Re: Is a peak raonic nadals worst nightmare?
we don't really even know what peak Raonic will be like? a bit too young to know, but he will probably be anyones nightmare, not Nadal's. a few years ago Nadal had more select players that were very difficult matchups for him (big serves, players who hit powerfully and didn't give him time, agressive returners, etc__), however he's made his game more powerful now and ends points faster and therefore does not have as big matchup problems.
when Nadal used to play more defensively is when matchups would be hell.
he, I guess in attempt to prolong is body and physical state on tour, plays a lot more aggressively nowadays and serves bigger so players who have given him trouble in the past are doing less so now. a big example would be Del Potro who would represent the kind of big hitter that used to give Nadal trouble- now he doesn't seem to hiccup Nadal like in the past.
Ironically, I would say the only matchup that is particularly bad for Nadal at this point is another player who has nearly perfected a similar strong baseline defensive game as Nadal- Novak Djokovic.
so really Nadal's worst nightmare is someone who can cover do what he can do better... the big hitters problem is that in frusturation they will begin to miss, and a big server like Raonic gets so used to winning based on their serve they often do not develop great ground games. if you can physically outlast Nadal and/or cover the court better than him that is a huge weapon but these days little else is particularly effective given the fact that Nadal has mastered practically every shot in the game and has adapted enough that he can play defensively when necessary as well as aggressively when the time calls for it