Nadal is returning close to the baseline o_O

TheF1Bob

Banned
He's deploying this now just in time for Novak I think.

It could be to do with being a a HC as well?
 

Antonio Puente

Hall of Fame
Trying to end the points quicker as well. He certainly wasn't painting the lines and running Janowicz from side-to-side, as you might expect.
 

90's Clay

Banned
Amazing.. I thought hard courts is where Nadal would seriously decline first. He looks hungry and motivated after that pathetic first round loss at wimbledon'

If he can close the year out at 13 slams, Fed look out!!!
 

Antonio Puente

Hall of Fame
Amazing.. I thought hard courts is where Nadal would seriously decline first. He looks hungry and motivated after that pathetic first round loss at wimbledon'

If he can close the year out at 13 slams, Fed look out!!!

To me, he appears to be on about the same level he was at Indian Wells, meaning he has a good shot to win any of these hard court tournaments, which shouldn't shock anyone.
 

Clarky21

Banned
Were you not impressed that he was returning that close to the baseline, against a big server at that?.

Not really because he while he returned ok(even though he, as usual, wasted a ton of BP chances), everything else was bad. It was like he was terrified to hit through the ball today and go for his shots. His passiveness and lack of aggression will send him home sooner rather than later. That type of stuff won't cut it on hardcourts.
 

Crisstti

Legend
Not really because he while he returned ok(even though he, as usual, wasted a ton of BP chances), everything else was bad. It was like he was terrified to hit through the ball today and go for his shots. His passiveness and lack of aggression will send him home sooner rather than later. That type of stuff won't cut it on hardcourts.

So you did appreciate his return, I'll take it :)

Cannot comment much about the rest, I've only seen a part of the match.

I'll give you that yesterday he himself didn't seem too impressed with his performance.
 
So you did appreciate his return, I'll take it :)

Cannot comment much about the rest, I've only seen a part of the match.

I'll give you that yesterday he himself didn't seem too impressed with his performance.

i thought he played pretty well... did not really controlled the match but his movement looks pretty solid. which is most important to him anyway.
 
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
This proves that Nadal is still in his hard court prime.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
He won IW, no? What more proof do people need? If he won 1 master on hard this year, he can win more, no doubt. He looks in great shape. His only problem nowadays is grass.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
He may be starting a brand new prime on hard actually. Won the only event he played there this year and looks like the overwhelming favorite in Canada at this point. We could be looking at a perfect 100 winning % on the surface for 2013 in just a few days :p
 
6

6-3 6-0

Guest
We could be looking at a perfect 100 winning % on the surface for 2013 in just a few days :p

LOL, please! He is 27 and not the RNadal we have seen before. I am sure he will be participating in the USO, there's very little chance that he will beat NDjokovic there. Even AMurray or any big server/big hitter may take him out in one of the early rounds.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
LOL, please! He is 27 and not the RNadal we have seen before. I am sure he will be participating in the USO, there's very little chance that he will beat NDjokovic there. Even AMurray or any big server/big hitter may take him out in one of the early rounds.
We'll see. So far I'm not that impressed with either Murray's or Djoko's form and the USO is in about 2 weeks.
 

THE FIGHTER

Hall of Fame
it's funny that 2-3 years ago, masters didnt matter very much, barring the the Real Slam of course.

Cincinnati followed by AO, RG, W, and USO were the only tournaments that mattered. results at masters were moot.
 
M

monfed

Guest
Murray is in his usual post-slam funk mode and Novak isn't in the best of form, dropped a set to Istomin plus after that loss to Ralph at RG he maynot have the mental edge he had over him in 2011 and the early part of 2012,we'll know this for sure in Montreal and USO. So you can't pencil in Murray/Novak as the favourite for the USO so outside these two Ralph is the clear favourite,can't see any of the big servers/hitters apart from Delpo eliminating Ralph.
So yes I'd be very surprised if Ralph didn't make atleast the SF of the USO. Unbelievable, even after 9 years of winning his first slam with the most physical game ever ,there's no drastic slowdown in his movement, he still makes nigh impossible gets even on HC. Boggles the mind,really.

Oh about the topic, if Ralph plays a baseline-hugging style game he will lose to Novak,that's for sure so I'm quite confident he'll revert to his usual claycourt style tennis against him,defending and moonballing from 10ft behind the baseline.
 
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CMM

Legend
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veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Weird. It looks like he was closer to the line to return 1st serve than 2nd serve. I would have thought the opposite.
 

cjs

Professional
Weird. It looks like he was closer to the line to return 1st serve than 2nd serve. I would have thought the opposite.

He took first serves early, punching them back pretty flat. Second serves he generally stood further back to take a big swing at the ball with more topspin on his return.

There were three things about his play today that I observed:
1. He was victim to the drop shot over and over and he looks slower around the court in general. Having said that his knee wasn't taped and he wasn't limping. He doesn't seem to throw himself around the court like he did when he was younger.
2. His slice backhand tended to be a bit choppy and float rather than skid and cut low. I'm not sure if it was a deliberate tactic or he was just hitting his slice backhand poorly.
3. He was quite conservative with his forehand. I've always thought the older Nadal gets the more he should really start to shorten points by being more aggressive with his forehand.
 

Tennis_Monk

Hall of Fame
He took first serves early, punching them back pretty flat. Second serves he generally stood further back to take a big swing at the ball with more topspin on his return.

There were three things about his play today that I observed:
1. He was victim to the drop shot over and over and he looks slower around the court in general. Having said that his knee wasn't taped and he wasn't limping. He doesn't seem to throw himself around the court like he did when he was younger.
2. His slice backhand tended to be a bit choppy and float rather than skid and cut low. I'm not sure if it was a deliberate tactic or he was just hitting his slice backhand poorly.
3. He was quite conservative with his forehand. I've always thought the older Nadal gets the more he should really start to shorten points by being more aggressive with his forehand.

Good observations. I agree.

I felt like he was easing into the HC rhythm. When he was down on the score board , he didnt appear too concerned almost making me believe he kinda knew whats happening out there and his ability to come through.
 

Incognito

Legend
I never doubted that he is capable of returning from the baseline. He does that against people like llodra, stepanek, haas types of players.

Anyway, Nadal didn't look good out there, still very rusty and movement is sub-par. Jerzy had like 10 dropshot winners lol. Nadal is slow. Backhand is terrible, slices are loopy like his cc fh. Clarky21 is right.
 

cjs

Professional
Good observations. I agree.

I felt like he was easing into the HC rhythm. When he was down on the score board , he didnt appear too concerned almost making me believe he kinda knew whats happening out there and his ability to come through.

What did surprise me was Nadal's reaction when he finally won. He seemed really pumped and ecstatic. The win meant a lot to him. He's obviously very motivated to do well through the HC season.
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
Canada generally is a little slower playing than Cincy and Flushing Meadows, no? I think of the three big HC tournaments in the summer, this one favors Rafa the most.

I'm not sure I thought he was as great as some did yesterday.

That said, only a fool would write him off in any tournament when he's healthy. He's the #3 pick behind Djokovic and Murray. I just think those two are in their primes right now and it is going to be hard for anyone to go through them to win a HC major.

Nadal and Delpo are the only two guys who wouldn't surprise me with a win in the USO.
 

Murrayfan31

Hall of Fame
Canada generally is a little slower playing than Cincy and Flushing Meadows, no? I think of the three big HC tournaments in the summer, this one favors Rafa the most.

I'm not sure I thought he was as great as some did yesterday.

That said, only a fool would write him off in any tournament when he's healthy. He's the #3 pick behind Djokovic and Murray. I just think those two are in their primes right now and it is going to be hard for anyone to go through them to win a HC major.

Nadal and Delpo are the only two guys who wouldn't surprise me with a win in the USO.
It used to be that way. But the US Open has definitely slowed down the last few years. Cincy by far the fastest of the 3 now imo.
 

MLB_MOB

Banned
Weird. It looks like he was closer to the line to return 1st serve than 2nd serve. I would have thought the opposite.

Jerzy's 1st serve is harder and more flat, so Nadal is able to step in and catch the ball in his plow zone. Returning closer to the line on the 1st serve was a really smart move on his part that way he doesnt get pulled around with the angles. The 2nd serve however is a monster kick serve that can get over Nadal's head if he were to stand directly on the baseline. Hence why he had to take a few steps back.

I am in no way shape or form a fan of Nadal, I respect how hard he competes but dear lord is his normal style of play boring and a hinderence to the game. That being said I was actually impressed with the way Nadal played today (contradictory to what Clarky believes) he made a bunch more unforced errors compared to normal however he was being a lot more aggressive than he usually is. And when you go for a big shot of course you mess up a few more times, just the way it is. Overall I think playing like this is a better alternative as to playing how he normally would on hardcourts.

People don't realize that grinding on hardtop is probably the worst thing for your knees in tennis. I did it for the first few years in college and my knees in a world of hurt. It wasn't until I started to be more aggressive and kept the points shorter that I started to feel much better physically.
 

benxuan

New User
beg to differ. he don't even play as well as he used to be. The old Nadal don't get caught by that many drop shots so easily.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Thank you guys for the great technical analysis. And constructive criticism is always a pleasure to read. I agree that Rafa doesn't throw himself around the court the way he used to when he was younger. He's more discriminatory about which shot to go to. I hope he'll keep up his aggressiveness in the next rounds.
 

BeHappy

Hall of Fame
Nadal can't grind anymore. He still has his speed but he can only use it a few times a match without aggravating his knee. Luckily he still has one of the best forehands in the world to fall back on and he's left handed, so he's having a second career as a left handed Moya, which should give him a second lease of life.
 

Clarky21

Banned
And this is a 47 year old married man...
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picture-5448_zps8178c3a8.jpg.html
picture-5448_zps8178c3a8.jpg.html

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I don't think Nadal has faced a solid opponent here yet. So I'm not sure how he will fare against Djokovic.

Yeah, because Cvac has had it so much tougher facing two straight mugs while Nadal had to beat Jerzy just to make the quarters.

Nadal can't grind anymore. He still has his speed but he can only use it a few times a match without aggravating his knee. Luckily he still has one of the best forehands in the world to fall back on and he's left handed, so he's having a second career as a left handed Moya, which should give him a second lease of life.


Have you spoken with Nadal lately since you seem to know what's he's thinking at any given moment?
 

BeHappy

Hall of Fame
Have you spoken with Nadal lately since you seem to know what's he's thinking at any given moment?

He only runs fast 2-3 times a match, has a knee injury and is being much more aggressive, why would I need to ask him if those things are connected?
 
T

TheMagicianOfPrecision

Guest
Nadal is a mystery. . . He shows up a couple of times a year and wins lots of tournaments, and then he disappears and does...who knows right...
 

Clarky21

Banned
He only runs fast 2-3 times a match, has a knee injury and is being much more aggressive, why would I need to ask him if those things are connected?

What do you want him to do? Run at a full sprint the entire match, even if he doesn't have to?
 

The_Order

G.O.A.T.
He only runs fast 2-3 times a match, has a knee injury and is being much more aggressive, why would I need to ask him if those things are connected?

Before this year, he hadn't won a HC title for quite a while.

Sure he was making finals but to beat guys like Djokovic and now Murray on a HC, I think he and his team have realised he has to play more aggressive.

You can't just turn that on in one match, you need to practice it in real match situations. The plus side of it, is that it will be less stressful to the knees as well.

As for him slowing down, did you even watch the match with JJ? Jerzy was hitting the DS incredibly well, many times ball bouncing twice before going past the service line, on some occasions even 3 bounces before. Those are incredibly hard to chase down on a faster HC like at Montreal.

I think Nadal is being smart and picking his moments to chase down balls. When he was younger he'd chase anything, even if it was unrealistic that he would be able to do anything meaningful if he got to the ball. Now he's more experienced and he knows when to chase and when it's better off not to.
 

RNadal

Professional
I have to say that I get baffled every time that people comes with this "Nadal has declined" theory. I fully understand some fans that enjoyed his old defensive style, chasing every single ball and stuff. So what? How many slams that earned him on non-clay surfaces? In my opinion 2010 to this moment is where he has played his best tennis overall, not speaking about specific characteristics of his game. Thing is he had some bad injuries during this period, and on top of that, he is a player that needs more confidence than the rest of the top guys, in order to play at a good level. I'm not saying that he's going to win a bucket load of slams from now on, but you have got to admit that he's playing smarter and a more complete game as of now. Hope this translates in good results for him.
 
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