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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Fed-Nadal game analysis

I know, I know - flogging a dead horse but I couldn't resist...

It is a fairly good analysis (and most of us have already described elements of it) of the matchup.

Quote:

TECHNICAL/TACTICAL

The obvious technical/tactical analysis is that Rafa can counter most of Rodge's strenghts and pressure him -- firstly, by the simple fact that he's a left-hander; secondly because of the exaggerated spins he can provide, not only by his huge high-bouncing hooking topspin forehand but also his high-bouncing hooking kick serve, specially from the ad side. Those shots take away Federer's ability to control the point, but there's more: the swiss 'distributes' a lot of game with his underestimated sliced backhand, enticing his opponents to come to the net (to be passed) or making them hit awkward shots... but not Rafa, because the spaniard is so quick that he can turn around his backhand and hit forehands off Federer's slow slice down the line and bend his knees and attack those low bouncing slice crosscourt backhands with agressive crosscourt forehands of his own right back to Federer's backhand side.

Besides that, Rafa stays way back behind the baseline to hit agressive topspin returns with a crazy trajectory that makes it really difficult for Roger to volley ('Guga' Kuerten did exactly the same to beat Pete Sampras in the semifinals of the Masters Cup here in Lisbon in 2000). Rafa starts the point way back on Roger's serve, but he's an excelent mover and can move forward in a blink repositioning himself for the next shot, or getting to those low short enticing backhand slices or even to drop-shots. Other big plus in his game is the way he can hit highly agressive shots from awkward defensive situations -- shots that can only be hit with pure force, and it's obvious the kid has got some muscle to do that.

MENTAL AND PHYSICAL

The other aspect is a combination of mental and physical strength. Rafa's the supreme warrior that never gives up, but on top of that he's got a clear physical edge over fellow warriors Little Lleyton or David Nalbandian, for instance; his physical presence on the court truly is intimidating -- he's SuperBoy, he flies, he's everywhere on a court, he makes Roger hit that extra shot he doesn't want to hit.

And then there's that supreme gift: rafa's competitive genes are so good that he can get easily in the zone (specially against Federer, whom he admires so much that he's extra-motivated -- if that's possible -- to play him), stay intense for longer periods than anyone else and make the right choices at the right time. And that reverence towards Federer puts him in the right mood: he really thinks Roger is the best, so he puts himself in the position of the underdog that has nothing to lose while knowing at the same time that he has already beaten the swiss.

OH, THOSE SHANKS...

Now let's move on to Federer. The clear sign that his game loses his balance against Nadal is the unusual amount of missed and shanked forehands -- sometimes he looks like Cedric Pioline or Amélie Mauresmo on a bad day! Federer has got the best, most versatile forehand in the world (he can hit it crosscourt, insideout, down the line, controling the height of the rebound and the depth), but he's got to be in balance... and he loses that because against Nadal he walks a fine line between being agressive and consistent, plus the spaniard's exaggerated spins affect his timing and the fact that he's using a small 90 sq. in. frame (everybody else is using frames from 95 sq. in. on!) doesn't help him in that department! At Roland Garros, Rodge missed over FORTY forehands!

A DIFFERENT MINDSET

And then there's Roger mindset, which I truly believe is different than it was. I tried to confront him at the Australian; he came up with some answers that didn't really convince me -- it's natural, he's biased and not looking from the outside...

I thought his mindset at Flushing Meadows was already different; he was playing more not to lose and to keep his immaculate records than to win. It happened again at the Australian Open. Against ‘lesser’ opponents he was his flowing self, dominating and even experimenting some shots; but against better opponents he sticks to some sort of cruise gear while he should be more pro-active. He seems to be negotiating the points instead of showing that 'take no prisioners' attittude; sometimes he waits to pull that next gear but meanwhile he's lost confidence, specially against Nadal -- who's got his number... for now, because federer has got enough shots in his repertoire to turn that bad record around, much like he did against other foes.

A sign that Roger is now looking like 'a man that has everything to lose' is the fact that he frequently reacts instead of acting -- that is, instead of taking the initiative and going for the opponent’s jugular. That kind of mindset (the 'expectant' mode) gives him a lot of trouble against high intensity players like Rafael Nadal, who gets everything back and takes advantage of Federer’s unusual tightness and consequent loss of confidence that leads to those errors.

To sum it up, all that talk of 'the best ever' and 'record shedding' is getting to Roger's mind... and I hope he can solve that out, because I really think he is a better player than the guy that right now still has twice as much Majors as he does: Pete Sampras.

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 06:57 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Quote:
I thought his mindset at Flushing Meadows was already different; he was playing more not to lose and to keep his immaculate records than to win. It happened again at the Australian Open. Against ‘lesser’ opponents he was his flowing self, dominating and even experimenting some shots; but against better opponents he sticks to some sort of cruise gear while he should be more pro-active. He seems to be negotiating the points instead of showing that 'take no prisioners' attittude; sometimes he waits to pull that next gear but meanwhile he's lost confidence, specially against Nadal -- who's got his number... for now, because federer has got enough shots in his repertoire to turn that bad record around, much like he did against other foes.

A sign that Roger is now looking like 'a man that has everything to lose' is the fact that he frequently reacts instead of acting -- that is, instead of taking the initiative and going for the opponent’s jugular. That kind of mindset (the 'expectant' mode) gives him a lot of trouble against high intensity players like Rafael Nadal, who gets everything back and takes advantage of Federer’s unusual tightness and consequent loss of confidence that leads to those errors.

To sum it up, all that talk of 'the best ever' and 'record shedding' is getting to Roger's mind... and I hope he can solve that out, because I really think he is a better player than the guy that right now still has twice as much Majors as he does: Pete Sampras.
This is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. The pressure has gotten to Federer and it is very difficult for him to play his free-flowing game. You don't see him playing matches from beginning to end with flawless or near flawless ease. He is indeed playing not to lose rather than to win and it was clearly evident at the AO trophy presentation. He was so relieved not to have lost to "nobodies". In the long run (meaning future Slam wins), it might be better for Federer not to be holding all these streaks and records and maybe even to relenquish the #1 ranking so he doesn't face this pressure week in and week out. Perhaps then we can see him play to win rather than avoid losing.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 07:06 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCtennisfan
In the long run (meaning future Slam wins), it might be better for Federer not to be holding all these streaks and records and maybe even to relenquish the #1 ranking so he doesn't face this pressure week in and week out. Perhaps then we can see him play to win rather than avoid losing.
Agree.

Rofe, who is an author of this analysis?
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

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Originally Posted by Skyward
Agree.

Rofe, who is an author of this analysis?
Some guy commenting on Peter Bodo's blog entry...

http://www.tennis.com/Tennis_World_B...p?ENTRY_ID=818

You have to scroll quite a bit down though...

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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 08:41 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

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Originally Posted by NYCtennisfan
This is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. The pressure has gotten to Federer and it is very difficult for him to play his free-flowing game. You don't see him playing matches from beginning to end with flawless or near flawless ease. He is indeed playing not to lose rather than to win and it was clearly evident at the AO trophy presentation. He was so relieved not to have lost to "nobodies". In the long run (meaning future Slam wins), it might be better for Federer not to be holding all these streaks and records and maybe even to relenquish the #1 ranking so he doesn't face this pressure week in and week out. Perhaps then we can see him play to win rather than avoid losing.


Very true! A case in point might be Sampras himself- when Andre first came up as a real challenge for Pete and threatened to take his #1 spot you also got the feeling that Sampras wasn't his free flowing self and played more not to lose than to win. And his matches against Andre around that time reflected a certain similarity to Roger's with Rafa. Pete would often have chances in matches against Andre and seem to be the better player but Agassi had more ferocious intensity and Pete would crumble (I am talking about their 1995 matches in the first half of that year).

Then Agassi reached #1 knocking Sampras off his perch. All the focus was on Andre, Pete was basically a has-been. And then comes the 1995 U.S. Open finals and Pete is the one who goes in as the underdog. Having nothing to lose he comes out playing his A game and manages to tear the title away from Andre's hands.

The point here being, once the limelight was off him to some degree, he really started playing freely laser sharp tennis and Andre actively pushed him to improve himself. Thanks to Agassi, Pete took his game up to even greater heights. Rafa could quite possibly make Roger take his game to even greater heights and so we as Roger's fans should appreciate it!
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Something that I hadn't thought of before:

Quote:
And that reverence towards Federer puts him in the right mood: he really thinks Roger is the best, so he puts himself in the position of the underdog that has nothing to lose while knowing at the same time that he has already beaten the swiss.
It will be interesting to see how Nadal feels during the clay season when he is considered king. He still hasn't experienced the intense pressure that Roger has experienced day in and day out for the past year.

If he manages to win both IW and Miami then it will make it all the more interesting.

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 09:06 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Good points RonE.

Here is the biggest difference between Pete and Fed: Pete was never annointed as the "greatest talent ever' when he was 22 or 23 so he never had the pressure of always winning in the little tournaments. Only later in his career when he wasn't winning regularly on tour were the words "greatest ever" thrown around so he never faced the pressure that Fed has. He didn't have any of the streaks that Fed has had (except for at Wimby), and he also benefitted from an off-season (the clay season). This ALLOWED Pete to lose without everyone questioning his greatness. He lost all the time to nobodies and in little tournaments and you KNEW that he probably wasn't trying as hard as he would at a slam. Look at his record in pre-Wimby tuneup tournies. He lost to all sorts of players you would never think he would lose to at Wimby. Losing matches here and there was not only expected of Pete, but also something that didn't bother him. He shut everyone up at the Slams and that's what mattered. He didn't have to prove he was the greatest by winning San Jose and Queen's, etc. It's not the same for Fed.

Fed has been given these unrealistic expectations and he has internalized them. It's ridiculous to think you are going to win every single damn time you go out there. What he has done over the last 2.5 years may never be equaled again. But the problem is that now it is too late. Fed is already caught up in this game of being "the greatest ever", never losing, streaks to protect, pressure, pressure, pressure. It's caught up with his game when we see his FH break down and not be so devastingly beautiful as we have seen it before. The results really haven't changed because he is so much better than everyone else.

I really hope Fed can find some middle ground where he doesn't feel that he has to win every single time out to prove he is the greatest. Nobody has ever done that and it will break him down if he continues trying to do so.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-07-2006, 11:58 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by rofe
Something that I hadn't thought of before:



It will be interesting to see how Nadal feels during the clay season when he is considered king. He still hasn't experienced the intense pressure that Roger has experienced day in and day out for the past year.

If he manages to win both IW and Miami then it will make it all the more interesting.

Nadal winning Federer is independent of surface (except in grass)

However, if Roger can overcome his psychological problem against Rafa and his demerit on backhand, he can beat Nadal in clay!

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-08-2006, 10:46 AM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Good stuff rofe

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCtennisfan
In the long run (meaning future Slam wins), it might be better for Federer not to be holding all these streaks and records and maybe even to relenquish the #1 ranking so he doesn't face this pressure week in and week out. Perhaps then we can see him play to win rather than avoid losing.
That's why I actually think maybe it does him good just to lose a match here and there, which would put off huge pressure on him. It's not necessary to expect to win about everything.

That said, I didn't mean losing to Nadal in a final
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-08-2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

So in conclusion, he's got no solutions against Nadal ever since Miami 2004.

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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

very prof reply
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 02:25 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Having watched the match, Roger lost because of fitness which definitely played on him mentally. He doesn't need to change his backhand or anything. His backhand held up quite well and he dominated the match. This match must really hurt since he played better than Nadal IMO. Nadal said he upped his topspin and started hitting deeper, but even that did not hurt Roger. What was disgusting though interesting to me was the fact that Nadal's voice seemed louder when he hit harder as if to let Roger know that a harder shot was coming when actually it did not make much of a difference. Even with the upped topspin, Roger should have just flattened the shots and made them shorter to get Nadal to move closer to the baseline. Instead, Roger tried to make them deeper and committed some errors. Some of Nadal's supposedly upped topspin shots were more or less moonballs and they dont have to be hit harder or necessarily deeper but well-positioned and lower than their normal trajectory. Nadal had some good fortune and definitely just hung in there with Roger until Roger self-destroyed in those two games. Nadal kept a positive attitude despite the barrage from Roger as if to say he was fine when actually you could tell from his face that he knew the match lay in Roger's hand, either to win or lose.

Roger was heaving and sweating more than he normally does, and that IMO does not have anything to do with playing Nadal. He just looked very tired from 3-3 in the second set. Even the game Nadal broke to get up to 5-4, Roger just hit a bunch of errors. Like has been said a lot of times, Roger does not have to beat Nadal by being too overly aggressive. He is giving the boy too much respect like he used to give Hewitt and Nalby, although Nalby could hit a winner whenever he felt like. Nadal cannot.

My conclusions on Roger beating Nadal finally is this:

- He has now lost to Nadal. So, he should not be viewed as favorite. Just play your game. He doesn't have to change anything, I think, maybe hit a little flatter on his forehand sometimes. That's all.

- BEAT NADAL physically. This obviously requires Roger to be fit, which he did not look like. Like Ljubicic said, you can only return what you see or something of the form that you cannot be faster than the ball. I cant remember but what I am trying to say here is that Roger should be patient and beat Nadal physically by making him work/run for a lot of shots especially at the start of a match before going for winners. Nadal tries to run for too many balls and will get tired if you make him work. Use the same strategy as you used against Hewitt. Roger should not try to hit too many winners at all. Make it a game of PLACEMENT for many rallies before going for it.

- Having watched the match, Nadal is not a threat against the big guns on hardcourts IMO. I was expecting to see Nadal outplay Roger but saw that Roger self-destroyed. He should also reduce some of those net forays or flatten balls before coming in.

- Hit a lot of body serves and slice serves outwide. I know he hit a lot of slice serves but could have hit a number of body serves when Nadal stepped closer to the court.

Roger should just play his game and get down and dirty to it. I mean, he should be mentally ready for the guy. There was nothing outstandingly special about the way Nadal played, unless you wanna overstate his mentality. Roger was too nonchalant on a lot of balls he could reach. Get into Nadal's head by making him know that he will also have to work for every ball, whether he likes it or not. DONT GO FOR WINNERS ALL THE TIME. Make the boy work.

- On the ad-side, Nadal serves outwide a lot which is typical for a leftie. On some of those serves, go for the return and immediately put the boy on defensive. Don't slice all the time. I know Roger likes going for the lines. He doesn't have to against Nadal. He needs to give himself more margin. Nadal doesn't hit many winners, except when passing opponents at the net. Nadal makes sure he keeps as many ball in play. Beat him at that and take him away from the baseline by using more angles.

I know I may make it sound simple, but Roger should not be losing to this guy at all. Having watched their last two matches, Roger's forehand deserted him. I think when Roger is tight, he should actually put more spin on his forehand instead of trying to hit too deep and making errors. The spins will at least guarantee that most stay in the court until he can finally hit out.

IMO, Roger has all it takes to beat the boy, and he needs to tell himself that mentally. At least, Roger should watch the match and see it for himself. He troubled Nadal with his deep slices, his sharp crosscourt backhands, sometimes flat forehands, even made good volleys. Roger should not beat himself. Here is hoping Nadal can make it that far this time in IW to put paid to all of this. Personally, I think Nadal's draw is very easy. Many guys would have to beat themselves up before playing him and may not get to play him since many are not fit.

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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 03:04 PM
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

NYCTennis wrote:Fed has been given these unrealistic expectations and he has internalized them. It's ridiculous to think you are going to win every single damn time you go out there. What he has done over the last 2.5 years may never be equaled again. But the problem is that now it is too late. Fed is already caught up in this game of being "the greatest ever", never losing, streaks to protect, pressure, pressure, pressure. It's caught up with his game when we see his FH break down and not be so devastingly beautiful as we have seen it before. The results really haven't changed because he is so much better than everyone else.

I really hope Fed can find some middle ground where he doesn't feel that he has to win every single time out to prove he is the greatest. Nobody has ever done that and it will break him down if he continues trying to do so.

I agree with that, and much of what is written in this thread, though perhaps I have a slightly different angle on the pressure theme..Roger is off balance right now, has been for a while, and it shows at pressure moments. In 2004 he would not have dropped those service games to Nadal. He would have gotten tougher and more precise. But now at pressure moments he feels from the inside and outside the burden of fulfilling his dream, to be the best ever, break records etc. This I believe is his dream and he feels it has been invaded, co-opted, sung at the wrong time (their right to do so, of course) by media and the public, hanging on every result for signs they did or didn't rush to judgement....Roger's character is complex, and he had to learn to deal with his rage as a youngster and young man. Initially when he turned it off, he became too quiet, and he carried it heavily, part of the burden. Then in 2003 with the first W win, and 2004 throughout, his burden was laid down, he was as good as he'd thought he might be, and the anger vanished into an incredible lightness of being, killer attitude at tough moments...but then, at first charmed by the idea that others thought he might break records and be the best ever, it became a burden (return of the repressed conflicts about what it means to dream like that, would for anyone) but Roger's way of dealing with it isn't working for him. He's become anxious about losing, crucial moments, started with the god damn between the legs goofy shot in the AO semi with Safin, a match point for Roger!!! Why did he do that? Grandiosity, "I'm so great I can win in this goofy way." That's a neurotic anxiety ridden response, that led to eventually losing the match, and making his fear real, ie I am/was injured and won't have time to do what I want and what now everyone expects of me. He's enraged about that, speaks of having no privacy in the street etc but deep down I think its the invasion of his dreams he feels enraged he can't control, and the anger makes him anxious at key moments, and causes him to tighten. Anything that would help take the pressure off, less expectations from himself, would help. I'm sure he will find his way to deal with this.
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

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Originally Posted by avocadoe

I agree with that, and much of what is written in this thread, though perhaps I have a slightly different angle on the pressure theme..Roger is off balance right now, has been for a while, and it shows at pressure moments. In 2004 he would not have dropped those service games to Nadal. He would have gotten tougher and more precise. But now at pressure moments he feels from the inside and outside the burden of fulfilling his dream, to be the best ever, break records etc. This I believe is his dream and he feels it has been invaded, co-opted, sung at the wrong time (their right to do so, of course) by media and the public, hanging on every result for signs they did or didn't rush to judgement....Roger's character is complex, and he had to learn to deal with his rage as a youngster and young man. Initially when he turned it off, he became too quiet, and he carried it heavily, part of the burden. Then in 2003 with the first W win, and 2004 throughout, his burden was laid down, he was as good as he'd thought he might be, and the anger vanished into an incredible lightness of being, killer attitude at tough moments...but then, at first charmed by the idea that others thought he might break records and be the best ever, it became a burden (return of the repressed conflicts about what it means to dream like that, would for anyone) but Roger's way of dealing with it isn't working for him. He's become anxious about losing, crucial moments, started with the god damn between the legs goofy shot in the AO semi with Safin, a match point for Roger!!! Why did he do that? Grandiosity, "I'm so great I can win in this goofy way." That's a neurotic anxiety ridden response, that led to eventually losing the match, and making his fear real, ie I am/was injured and won't have time to do what I want and what now everyone expects of me. He's enraged about that, speaks of having no privacy in the street etc but deep down I think its the invasion of his dreams he feels enraged he can't control, and the anger makes him anxious at key moments, and causes him to tighten. Anything that would help take the pressure off, less expectations from himself, would help. I'm sure he will find his way to deal with this.

Great post. Good psychological insight. It's funny what goes on in a human's mind. Hope Roger sets IW on fire.
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Re: Fed-Nadal game analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by asotgod
Having watched the match, Roger lost because of fitness which definitely played on him mentally. He doesn't need to change his backhand or anything. His backhand held up quite well and he dominated the match. This match must really hurt since he played better than Nadal IMO. Nadal said he upped his topspin and started hitting deeper, but even that did not hurt Roger. What was disgusting though interesting to me was the fact that Nadal's voice seemed louder when he hit harder as if to let Roger know that a harder shot was coming when actually it did not make much of a difference. Even with the upped topspin, Roger should have just flattened the shots and made them shorter to get Nadal to move closer to the baseline. Instead, Roger tried to make them deeper and committed some errors. Some of Nadal's supposedly upped topspin shots were more or less moonballs and they dont have to be hit harder or necessarily deeper but well-positioned and lower than their normal trajectory. Nadal had some good fortune and definitely just hung in there with Roger until Roger self-destroyed in those two games. Nadal kept a positive attitude despite the barrage from Roger as if to say he was fine when actually you could tell from his face that he knew the match lay in Roger's hand, either to win or lose.

Roger was heaving and sweating more than he normally does, and that IMO does not have anything to do with playing Nadal. He just looked very tired from 3-3 in the second set. Even the game Nadal broke to get up to 5-4, Roger just hit a bunch of errors. Like has been said a lot of times, Roger does not have to beat Nadal by being too overly aggressive. He is giving the boy too much respect like he used to give Hewitt and Nalby, although Nalby could hit a winner whenever he felt like. Nadal cannot.

My conclusions on Roger beating Nadal finally is this:

- He has now lost to Nadal. So, he should not be viewed as favorite. Just play your game. He doesn't have to change anything, I think, maybe hit a little flatter on his forehand sometimes. That's all.

- BEAT NADAL physically. This obviously requires Roger to be fit, which he did not look like. Like Ljubicic said, you can only return what you see or something of the form that you cannot be faster than the ball. I cant remember but what I am trying to say here is that Roger should be patient and beat Nadal physically by making him work/run for a lot of shots especially at the start of a match before going for winners. Nadal tries to run for too many balls and will get tired if you make him work. Use the same strategy as you used against Hewitt. Roger should not try to hit too many winners at all. Make it a game of PLACEMENT for many rallies before going for it.

- Having watched the match, Nadal is not a threat against the big guns on hardcourts IMO. I was expecting to see Nadal outplay Roger but saw that Roger self-destroyed. He should also reduce some of those net forays or flatten balls before coming in.

- Hit a lot of body serves and slice serves outwide. I know he hit a lot of slice serves but could have hit a number of body serves when Nadal stepped closer to the court.

Roger should just play his game and get down and dirty to it. I mean, he should be mentally ready for the guy. There was nothing outstandingly special about the way Nadal played, unless you wanna overstate his mentality. Roger was too nonchalant on a lot of balls he could reach. Get into Nadal's head by making him know that he will also have to work for every ball, whether he likes it or not. DONT GO FOR WINNERS ALL THE TIME. Make the boy work.

- On the ad-side, Nadal serves outwide a lot which is typical for a leftie. On some of those serves, go for the return and immediately put the boy on defensive. Don't slice all the time. I know Roger likes going for the lines. He doesn't have to against Nadal. He needs to give himself more margin. Nadal doesn't hit many winners, except when passing opponents at the net. Nadal makes sure he keeps as many ball in play. Beat him at that and take him away from the baseline by using more angles.

I know I may make it sound simple, but Roger should not be losing to this guy at all. Having watched their last two matches, Roger's forehand deserted him. I think when Roger is tight, he should actually put more spin on his forehand instead of trying to hit too deep and making errors. The spins will at least guarantee that most stay in the court until he can finally hit out.

IMO, Roger has all it takes to beat the boy, and he needs to tell himself that mentally. At least, Roger should watch the match and see it for himself. He troubled Nadal with his deep slices, his sharp crosscourt backhands, sometimes flat forehands, even made good volleys. Roger should not beat himself. Here is hoping Nadal can make it that far this time in IW to put paid to all of this. Personally, I think Nadal's draw is very easy. Many guys would have to beat themselves up before playing him and may not get to play him since many are not fit.

Very good analysis.

One thing that stuck out is that he needs to beat Nadal at his own game and keep the ball in play rather than try to hit the lines all the time. Roger has resorted to percentage play lately (albeit on a smaller scale) and that can be a double edged sword. He should use percentage play depending on who he is playing against. Against Haas or Blake, he will get punished but against Nadal it could actually work out.

I don't think percentage play comes naturally to him but I think he is slowly realizing its potential against a certain class of players especially when the chips are down.

I would still like him to show off his incredible strokes ( I think subconsiously he does too) because I enjoy watching them but I do realize that he has to become a partial grinder especially since he has set his sights on the FO.

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