a better game on HC”....
 

Fabresque

Professional
He lets himself be controlled too easily, Novak pushes him back way too much and it’s almost easy for him to spank a winner. He needs to be more aggressive and less passive, and use the backhand more. Everytime he’s utilized a slice he’s been punished or on the back foot.

Use the backhand more, and don’t be afraid to whack the ball.
 

Fabresque

Professional
I think Rafa deserved a bit more in that second set, I thought he played much, much better. But Novak was clutch when it mattered, and Nadal couldn’t produce answers on the close points.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
It is the difference between an ATG and a crop which quality is still not there (nor it is clear whether it will ever be).

Other obvious reason is Djokovic's return game which puts Nadal immediately in disadvantage most of the time.

 

Chadwix

Rookie
Serious question - looking for genuine answers and not trollling :) How can he change things?What tactics should he try?Or maybe he is doomed on HC?

Thiem, Med, Tsitsipas all present far greater difficulties against Nole on HC....Rafa can beat these guys on HC yet seems to have zero chance on HC against Nole....I understand about match ups but it’s kind of strange at this stage there is such a gap....What are they all doing and maybe Rafa isn’t doing on HC?I understand he can’t replicate their games but is there something he could look at and maybe employ?
Recognize his massive shots and follow them into net. Djok always hits down the middle on defense/big points.

He can outrun defense at the baseline, but not if rafa is at net
 
Djokovic has been far too perfect in recent hardcourt matches but his level dipped in 2nd set and rafa almost got him, rafa should have been agressive on those 5-4,6-4 points in tiebreak since this matchup mentally is in djokovic's favour, nadal needs to be agressive to turn it around and he showed glimses of it in 2nd set but not on right momennts,still after the 1st set didn't expect such a well fought 2nd set so that's a positive but rafa needs to be agressive to have any chance to give djokovic a fight if they meet in final in aus open again otherwise it will ve another routine win straights for novak.
 

Tennis Rules

Semi-Pro
if nadal want to be competetiv against djokovic, in my opinon he must do:

during ralleys:

1. FTDL - he needs to be the first one who goes down the line - especially with the forehand, but backhand to
2. get rid off these defence slice balls in the middle off the court
3. get the position at basline

on return:
1. find a position near baseline, so djokovic can`t hit easy aces because of the given angles

on serve:
1. high percentige with slice
2. be ready for the first shot after serve...it comes mostly on the baseline with backhand (djokovic got an unbelievable length in his return again and again and again - but this shouldn´t surprise nadal over and over again)


i think he got this in him...and as more of my points will do nadal, he will get more into the mind of djokovic. THEN he will be competitiv and probably win!!!
 

Mike Sams

Legend
if nadal want to be competetiv against djokovic, in my opinon he must do:

during ralleys:

1. FTDL - he needs to be the first one who goes down the line - especially with the forehand, but backhand to
2. get rid off these defence slice balls in the middle off the court
3. get the position at basline

on return:
1. find a position near baseline, so djokovic can`t hit easy aces because of the given angles

on serve:
1. high percentige with slice
2. be ready for the first shot after serve...it comes mostly on the baseline with backhand (djokovic got an unbelievable length in his return again and again and again - but this shouldn´t surprise nadal over and over again)


i think he got this in him...and as more of my points will do nadal, he will get more into the mind of djokovic. THEN he will be competitiv and probably win!!!
Are you going to send all this to Nadal's Instagram? It's good information.
 

Robert Baratheon

Professional
Rafa can break Novak's FH with his FH DTL. Push him wide with CC FH and then rip the FH DTL.
Rafa definitely has a mental block against Novak. He is not confident enough in his abilities all of a sudden when he plays Novak off clay.

He is hitting short balls CC to Novak's BH and then Novak so easily either directs the ball DTL or hits it wide and deep CC.
Rafa has to play it on his terms.
Throw the FH DTL let Novak run and mostly Novak will hit back FH CC coz that's safer. In reply to that rip the BH DTL like old times. He did this on a few points and won.

And ofcourse there are the short returns courtesy of that atrocious return position.
He needs to solve that.
 
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kevaninho

Hall of Fame
He brought out the game in the 2nd set which he needs to use always.
Its simple in theory, but he also needs Djokovic not to be zoning. That's a fact.

He needs to stop going FH cross court all the time, which is what Djokovic wants. He needs the confidence to hit DTL which he done in the 2nd set today.
His serve needs to be on fire also, along with him being more aggressive and trying to S & V more. Again, he done more of all this and it worked in the 2nd set, although he still is running around for his life, whereas Djokovic is still seemingly in control.

He was able to play like this and win in his youth, as he had the legs for a defensive type of game. He doesn't anymore and that's his problem.
If hes not going to go out and attack, then Djokovic wins every time on a HC.

But like I said, its easy for all of us to say this.
 

K-H

Hall of Fame
Can't believe I'm saying it but I think @StrongRule might be right when she says how Djokovic's serve looks so much more impressive whenever he sees Nadal on the other side of the net these days. :giggle:
It looks that's way. Do you think novaks serve improves that much or rafas return is that bad.
 

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
He brought out the game in the 2nd set which he needs to use always.
Its simple in theory, but he also needs Djokovic not to be zoning. That's a fact.

He needs to stop going FH cross court all the time, which is what Djokovic wants. He needs the confidence to hit DTL which he done in the 2nd set today.
His serve needs to be on fire also, along with him being more aggressive and trying to S & V more. Again, he done more of all this and it worked in the 2nd set, although he still is running around for his life, whereas Djokovic is still seemingly in control.

He was able to play like this and win in his youth, as he had the legs for a defensive type of game. He doesn't anymore and that's his problem.
If hes not going to go out and attack, then Djokovic wins every time on a HC.

But like I said, its easy for all of us to say this.
The FH cross court drives me mad - literally what Nole wants...
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
Serious question - looking for genuine answers and not trollling :) How can he change things?What tactics should he try?Or maybe he is doomed on HC?

Thiem, Med, Tsitsipas all present far greater difficulties against Nole on HC....Rafa can beat these guys on HC yet seems to have zero chance on HC against Nole....I understand about match ups but it’s kind of strange at this stage there is such a gap....What are they all doing and maybe Rafa isn’t doing on HC?I understand he can’t replicate their games but is there something he could look at and maybe employ?
Hopefully this match and the changes he made in 2 set will be a confidence boost for Rafa doing the same if they meet in AO.
 

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
Hopefully this match and the changes he made in 2 set will be a confidence boost for Rafa doing the same if they meet in AO.
I am hoping the second set might give him confidence - not sure....I really feel Nole is just in cruise control against him on HC - kinda like he isn’t even playing a top 10 player....

In saying all that I don’t see Rafa playing Nole much this year - others like Med will get in the way :)
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
I am hoping the second set might give him confidence - not sure....I really feel Nole is just in cruise control against him on HC - kinda like he isn’t even playing a top 10 player....

In saying all that I don’t see Rafa playing Nole much this year - others like Med will get in the way :)
Novak has tailored his game to beat Rafa. Like Rafa tailored his to beat Fed. But as we know Fed came back.
Never underestimate Rafa! This match was an icebreaker on HC vs Novak this year. I still think Rafa has wins on HC vs Novak in him.
 

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
Novak has tailored his game to beat Rafa. Like Rafa tailored his to beat Fed. But as we know Fed came back.
Never underestimate Rafa! This match was an icebreaker on HC vs Novak this year. I still think Rafa has wins on HC vs Novak in him.
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Ummmmm....I certainly wouldn’t rule anything out with any of the big 3.....Just feels like gap is quite big...
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
@irishnadalfan1983
Do not lose focus here :-D
Novak is the fav for AO and he has been long time!!
We need 2 more slams and those will likely come in Paris and NY! Thats surfaces he is more comfy on while Novak has become more of a fast court player.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Serious question - looking for genuine answers and not trollling :) How can he change things?What tactics should he try?Or maybe he is doomed on HC?

Thiem, Med, Tsitsipas all present far greater difficulties against Nole on HC....Rafa can beat these guys on HC yet seems to have zero chance on HC against Nole....I understand about match ups but it’s kind of strange at this stage there is such a gap....What are they all doing and maybe Rafa isn’t doing on HC?I understand he can’t replicate their games but is there something he could look at and maybe employ?
play like Federer, take more balls on the rise
 

Rafaisdabest

Hall of Fame
Hit the balls deeper in the court and stop standing soooo far back on first and second serves. When Novak’s serve is on, he can’t afford to give him that much space.
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
Can't believe I'm saying it but I think @StrongRule might be right when she says how Djokovic's serve looks so much more impressive whenever he sees Nadal on the other side of the net these days. :giggle:
I know right. I actually thought that tonight. Serve was up and down all week and then when he played Nadal, he bombed ace after ace and even served bigger on the second serve. I have to say this one time they were right.
 

fundrazer

Legend
I know right. I actually thought that tonight. Serve was up and down all week and then when he played Nadal, he bombed ace after ace and even served bigger on the second serve. I have to say this one time they were right.
It probably helps that Nadal's return position is absolute garbage. I think the guys who are good at hitting their spots have a field day with that position, and Novak is pretty good at this.

See also the matches against Mueller, Cilic, and notably Federer.
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
It probably helps that Nadal's return position is absolute garbage. I think the guys who are good at hitting their spots have a field day with that position, and Novak is pretty good at this.

See also the matches against Mueller, Cilic, and notably Federer.
Yea he really has to change that return position against Djokovic if he wants to start beating him again on hardcourt. He was really close in that second set though and that was the best set he had played against Djokovic on hardcourt in a while.
 

King No1e

Legend
Why not USO 2010 and USO 2013?
Because Nadal isn't that fast anymore. Nadal has become a more "normal" player over time; all the distinct features (insane spin, consistency, superhuman speed, weak 1st serve, allergy to the net) of his usual game have been rounded out in the last couple years, which made him better against the general field but worse against elite competition.

USO10 Nadal had all the strengths of Peakdal (speed, consistency, spin, etc) but with the big serve and net game of current Nadal. The complete package. Which is why he won RG, W, and USO.
 

weakera

Legend
Because Nadal isn't that fast anymore. Nadal has become a more "normal" player over time; all the distinct features (insane spin, consistency, superhuman speed, weak 1st serve, allergy to the net) of his usual game have been rounded out in the last couple years, which made him better against the general field but worse against elite competition.
None of the changes Rafa has made to his game since 2018 have made him "worse" against "elite competition."
 
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