Very disappointed with Nadal

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
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.
Bad start never helps for sure. I got the feeling at points during this match that Nadal didn't really know where Djokovic was going with the ball in standard rallies. I don't know if anybody remembers the match, but it reminded me of the 2014 Miami final. Nadal just never anticipated Djokovic's shots very well in that match, and he's even slower now so it's worse.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
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.
I think many people (i.e Nadal fans) thought that because of what happened in 2012. Nadal himself said after the 2012 AO Final that he felt like he was closer than he was in 2011, and then he beat Novak 3 times on clay. They had seen something like this before and just hoped (probably against hope) it would hold true again.
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
He's out there playing like it's 2009 running around looping FH's into the service box. Bizarre indeed. And on nuetral rallies too. Of course Novak makes him play worse, but it's like he's not trying today it's weird. Djokovic played far better against him at the FO a few times, and even Wimby 2018.
I agree. He came flat out on court.
 

BHud

Hall of Fame
Nadal must have been hurting.

he wasn't any moving for shots!

he can get outplayed every once in a while, but the only time he is out efforted so immensely is when something is not right with him.
The excuse machine begins...injury, cried bull’s army!
 
Nonsense. Someone like Tsitsipas or Zverev would have troubled Novak tonight so much more. Not to forget Staminal who wouldn't shy from hitting winners any time given an opportunity. Novak was great but Nadal made him look much better than he really was.
I don't agree. This form was 2015 level Djokovic. Back then he was always beating everyone in sets 6-3, 6-2, or 6-1... Anyone would've lost to him in easy straight sets
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
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 was almost a continuation of that semi-final. Once Novak started stepping up on the BH and punishing everything that was even remotely short Nadal just had no answer. I don't see how he ever beats Novak when he's clicking off both wings like that.
 

TruthIncarnate

New User
Ooooooooooooh!

Ooooooooooooh yeah!!!

-rubbing my nips, staring off-

Djoker feasting on bull....

He still hungry!

Gonna tame dat bull and grill himself a nice steak come late May/June.

Somebody call Eric Ripert!!!

Ooooooooooooh!

Nips a poppin'!
 

MugOpponent

Hall of Fame
I thought Nadal looked a little psyched out by the occasion to be honest. Perhaps a combination of bad AO memories and Djokovic. Djokovic was phenomenal last night and no doubt Rafa helped with that. For the very few possibilities that might lead to an opening in the match, Nadal made some errors. I don't remember when but the volley in the net was real bad. He missed some shots that he normally makes, undoubtedly a lot of that has to do with the pressure Djokovic puts on you.

I don't think there was a 'winning' strategy for last night but it was disappointing for sure. I don't think it can be emphasized enough how bad of a matchup Djokovic is but it's that way for everyone right now.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Nadal played Nadal. Djoko pulled a clinic making Nadal's style look extremely inefficient. I like how people have literally spent the last 2 weeks raving about Nadal's form and how unbeatable he looked and what kick-ss changes he brought to his serve and how much better than Djoko he played and how much more aggressive and dominant, and doesn't get broken and wow, wow, new version of Rafa, he's gonna win it all, bring the superlatives but once he gets schooled by Djoko in final, tune abruptly switches to: oh he must have been injured, there was something wrong with him, OMG, poor guy, was he OK? Was he feeling well? :eek: and so on and so forth.
GIVE. ME. A. BREAK.
Both guys were super fresh and in form of their life by general consensus, pre-final. Nadal hadn't even lost a set and almost didn't play a tight one. He was spanking left and right. Now back pedaling like crazy because final outcome didn't match expectation? Please.
Both were playing awesome before they clashed. Djoko is Nadal's daddy on hard and he's been for the last few years. It's not like it's something new. That's why he's won their last 8 encounters. And some of them were pretty one-sided (the ones where Djoko hit god mode,namely, like he can on that type of surface). No excuse. Last time Nadal had any kind of success vs Djoko on hard was a whopping 5 and a half years ago. If that's not a hint, I don't know what is.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
First of all, I think Nadal looking at the Djoko/Pouille tape got him unnerved becuse he saw Djokovic sitting right on top of the baseline and making no mistakes. He knew he had to:

—Serve really well
—Play FH DTL and take risks
—Try and hit from the baseline

He did serve well, but the served that gave others problems didn’t bother Djoko at all. If Nadal had served worse, he probably would have won like three games and that's not hyperbole. Nadal had some dominant serve games with the new serve. Federer’s Neo-Bh helped him immensely against Nadal, but there was also a slow but steady improvement in how he returns serve with his BH and it changed the match dynamics. The increased pace by Nadal didn’t really help him as Djoko got so many balls back to neutral.

His nervousness and anxiety about being given a Pouille style beating showed in his early FH. The CC loopers were bad and Djoko destroyed them with his BH. AND right from the get go, Djokovic dominated all the rallies.

Djoko made no errors. He gave away nothing. They were into the third set and Djokovic had 4-5 errors. All of his shots off of both wings had depth, even on the run. There was literally nowhere to go. Djokovic’s hitting on the run was crazy, the depth he got. His FH DTL was ultra aggressive all match long.

Then there was the movement issue. Nadal running to his FH was just a shell of himself, and that’s what happens to everyone after playing as many matches as Nadal at 32 years of age. Nadal fans saw what happens when you lose a step in rallies. It becomes impossible to get ahead in any rally. You saw that with Nadal running like a chicken with its head cut off all match.
 

Fintft

Legend
Then there was the movement issue. Nadal running to his FH was just a shell of himself, and that’s what happens to everyone after playing as many matches as Nadal at 32 years of age. Nadal fans saw what happens when you lose a step in rallies. It becomes impossible to get ahead in any rally. You saw that with Nadal running like a chicken with its head cut off all match.
Something similar happened to Roger against Tsitsipatis, he seemed slow (like Nadal today against the Joker). Could also be last week's injury Nadal had in Brisbane?
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
The head to head between Djoko and Nadal completely transformed in 2011.
Pre-2011: outdoor hard: 5-3 Djoko, indoor hard: 2-2, clay: 9-0 Nadal, grass: 2-0 Nadal
Since 2011: Outdoor hard: 10-2 Djoko, indoor hard: 2-0 Djoko, clay: 7-7, grass 2-0 Djoko
Shockingly, Nadal did not even retain an edge on clay (tie) and everywhere else, it's become comprehensive domination by Djoko.
 

Fintft

Legend
Could we please, for once, not talk about Nadal injuries after he loses? He looked absolutely fine until he took the court last night.

He just was well beaten by a better player.
a) I can talk about what I want.
b) It was one of the two possible explanations I gave.
c) Djoker might have been the better player anyhow, but the errors Nadal had were hard to explain. I mean his best shot was his (slightly improved) serve?!!!
 

TruthIncarnate

New User
a) I can talk about what I want.
b) It was one of the two possible explanations I gave.
c) Djoker might have been the better player anyhow, but the errors Nadal had were hard to explain. I mean his best shot was his (slightly improved) serve?!!!
Even Nadal can have a bad day at the office, and that can be compounded by relentless pressure from Djokovic. There doesn't need to be an "explanation,' each shot is its own discrete event.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
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.
Exactly, ive never seen him so..... sterile..... from literally the first game I could see it was over.
 
It's the lack of belief in himself against Novak that's disappointing. This is not how he played against everyone else. The days of him playing Ultron like 2013 US Open might be gone for good. He just isn't the same player anymore.
You folks are really being hard on Rafa. He had a great tourney, not dropping a set before the final. Instead of being critical of him, you have to realize that was probably the best Novak has ever played, and nobody could have beaten him today. I look for Nadal to rebound and win the French, even if he meets Novak again.
 

Crisstti

Legend
Nadal played Nadal. Djoko pulled a clinic making Nadal's style look extremely inefficient. I like how people have literally spent the last 2 weeks raving about Nadal's form and how unbeatable he looked and what kick-ss changes he brought to his serve and how much better than Djoko he played and how much more aggressive and dominant, and doesn't get broken and wow, wow, new version of Rafa, he's gonna win it all, bring the superlatives but once he gets schooled by Djoko in final, tune abruptly switches to: oh he must have been injured, there was something wrong with him, OMG, poor guy, was he OK? Was he feeling well? :eek: and so on and so forth.
GIVE. ME. A. BREAK.
Both guys were super fresh and in form of their life by general consensus, pre-final. Nadal hadn't even lost a set and almost didn't play a tight one. He was spanking left and right. Now back pedaling like crazy because final outcome didn't match expectation? Please.
Both were playing awesome before they clashed. Djoko is Nadal's daddy on hard and he's been for the last few years. It's not like it's something new. That's why he's won their last 8 encounters. And some of them were pretty one-sided (the ones where Djoko hit god mode,namely, like he can on that type of surface). No excuse. Last time Nadal had any kind of success vs Djoko on hard was a whopping 5 and a half years ago. If that's not a hint, I don't know what is.
If you don't see anything different with Rafa's play in that final, I don't know what to say Vero.
 

AceSalvo

Legend
Nadal didn't just not beat him. He played really subpar and his usual intensity wasn't there. That's what people are talking about, not really the result itself.
I dont think Nadal was expecting this kind of Djokovic. Based on their last encounter Djoko has improved a lot, is what might have got to Nadal.
 

mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
I think many people (i.e Nadal fans) thought that because of what happened in 2012. Nadal himself said after the 2012 AO Final that he felt like he was closer than he was in 2011, and then he beat Novak 3 times on clay. They had seen something like this before and just hoped (probably against hope) it would hold true again.
Except at Wimb last year, Djokovic was the underdog, not Nadal.
 

britam25

Hall of Fame
Nadal must have been hurting.

he wasn't any moving for shots!

he can get outplayed every once in a while, but the only time he is out efforted so immensely is when something is not right with him.
Ahhh, the old, "If Nadal loses, he MUST be injured" routine, haven't seen that one in awhile.
 
Just doesn't have the belief against Novak. He looks like Nishikori playing Djokovic right now. A lot of unnecessary unforced errors that Novak doesn't even need. Too afraid to go for his shots. I guess only Staminal has the courage to go for his shots against this Novak.
Hold your horses before the french!!!
 

Aprilone

New User
Just doesn't have the belief against Novak. He looks like Nishikori playing Djokovic right now. A lot of unnecessary unforced errors that Novak doesn't even need. Too afraid to go for his shots. I guess only Staminal has the courage to go for his shots against this Novak.
He'll be back. It was just an especially bad outing for him.
 

jstr

Rookie
Some of it appears to be Djok's excellent return of serve skills. Djok doesn't let Nadal win those short, one - two punch service points based on weak service returns that every other player succumbs to.
 

TenS_Ace

Professional
Look, Nadal did NOT hit enough balls deep END OF STORY ! I've noticed that everytime Nadal gets beat by anyone, is because his shots barely get past the service box line. WTF ?? That gives his opponents so many angles to hit away from him AND Djoker eats that up all day long :) What I can't figure out is why his Coach doesn't give him some type of signal. I'm not saying Coaches give signals to their players, BUT I'm not not saying they do :cool:
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Bad start never helps for sure. I got the feeling at points during this match that Nadal didn't really know where Djokovic was going with the ball in standard rallies. I don't know if anybody remembers the match, but it reminded me of the 2014 Miami final. Nadal just never anticipated Djokovic's shots very well in that match, and he's even slower now so it's worse.
I don’t think lack of anticipation or movement was the issue. Djokovic just attacked everything with such flat shots that he had no time. Shots that would normally have come back as soft floaters were instead punished for forced errors or winners. Nadal is getting old and Novak is just hitting his stride.
 

Mike Sams

Legend
Look, Nadal did NOT hit enough balls deep END OF STORY ! I've noticed that everytime Nadal gets beat by anyone, is because his shots barely get past the service box line. WTF ?? That gives his opponents so many angles to hit away from him AND Djoker eats that up all day long :) What I can't figure out is why his Coach doesn't give him some type of signal. I'm not saying Coaches give signals to their players, BUT I'm not not saying they do :cool:
Planning is one thing. Execution is entirely different. Their blueprint probably had them believing they were fully ready for Djokovic.
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
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!
Bloody hell Mainad, if Nadal fans weren't feeling depressed before they certainly will be now!
 

Bartelby

Talk Tennis Guru
Djokovic had Nadal running from side to side deep behind the baseline so it's a bit hard to hit deep balls consistently from there.

Look, Nadal did NOT hit enough balls deep END OF STORY ! I've noticed that everytime Nadal gets beat by anyone, is because his shots barely get past the service box line. WTF ?? That gives his opponents so many angles to hit away from him AND Djoker eats that up all day long :) What I can't figure out is why his Coach doesn't give him some type of signal. I'm not saying Coaches give signals to their players, BUT I'm not not saying they do :cool:
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Planning is one thing. Execution is entirely different. Their blueprint probably had them believing they were fully ready for Djokovic.
Perhaps. But I wonder if Rafa truly believed he could pull it off. It’s quite a feat to make the arguable goat in good form look bad. But he did. Rafa even missed a shot completely at one point.
 

Ray Mercer

Professional
There was nothing Nadal could do today. He was 100 percent fit and at his best but on a hardcourt like this Djokovic is simply the better player. The only guy in the history of the game that’s beating this Novak is a peak Federer on his A game.
 
I recall one thing Moya said about the new serve. That he made Rafa toss more in front and to finish landing inside the court to get more pace on it. Which is good against most players. The problem is even Nadal's improved serve doesn't perturb Djokovic, coming in at 180ks. BUT with the new finish, he is way closer to the return bouncing at his feet than he wants to be. I think this was one of the factors that put him on the defensive on his service games. Two other things. One, Djokovic alternating wide and down the T serves like fed at Shanghai 2017. Made it very difficult for Nadal to return. When he went back to the Philippe Chatrier return position, Djokovic had the whole court to hit the second shot into, too easy. Two, Djokovic was very aggressive on the backhand in particular, stepping in again and again and changing direction. When Djokovic dips into Fed's playbook and applies it with HIS own near perfect baseline game (for hard courts) this is the sort of beat down you get. Actually Nadal is getting punished for changing, not because he is stubborn.
 

Crionics

Semi-Pro
What about AO 2016 though? He was trashed worse than Rafa in the first 2 sets and still won a set. And he was 2 years older than Rafa is now.
Sure, you can always find some past exemple or pattern that conforts that view. I think people here simply make up all kind of patterns that comfort their views. You can always find some pattern that will "prove" that xyz would/should have happened. The point is that all these made-up patterns break-down: "Roger never lost a set to Djokovic in Cincinatti", "Rafa never got straight-setted in a final by Djkovic", "Rafa never lost a GS final when he didn't lose a single set in the previous 6 rounds".

As for Roger, he is 3 years older, the Roger of AO2016 is not the same Roger of AO2019. There is simply no guarantee he would have taken a single set. Personnally I believe he wouldn't at this AO given the level displayed by Djokovic in his last 2 matches and Roger's current form, but in the end it is a moot point to discuss this anyway, we'll never know.
 

Kalin

Legend
Why doesn't he stand forward a bit? This isn't frickin' Phillipe Chatrier
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...
In all fairness to Rafa, he did start the match playing forward, in an unusually aggressive (for him) court position. The result was a very quick 1-12 edge in points won and an even quicker 0-3 hole in games. From then on he went back to his usual, more conservative court position, but Novak was ready for that too.

There simply wasn't a court position yesterday that Rafa felt comfortable playing from against this version of Novak. To make matters worse he also missed several very makeable net points and a few baseline sitters. When it rains...
 
In all fairness to Rafa, he did start the match playing forward, in an unusually aggressive (for him) court position. The result was a very quick 1-12 edge in points won and an even quicker 0-3 hole in games. From then on he went back to his usual, more conservative court position, but Novak was ready for that too.

There simply wasn't a court position yesterday that Rafa felt comfortable playing from against this version of Novak. To make matters worse he also missed several very makeable net points and a few baseline sitters. When it rains...
Craig O Shannessy's analysis said it all. 1-3, 5 shots, 9 shot rallies, Novak won them all and handily.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
I thought the most disappointing thing was the surrender. Rafa didn't do much to change the dynamic of the match, he stayed back and allowed Djokovic to play on top of the baseline. I fully understand the disappointment. Novak was awesome, no doubt. Very high level. But Rafa is a player who is known to "find ways", not a guy who throws in the towel.
 

Firstservingman

Talk Tennis Guru
I recall one thing Moya said about the new serve. That he made Rafa toss more in front and to finish landing inside the court to get more pace on it. Which is good against most players. The problem is even Nadal's improved serve doesn't perturb Djokovic, coming in at 180ks. BUT with the new finish, he is way closer to the return bouncing at his feet than he wants to be. I think this was one of the factors that put him on the defensive on his service games. Two other things. One, Djokovic alternating wide and down the T serves like fed at Shanghai 2017. Made it very difficult for Nadal to return. When he went back to the Philippe Chatrier return position, Djokovic had the whole court to hit the second shot into, too easy. Two, Djokovic was very aggressive on the backhand in particular, stepping in again and again and changing direction. When Djokovic dips into Fed's playbook and applies it with HIS own near perfect baseline game (for hard courts) this is the sort of beat down you get. Actually Nadal is getting punished for changing, not because he is stubborn.
This sounds like it could be on the money. If it is, and Moya is worth his salt, I'm sure they'll try their best to make adjustments as necessary. This was the first time he played Djok with the new tactic of course. The next few months will be telling.
 
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