Nadal is one of a kind

ak24alive

Legend
Rafael Nadal adopts one tactic to beat players - Patrick Mouratoglou
Tennis - Serena Williams's coach analyzed the Spaniard's game


MAY 30, 2018 14:45
by LUIGI GATTO | VIEW 2943

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Patrick Mouratoglou analyzed Rafael Nadal's tactics on clay, admitting that Nadal's position in return games is the key. 'Rafa Nadal masters the game better than anyone,' Mouratoglou said on Eurosport.

'After all the guy has won the French 10 time – but how is able to break his opponents 45 times in a tournament like he did last year? Rafa's return strategy is far from being the most aggressive on tour – but it is lethal.

Nadal tends to stand really far from the baseline, slipping further and further every year. In 2015 he stood on average, 3.24m behind the baseline. In 2017, it was 4.39 m and this season he is 28 cm further back. How is this effective? It enables him to put the ball back in play every time.

He made 89% of first serve returns last year. By doing so he can take big swings at the ball, hitting his first serve return at a decent 113 km/h, which is faster than Alexander Zverev.'He also observed, 'On the second serve, he hit his forehand 59% of the time.

That's when trouble starts for his opponents. This is definitely the key to his success. In Monte Carlo, Rafa raised the trophy after winning the majority of points on his opponents' serve – 51% to be precise. If he sets the bar this high at Roland Garros this year, it will be impossible to prevent him winning an 11th title.'


In a pool of baseline bullies Nadl somehow stays one of a kind:cool:
 

Plamen1234

Hall of Fame
Whether he will dominate the matches like the last year - we will see.Bolelli in the first round put more fight against Nadal than all of his opponents the last year.And of course Nadal is lock on for RG title this year.If you look at RG history regarding Nadal there has been only one upset since he started playing there.For 13 years you had only one upset.From the current field I think nobody can beat Nadal at RG unless they are playing the best match of their life.
 

reaper

Legend
It's a measure of how mechanical many players are that not one of them (that I have seen) has tried a measure to counter Nadal's tactic. No one's altered their serving position (eg wider) to angle the serve off court, served short with no pace, served underarm or done anything at all to alter their approach. It might be that what they try doesn't work, but how will they ever know if they're too brain dead or insipid to try something? Just lambs to the slaughter.
 

Boom-Boom

Hall of Fame
It's a measure of how mechanical many players are that not one of them (that I have seen) has tried a measure to counter Nadal's tactic. No one's altered their serving position (eg wider) to angle the serve off court, served short with no pace, served underarm or done anything at all to alter their approach. It might be that what they try doesn't work, but how will they ever know if they're too brain dead or insipid to try something? Just lambs to the slaughter.
Fedr has the best slice serve on the deuce court
That’s one of the reasons he can hold serve against Rafa (of course it is more efficient on HC)
 

reaper

Legend
Fedr has the best slice serve on the deuce court
That’s one of the reasons he can hold serve against Rafa (of course it is more efficient on HC)
That's probably true. I wonder how many players spend an hour the day before a match against Nadal practicing their slice serve from various serving position. I don't know, but I suspect zero. Probably the only change they make to their normal routine is to find a left handed hitting partner.
 

Knightrider

Hall of Fame
I heard the commentators say the other day, that even Zverev as adopted the same strategy of returning from far back and then quickly moving up nearer to the baseline.
 

reaper

Legend
I heard the commentators say the other day, that even Zverev as adopted the same strategy of returning from far back and then quickly moving up nearer to the baseline.
His tactic in the second round seemed to be to stand a long way back to return then stay there.
 

Rafa's OCD

Semi-Pro
these "experts" need to make up their mind(s). in 2013 when he came back from injury and had something of a renaissance on the hard courts, his aggressive return of serve position was what was pointed to as the reason for his success. then, when he was struggling mightily in 2015, everyone was saying all the court position he was conceding on the return of serve was why he was getting beaten by everybody. now, returning serve from the coach's box is the reason he's beating everybody. uh huh.
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
23-10 ---> 23-15 after skipping clay for 3 years. According with this progression Fed will have a balanced H2H if he skips clay for the next 5 years. There is still hope for Fed fans.
Two years. Federer played on clay in 2016, but after Rome, he knew he could not compete in RG. Last year was the first time Federer played a season where he completely discarded clay court tennis.
 

Northern

Hall of Fame
yeah Nads is a clay specialist. breaking news.
Don't say dumb things. Nadal is not a "clay specialist" any more than Fed is a "grass specialist" or Djokovic is a "HC specialist." Neither of these guys are specialists of any surface. Having a stronger surface doesn't mean you are a specialist. Not anymore. That stopped around the turn of the century. Blame surface homogeneization or poly strings.
 

skip1969

Legend
A strategy that, 20 plus years ago, could only have reaped rewards on clay. But thanks (in part) to surface homogenization, it's a strategy that can work year round (but still best on clay).

Effective, yes. Exciting, no. In my opinion.
 

Boom-Boom

Hall of Fame
Don't say dumb things. Nadal is not a "clay specialist" any more than Fed is a "grass specialist" or Djokovic is a "HC specialist." Neither of these guys are specialists of any surface. Having a stronger surface doesn't mean you are a specialist. Not anymore. That stopped around the turn of the century. Blame surface homogeneization or poly strings.
he’s a moonballing grinding unidimensional clay specialist, let’s face it.

he’s only intrinsic quality is he is a (fake) lefty.
 

Boom-Boom

Hall of Fame
A strategy that, 20 plus years ago, could only have reaped rewards on clay. But thanks (in part) to surface homogenization, it's a strategy that can work year round (but still best on clay).

Effective, yes. Exciting, no. In my opinion.
exactly - Nads is basically a boosted (with a few TUEs) version of Muster. would have won a few slams (100% FO of course) in the 90’s
 

skip1969

Legend
Don't say dumb things. Nadal is not a "clay specialist" any more than Fed is a "grass specialist" or Djokovic is a "HC specialist." Neither of these guys are specialists of any surface. Having a stronger surface doesn't mean you are a specialist. Not anymore. That stopped around the turn of the century. Blame surface homogeneization or poly strings.
I mean, it's just semantics, but if Nadal isn't a clay "specialist" then he's certainly a clay courter. Court homogenization has led to all the other surfaces being less unique. But clay still plays like clay.

It's the other surfaces that have come to mimic clay . . . not the sliding, of course, but the high, true bounces and the slower paced courts. So clay specialists still are alive and well. It's the grass specialists and hard court specialists that have died a slow death. Because the assets to "specializing" on grass and hard - big serve, good volleys, slice, chip and charge, serve and volley - those tools are no longer necessary to succeed on grass and hard.

In essence, everyone plays a clay courter's game year round. And the best clay courter on the planet, Nadal, is the one who beats them all on clay. I'd say he's a specialist then.

A tour specialist (on today's tour) is, in fact, a clay specialist by default. Because you don't need to be a grass or hard court "specialist" to succeed on tour. But being a clay "specialist" sure does help.
 

Northern

Hall of Fame
I mean, it's just semantics, but if Nadal isn't a clay "specialist" then he's certainly a clay courter. Court homogenization has led to all the other surfaces being less unique. But clay still plays like clay.

It's the other surfaces that have come to mimic clay . . . not the sliding, of course, but the high, true bounces and the slower paced courts. So clay specialists still are alive and well. It's the grass specialists and hard court specialists that have died a slow death. Because the assets to "specializing" on grass and hard - big serve, good volleys, slice, chip and charge, serve and volley - those tools are no longer necessary to succeed on grass and hard.

In essence, everyone plays a clay courter's game year round. And the best clay courter on the planet, Nadal, is the one who beats them all on clay. I'd say he's a specialist then.

A tour specialist (on today's tour) is, in fact, a clay specialist by default. Because you don't need to be a grass or hard court "specialist" to succeed on tour. But being a clay "specialist" sure does help.
I think you are oversimplifying things. The surface is only a part of the equation, and the change in strings is probably more important. But to say that Nadal is a "clay court specialist" is simply not true. Nadal is great at the net, has extremely good passing shots, and qualities like these are not what you expect from a "clay specialist." More accurate is to say that the game has moved into a predominantly baseline-oriented game. Federer is a baseliner, just like Nadal is. He is a more aggressive baseliner with a far superior serve, and that's what has made him superior on grass (vs Nadal, who is usually more defensive, but one of the best counterstrike defenders tennis has ever seen.)

The term "tour specialist" is an oxymoron. It's like calling someone a "universal specialist." It simply doesn't make sense. The tour has shifted to a baseline-oriented game, and within the spectrum of baseline play Nadal's game is more suited for clay, whereas Federer's is more suited for grass and hard.
 

Northern

Hall of Fame
57/78 titles on clay I believe it is.. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Well, doesn't that mean he has 21/78 titles outside clay, with two of the greatest grass/HC players in history around? Now, think about it. Does that spell to you "clay specialist"?

Clay specialist is somebody like Muster or Bruguera.. They are an extinct species. The same way grass specialists don't exist anymore. Everybody plays baseline tennis within a given spectrum, but more or less the same.

Do you think a "clay specialist" would really be able to beat the presumed "grass GOAT" in Wimbledon?

You seem to derive some perverse pleasure from assigning Nadal the tag of "clay specialist," not realizing that in doing so you are demeaning Federer, who lost to this so-called clay specialist at Wimbledon, in what many considered the best slam Final ever (and certainly one of the most memorable.)
 

skip1969

Legend
I think you are oversimplifying things. The surface is only a part of the equation, and the change in strings is probably more important. But to say that Nadal is a "clay court specialist" is simply not true. Nadal is great at the net, has extremely good passing shots, and qualities like these are not what you expect from a "clay specialist." More accurate is to say that the game has moved into a predominantly baseline-oriented game. Federer is a baseliner, just like Nadal is. He is a more aggressive baseliner with a far superior serve, and that's what has made him superior on grass (vs Nadal, who is usually more defensive, but one of the best counterstrike defenders tennis has ever seen.)

The term "tour specialist" is an oxymoron. It's like calling someone a "universal specialist." It simply doesn't make sense. The tour has shifted to a baseline-oriented game, and within the spectrum of baseline play Nadal's game is more suited for clay, whereas Federer's is more suited for grass and hard.
I recognize that there are other factors involved which have led to the ATP tour becoming what it is today, essentially a grinder's tour. But surface is key. It is key because the slowing down of traditionally faster surfaces has given players the one thing they didn't have before: time. In that sense, strings, racquet head size, all the other factors pale in comparison. There was a time when if you played on grass, you didn't have time to win long rallies. You didn't have the bounce, either. But you most certainly didn't have time. So someone like Nadal with his huge swings would never have succeeded. Clay was slow, grass was fast, and the hardcourts were the equalizer.

I think you feel that a term like "clay court specialist" is somehow demeaning. But it's not. A clay court specialist was someone who honed their game to suit the surface to perfection, resulting in massive success on the dirt. There's nothing disparaging about it.

A term like "tour specialist" is something I just made up out of thin air. But it makes perfect sense to me. Because last era's "clay court specialist" is this era's "tour specialist." Essentially, you're talking about the same player with the same game, who has morphed into the type of player who can have great success on today's tour. Replace the words "clay court specialist" with "baseliner" or "grinder" or "pusher" . . . whatever. It's basically all the same today. Because that is the predominant style of play on tour. And it has become the predominant style because the tour killed off the essential components to other styles succeeding, faster courts and lower bounces.

In another post, you mention guys like Muster and Brugera. I'd venture a guess that if they were on tour today, they too would have success on the other surfaces (when back then, they primarily had success on one). And you know why? Because today they would have the one thing they didn't have when they were on tour. Time.
 
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skip1969

Legend
Do you think a "clay specialist" would really be able to beat the presumed "grass GOAT" in Wimbledon?
On today's tour, yes. Whereas 25 years ago, the answer would be resounding no.

That's all one needs to know about where the tour is today. There isn't a week during the entire tennis calendar when a clay court specialist is at a disadvantage. Never.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
This strategy might be lethal, but only works so well for The Mutant due to his opposable big toes, which allow for traction and acceleration that normal humans do not possess.

His other secret which allows him to cover deep angles so well is the counter balancing provided by his vestigial tail, but it gets caught in his shorts all the time which is why he is picking at arse so often.
 

Northern

Hall of Fame
I recognize that there are other factors involved which have led to the ATP tour becoming what it is today, essentially a grinder's tour. But surface is key. It is key because the slowing down of traditionally faster surfaces have given players the one thing they didn't have before: time. In that sense, strings, racquet head size, all the other factors pale in comparison. There was a time when if you played on grass, you didn't have time to win long rallies. You didn't have the bounce, either. But you most certainly didn't have time. So someone like Nadal with his huge swings would never have succeeded. Clay was slow, grass was fast, and the hardcourts were the equalizer.

I think you feel that a term like "clay court specialist" is somehow demeaning. But it's not. A clay court specialist was someone who honed their game to suit the surface to perfection, resulting in massive success on the dirt. There's nothing disparaging about it.

A term like "tour specialist" is something I just made up out of thin air. But it makes perfect sense to me. Because last era's "clay court specialist" is this era's "tour specialist." Essentially, you're talking about the same player with the same game, who has morphed into the type of player who can have great success on today's tour. Replace the words "clay court specialist" with "baseliner" or "grinder" or "pusher" . . . whatever. It's basically all the same today. Because that is the predominant style of play on tour. And it has become the predominant style because the tour killed off the essential components to other styles succeeding, faster courts and lower bounces.

In another post, you mention guys like Muster and Brugera. I'd venture a guess that if they were on tour today, they too would have success on the other surfaces (when back then, they primarily had success on one). And you know why? Because today they would have the one thing they didn't have when they were on tour. Time.
I can see what you are saying, that's actually a reasonable point of view. Unfortunately, it makes it hard to compare Wimbledon titles from 20+ years ago to current Wimbledon titles, for example. In the end, the best players adapt to the conditions that are given to them.

By Nadal making clay the core of his resume, this influenced his style (the huge FH swing you mention, his more defensive approach compared to someone like Federer, etc) in ways that obviously marked his potential evolution in other surfaces. But the same could be said of Federer. If surfaces hadn't changed, perhaps we would see people like Isner and Raonic taking more of the "fast" slams, and Federer wouldn't have been so successful either. People like Henman, who were true S/V specialists and who had great success against Federer before surfaces were gradually slowed might have done better than him as well. It is easy to speculate, but it is hard to predict.

Are Nadal and Djokovic "pushers"? Is Federer? I don't think so. I don't think of Nadal or Djokovic as "pushers" or "grinders." They are more defensive than Federer for sure, but they have incredible weapons that preclude any consideration we can make of them using those two terms (which, yes, have a negative connotation.)
 
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