Okay now that the spring HC season is over, time for a closer look at Nadal’s HC performance in the past year or so, when he’s supposedly made lots of progress. First, it’d be blind to say that he’s not improving – he’s been in the quarter or above in the past five or six HC tournaments, and made two finals. In addition, he posted some impressive results against people who used to be nightmare for him – Blake, Birdman, etc. Things are looking pretty good. But, hang on just a second – let’s look at his recent losses since US open last year: Madrid: 1:6 2:6 to Nalby Paris: :4:6 0:6 to Nalby TMC: 4:6 1:6 to Fed TMC: 6:4 4:6 3:6 to Fererr Chennai: 0:6 1:6 to Misha AO: 2:6 3:6 2:6 to Tsonga Rotterdam: 6:3 3:6 4:6 to Seppi Dubai: 6:7 2:6 to Andy IW: 3:6 2:6 to Djokovic Miami: 4:6 2:6 to Davy Quite a number of lopsided scores, if you ask me. But well, doesn’t matter, there’re tons of reasons that any bad things can happen, so let’s not focus only on this. More data would be nice, so let go to H2H (on hardcourt) of the top 8 players: vs. Fed: 2:3 lifetime; 0:1 since 2007 vs. Djokovic: 2:3 lifetime; 2:3 since 2007 vs. Davy: 1:1 lifetime; 0:1 since 2007 vs. Ferrer: 1:2 lifetime; 0:2 since 2007 vs. Roddick 1:2 lifetime; 1:1 since 2007 vs. Nalbandian 0:2 lifetime 0:2 since 2007 vs. Blake: 2:3 lifetime; 2:0 since 2007 Together: he’s 8:16 lifetime, and 5:10 since 2007. If you look at only Top 5 player (where I think his would be), the number gets even more lopsided. What does this mean – it means Nadal, on a hard court on a given day, has only 33.3% chance of winning against a top 8 player (himself excluded), and this stats does not improve, as many have expected, in recent months. In fact, if you look even closer, see Nadal’s recent improvement in hard court results: since last clay season, in all HC tournaments he only played with Top 8 12 times in route the “impressive” results, guess how many times he won? Three! (two over Blake in the past two weeks, one over Djokovic in TMC). If you claim to be a top contender on HC, you need better results than this. I am not listing all these just to say Nadal sucks – on the contrary, I love this guy. He’s a great player who works very hard and deserves every respect. What bothers me, is that some of the so-called “fans” are just so blind and talk as if he’s already on top of men’s game on HC already. No, he’s not, he’s improving, but so is the field. He had some nice wins over his old rivals, but no doubt new ones are being added to the mix at the same time: Ferrer, Tsonga, even Djokovic, who was not such a problem at all in the past. I expect Murray to come into the show pretty soon too. Nadal is definitely a better player than he was two years ago, but so is everybody. Don’t cite a slumping Federer as a standard – his current form should not be a standard if Nadal wants to go anywhere beyond being a great clay-courter. “Better than Federer” sounds nice, but we all know what that means at this time of Federer’s career. I know some of you will call me a hater – but hey, even a hater like me thinks Nadal should achieve more than what he’s done now. Blindness don’t help on the way.