3 years shouldn't matter much when you're 23-24 at the start. You don't experience much physical drop off due to age in that time. If the knee is healthy, his physical condition should be fine, and he won't have lost his tennis skills.
And when I see the beatdown he put on everyone just last season, I don't worry too much.
It's the mileage, dude. Nadal started very young. And there's only so much the body can take. Even if he's a freak of nature.
Oh now fedatards trying to be condescending to Nulltards, whats next?
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Has Nadal lost any zing in his game? i don't think so. I mean, did anyone seriously believe the guy would be beating everyone on sight without a loss after eight months off the tour? come on, he's Nadal, not superman.
Now, has he lost some of his aura? Undoubtedly. A few more losses like this and players will start taking it to him with greater confidence, but and it's a huge but, if he dominates clay as he's always done, everything will be back to normal pretty soon. I guess we just wait and see.
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There are a lot of low ranking players who do not have anything to lose. As we could see they can play a very good level of tennis and now Rafa is going to play them, The first three players who Nadal played no one of them have a believe they can do something against King of clay. They have lost the match in the locker room not on court. That gave Rafa false confidence.Zeballos did not pay to much attention to Rafa's aura and he just enjoyed playing tennis against Rafa on CC. Tne boy played brilliant tennis a 100 times more exciting than Rafa's game, The worst thing in tennis is more fans watched it because of personality not because of the game,
The fact that anybody thought he was going to come back after all this time with this injury and blow everybody away on Clay is surprising. He's good he's not that good. That Aura he has, it won't take much to get back. There still is one player though that is completely immune to that, the number one. Novak beat him in Rome when he was healthy, fit and playing well on proper clay-court.
way too early to say, this was the first tournament after 7-8 months. monte carlo will be a much better gauge.
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It's all about how his movement recovers. Always has been.
He might be the same player with the same shots, but if he's lost half a step of speed then he won't be getting into position to play those shots effectively and he will suddenly become an easybeat for the top players. But if his movement recovers then we will be back to business as usual for the Clay King.
One thing is for sure - when Nadal's decline does come it won't be long and drawn out like Federer's. One day he will be a top contender, the next he won't be.
If Nadal has a problem with his aura it will be based on his own perception and not that of his opponents. If Rafa is healthy and gains confidence on clay it really doesn't matter much what the other guys think. A healthy and confident Nadal on clay almost invulnerable but could loose RG to Djokovic.