Very disappointed with Nadal

Gazelle

Legend
Rafa never learns does he? Today he just reverted to the old, time-worn and failed tactics against Novak, standing far behind the baseline as usual and hoping, in vain as usual, to out rally Djokovic from there. The only thing that was different was his slightly beefed up serve but even that failed to get him many free points.

When is he ever going to get it that these tactics just won't work against an in-form Novak at the top of his game and certainly not on the type of surface they played on today??

Maybe he's just too old a dog to learn new tricks but, unfortunately for him, that is what it's going to take to restore any kind of parity with Novak. Unless that ever happens, he is just one giant pidgeon, out of many others, for the rampant Serb!
Doesn't really matter. Novak's superiority over all his rivals on plexicushion is simply staggering. Nadal can use any tactic he wants against Novak at AO, he will end up losing anyway. In this stage of their careers he at best takes a set.
 

Mr Feeny

Hall of Fame
These things happen sometimes, in sports. Federer has had a few of those performances when he seems like a shell of himself and doesn't really make himself proud. As they are, you'll see more of these days. But I don't think it mattered. Sometimes the other guy is too good. You want your favourite to win and the opponent is in inspired form (Federer vs Djokovic at Wimbledon 2015).

You accept the loss and move on. Just a bad day.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
I agree. It was disappointing. There was no belief there today. No Vamoses, no fist pumps. Not much by Nadal's standards anyway. He actually gave up mid way through the 2nd and didn't fight that much in the 3rd either. Very strange to see and very un-Rafa like.

Not sure it would've made a difference to the outcome, but it's more disappointing this way than if you actually feel like he tried his best.
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
Doesn't really matter. Novak's superiority over all his rivals on plexicushion is simply staggering. Nadal can use any tactic he wants against Novak at AO, he will end up losing anyway. In this stage of their careers he at best takes a set.
It still doesn't explain why Nadal chose such a wrong tactics. I agree he would've probably lost regardless.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
I am very disappointed with the match but not with Rafa. Honestly, there is nothing he could have done differently which would have resulted in a different outcome. People blame him for not sticking to his more agressive style of play, but he actually started playing like this and was getting crushed by Djokovic. It was only later in the match that he reverted to his old habits to see if that would work out better. Rafa tried different things, but in the end nothing worked against this Djokovic.

Sure at Wimbledon 2018, he went toe-to-toe with Djokovic and was very close to beat him with an aggressive game. The difference is that the Djokovic of Wimbledon 2018 hadn't won a single slam in the last 2 years and was low on confidence while Nadal was holding 2 of the last 4 slams. If Nadal had won that Wimbledon 2018 SF, I think the tennis landscape would look quite differently today. Not sure Djokovic would go on to win the US open and this AO
 

Gazelle

Legend
It still doesn't explain why Nadal chose such a wrong tactics. I agree he would've probably lost regardless.
Did he really choose the wrong tactics? Maybe he intended to be aggressive behind his serve, like he has all tournament. Unfortunately this time most returns were landing at his feet, unlike in previous rounds. Your opponent has a lot to say in how you play.
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
Nadal said in his press conference that not playing for several months affected him physically, that's why he looked flat in the final. Something like "I didn't suffer enough during the earlier rounds and thus wasn't prepared for the final". He draw was fairly weak, thought, that's true.
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
Did he really choose the wrong tactics? Maybe he intended to be aggressive behind his serve, like he has all tournament. Unfortunately this time most returns were landing at his feet, unlike in previous rounds. Your opponent has a lot to say in how you play.
I know he never faced an elite returner during this tournament, but just compare the tactics he employed at Wimbledon against Djokovic and today. Where has the slice + big forehand combo gone? Forehand DTL?
He switched to his old school tactics and got burned.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
Nadal played very well today, but balls that do a lot of damage to others did not phase Djokovic. Depth of Djokovic's balls was a big problem. For people who understand tennis, probably (one of) the best performance of Djokovic ever. Djokovic is much improved and better than ever.
 

Gazelle

Legend
I know he never faced an elite returner during this tournament, but just compare the tactics he employed at Wimbledon against Djokovic and today. Where has the slice + big forehand combo gone? Forehand DTL?
He switched to his old school tactics and got burned.
That Wimbledon performance by Rafa had me stunned. It's rare to see him so aggressive throughout a whole match and managing to keep down the errors enough. I believe it's not something he can pull off on a consistent basis. Playing so well and still losing probably hurt him big mentally against Djokovic.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
I know he never faced an elite returner during this tournament, but just compare the tactics he employed at Wimbledon against Djokovic and today. Where has the slice + big forehand combo gone? Forehand DTL?
He switched to his old school tactics and got burned.
He did slice a bit. His forehand was generally weak and he made lots of UE because Djokovic robbed him of time and was always late hitting his forehands. You forget that the Djokovic of Wimbledon hadn't won a single slam in the last 2 years plus Wimbledon is not his best slam. This Djokovic of AO 2019 is again number 1, holder of the last 2 slams, full of confidence and playing at his favorite slam.
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
That Wimbledon performance by Rafa had me stunned. It's rare to see him so aggressive throughout a whole match and managing to keep down the errors enough. I believe it's not something he can pull off on a consistent basis. Playing so well and still losing probably hurt him big mentally against Djokovic.
Yeah, I agree. He played incredibly well and smart at Wimbledon, almost beat Novak, that's why I'm surprised he didn't at least try with the same approach this time. Anyway, I don't believe he would've won the match regardless, it's hard to hit through Novak on this type of court, it's much easier to do it on grass.
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
He did slice a bit. His forehand was generally weak and he made lots of UE because Djokovic robbed him of time and was always late hitting his forehands. You forget that the Djokovic of Wimbledon hadn't won a single slam in the last 2 years plus Wimbledon is not his best slam. This Djokovic of AO 2019 is again number 1, holder of the last 2 slams and full of confidence.
Novak definitely played better in this match compared to their Wimbledon encounter. But I still think that Nadal should've tried something different, he played like it is 2005.
 

Gazelle

Legend
Yeah, I agree. He played incredibly well and smart at Wimbledon, almost beat Novak, that's why I'm surprised he didn't at least try with the same approach this time. Anyway, I don't believe he would've won the match regardless, it's hard to hit through Novak on this type of court, it's much easier to do it on grass.
I would even dare to say (contrary to popular believe) that the roof closed at Wimbledon helped Nadal in that match (considering his aggressive tactics). At the very least his serve seemed much more potent there.

On this AO plexicushion, you just can't hit past Djokovic. Even one of the best attackers ever, Federer, couldn't pull this off.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
I am very disappointed with the match but not with Rafa. Honestly, there is nothing he could have done differently which would have resulted in a different outcome. People blame him for not sticking to his more agressive style of play, but he actually started playing like this and was getting crushed by Djokovic. It was only later in the match that he reverted to his old habits to see if that would work out better. Rafa tried different things, but in the end nothing worked against this Djokovic.

Sure at Wimbledon 2018, he went toe-to-toe with Djokovic and was very close to beat him with an aggressive game. The difference is that the Djokovic of Wimbledon 2018 hadn't won a single slam in the last 2 years and was low on confidence while Nadal was holding 2 of the last 4 slams. If Nadal had won that Wimbledon 2018 SF, I think the tennis landscape would look quite differently today. Not sure Djokovic would go on to win the US open and this AO
This would be the correct answer. ;-)
 

Night Slasher

Semi-Pro
I would even dare to say (contrary to popular believe) that the roof closed at Wimbledon helped Nadal in that match (considering his aggressive tactics).

On this AO plexicushion, you just can't hit past Djokovic. Even one of the best attackers ever, Federer, couldn't pull this off.
Lol, I am glad that someone else thinks that way. The roof definitely helped Nadal to execute his offensive tactics - his forehand and his serve were sharper. In the windy conditions, I'm not sure he would've been as efficient.

Some people draws conclusions about Rafa's game under the closed roof based on Nadal's lack of success on an indoor hard court. It's the surface that bothers him more than anything, a surface that usually doesn't take the spin and makes his forehand much less lethal. On grass, it's a different story as we've seen at Wimbledon.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
Novak definitely played better in this match compared to their Wimbledon encounter. But I still think that Nadal should've tried something different, he played like it is 2005.
I simply don't see what Nadal could have done differently tonight, except maybe perform a brainwash before the final to erase all the bad memories of AO final losses and HC losses against Djokovic?
He actually played or tried to play aggressive in the beginning of the match, but then quickly realized this would lead him nowhere. He tried different things, but ultimately nothing worked. This Djokovic was simply unplayable tonight. I think he would have straigt-setted any other player tonight.
 

Fed881981

Hall of Fame
I simply don't see what Nadal could have done differently tonight, except maybe perform a brainwash before the final to erase all the bad memories of AO final losses and HC losses against Djokovic?
He actually played or tried to play aggressive in the beginning of the match, but then quickly realized this would lead him nowhere. He tried different things, but ultimately nothing worked. This Djokovic was simply unplayable tonight. I think he would have straigt-setted any other player tonight.
Fed would’ve taken a set for sure.
 

paolo2143

Rookie
I think there is no doubt that Rafa has a wee bit of a mental block against Novak.

Don't get me wrong Novak was superb tonight, but there is no doubt in my mind that Rafa makrs crucial unforced errors against Novak at vital times that he does not do against other players.

Right now Novak is in his head big time.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
Reminiscent of Djok-erer meetings from 15/16. Can tear the field apart with aggressiveness not so much against another ATG.
Apart from playinb on Novak's turf I think that Wimbledon semi outcome had a part in his mentality too.
i wonder how fed would have fared today. definitely a loss, but wonder if he could have taken a set or atleast made it to a tiebreak. he does tend to be a quick starter. doesnt make a difference either way since novak was always winning ofc
 

davced1

Professional
Something just seemed off with Rafa from the start and for me it was confirmed when he completely missed the ball at 2-4, 0-30, don't think I have ever seen Rafa miss the ball like that before.
 

Fed881981

Hall of Fame
Something just seemed off with Rafa from the start and for me it was confirmed when he completely missed the ball at 2-4, 0-30, don't think I have ever seen Rafa miss the ball like that before.
He’s starts missing when he says Nole on the other side of the net.
 

Halba

Professional
Fed is always able to take a set, at least, of Djokovic in the best of 5. He even win a set in their 2016 AO meeting when Djokovic was playing great (in his way to the Nole Slam). He won a set at the USO final and their two Wimbledon finals.
not 2018/2019 fed though, who wont even make GS SF's let alone finals.
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
I simply don't see what Nadal could have done differently tonight, except maybe perform a brainwash before the final to erase all the bad memories of AO final losses and HC losses against Djokovic?
He actually played or tried to play aggressive in the beginning of the match, but then quickly realized this would lead him nowhere. He tried different things, but ultimately nothing worked. This Djokovic was simply unplayable tonight. I think he would have straigt-setted any other player tonight.
No. Not everyone. Today's Rafa was not peak. He didn't play for 4 months and in this tournament had no real challenge. So he couldn't run that much as he usually does. He also said the same thing in interview.

A dialled in Stan Wawrinka wouldve given a great fight. No doubt.

An Andy Murray too.

Because the way Djokovic neutralised Nadal, he doesn't dominate Wawrinka or Murray
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
Fed is always able to take a set, at least, of Djokovic in the best of 5. He even win a set in their 2016 AO meeting when Djokovic was playing great (in his way to the Nole Slam). He won a set at the USO final and their two Wimbledon finals.
Well, Rafa also always took a set from Novak in all previous slam finals until... today. Just because Federer was able to always take a set from Djokovic in the past doesn't mean he would have done so today.
As a reminder, Federer who never lost a single set to Djokovic in Cincinatti before, got straight-setted in Cincinatti 2018 by a weaker Djokovic who lost sets in nearly all previous rounds. So who cares about these "patterns", they will all eventually break down.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
No. Not everyone. Today's Rafa was not peak. He didn't play for 4 months and in this tournament had no real challenge. So he couldn't run that much as he usually does. He also said the same thing in interview.

A dialled in Stan Wawrinka wouldve given a great fight. No doubt.

An Andy Murray too.

Because the way Djokovic neutralised Nadal, he doesn't dominate Wawrinka or Murray
Thing is Stan Wawrinka is not dialled in and hasn't been for a while. And Murray is severely impaired and about to retire. So maybe I will rephrase what I said: no other player in their current form would have had a chance to take a set from Djokovic in this form at this AO final.
The only way to take a set from Djokovic is to play him in the first week of the tournament.
 

Crisstti

Legend
Rafa's play was definitely very dissappointing, and I don't quite understand what went down. Sure Novak played great, but Rafa was giving him no challenge. His shots had no bite, loopy FH landing in the service box, lots of UEs. Almost no shots DTL. Even his body language and look lacked his usual intensity, especially in matches against Novak. He didn't have another gear somehow.

Maybe it was just lack of match practice and challenge from the previous players, plus mental block. I hope it isn't decline. He had never played a slam final with so little intensity before.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
I agree. It was disappointing. There was no belief there today. No Vamoses, no fist pumps. Not much by Nadal's standards anyway. He actually gave up mid way through the 2nd and didn't fight that much in the 3rd either. Very strange to see and very un-Rafa like.

Not sure it would've made a difference to the outcome, but it's more disappointing this way than if you actually feel like he tried his best.
Yeah that is what I found very disappointing from him. This reminded me of his first round performance against Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013. But that was a first round match! I expected him to fight for each point like his life depended on it. He will regret this missed opportunity if he never wins another AO title. Not saying he would have won. He could have fought a lot more.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
The worst performance of Nadal's career in a Slam final - that was the huge upset.

Could never have foreseen such a meek performance and general utter lack of belief from Nadal. It was pretty bizarre.
Did anyone else notice the look on Carlos Moya? He just couldn't believe what he saw. A timid Rafa, not going for his shots. I will always be a huge fan of the Spaniard, but this final was a huge disappointment from him.

I hope he can regroup from this and come back strong.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah that is what I found very disappointing from him. This reminded me of his first round performance against Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013. But that was a first round match! I expected him to fight for each point like his life depended on it. He will regret this missed opportunity if he never wins another AO title. Not saying he would have won. He could have fought a lot more.
He just had a bad day too. It happens at his age and it'll happen to Djokovic too. So nothing went right, but even on the points he was winning when he was way down in the score I didn't see much reaction from him. Usually he gets more and more pumped up the farther he gets down in the score if he wins a point or two. I was waiting for that, but it never came and even if it did it wasn't with the normal ferocity he usually shows.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
He just had a bad day too. It happens at his age and it'll happen to Djokovic too. So nothing went right, but even on the points he was winning when he was way down in the score I didn't see much reaction from him. Usually he gets more and more pumped up the farther he gets down in the score if he wins a point or two. I was waiting for that, but it never came and even if it did it wasn't with the normal ferocity he usually shows.
I had the feeling Djokovic punched him in the face so hard in the first couple of games, that Nadal never could recover from it and was "groggy" for the remainder of the match. He was in a sort of state of shock during the whole match.
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
Thing is Stan Wawrinka is not dialled in and hasn't been for a while. And Murray is severely impaired and about to retire. So maybe I will rephrase what I said: no other player in their current form would have had a chance to take a set from Djokovic in this form at this AO final.
The only way to take a set from Djokovic is to play him in the first week of the tournament.
Yes. That I agree
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Eh, Nadal is 32, and still out there doing better than everyone else on the planet playing tennis except one person. I can more than live with that :p #Bullieve
It wasn't his day, but he will have a couple more :) #SavageJesus
Yep joker is just too good. Plus Rafa is only a shadow of his former self.
 
Apart from playinb on Novak's turf I think that Wimbledon semi outcome had a part in his mentality too.
I agree. It was always curious that so many thought that pushing Djokovic so close would help Nadal's confidence going forward. The win is the important thing. Pushing Nadal so close at RG 2013 didn't seem to help Djokovic in their matches that summer; rather, the reverse was true.
 
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