Why does Nadal try to change his game when playing Medvedev?

thomasferrett

Hall of Fame
When Nadal plays Medvedev he uses a lot of slice, S&V and net rushes.

The thing that makes Nadal great is that he (other than Medvedev for some reason) uses the same tactic against every player; hit high topspins to the backhand, no? Get your opponent to adapt to you; never adapt to them.

If it doesn't work, hit MORE topspins, hit MORE higher.

Medvedev is right-handed and has an awkward looking, technically shaky backhand (and forehand as well for that matter). If Nadal simply used his normal strategy against him, I'm sure he'd win their matches in half and hour and barely drop any games instead of being drawn into these weird cat-and-mouse slugfests that result when they play.

Why doesn't he simply hit high topspins to the backhand of Medvedev?
 
When Nadal plays Medvedev he uses a lot of slice, S&V and net rushes.

The thing that makes Nadal great is that he (other than Medvedev for some reason) uses the same tactic against every player; hit high topspins to the backhand, no? Get your opponent to adapt to you; never adapt to them.

If it doesn't work, hit MORE topspins, hit MORE higher.

Medvedev is right-handed and has an awkward looking, technically shaky backhand (and forehand as well for that matter). If Nadal simply used his normal strategy against him, I'm sure he'd win their matches in half and hour and barely drop any games instead of being drawn into these weird cat-and-mouse slugfests that result when they play.

Why doesn't he simply hit high topspins to the backhand of Medvedev?
Because Medi is like 6’6 and he hits his backhand like Cameron Norrie. Med kinda likes to hit it flat and down so hitting it high to his backhand is right in medvedevs pocket .
 

TTMR

Hall of Fame
He does. Medvedev is tall and his backhand is his best shot. Nadal's cross court forehands seem to play right into Medvedev's wheelhouse. Changing tactics probably made the match closer than it would be otherwise.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Less to do with the tactic and more to do with Nadal being off with his game today. Backhand just wasn't there and wasn't aggressive enough with the forehand either. And made silly mistakes in crucial points. Also visibly noticed he really can't hang with the younger players in long rallies over 2-3 sets anymore.
 

conjoshruk

Semi-Pro
I really don't think its a simple as that though. Even hitting high topspin probably isn't would be an effective strategy to apply continually.
Medvedev is such a unique player, at 6'6 he has such a large wingspan and is so good defensively, but can play aggressively without losing control of rallies.
Med is one of few players (other than Djokovic) than can out grind Rafa. Hence, why is forced to try and cut the points short and become the aggressor.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Easy answer: you change your game, when your foe makes you change your game! Look at the Djokovic-Thiem match, Djokovic's normal game is to dominate the groundstroke game. But Thiem has too much power for that, so Djokovic has to try finesse game. That ultimately didn't work either.

Always works like that, no matter the sport.
 

thomasferrett

Hall of Fame
Easy answer: you change your game, when your foe makes you change your game! Look at the Djokovic-Thiem match, Djokovic's normal game is to dominate the groundstroke game. But Thiem has too much power for that, so Djokovic has to try finesse game. That ultimately didn't work either.

Always works like that, no matter the sport.
Why not just bully the opponent to make them adapt to you? For example, Djokovic is losing the power game, why doesn't he just... hit harder so he wins the power game. Genius I know. That's what the best players in the world are able to do.

What happened to targetting the strength of your opponent to break it down so you can completely destroy their spirit.
 
Why not just bully the opponent to make them adapt to you? For example, Djokovic is losing the power game, why doesn't he just... hit harder so he wins the power game. Genius I know. That's what the best players in the world are able to do.

What happened to targetting the strength of your opponent to break it down so you can completely destroy their spirit.
Djokovic trying to outhit Thiem is a recipe for disaster
 

ibbi

Legend
I don’t know, but before today he had never lost to him so it obviously worked:p Medvedev often has a similar issue that Djokovic used to where he sucks at generating his own power, so if you junkball him with slice there isn’t much he can do. Considering he hadn’t dropped a set before today and only faced 3 break points I’d say it was a not unsuccessful tactic, though he often handled it much better in this match than he often does.

The serve and volley and net rushes are because Medvedev likes to stand far back on the return, and because he‘s happy rallying all day which Nadal at his age doesn’t want to get involved with.
 

vernonbc

Legend
So why not just ramp up the topspins to 8000rpm and kick it 15ft in the air off the bounce? Medvedev wouldn't even be able to reach the ball in that case...
Because nobody's ball will kick 15 ft in the air on these indoor surfaces. Even Rafa with his extreme spin can't get a ball to bounce five ft on an indoor court. Have you not noticed that surfaces have a lot to do with how a game plays out in tennis? :rolleyes:
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
As soon as I saw Federer trying to hit backhand topspin off Nadal with a 90" head I knew it was a lost cause, but with the 95" head it became competitive again.

Medvedev's height and backhand plays the same positive role against Nadal.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
When Nadal plays Medvedev he uses a lot of slice, S&V and net rushes.

The thing that makes Nadal great is that he (other than Medvedev for some reason) uses the same tactic against every player; hit high topspins to the backhand, no? Get your opponent to adapt to you; never adapt to them.

If it doesn't work, hit MORE topspins, hit MORE higher.

Medvedev is right-handed and has an awkward looking, technically shaky backhand (and forehand as well for that matter). If Nadal simply used his normal strategy against him, I'm sure he'd win their matches in half and hour and barely drop any games instead of being drawn into these weird cat-and-mouse slugfests that result when they play.

Why doesn't he simply hit high topspins to the backhand of Medvedev?
What is the h2h v Medvedev?
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
Tactically Nadal didn't do much wrong. It was the correct game plan, just like Medvedev changing it up aswell once in a while with drop shots and net approaches. You can't just rally from the baseline all day long.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
I'd have to re-watch previous Rafa-Med encounters (not going to, but it sounds good) to see if Rafa consistently hit as many slice backhands as he did today. Too many people act like all Rafa does is hit topspin backhands crosscourt to opponents' backhands -- he has much more versatility than that.
Now, I only saw the match from the latter part of the second set and quite honestly, I don't think the overall quality was nearly as good as Thiem-Novak. Med has an awkward way of not playing the most pretty matches. While he is not nearly the player that Novak is, he moves well, does not mind defending, and he does this at 6'6". His FH looks weak and loopy for a guy of that size and ranking, but it's still a pro FH. He was probably a little closer than Rafa to his "A" game today, and also fired 13 aces with 70% of his first serves going in. Again, it doesn't always look pretty - and I can't believe Rafa lost a game at love, serving at 6-3, 5-4 - but this version of Med is hard to beat.
 
Why does Nadal try to change his game when playing Medvedev?
Because Medvedev is a pusher and everyone hates playing a pusher. They drive us crazy and we end up doing stupid stuff trying to counter their frustrating pushing. Nadal is no different. Same thing happened to Novak earlier in the week.
 

Fabresque

Hall of Fame
When Nadal plays Medvedev he uses a lot of slice, S&V and net rushes.

The thing that makes Nadal great is that he (other than Medvedev for some reason) uses the same tactic against every player; hit high topspins to the backhand, no? Get your opponent to adapt to you; never adapt to them.

If it doesn't work, hit MORE topspins, hit MORE higher.

Medvedev is right-handed and has an awkward looking, technically shaky backhand (and forehand as well for that matter). If Nadal simply used his normal strategy against him, I'm sure he'd win their matches in half and hour and barely drop any games instead of being drawn into these weird cat-and-mouse slugfests that result when they play.

Why doesn't he simply hit high topspins to the backhand of Medvedev?
Nadal is a 20 time grand slam champion and one of the greatest players of all time. He does make opponents adapt to him, but the reason why he’s been so successful is his ability to adapt to opponents/conditions that don’t favor him. Nadal has amped up his serve, net game, and touch in the last 2 years in an attempt to keep up with the next gen. And it’s worked. Notice how Djokovic does similar? His serve has improved considerably in the past year or so. Gotta win more free points cuz you can’t grind the same.

Champions adapt.
 

Keizer

Professional
When Nadal plays Medvedev he uses a lot of slice, S&V and net rushes.

The thing that makes Nadal great is that he (other than Medvedev for some reason) uses the same tactic against every player; hit high topspins to the backhand, no? Get your opponent to adapt to you; never adapt to them.

If it doesn't work, hit MORE topspins, hit MORE higher.

Medvedev is right-handed and has an awkward looking, technically shaky backhand (and forehand as well for that matter). If Nadal simply used his normal strategy against him, I'm sure he'd win their matches in half and hour and barely drop any games instead of being drawn into these weird cat-and-mouse slugfests that result when they play.

Why doesn't he simply hit high topspins to the backhand of Medvedev?
In what universe is Medvedev's backhand technically shaky? Looks weird, but is solid as a rock and has some awkward sidespin to boot. The guy is making a career from not missing, idk how you can say either of his groundstrokes is technically shaky when he barely misses when on form.
 

tudwell

Legend
Because Medvedev is a pusher and everyone hates playing a pusher. They drive us crazy and we end up doing stupid stuff trying to counter their frustrating pushing. Nadal is no different. Same thing happened to Novak earlier in the week.
Medvedev hit like twice as many winners as Nadal did today.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
I'd have to re-watch previous Rafa-Med encounters (not going to, but it sounds good) to see if Rafa consistently hit as many slice backhands as he did today.
Nowhere near. I won't quote the graphic ESPN put up for the 2019 USO versus today's encounter, but the USO match was <20% slice from Rafa. Today was 38% slice.
 
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zipplock

Hall of Fame
Because Medvedev is a pusher and everyone hates playing a pusher. They drive us crazy and we end up doing stupid stuff trying to counter their frustrating pushing. Nadal is no different. Same thing happened to Novak earlier in the week.
Stop with the Med-pusher storyline. He plays plenty of aggressive shots. Just because someone can play defense doesn't make them a pusher. Med is a pusher like Djoker is a pusher ...
 
In what universe is Medvedev's backhand technically shaky? Looks weird, but is solid as a rock and has some awkward sidespin to boot. The guy is making a career from not missing, idk how you can say either of his groundstrokes is technically shaky when he barely misses when on form.
It's not shake but unorthodox. Of you watch him play he doesn't drop the racket as far as say a zverev or Novak. He kinda cups it and hits it as low over the net as possible. Cameron Norrie does the same thing Hewitt kinda did it as well Bernard Tonic is another example. As you can see they all have really good backhands but it's not something that a coach would teach unless someone could do it naturally.
 

Tennease

Legend
Because Medi is like 6’6 and he hits his backhand like Cameron Norrie. Med kinda likes to hit it flat and down so hitting it high to his backhand is right in medvedevs pocket .
Yeah and I saw him jumping to hit flat backhand to an incoming high bouncing ball.

He is so tall, and jumping makes him even taller.
 

thomasferrett

Hall of Fame
For a 20 time Slam champion to change his game for a nobody like Medvedev is showing Medvedev way too much respect. He should just pound him to submission with his normal tactic. Normal tactic isn't working well? Just execute it better. If normally it takes 3200rpm of topspin and 6ft bounce off the court to break down the backhand and it isn't working against Medvedev, just crank it up to 20Krpm and 25ft bounce off the court. Let's see how long Medvedev lasts trying to hit every backhand as a jump shot.

The best displays of dominance is when the champion uses his own weakness to break down the strength of his opponent. Not only do you beat your opponent when you do that, but you (more importantly) also break their spirit.
 

thomasferrett

Hall of Fame
Because Nadal is a smart player, unlike you
Tennis is not a game of thinking, it is a game of doing.

Anyone could be a tennis coach if they wanted to. All you've got to say is: "Go for your shots, run every ball down, never give up...etc..." Doesn't get much deeper than that, it's just about who can actually do that better.
 

stingstang

Professional
The tactics worked. He was serving for the match in the 2nd set - on his least favorite surface against a redlining player. He should have won.

Nadal is constantly adapting his game. I would worry more about Djokovic who doesn’t seem to be.
 
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