Why I admire Rafael Nadal- From a Federer Fan

RF20Lennon

Legend
I know this is REALLY LONG. But hopefully not too boring! :)

The first time I saw Nadal was when he went up against Federer in Miami in 2004. Back then literally everyone was a Federer fan and I was quite young and new to tennis and Federer was the first player to really draw me in. His coolness, that wavy hair, the class, the elegance, that calm swagger on court and just the whole poetry in motion. For me he is the GOAT and is my fav player of all time!

So seeing Federer lose in straights to some young teen back then was annoying but I took it as a one off match and cast him off as a nobody. The following year Federer came back from 2 sets down and beat this young kid again in Miami. I was glad he won and the comeback was awesome to watch but as a fan it still bothered me as to why he struggled against this nobody while CRUSHING the rest of the field. I mean come on! This kid had no grace. Wore cut off shorts and pirate pants. Didn't have the elegance on court and looked like some street player! How dare he challenge the tennis maestro.

Things got worse! 2005 FO semi, 2006 FO final and I was glad Federer pulled out the wimbledon match in 4! The following year in 2007 Nadal was nuisance! Seriously! go away kid! You don't even hit the ball right. There is NO ART TO YOUR GAME. Wimbledon 2008 turned me into a near Nadal hater. I don't like to use that word because I didn't HATE him but I grew very hostile! I knew Federer wasn't at a 100% but HOW DARE HE! (Rafa) Why didn't he crack down bp at 3-4 in the fifth! That was Fed's match DAMMIT! This untalented dirtballer already won RG!

Australian Open 2009 only made it worse and by then I gave up all hope. I celebrated to NO END when Soderling beat him in RG 2009. FINALLY! Now back to some REAL TENNIS. But what I failed to realize then and what I've really grown to appreciate now is not his game. Yes his topspin forehand is unbelievable and yes his defense is unparalleled. But the reason this guy always found his way back and never went away is because he NEVER GAVE UP. He just didn't. HE NEVER GAVE UP.

How many of us would still keep going if we blew a 2 sets to love lead and were facing bp in the third? How many of us would give up down 2-5 in a set facing set point? How many of us get frustrated at a loss of a point or a set or a game and just get deflated? But this guy just KEEPS COMING BACK. I've never seen anyone shake it off so quickly and get right back into work as this man! He is so focused and FIGHTS SO HARD! You just have to respect that!

If we had HALF the passion and dedication that Nadal has then all of us would be at the top of our chosen fields! Taking hits HEAD ON but never setting ourselves back. Keep it coming and just never giving up. The man has won the same tournament 9 TIMES in 10 YEARS! That is absolutely ridiculous! He ALWAYS finds a way! No matter how hard it is! Whether he's down or sick or the opponent is just outplaying him! Always finds a way! Has he gotten lucky? Yeah sure! but who hasn't? Everyone has their stroke of luck! But the amount of SHEER GRIT this man has is just UNBELIEVABLE.

I disliked him for so long because I naively believed he wasn't talented enough as Federer or Laver or Edberg. But what he lacked in racket skills he more than made up for with Mental toughness, WORK ETHIC and GRIT. I may not be the biggest Nadal fan and I would be lying if I said I don't feel a little happy when he bows out of a grand slam. But the way the man functions and his determination is a MARVEL to watch. Such a strong character! Congrats on your 9th RG Rafa! Well deserved!! And Bud Collins said if there was one player he would want to play for his life it would be Pancho Gonzales. I think for the Open Era it is undoubtedly Rafael Nadal! Federer is still the GOAT in my book (because of records) but Nadal is right up there as one of the greatest beings to ever grace a tennis court!
 

FedTheMan

Professional
Good post! However some of the stuff is exaggerated! Like about Nadal's mental toughness and how if we had half of it we would be at the top of our fields?

Nadal is very tough mentally but he has won most of these matches through his physical conditioning and his supreme tennis talent. This guy was the best prodigy since Borg and now he has won for 10 years in a row and don't say that is just because of grit and will. He is without a doubt, a better player than Novak on clay and beat all his rivals on clay because of his talent.

Mental toughness is great and all but everyone acts like Nadal is the only one who possesses it when people like Federer, who won wimby07, pushed wimby08 to 5 sets, won wimby09 etc., Sampras, who beat some of the best hardcourters to win his first slam etc. are ignored because they are introverted and don't show emotions.

All the greats are mentally tough and they were all the top of the game. Laver, Roger, Sampras, Borg and Nadal have very little between them in terms of peak play and the mental aspect would be almost null. However, congrats to Nadal on his historic win today.
 

cork_screw

Hall of Fame
Nadal is unstoppable on clay in a 5 set format. You cannot beat his wall mode x aggro control.

For sure, you will make an unforced error before you hit a winner on him on clay. You'll do that more often and that will equate to a win for nadal. His style and tactics on clay make him almost impossible to beat.
 

tipsa...don'tlikehim!

Talk Tennis Guru
About what you wrote, i truly think Toni did a fantastic job outside the court. For sure Rafa is on the court and no one else, but the mental approach is the key IMO and Toni did great.
Wondering what kind of player would Nadal be with another coach...
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
He doesn't lack anything. I meant he lacked inherent natural talent a la Federer, Laver etc.

Amazing OP man. Great post, from a guy I've always respected on here. Don't confuse talent and aesthetics/beauty or graceful shots though, that's TTW nonsense that's gotten overblown. Nadal is ridiculously talented. I agree though, that his will is insane and he never gives up :)

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Yes, nice thread RF20Lennon. Nadal does have those qualities, plus he's as talented as any player out there. He has some incredible skill. Nadal would not have been so great at a young age without rare talent, in addition to very admirable mental and personality traits.
 

tipsa...don'tlikehim!

Talk Tennis Guru
He doesn't lack anything. I meant he lacked inherent natural talent a la Federer, Laver etc.

Thanks for your timely response. Would you be so kind as to elaborate further on your latest assertions?

RF20 is right, Nadal himself admitted and still admit he's less talented than Federer. Hard to elaborate further but I think RF20 is right.
For example, watch Federer hitting a dropshot, watch Nadal hitting a dropshot, it looks "easier" and more natural for Federer.
 

edk1512

New User
Almost all Fed fans have these feelings towards Nadal minus the admiration thing which only very few of them have.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
RF20 is right, Nadal himself admitted and still admit he's less talented than Federer. Hard to elaborate further but I think RF20 is right.
For example, watch Federer hitting a dropshot, watch Nadal hitting a dropshot, it looks "easier" and more natural for Federer.

Thanks – you can say “RF20 is right” as many times as you wish, but “Hard to elaborate further” is the only part of your post that seems credible.

So Federer’s dropshot looks “easier” to you than Nadal’s – is that pretty much the meat of your case?

P.S. Like most stars, Nadal will say anything in an interview to get through unscathed.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Rafa on his talent:

Q. You cannot win without a racket, can you?

R. The mental and physical strength help you at a given time of the match, but overall you win matches with tennis and not the mind. You can win matches with the mind, like the other day in the semifinals against Djokovic, but to win it with the mind you have to reach a limit situation, and you only reach that limit situation with your tennis. It’s a combination of everything. Tennis is what makes me get to where I have got and the mental strength is what has made me achieved those extra things that I would not have achieved [without it].

Q. The fact that your technique is not appreciated, is it a matter of aesthetics, for not having a one-handed backhand like Federer?

A. If you ask my opponents, I think they will tell you that, tennis-wise, I have many special things. Perhaps the mental strength has always been more stressed because I have played many long matches, five hours long, in which I have come from behind and that have been very even until the end. This type of matches are the most memorable, of course, and my style of play, of fighting, of never giving up, has favored that this type of matches have gone hand in hand with my career. Federer, because of his game, even more with three shots, did not have those long matches in his career. Technically, there is no doubt that he is better than me, but obviously I’m also better than most. If not, I would not have been able to be here.
 
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
Rafa on his talent:

Q. You cannot win without a racket, can you?

R. The mental and physical strength help you at a given time of the match, but overall you win matches with tennis and not the mind. You can win matches with the mind, like the other day in the semifinals against Djokovic, but to win it with the mind you have to reach a limit situation, and you only reach that limit situation with your tennis. It’s a combination of everything. Tennis is what makes me get to where I have got and the mental strength is what has made me achieved those extra things that I would not have achieved [without it].

Q. The fact that your technique is not appreciated, is it a matter of aesthetics, for not having a one-handed backhand like Federer?

A. If you ask my opponents, I think they will tell you that, tennis-wise, I have many special things. Perhaps the mental strength has always been more stressed because I have played many long matches, five hours long, in which I have come from behind and that have been very even until the end. This type of matches are the most memorable, of course, and my style of play, of fighting, of never giving up, has favored that this type of matches have gone hand in hand with my career. Federer, because of his game, even more with three shots, did not have those long matches in his career. Technically, there is no doubt that he is better than me, but obviously I’m also better than most. If not, I would not have been able to be here.
Good post.
 

Russeljones

Talk Tennis Guru
I guess he wants cool points from Nadal fans here. It's bewildering for me every time one uses the matches between (just)two players as the rationale for one's views on either one or on tennis as a whole. It's no surprise that H2H has such a strong foothold in this environment. Nadal is an outstanding athlete and he's achieved the impossible by winning 9 RG's. I think there's an inordinate amount of hype surrounding this particular RG, however.
 

aldeayeah

G.O.A.T.
A cheap armchair analysis of Fedal's talent:

Federer's talent is more about excellence. He does things better than the rest - excellent serve, excellent forehand, excellent movement, excellent touch. He's an orthodox.

Nadal's talent is more about uniqueness. He does things others don't - lefty, impossible topspin, impossible counterpunching, impossible defense. He's a heterodox.

(Of course, Federer's game has unique things too, and Nadal's game has excellent things as well. I said it was a cheap analysis :p)
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Any true tennis fan has to admire Rafael Nadal. The man is a legend.

I echo the OP's feelings, I'm not a fan of Nada's style of play in large part because it works so well against my favorite. I find it frustrating how he gets to impossible shots and hits clean winners off them, I get especially frustrated when he throws up a perfect defensive lob to reset the point etc...But the man is undeniably extraordinarily talented. His touch and feel are actually very good, I remember at Rome (?) he hit a delicate backhand smash down the line. He's not just a topspin dirt baller and hasn't been for a very long time.

But I'll never root for him.
 
J

JRAJ1988

Guest
Let's all face this when Nadal and Federer hang up their rackets Tennis will be left stranded for a long while...there will NEVER be anyone like these two.

To think when I was a knee high Tennis fan I though Sampras' records would never be broken but these two are diamonds.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
It is not so bad, but ofcourse there are a few of the other kind around, in both camps. They do tend to be rather attentionseeking or -grabbing though, imo.

Yeah there are some awful Nadal fans which are ignored by the 'other' Nadal fans (not all of them). The blame game annoys me, both fan bases have a lot of ****** posters.
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
Awful, awful post by the OP who has used another opportunity to paint Nadal as a talentless, street fighter who is just a dirtballer with guts. :twisted:

Nadal does not need people like you to appreciate him, he lets his racquet do the talking. As for everyone being a FedFan in those days, you mean everyone that Federer hadn't managed to bore the pants off with his mundane game against weak opposition. I for one, stopped watching tennis a lot during that weak era until a real sports man turned up in the person of Rafael Nadal.

#KIN9 of Clay
 

dh003i

Legend
Rafa on his talent:

Q. You cannot win without a racket, can you?

R. The mental and physical strength help you at a given time of the match, but overall you win matches with tennis and not the mind. You can win matches with the mind, like the other day in the semifinals against Djokovic, but to win it with the mind you have to reach a limit situation, and you only reach that limit situation with your tennis. It’s a combination of everything. Tennis is what makes me get to where I have got and the mental strength is what has made me achieved those extra things that I would not have achieved [without it].

Q. The fact that your technique is not appreciated, is it a matter of aesthetics, for not having a one-handed backhand like Federer?

A. If you ask my opponents, I think they will tell you that, tennis-wise, I have many special things. Perhaps the mental strength has always been more stressed because I have played many long matches, five hours long, in which I have come from behind and that have been very even until the end. This type of matches are the most memorable, of course, and my style of play, of fighting, of never giving up, has favored that this type of matches have gone hand in hand with my career. Federer, because of his game, even more with three shots, did not have those long matches in his career. Technically, there is no doubt that he is better than me, but obviously I’m also better than most. If not, I would not have been able to be here.

I prefer Federer's game to Nadal's and don't like what has been done to tennis. However, you can't be upset with Nadal for adapting his game to best suit the conditions that he is playing in and give him the best chance for consistent excellence. Federer too changed his game for the court-conditions.

When Nadal first came on the tour, he had a much more aggressive and flat-hitting game. And also he has become more aggressive on all surfaces since 2007. Had we had the courts of the 1990s, both Nadal's and Federer's games would have been different. I think it'd favor Federer more, but Nadal would be a great in any era or conditions.

The idea that Nadal wins only by conditioning, hard work, and mental toughness, and not what we would call "talent", is a blue-collar fantasy. He is insanely talented.

Also, there is certainly a talent for hard work and mental toughness.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Nadal is a warrior, street fighter like no one before.

EPIC mental toughness and grit.

However his tennis lacks aesthetics and is frowned upon by purists.
 

TennisLovaLova

Hall of Fame
I'm a Fed fan and I'll never root for Nadal.
So OP you're clearly a traitor here.

I have 0 respect for Nadal as a tennis player, why should I?
I don't like his game, I don't like the way he moves on the court, I don't like is little tricks, I don't like the way he talks, and most of all, I don't like his fans.

Don't judge me.
 
Nadal is a warrior, street fighter like no one before.

EPIC mental toughness and grit.

However his tennis lacks aesthetics and is frowned upon by purists.

Those purists are old and grandpa-like who are not open to change. They are myopic in their ways and hard headed fools. Just sayin......:twisted:
 

aldeayeah

G.O.A.T.
I'm a Fed fan and I'll never root for Nadal.
So OP you're clearly a traitor here.

I have 0 respect for Nadal as a tennis player, why should I?
I don't like his game, I don't like the way he moves on the court, I don't like is little tricks, I don't like the way he talks, and most of all, I don't like his fans.

Don't judge me.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

MANE TECEL FARES
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Those purists are old and grandpa-like who are not open to change. They are myopic in their ways and hard headed fools. Just sayin......:twisted:

There is a reason why Borg, Edberg, McEnroe, Sampras and Federer are rated so highly.

Everything is fluid when they step on the court.

Contrast that with Nadal - the grunts, contortions, same kind of ball only hitting it more harder and harder..

If i want to watch a slugfest, I can see a WWF. He should be credited for single handedly changing the "face" of tennis.
 

TennisLovaLova

Hall of Fame
There is a reason why Borg, Edberg, McEnroe, Sampras and Federer are rated so highly.

Everything is fluid when they step on the court.

Contrast that with Nadal - the grunts, contortions, same kind of ball only hitting it more harder and harder..

If i want to watch a slugfest, I can see a WWF. He should be credited for single handedly changing the "face" of tennis.

So is Nadal a bad thing for tennis?
 

coolschreiber

Hall of Fame
I'm a huge Federer fan too and almost always support the guy playing against Nadal :p.
Rafa's mental toughness is unparalleled. And to those who think Rafa is a one trick pony ... you couldn't be more wrong. He has adapted his tactics hugely against Djokovic. If you look closely against Djokovic he hugs the baseline now and doesnt run around retrieving 15 feet behind the baseline. Plus he isn't giving him too many angles from the beginning (note - beginning) of the rally like he used to. He creates angles only when he's sure he'll start dominating a rally. His net game is hugely underrated too. Against Dimitrov he came to the net pretty often in the AO.
His greatness is he's always learning - a true student of the game. He's not stubborn like some other guys he keeps evolving subtly. Most people don't even notice :D
 

TennisLovaLova

Hall of Fame
Nadal's N°1 quality are his supernatural aerobic abilities.
He's never tired, so when your body is ok, your mind is also ok.
This is why he only loses if he's injured or if he loses it means he was injured.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
I'm a huge Federer fan too and almost always support the guy playing against Nadal :p.
Rafa's mental toughness is unparalleled. And to those who think Rafa is a one trick pony ... you couldn't be more wrong. He has adapted his tactics hugely against Djokovic. If you look closely against Djokovic he hugs the baseline now and doesnt run around retrieving 15 feet behind the baseline. Plus he isn't giving him too many angles from the beginning (note - beginning) of the rally like he used to. He creates angles only when he's sure he'll start dominating a rally. His net game is hugely underrated too. Against Dimitrov he came to the net pretty often in the AO.
His greatness is he's always learning - a true student of the game. He's not stubborn like some other guys he keeps evolving subtly. Most people don't even notice :D

You are seeing how he closes the points . The way he sets up the points have hardly changed.
 

coolschreiber

Hall of Fame
You are seeing how he closes the points . The way he sets up the points have hardly changed.

Not necessarily. I don't agree with that. But lets assume you are right -
The way he sets up the points have hardly changed.
- Its not his fault that others haven't able to counter the same strategy he employs for 10 years now. If you were in his place, would you change your game to look pretty and have other TT members admire you OR win 14 grand slams using the same style (according to you).
 
Nice post OP.

I dont really understand everyones hate on these boards, it always strikes me as so ridiculous. I mean everyone has a favorite player, but the vitriol that is espoused against the top guys, by the other top guys fans astounds me.

Roger has a great game to watch, and while I am not a huge fan of his, I appreciate him as a player. Rafa is a street fighter, the man never quits. You have to beat Rafa. Lots of fun guys to watch. Fun to root your guy on, but I dont get the crazy hate for someone that none of us actually even knows.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Not necessarily. I don't agree with that. But lets assume you are right -
The way he sets up the points have hardly changed.
- Its not his fault that others haven't able to counter the same strategy he employs for 10 years now. If you were in his place, would you change your game to look pretty and have other TT members admire you OR win 14 grand slams using the same style (according to you).

I didnt say he has to change.. He has a technique that serves him well. One that never breaks. But it is UGLY to watch.
 

BrooklynNY

Hall of Fame
Nadal's style is something to be remarked about.

He goes of ridiculous winners, makes unbelievable gets, and hits harder than almost anyone on tour.

Roddick's forehand and backhand are disgusting AND ineffective, but you don't hear about his forehand style.

Nadal's forehand is perhaps the most effective shot in tennis. He hits so many different forehands, including 'perfectly sound technique' straight arm forehands across his body to the shoulder (traditional technique)
 

monfed

Banned
Nadal's style is something to be remarked about.

He goes of ridiculous winners, makes unbelievable gets, and hits harder than almost anyone on tour.

Roddick's forehand and backhand are disgusting AND ineffective, but you don't hear about his forehand style.

Nadal's forehand is perhaps the most effective shot in tennis. He hits so many different forehands, including 'perfectly sound technique' straight arm forehands across his body to the shoulder (traditional technique)

Ralph's FH technique is sound? If that's so how come noone on a practice court tries it? :lol:
 

coolschreiber

Hall of Fame
Ralph's FH technique is sound? If that's so how come noone on a practice court tries it? :lol:

His technique is unique..... but only he has the fitness to keep that up for 5 sets. Infact a lot of his balls land short. But he has the stamina to grind it out defensively if someone tees off on them.
 
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