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post #1 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

Struggling Nadal blames fatigue for slide
By JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
October 24, 2006

PARIS (AP) -- For Rafael Nadal, the explanation is clear: fatigue and a heavy schedule.

The second-ranked Spaniard has not reached the semifinals of a tournament since losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final three months ago.

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"I had a lot of matches in the first half of the season and my muscles were very tired," Nadal said Tuesday during a conference call leading to next week's Paris Masters. "Mentally, too ... it was a big effort. I am playing better now."

Nadal has won five titles this year, including a victory over Federer in the French Open final in June. A month later, the top-ranked Swiss won his fourth straight Wimbledon title by beating Nadal in the final.

Nadal also said he has recovered from foot and ankle injuries -- he skipped the Australian Open in January because of an ailing left foot.

"This is my first year after an important injury so you have to be careful," Nadal said. "I feel fine now, but when you have an injury like I had last year it stays in your mind, so you have to be wary."

Nadal also has to be wary of Federer, who won his 10th title of year on Sunday at the Madrid Masters.

"I think he is playing his best tennis now," Nadal said. "He is the best for sure right now. ... He is playing unbelievable."

At the Paris Masters, which starts Monday, Nadal may get another chance to face Tomas Berdych, who is the defending champion.

The Czech, ranked 10th, beat Nadal in the quarterfinals at Madrid last week. When he was jeered by the Spanish crowd, he put a finger to his lips to try and silence them. Nadal told Berdych he shouldn't have done it and was "a bad person." Spanish fans then badgered Berdych during his semifinal loss to Fernando Gonzalez.

"It is better we don't speak about that. Better to speak about Paris and the next tournament," Nadal said. "Something happened on court, but let's forget it. I don't want to think about Berdych."

Looking toward next year, Nadal predicted that young players will make their mark.

"There are so many coming through, like Berdych, (Richard) Gasquet, (Novak) Djokovic and (Andrew) Murray," Nadal said. "They will expect to finish in the top 25 this year, and a lot of them will be in the top 10 next year."

Updated on Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006 2:17 pm EDT

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

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post #2 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 09:50 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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PARIS (AP) -- For Rafael Nadal, the explanation is clear: fatigue and a heavy schedule.
He does make life very difficult for himself; standing so far behind the baseline and having to run so far. Defense can be an exhausting way of playing tennis.

Last edited by DrJules; 10-24-2006 at 09:55 PM.
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post #3 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 09:58 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

i don't doubt hes tired he plays harder than anybody, he did play like crap in AMerica, but against Berdych he just beat, he was playing decent, thats going to happen with him on fast courts, at times, then again he will have shot to win either Paris or Shanghai b/c one of the few,very few, that can beat Federer.
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post #4 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 09:58 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

To those who were discarding with contempt the argument that Nadal's style of play may be taking too much of a toll- here is the proof.

Even if he may not get injured, the amount of physical and mental energy that his game style requires of him to invest to ensure success is so great that he is paying the price for it.

If he really wants to be in the running for titles on faster surfaces he has one of two options:

1. Change up your game- become more aggressive, look to end the points sooner and disctate the play as much as possible without engaging in too many drawn out rallies. He can do this to a certain degree but ultimately we all know this is not his natural and most comfortable game style.

2. Play less tournaments in the first half of the year. Save yourself for the post French Open period and then give it all you've got.

Option #2 seems out of the question with the clay season being Nadal's bread and butter- but maybe a few years down the road after enough success on the clay he might change his game to suit faster surfaces like Muster did in 1997 at the expense of claycourt success. However, this is a big gamble as far as he is concerned as there is a limit to how much a player can change their styles in such a drastic manner- not to mention that every year all the other players improve and the competition only intensifies.

Nadal has some serious thinking to do if he really wants to become world #1 and consistently challenge for all the big titles on all surfaces.
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post #5 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 10:01 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

It's a combination of things and he has to mix things up with his game to get more offensive but I think he is trying a lot, he is still only 20
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post #6 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 10:20 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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i don't doubt hes tired he plays harder than anybody, he did play like crap in AMerica, but against Berdych he just beat, he was playing decent, thats going to happen with him on fast courts, at times, then again he will have shot to win either Paris or Shanghai b/c one of the few,very few, that can beat Federer.

Good post, Guga. And I thank Raf knows this. He even says he's playing better now. Rafa isn't like Roger on faster surfaces - meaning that he isn't practically unbeatable. I liked what I saw at wimby. He was adjusting, coming to net and playing really beautiful tennis. No doubt losing to Federer at the final made him feel exhausted. I think he's just starting to regroup.

No doubt the guy is talented. I thought he played well in Madrid - whatever he was doing to prepare, he ought to keep doing it. The only thing I didn't like is how far behind the baseline he was standing when he played Berdych. It seems to me like he does a really good job of adjusting to the surface he's playing on until he's really pressured and then (as is expected) he reverts back to what is second nature - which works great on clay but not so spiffy on faster surfaces. He'll get there.
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post #7 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 10:21 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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It's a combination of things and he has to mix things up with his game to get more offensive but I think he is trying a lot, he is still only 20
And that's the crunch issue, mentally and physically fatigued already and he's only 20. He'd played more matches before this date last year and stuck it out until he'd won Madrid for his 11th title, and then was out of the game until the following February. He's been on the tour for 5 years, is in good physical shape (unlike the underdeveloped Murray/Gasquet) so what's the problem? Burn out. Could be temporary, but it will take a lot of effort to change the game, keep the mental side going and handle the hype and expectations.
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post #8 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:20 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

Precisely. He's 20 years old. Let me get this straight - he had an extremely successful first half of the season from Monte Carlo through to Wimbledon. This was so good that it has totally fatigued him for the entire second half of the season from Toronto to the TMC, despite him taking 4 weeks off after Wimbledon to recuperate - in doing so sharply reducing the number of matches he played.

That doesn't bode well for the future, does it?

If it is fatigue, it is mental fatigue - and it's from pressure he's putting on himself and expectations from outside, to live up to his billing and become a dominant player on all surfaces. As we can see he has some way to go yet - and he needs to find a way to relieve this pressure or he doesn't stand a chance of going all season long year in, year out.
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post #9 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:24 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

So what use are all these hours working in the gym to develop his biceps of?

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post #10 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:25 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

I don't buy this bullshit.

He really hasn't played THAT much since the USO- it's just that Berdych owns him now.

Ever since the summer hardcourt season, it's clear that his confidence is not what it was earlier in the year up until Wimbledon.
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post #11 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:25 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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Originally posted by Dr.Jules
He does make life very difficult for himself; standing so far behind the baseline and having to run so far. Defense can be an exhausting way of playing tennis.
Exactly, but right now it's actually his natural and spontaneous style of playing.If he wants lesser fatigue, then he'd better be seriously thinking about making some good changes for his game,and most important of which is to become more aggressive.Things went better for him when he tried to accomplish this on grass courts this season.

Returning to the defensive mode on hard courts costs him more losses and more loss of confidence especially against strong opponents.

And though this 'll still be against his natural game, but i think he's got the ability to improve may be with some / lot of time and effort depending primarily on his recognition of this problem in the first place and patience from his side and his fans.
But until he gets it , i'm afraid Rafa 'd still be beatable or at least easily kept under pressure on non clay courts.

Last edited by dorkino; 10-24-2006 at 11:27 PM.
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post #12 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:27 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

give me a break

He isnt fatigued, thats bullshit. He had 4 (or was it 5?) weeks off after Wimbledon. He played shit in Toronto, Cincy, and USO. Fatigue isnt the problem. Had he played the 3 North American tourneys up on the baseline like he played Wimbly, I GUARANTEE he would have at least made the Cincy finals, (Roddick was way too good to guarantee Nadal would have won) and most likely won one of the other 2.

How can Nadal be fatigued? he is in awesome shape and hasnt really played that much since Wimbly. If theres anyone that should be tired, its Nikolay Everyweek, but you never see him complaining

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post #13 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:30 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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Originally Posted by Blaze-2004 View Post
Had he played the 3 North American tourneys up on the baseline like he played Wimbly, I GUARANTEE he would have at least made the Cincy finals, (Roddick was way too good to guarantee Nadal would have won) and most likely won one of the other 2.
The US Open...?

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post #14 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:31 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

ahh Nadal had an amazing run last year and the start of this one, is no surprise to me that he's tired now. In fact i was surprised he lasted that long with his style of game, but to be honest he's just back to being normal, rather than machine level like Fed :P
he'll be ok he just won't be stupidly good, at least for a while

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post #15 of 203 (permalink) Old 10-24-2006, 11:32 PM
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Re: Nadal blames fatigue for struggles

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The US Open...?
perhaps, perhaps not. Federer wasnt playing his best in Toronto, maybe Rafa would have gotten him there.

But thats irrelevent. If Nadal plays the way he did at Wimbly, (staying up on the baseline, looking to attack, coming to the net and volleying effectively) he will have no problems.

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