What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts? - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

does he have to change his tactics or does he lack the ball striking talentt to hit through opponents?
he tries hard, but he doesn't seem to understand the fast hardcourt game very much.

his movement on HC is not as great as he is on clay and grass.
we know his topspin is ineffective on fast HC so i think he should try to hit flatter shots.
but hitting flatter shots causes you to make more errors as that is the trade off for risky tennis and he is not comfortable making errors so he reverts back to his percentage tennis. but percentage tennis is not good enough on fast HC.
he has been aggressive on his returns lately which he never used to do.

i think he is stuck inbetween his clay court game and his grass court game.

what do you guys think about this?
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:10 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

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Originally Posted by careergrandslam View Post
does he have to change his tactics or does he lack the ball striking talentt to hit through opponents?
he tries hard, but he doesn't seem to understand the fast hardcourt game very much.

his movement on HC is not as great as he is on clay and grass.
we know his topspin is ineffective on fast HC so i think he should try to hit flatter shots.
but hitting flatter shots causes you to make more errors as that is the trade off for risky tennis
and he is not comfortable making errors so he reverts back to his percentage tennis. but percentage tennis is not good enough on fast HC.
he has been aggressive on his returns lately which he never used to do.

i think he is stuck inbetween his clay court game and his grass court game.

what do you guys think about this?
Exactly, now get on with it. Borg couldn't make the transition all the way against the best players and neither could other defensive clay courters. The only players who were successful at Roland Garros first and then in New York were ones that were offensive (Lendl/Agassi/etc). The only exception = Wilander who only won one time which was on his best GS year but aside from that, he didn't really have a fantastic record at the US Open although he made a final the previous year and got bageled by Lendl

Nadal can really only hope to play great matches defensively when it matters most and hope that he doesn't run into anyone red hot because seriously, he isn't going to play like a Soderling/Del Potro now.

Rafael is a player of percentage play, you don't see him very often try plays which have a low percentage unless he is ahead and feeling really good about it. He gets away with it on clay, but clearly on hardcourts you can't be playing like that.

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Last edited by HKz; 08-23-2010 at 07:16 AM.
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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:20 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Well, he could start off by getting back the form on his backhand that he displayed in some of the past USO's. In 2008, I thought his bh was pretty killer (in fact it was the only shot that was good in his arsenal).

Of course his fh on Deco is horrendous, but then he can't really change that. He has a grip and a way of hitting the fh that makes it particularly difficult to flatten it out. He can take baby steps there, but don't expect a miracle. Alternatively he can try to step into the court a little more, but then thats asking for trouble too b/c the opponent has a lot more cushion to hit through him and it neutralizes some of Rafa's movement and defensive advantages and really requires a degree of shotmaking that he doesn't naturally possess..

His serve this year has been arguably the best part of his game, and allowed him to win Wimbledon. Again, Deco eats some of the spin so it makes it tough. Perhaps a little first serve percentage sacrifice in favor of a little more pace (which we know he has, seeing as he's hit in the mid 130s before).

Likewise he could take a few more risks on the returns.

Baby steps all around, will likely get him back into the quarterfinals. But past that point, well, he needs a little bit of luck.
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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:21 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

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Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Exactly, now get on with it. Borg couldn't make the transition all the way against the best players and neither could other defensive clay courters. The only players who were successful at Roland Garros first and then in New York were ones that were offensive (Lendl/Agassi/etc). The only exception = Wilander who only won one time which was on his best GS year but aside from that, he didn't really have a fantastic record at the US Open although he made a final the previous year and got bageled by Lendl

Nadal can really only hope to play great matches defensively when it matters most and hope that he doesn't run into anyone red hot because seriously, he isn't going to play like a Soderling/Del Potro now.
but Wilander won Cincy four times, so it's not as if he was a mug on fast HC

Rafa's movement in HC isn't as good as his movement in natural surfaces and it has to do with two things: pain/fear of injury, he knows HC can totally kill his knees if he's not careful and it doesn't come naturally for him, not the way clay does

another problem is that he can't flatten his shots well enough and his topspin gives his rivals a lot of time to do their own strokes, his forehand in a low bouncing surface screams (specially for tall guys) smash me

Rafa's serve has improved a lot, but he's not someone who will win easy points with it all the time like natural HC players do, he needs work in his kick serve and has to learn when to risk a first serve, he plays too safely and you gotta be aggressive in HC

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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 07:56 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

no freebies on serve (well most of the time), no smash and grab winners (most of the time again), having to run way too much to win a point on a court that hurts his knees = not a good formula for hard courts

And I don't think there's much that he can do about it.

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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 08:06 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Yea his backhand on a fast hardcourt used to be better than his forehand....not sure what his deal is the past few weeks, his backhand looks awful so he slices more, but his slice is awful too.

I think Rafa understands what he needs to do, but when he gets on court in the heat of a match, he just can't pull the trigger when he needs to. His confidence on fast hardcourts has become a mental issue for him. Maybe it always has been....but I always felt like he was improving his play on the surface every year and he didn't seem psyched out by it. I don't get that same feeling these last few weeks.
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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 08:34 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Two of Nadal's biggest weapons are his topspin forehands and relentless defense.

On clay and grass the way his forehands skid from the surface with pace and spin, make it very difficult for his opponents to stay with him from the baseline. And he moves so smoothly on these natural surfaces. Plus his serve is a great weapon on grass (as they skid from the surface).

On hardcourts his forehand are not as big a weapon as he would want them to be, and his movement is a major problem on this surface, therefore he hasn't been as successful. In addition to that, his serve can be exploited quite easily. Ofcourse this is relative, i.e. comparing Nadal's level of play on clay and grass to hard courts. Because from a normal view point, this guy has already won many events on hard courts and is a constant threat on them.
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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 08:54 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

I agree with most of thepoints posted here.
He needs to get that BH back. He hit so many amazing CC winners in Wimby 08 and AO 09.

Another simple solution is..Get an extra new coach. I know Toni has been with Rafa since eternity and knows his game better than anybody. But I feel Rafa is not getting enough technical inputs regarding methods or steps inorder to improve his game on HCs. So I suggest getting a new coach( preferably a non spaniard)who can bring fresh and better ideas into his team. Brad Gilbert might be a better start. He floves Nadal.

I am afraid..Nadal is going to waste his precious peak years with those old spanish dudes and finally end his career with mediocre results for a talent of Nadal's stature.

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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:06 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Rafa could make some big changes to improve his fast hard court game but it should be noted that this is risky. Obviously, it may not work, but even if it does, it will almost certainly negatively affect his game on clay and grass. When you've won an incredible seven natural surface Grand Slams by age 24, maybe it's best to just keep things the way they are.

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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:25 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

He should be fined every time he tries that horrendous slice on hard courts.
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post #11 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:32 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Djokovic tried to take it to next level too, and look where that brought his game.

I seriously don't think he should change anything. He made semies last year and that's a decent result for him. Federer and Murray are arguably the best HC players playing now and they're not really forces on clay, so there you go. You can't have it all.
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post #12 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:40 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

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He should be fined every time he tries that horrendous slice on hard courts.
Nadal explained in his presser tht he slices a lot since he lost confidence in hs backhsnd. He says that he is thinking a lot before it instead of a smooth neuro muscular reaction.

I agree about the slice. Toni nadal must be awarded a frikkin medal of honour for inventing and employing that Jesus slice.

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post #13 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 09:51 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Reincarnate.

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post #14 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 10:44 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

Keep trying.



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post #15 of 73 (permalink) Old 08-23-2010, 10:48 AM
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Re: What does Nadal have to do to be successful on fast hardcourts?

get a flat FH.

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