Nadal revolutionalized grass tennis

Nadal's progress on grass over the past three years has been obvious. He steps closer to the baseline, he volleys better, he slices, he serves better, etc. However, the fundamentals of his game remains the same, that is, the extreme FH top spins . This is the shot that I think has revolutionalized grass tennis. Before the thinking was that you must hit flat on grass as the ball skids. Nadal showed that although extreme top spins don't kick up nearly as high as on clay, the sheer spinning of the ball itself can make it difficult for the opponent to hit offensive shots and cause errors.

And watching those slow motions, I'm not sure if the hit-up-and-around forehand is bad for the shoulder/elbow as some asserted. It looks like it allows longer distance for the arm to decelerate, therefore, putting less stretch on the outer side of the arm.
 

veritech

Hall of Fame
yeah, it's credible. but you can also argue that grass conditions revolutionized grass tennis.
 

Bassus

Rookie
All credit to Nadal. He is now the best player in the world. The way he has changed his game for grass is impressive.

But the change in grass has probably as much to do with it as Nadal himself. Wimbledon wanted play from the baseline and an end to one-three shot tennis, and they have gotten it. Of course, with the lack of serve and volleyers in the game, Nadal likely would have become a challenger/champion even on the old grass, but his amazing defensive abilities would not be as effective on the old grass.
 

Stchamps

Banned
All credit to Nadal. He is now the best player in the world. The way he has changed his game for grass is impressive.

But the change in grass has probably as much to do with it as Nadal himself. Wimbledon wanted play from the baseline and an end to one-three shot tennis, and they have gotten it. Of course, with the lack of serve and volleyers in the game, Nadal likely would have become a challenger/champion even on the old grass, but his amazing defensive abilities would not be as effective on the old grass.

I won't consider him the best until he proves himself on hard courts. After all they are like half the year.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
Wimbledon grass is slower than US open hardcourts now...
No it isn't. Nadal is much more breakable on hardcourts. The lefty spin allows him a lot more free points on grass. Plus the unpredictable bounces makes it harder for players to attack Nadal. Grass court tennis is big serving and slightly safer baseline play while hardcourts give players that hit flat a lot more comfort.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Nadal plays like a cartoon character. His pasing shots are the best I have ever seen. The only other place I duplicated shots like that are on a video game using the cheat code. Crazy.
 
Wimbledon grass has been slowed down on purpose so Nadal has "revolutionized" nothing.
He plays basically the same in Wimbledon as in Roland Garros.
He stands further back behind baseline in Paris and comes to net once in a great while when in Wimbledon.
Does that make him "revolutionary"? I don't see it.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
U would have to be stupid if u think wimbledon is faster then the U.S Open.Now after what i saw today.
I think you need to stop determining Nadal's success with the speed of the court. Fed looked like Sampras for the last 3 sets so Nadal was very fortunate to finally get a break in that 5th set. More predictable bounce=bigger shot. US Open allows for players to get more powerful shots off the baseline. Wind, extreme temperatures, unpredictable bounces, and slippery surfaces all favor Nadal. ;)
 

cpfan1

New User
Hello everyone.

Not only is the grass these days slower than the hardcourts. It's more responsive to Nadal's spin and kick serve. Nadal's shots do not have nearly the same bite on the hardcourts.

The grass was so much faster in the 70's and 80's. Which makes Borg's 5 W's and 6 FO's all the more impressive. And he had more serve and volleyers to contend with on the grass back then.
 

PGSanta76

Rookie
I don't understand why he is not as effective on hardcourts. Does anybody know what Nadal would have to do now to gain the number 1 spot?

I think it's a combination of things, but mostly:

1. The true bounce of a hard court counters the incredibly heavy spin he hits from the baseline.

2. One of the biggest pieces of his game is the level of his physical play, and his movement/recovery is key; movement on a hard-court is less important than it is on grass or clay. Before people jump all over this, I'm not saying movement isn't important on a hard-court, I'm saying that the advantage Nadal enjoys over the field in the relative level of his physical ability is somewhat negated on a hard-court. Simply put, it takes less to move about a hard-court than grass/clay.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
Nadal's progress on grass over the past three years has been obvious. He steps closer to the baseline, he volleys better, he slices, he serves better, etc. However, the fundamentals of his game remains the same, that is, the extreme FH top spins . This is the shot that I think has revolutionalized grass tennis. Before the thinking was that you must hit flat on grass as the ball skids. Nadal showed that although extreme top spins don't kick up nearly as high as on clay, the sheer spinning of the ball itself can make it difficult for the opponent to hit offensive shots and cause errors.

And watching those slow motions, I'm not sure if the hit-up-and-around forehand is bad for the shoulder/elbow as some asserted. It looks like it allows longer distance for the arm to decelerate, therefore, putting less stretch on the outer side of the arm.

I tend to agree with most of this... however on runaround forehands... he should practice hitting flatter so the opponent can't run the balls down and make him hit another shot. They simply kept bouncing too high and Federer returned shots that should have skidded away. Federer's forehand is better suited to grass, currently. I think Nadal will probably adapt, though.
 

PGSanta76

Rookie
Hello everyone.

Not only is the grass these days slower than the hardcourts. It's more responsive to Nadal's spin and kick serve. Nadal's shots do not have nearly the same bite on the hardcourts.

The grass was so much faster in the 70's and 80's. Which makes Borg's 5 W's and 6 FO's all the more impressive. And he had more serve and volleyers to contend with on the grass back then.

Believe me his shots have bite on a hard-court, it's the consistant bounce that is the difference.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
I think it's a combination of things, but mostly:

1. The true bounce of a hard court counters the incredibly heavy spin he hits from the baseline.

2. One of the biggest pieces of his game is the level of his physical play, and his movement/recovery is key; movement on a hard-court is less important than it is on grass or clay. Before people jump all over this, I'm not saying movement isn't important on a hard-court, I'm saying that the advantage Nadal enjoys over the field in the relative level of his physical ability is somewhat negated on a hard-court. Simply put, it takes less to move about a hard-court than grass/clay.
I actually think Nadal moves better on grass and clay. The surface has less friction so Nadal doesn't suffer from all the pounding he does on the surfaces like on hardcourt. Clay is where he grew up and hardcourts are almost the complete opposites of how it is to play on clay.
 

ayodan

New User
I actually think Nadal moves better on grass and clay. The surface has less friction so Nadal doesn't suffer from all the pounding he does on the surfaces like on hardcourt. Clay is where he grew up and hardcourts are almost the complete opposites of how it is to play on clay.


Actually, grass is the opposite. The difference that you're talking about might be the fact that clay is softer and therefore easier on his knees. He didn't revolutionize grass by the way. Grass has just gotten slower, adjusting well to fit his game.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Nadal will be a force this year on hard courts as well.

His ability to attack the mid court ball is unmatched on the tour and is only surpassed by his ability to defend the mid ct. attacks by all opponents. This advantage will carry to the hard courts as well, even if it is not quite the advantage it is on clay and grass.
from,
a big Fed fan who is very sad today
 

The-Champ

Legend
Wimbledon grass has been slowed down on purpose so Nadal has "revolutionized" nothing.
He plays basically the same in Wimbledon as in Roland Garros.
He stands further back behind baseline in Paris and comes to net once in a great while when in Wimbledon.
Does that make him "revolutionary"? I don't see it.


Had he played the same as in Roland Garros, the score would have been
61 63 60
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
Actually, grass is the opposite. The difference that you're talking about might be the fact that clay is softer and therefore easier on his knees. He didn't revolutionize grass by the way. Grass has just gotten slower, adjusting well to fit his game.
I'm not going by the speed or height of the ball. I'm going by the movement and there isn't that much difference in the movement from clay to grass. The higher bounce helps as well but Nadal's movement on clay is remarkable and he can bring a lot of that great movement onto grass but not on hardcourts.
 

FedForGOAT

Professional
I think it's a combination of things, but mostly:

1. The true bounce of a hard court counters the incredibly heavy spin he hits from the baseline.

2. One of the biggest pieces of his game is the level of his physical play, and his movement/recovery is key; movement on a hard-court is less important than it is on grass or clay. Before people jump all over this, I'm not saying movement isn't important on a hard-court, I'm saying that the advantage Nadal enjoys over the field in the relative level of his physical ability is somewhat negated on a hard-court. Simply put, it takes less to move about a hard-court than grass/clay.

Great assessment, IMO. I think that grass allows the ball to sink in and jump forward rather than up. On hardcourts, estreme topspin sits up and can be punished.
 

FedForGOAT

Professional
I'm not going by the speed or height of the ball. I'm going by the movement and there isn't that much difference in the movement from clay to grass. The higher bounce helps as well but Nadal's movement on clay is remarkable and he can bring a lot of that great movement onto grass but not on hardcourts.

I agree in general. I still think he can move very well on HC, but it takes a toll on his body. But I agree his movement is more fluid on the natural surfaces. Also, as previously mentioned, almost all players can move well on HC, so he has a much smaller advantage.
 

carlos djackal

Professional
Nope changes in the grass courts has something to do with it......it suits his game more and S&V players are not abound these days....if S&V players in the level of Sampras, Edberg, Becker are abound today it would have been a different story......but still hats off to Nadal..
 

ayodan

New User
I agree in general. I still think he can move very well on HC, but it takes a toll on his body. But I agree his movement is more fluid on the natural surfaces. Also, as previously mentioned, almost all players can move well on HC, so he has a much smaller advantage.

i did say that the hard courts would be more physically taxing. And Nadal moves well on any surface because of his speed, but that doesn't mean he will win the US. Djokovic and Federer are much better hard court players than Nadal.
 

ttbrowne

Hall of Fame
"revolutionalized"

He's won Wimbledon ONCE and he's "revolutionalized" grass tennis.

No, Bub...Talk to me when he wins 4 more.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
i did say that the hard courts would be more physically taxing. And Nadal moves well on any surface because of his speed, but that doesn't mean he will win the US. Djokovic and Federer are much better hard court players than Nadal.
I would give them the slight edge but I wouldn't go as far as saying they are much better. Nadal can still improve a lot as well on hardcourts. Better results on hardcourts than Fed so far this year.
 

diggler

Hall of Fame
Hewitt won a Wimbledon final without a single serve volley. Wasn't that the start of new grasscourt tennis?
 

dysonlu

Professional
Hold your horses, buddy. Revolutionalized? If he wins the next 5 Wimbledon and beat Federer several times in the process, then maybe.

Boy, how people are so quick at over-hyping things.
 

Zaragoza

Banned
Nadal's progress on grass over the past three years has been obvious. He steps closer to the baseline, he volleys better, he slices, he serves better, etc. However, the fundamentals of his game remains the same, that is, the extreme FH top spins .

I think Nadal has progressed on grass because he doesn´t rely on his topspin forehand as much as he did in the past. As you said he improved his serve and volleys but you forgot his backhand. His backhand is way better than 3 years ago and it´s not just a defensive shot, it has become a weapon almost as big as his forehand. And his serve can be a weapon at times. The accurate placement of his kick serve is enough for him to start controlling the point and he also added some power to his 1st serve. Also, he has amazing hands to hit shots that other players can only dream about.
He became the best player on grass by adding more variety and weapons to his game, his forehand is the same than 3 years ago. So I don´t think extreme topspin is the key here and it won´t be the pattern to dominate on grass. You need more variety and the talent of Nadal.
 

Zaragoza

Banned
The grass was so much faster in the 70's and 80's. Which makes Borg's 5 W's and 6 FO's all the more impressive. And he had more serve and volleyers to contend with on the grass back then.

Do you think this is much faster than the current grass? I think it looked more like a clay court back then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_bg2wmUScE

Yes, there were more serve and volleyers back then. Returns of serve were much weaker with wood racquets so players had a better chance to finish the point coming to the net. Now you need almost a winner to come to the net or you will probably eat a passing shot. Graphite racquets are more powerful and players can return serve in much better conditions. It has been said many times on this board. I think racquet technology and tennis evolution is the key, not the speed of the surface.
You cannot compare Borg´s and Nadal´s Wimbledon titles at this point (5-1) but on the other hand Federer is much greater on grass than any of the players Borg beat in the Wimbledon finals.
 

G-Man

New User
No Nadal revolution

Nadal has revolutionized nothing at Wimbledon. They made the grass courts ever slower over the past few years to get more rallies and longer points. This was a (misguided IMO) backlash against the rally-free Goran/Pete finals in the 1990s. And they got their wish: the longest ever W final and one of the most dramatic tennis matched ever played.

But at an unacceptably high price: the final destruction of the classic grass court serve and volley game. Tennis today consists primarily of serves followed by forehand rallies on all surfaces. Almost all players try to run around their backhands whenever possible and they never come to the net. They are playing half-tennis, not tennis.

Nadal is not the one responsible for this. It all started with Borg in the 1970s, who introduced the heavy topspin forehand backed up by supreme fitness and killed off the volleyers with the exception of sublime talents like McEnroe. Nadal is just Borg on steroids. Lendl also contributed by being the first one to introduce the tactic of running around the backhand and bludgeoning the opponent with massive forehands.

But as long as the grass courts of W remained low-bouncing and fast, volleyers could make a comeback, as they did with Becker, Edberg and Sampras. But with the new slower and high-bouncing grass courts, this is no longer possible. The Aussie Open has slowed down its courts as well.

It would be great to have a mix of players: Nadal/Borg-type baseliners, Federer-type all-courters, and Sampras/Edberg-type net rushers. Instead, thanks to trend toward slower courts, the future is filled with Nadal clones.
 

fastdunn

Legend
Not really. Nadal is part of recent evolution to power baseline game with lots of top spin. Federer did it earlier. Nadal just became as good as Federer. That's all.

Federer was just a first top dog in this power baseline game transition.
 

fastdunn

Legend
It would be great to have a mix of players: Nadal/Borg-type baseliners, Federer-type all-courters, and Sampras/Edberg-type net rushers. Instead, thanks to trend toward slower courts, the future is filled with Nadal clones.

Thanks to slower courts, wimbledon has been filled with Federer clones, to be exact.
Federer and Nadal same kind. poower baseliners, far from all courter.
Slowing down completed between 2001-2003.
 

Arafel

Professional
Do you think this is much faster than the current grass? I think it looked more like a clay court back then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_bg2wmUScE

Yes, there were more serve and volleyers back then. Returns of serve were much weaker with wood racquets so players had a better chance to finish the point coming to the net. Now you need almost a winner to come to the net or you will probably eat a passing shot. Graphite racquets are more powerful and players can return serve in much better conditions. It has been said many times on this board. I think racquet technology and tennis evolution is the key, not the speed of the surface.
You cannot compare Borg´s and Nadal´s Wimbledon titles at this point (5-1) but on the other hand Federer is much greater on grass than any of the players Borg beat in the Wimbledon finals.

You're mistaking speed of play for speed of courts. In the clip you provided, the first thing that stands out is the wear pattern on the grass, which is a T, compared to now, where the wear is all at the baseline.

Second, the players didn't go for quite as much because it was a much lower percentage play. When you're playing with racquets that are 65 sq inches, and a lot more flexible to boot, you don't have the same margin for error that you do with a stiff lightweight big head like Nadal plays with.

Third, because the ball didn't bounce as much, you couldn't get into a rally and just assume a mostly true bounce, like the players do now, which enables them to have some sort of predictable strike zone and enables them to tee off more.

If you want to understand the differences a bit more, get a hold of the two Borg-McEnroe finals from 1980. Watch how much more important touch was at Wimbledon, whereas at the US they were hitting a lot harder because they had a more predictable, and higher, bounce.
 

thalivest

Banned
You cannot compare Borg´s and Nadal´s Wimbledon titles at this point (5-1) but on the other hand Federer is much greater on grass than any of the players Borg beat in the Wimbledon finals.

Is Federer "much" greater then McEnroe on grass. Remember Borg did beat McEnroe to win his last Wimbledon.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
Nadal has revolutionized nothing at Wimbledon. They made the grass courts ever slower over the past few years to get more rallies and longer points. This was a (misguided IMO) backlash against the rally-free Goran/Pete finals in the 1990s. And they got their wish: the longest ever W final and one of the most dramatic tennis matched ever played.

But at an unacceptably high price: the final destruction of the classic grass court serve and volley game. Tennis today consists primarily of serves followed by forehand rallies on all surfaces. Almost all players try to run around their backhands whenever possible and they never come to the net. They are playing half-tennis, not tennis.

Nadal is not the one responsible for this. It all started with Borg in the 1970s, who introduced the heavy topspin forehand backed up by supreme fitness and killed off the volleyers with the exception of sublime talents like McEnroe. Nadal is just Borg on steroids. Lendl also contributed by being the first one to introduce the tactic of running around the backhand and bludgeoning the opponent with massive forehands.

But as long as the grass courts of W remained low-bouncing and fast, volleyers could make a comeback, as they did with Becker, Edberg and Sampras. But with the new slower and high-bouncing grass courts, this is no longer possible. The Aussie Open has slowed down its courts as well.

It would be great to have a mix of players: Nadal/Borg-type baseliners, Federer-type all-courters, and Sampras/Edberg-type net rushers. Instead, thanks to trend toward slower courts, the future is filled with Nadal clones.
I guess you missed this thread that proves that the courts haven't slowed down.http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=207765 Grass was never lightning fast but Sampras and Ivanisevic made it look that way with their incredible serves. The style of play has changed and not as much the courts. The strings and racquets probably was a big factor in the style change.
 
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coloskier

Legend
Hello everyone.

Not only is the grass these days slower than the hardcourts. It's more responsive to Nadal's spin and kick serve. Nadal's shots do not have nearly the same bite on the hardcourts.

The grass was so much faster in the 70's and 80's. Which makes Borg's 5 W's and 6 FO's all the more impressive. And he had more serve and volleyers to contend with on the grass back then.

Please remember that Borg totally changed his game whenever he played at Wimbledon. He played serve and volley at Wimbledon. He had no choice.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Nope changes in the grass courts has something to do with it......it suits his game more and S&V players are not abound these days....if S&V players in the level of Sampras, Edberg, Becker are abound today it would have been a different story......but still hats off to Nadal..


Sampras.Edberg and Becker would have a huge problem against Nadal on the current courts at Wimbledon with the polyester string Nadal uses. And I love Sampras and Edberg
 

pound cat

G.O.A.T.
The average revolutions of a spin is 2500 times per minute.

The average revolutions of a spin Nadal hits is 5,000 times per minute.

As Andreas Beck ( lost to Nadal R1 ) said of Nadal's spin at Wimbledon

"What the hells's going on?"
 

pmerk34

Legend
The average revolutions of a spin is 2500 times per minute.

The average revolutions of a spin Nadal hits is 5,000 times per minute.

As Andreas Beck ( lost to Nadal R1 ) said of Nadal's spin at Wimbledon

"What the hells's going on?"

Looks like suicide to try and serve and volley him
 

coloskier

Legend
I would give them the slight edge but I wouldn't go as far as saying they are much better. Nadal can still improve a lot as well on hardcourts. Better results on hardcourts than Fed so far this year.

One thing to remember. So far they have only played on one hard court that was actually a fast surface (Dubai), and neither of them did all that well (no finals). The rest of the hard court tournaments earlier in the year play like clay courts with good bounces because they are so slow (AO, Miami, Indiian Wells). Now the fast hard court season starts, and it will stay that way the rest of the year.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
One thing to remember. So far they have only played on one hard court that was actually a fast surface (Dubai), and neither of them did all that well (no finals). The rest of the hard court tournaments earlier in the year play like clay courts with good bounces because they are so slow (AO, Miami, Indiian Wells). Now the fast hard court season starts, and it will stay that way the rest of the year.
Toronto is a very slow hardcourt. US Open is not that bad either. Cincinnati, Madrid, and Shanghai are the fast hardcourts that give Nadal problems. Even than, Nadal has won Madrid, got to the semis of Shanghai twice, and to the Semis of Cincinnati once.
 

coloskier

Legend
Toronto is a very slow hardcourt. US Open is not that bad either. Cincinnati, Madrid, and Shanghai are the fast hardcourts that give Nadal problems. Even than, Nadal has won Madrid, got to the semis of Shanghai twice, and to the Semis of Cincinnati once.

Yes, Toronto is almost as slow as AO, but is still faster than the "blue clay of Miami". But, in order for Nadal to take #1, he has to get farther than the semis, he has to make the finals and beat Fed. The way the Djokovic has been playing lately, I don't think he'll be quite the same force as he was in the middle of the year last year. Even though Fed has a lot of points to cover, no one yet has proved that they can beat Fed on hard courts with any consistency, even Djokovic has only beaten him once, and that was when Fed was ill. And from Wimbledon, you can see that Fed is returning to top form. Nadal may be able to beat Fed on natural surfaces, but on hard courts his recent record is nothing to crow about against Fed. In 2007 and 2008, Fed is up 2-0 on hard courts. Part of that is due to the fact that Nadal rarely makes it to the finals of a fast hard court event. In the past two years, Nadal has only made it to two finals on fast hard courts, Chennai, and Paris, and gave up a bagel set in each one of those matches to Nalbandian and Youzhny.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Nadal hasnt revolutionized grass, the new dirt-like grass has revolutionized Nadal. Now clay courters can be grass court champs too.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
Yes, Toronto is almost as slow as AO, but is still faster than the "blue clay of Miami". But, in order for Nadal to take #1, he has to get farther than the semis, he has to make the finals and beat Fed. The way the Djokovic has been playing lately, I don't think he'll be quite the same force as he was in the middle of the year last year. Even though Fed has a lot of points to cover, no one yet has proved that they can beat Fed on hard courts with any consistency, even Djokovic has only beaten him once, and that was when Fed was ill. And from Wimbledon, you can see that Fed is returning to top form. Nadal may be able to beat Fed on natural surfaces, but on hard courts his recent record is nothing to crow about against Fed. In 2007 and 2008, Fed is up 2-0 on hard courts. Part of that is due to the fact that Nadal rarely makes it to the finals of a fast hard court event. In the past two years, Nadal has only made it to two finals on fast hard courts, Chennai, and Paris, and gave up a bagel set in each one of those matches to Nalbandian and Youzhny.
Lyon (Indoor Carpet) 2007 13.57%
Halle 2008 14.35%
Artois Championships (Queens) 2007 15.76% 2008 16.75%
Wimbledon Breaking Percentage 1998 19.78% 2001 19.01% 2007 (Total) 17.34% 2008 16.77%
Madrid 2007 (Total) 18.02%
Cincinnati 2007 (Total) 19.22%
Paris 2007 (Indoors) 20.08%
Dubai 2007-2008 21.10%
Montreal 2005 20.76% 2007 21.12%
Miami Breaking Percentage 2007 22.32% 2008 21.70%
US Open Breaking Percentage 1998 21.53% 2007 21.87%
Indian Wells Breaking Percentage 2007 21.93% 2008 22.97%
Aussie Open Breaking Percentage 2008 (Total) 23.18%
Rome Breaking Percentage (Total) 2007 23.34%
Toronto Breaking Percentage 2004 18.33% 2006 23.53%
Roland Garros Breaking Percentage 2007 24.13% 2008 23.68%
Hamburg Breaking Percentage (Total) 2006-2008 27.78%
Monte Carlo Breaking Percentage (Total) 2007-2008 29.20%
So it looks like Toronto could be the slowest hardcourt if it continues to play like it did in 2006. Miami is not that slow btw based on these stats.
 

Nadal_Freak

Banned
Nadal hasnt revolutionized grass, the new dirt-like grass has revolutionized Nadal. Now clay courters can be grass court champs too.
Ridiculous statement. Nadal is not just a clay courter. He is good on all surfaces 1 on clay, 1 on grass, and 3 on hardcourts. See the breaking percentage to show how fast the courts are playing.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Ridiculous statement. Nadal is not just a clay courter. He is good on all surfaces 1 on clay, 1 on grass, and 3 on hardcourts. See the breaking percentage to show how fast the courts are playing.


ZERO majors on hardcourts. Of course he's "good" on hard, he would be good on any surface. But can he win a major on hard? I doubt it.
 
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