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Nadal On Clay May Be Hardest Test In Sport

veyonce
04-21-2009, 05:26 PM
The Straits Times, Singapore
21 April 2009

NADAL ON CLAY MAY BE HARDEST TEST IN SPORT

Sporting Life
By Rohit Brijnath

Rafael Nadal can make you sweat on clay without a point being played. Because you think: how does one play a man who doesn't let up. He will err, as he did often last week, but from an opponent you want something more, weakness, a lapse in intensity, a dip in desire, laziness, anything to give hope. But on clay, against him, there is almost no hope.

OK, fine, in the past four years in the claycourt spring, he has lost. Twice in 98 matches. Once a blister the size of Kansas sits on his foot and he loses to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome, once he falls to exhaustion and Roger Federer at Hamburg.

But that's it. So maybe it's better to irritate the Cleveland Cavaliers at home, take on Tiger Woods in a play-off, challenge Michael Phelps to a butterfly swim, race Lewis Hamilton (in a good car) in the rain. As hope goes, there's more there.

Against Nadal, hope flees in stages.

Maybe it departs the moment he starts hitting shots like this. Novak Djokovic, playing masterfully in the Monte Carlo final, hits a brilliant forehand down the line. Djokovic stops moving, point over. Lesson for Djokovic: never stop moving against Nadal because he doesn't. Nadal hunts down the ball, flicks a forehand on the line. Now the point is over.

Maybe it starts leaking before the match itself, with the inhumane reading out of his clay resume: "In 2005, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2006, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2007, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2008...till a rival might understandably plead "stop, stop".

Maybe hope fades the day before the final, like Djokovic being cruelly asked: "Tomorrow is it 'Mission Impossible'?"

Nadal can win on every surface now, but clay is his personal planet. Here, he said, "you have to play with more control", "you have to play more angles", "the movement is important" and he is the perfect fit for this, a sliding geometrician, a precise, athletic bully.

Here, in his favourite position way behind the baseline, and allowed to run like an un-lassoed horse, he's so comfortable that Andy Murray calls him "the greatest clay-courter ever". Bjorn Borg admirers will understandably disagree.

So much of Nadal can be measured. We know his career winning percentage on clay (94.2 per cent) is higher than Borg's on clay (86.2 per cent), Federer's on grass (87.1 per cent) and Sampras on grass (83.4 per cent).

We know, too, about Nadal's forehand, which clears the net by two metres, then dips abruptly and kicks. One study noted his forehand generates an average of 3,200 rpm (700 rpm more than Federer's). What this means, says Leander Paes, who has played Federer, Sampras, and Nadal in doubles, "is that his cross-court forehand jumps at you, and also moves away from you, which makes it really tough if you're a right-hander".

We know also that Nadal is fast, and no stopwatch is required for the eyes are proof enough. In the third set on Sunday, a Djokovic volley dies as it crosses the net. Nadal is too far away, he should not get to the ball. He does. He should be too late to do anything with it. He isn't. He flicks it for a winner, and Djokovic looks at it and drops to his knees. How? How?

But what we can't measure is his intensity, and this is what separates him on the gritty shale, where sweat oils the hair and points are like discussions. He never eases up, he inflicts pains by his ability to wear pain, he comes at you again and again like Rocky come to tennis life.

Says Bob Brett, former Boris Becker coach: "His ability to sustain a long rally, one after the another, is remarkable. On clay it's difficult to finish points off quickly, and players can sustain (a certain quality) for a set against him but not three, not five."

Nadal doesn't throw rackets because his uncle once told him "there are a lot of people who cannot afford them" and there is about him the fervour of a man on some pure, athletic crusade.

Rivals feel this, and as Djokovic said: "You could see him at 5-1 in the third set, he played like it's 5-all. He really doesn't care about the result. He just wants to give his best every single point."

But is there hope? Yes, there always is. It's why wer buy lottery tickets and believe one day a beautiful blonde will get the plane seat next to ours. So Nadal will lose, maybe even this week. He once went 81 wins on clay, but then he fell. But always he gets up and fights.

Murray attacked and wounded him briefly last week, so did an aggressive Djokovic, and they will see some hope in this. Let them. It would be unfair to remind that the Nadal in Monte Carlo wasn't close to his best.

Sapeod
04-21-2009, 05:28 PM
The Straits Times, Singapore
21 April 2009

NADAL ON CLAY MAY BE HARDEST TEST IN SPORT

Sporting Life
By Rohit Brijnath

Rafael Nadal can make you sweat on clay without a point being played. Because you think: how does one play a man who doesn't let up. He will err, as he did often last week, but from an opponent you want something more, weakness, a lapse in intensity, a dip in desire, laziness, anything to give hope. But on clay, against him, there is almost no hope.

OK, fine, in the past four years in the claycourt spring, he has lost. Twice in 98 matches. Once a blister the size of Kansas sits on his foot and he loses to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome, once he falls to exhaustion and Roger Federer at Hamburg.

But that's it. So maybe it's better to irritate the Cleveland Cavaliers at home, take on Tiger Woods in a play-off, challenge Michael Phelps to a butterfly swim, race Lewis Hamilton (in a good car) in the rain. As hope goes, there's more there.

Against Nadal, hope flees in stages.

Maybe it departs the moment he starts hitting shots like this. Novak Djokovic, playing masterfully in the Monte Carlo final, hits a brilliant forehand down the line. Djokovic stops moving, point over. Lesson for Djokovic: never stop moving against Nadal because he doesn't. Nadal hunts down the ball, flicks a forehand on the line. Now the point is over.

Maybe it starts leaking before the match itself, with the inhumane reading out of his clay resume: "In 2005, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2006, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2007, he wins Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros. In 2008...till a rival might understandably plead "stop, stop".

Maybe hope fades the day before the final, like Djokovic being cruelly asked: "Tomorrow is it 'Mission Impossible'?"

Nadal can win on every surface now, but clay is his personal planet. Here, he said, "you have to play with more control", "you have to play more angles", "the movement is important" and he is the perfect fit for this, a sliding geometrician, a precise, athletic bully.

Here, in his favourite position way behind the baseline, and allowed to run like an un-lassoed horse, he's so comfortable that Andy Murray calls him "the greatest clay-courter ever". Bjorn Borg admirers will understandably disagree.

So much of Nadal can be measured. We know his career winning percentage on clay (94.2 per cent) is higher than Borg's on clay (86.2 per cent), Federer's on grass (87.1 per cent) and Sampras on grass (83.4 per cent).

We know, too, about Nadal's forehand, which clears the net by two metres, then dips abruptly and kicks. One study noted his forehand generates an average of 3,200 rpm (700 rpm more than Federer's). What this means, says Leander Paes, who has played Federer, Sampras, and Nadal in doubles, "is that his cross-court forehand jumps at you, and also moves away from you, which makes it really tough if you're a right-hander".

We know also that Nadal is fast, and no stopwatch is required for the eyes are proof enough. In the third set on Sunday, a Djokovic volley dies as it crosses the net. Nadal is too far away, he should not get to the ball. He does. He should be too late to do anything with it. He isn't. He flicks it for a winner, and Djokovic looks at it and drops to his knees. How? How?

But what we can't measure is his intensity, and this is what separates him on the gritty shale, where sweat oils the hair and points are like discussions. He never eases up, he inflicts pains by his ability to wear pain, he comes at you again and again like Rocky come to tennis life.

Says Bob Brett, former Boris Becker coach: "His ability to sustain a long rally, one after the another, is remarkable. On clay it's difficult to finish points off quickly, and players can sustain (a certain quality) for a set against him but not three, not five."

Nadal doesn't throw rackets because his uncle once told him "there are a lot of people who cannot afford them" and there is about him the fervour of a man on some pure, athletic crusade.

Rivals feel this, and as Djokovic said: "You could see him at 5-1 in the third set, he played like it's 5-all. He really doesn't care about the result. He just wants to give his best every single point."

But is there hope? Yes, there always is. It's why wer buy lottery tickets and believe one day a beautiful blonde will get the plane seat next to ours. So Nadal will lose, maybe even this week. He once went 81 wins on clay, but then he fell. But always he gets up and fights.

Murray attacked and wounded him briefly last week, so did an aggressive Djokovic, and they will see some hope in this. Let them. It would be unfair to remind that the Nadal in Monte Carlo wasn't close to his best.
I think beating Husain Bolt in a race is harder :lol:

Action Jackson
04-21-2009, 05:29 PM
Running a marathon in La Paz or doing the Hawaiian iron man, maybe climbing Mt Everest backward.

Sapeod
04-21-2009, 05:32 PM
Running a marathon in La Paz or doing the Hawaiian iron man, maybe climbing Mt Everest backward.
Climbing Mt.Everest without climbing gear :eek: going backwards :bolt:

Snowwy
04-21-2009, 05:46 PM
I think beating Husain Bolt in a race is harder :lol:

I disagree with this one.

Certinfy
04-21-2009, 05:51 PM
Lmao bringing Lewis Hamilton into it is a disgrace... Tho Lewis & Rafa are the 2 people i hate the most, tho i prefer Rafa.

Fed Express
04-21-2009, 06:03 PM
Move -> Nadal forum.

Voo de Mar
04-21-2009, 06:24 PM
Rivals feel this, and as Djokovic said: "You could see him at 5-1 in the third set, he played like it's 5-all. He really doesn't care about the result. He just wants to give his best every single point."


Fully agree with this. IMO mainly this Nadal's trait gives him an opporunity to be the most successful player in the Open Era at the moment when he finishes career.

miura
04-21-2009, 06:27 PM
OK, fine, in the past four years in the claycourt spring, he has lost. Twice in 98 matches. Once a blister the size of Kansas sits on his foot and he loses to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome, once he falls to exhaustion and Roger Federer at Hamburg.
I agree Nadal is nearly unbeatable on clay but when this guy starts excusing losses with injuries I stopped reading.

Sapeod
04-21-2009, 06:31 PM
I disagree with this one.
Have you seen that guy. He looks as if he's jogging and he still beats everyone royally.

Bazooka
04-21-2009, 06:32 PM
Hardest test in sports? No.

To best of five? Yes, tied with a handful of others. Defeating 1987 Tyson or 1966 Ali come to mind.

Clay Death
04-21-2009, 06:41 PM
Fully agree with this. IMO mainly this Nadal's trait gives him an opporunity to be the most successful player in the Open Era at the moment when he finishes career.

well said and stated. his greatest weapon is his relentless will. this is from his own family but we see it all his matches ourselves.

in all my experiences from studying so many sports and having personally examined every olympics since 1956 Melbourne Olympics, i have seen no greater will than i have seen in Lance Armstrong, Muster, and now this warrior king (Nadal).

for my money, these 3 are the greatest athletes of the century. all 3 defied incredible odds to scale the top of the mountain.

there was a Finnish Olympic javelin thrower who may be up there with these guys. he was a right handed thrower who injured his shoulder just before the olympics. i now forget exactly which olympics it was that he accomplished this in.

it did not deter him the least. he won the coveted gold anyway while throwing the javelin around 300 feet with his left hand. simply an astounding achievement.

pica_pica
04-21-2009, 06:58 PM
Quite a good analysis on Nadal but don't agree that tennis should be compared to other sports in this way. Every sport has its difficult test.

scarecrows
04-21-2009, 07:06 PM
beating Russia in the Synchronized Swimming team event is

pica_pica
04-21-2009, 07:34 PM
What about beating Russian Yelena Isinbayeva?

MacTheKnife
04-21-2009, 07:35 PM
I think beating Husain Bolt in a race is harder :lol:

Right now, that would be impossible.

delpiero7
04-21-2009, 07:43 PM
race Lewis Hamilton (in a good car) in the rain.


The guy wins two races in the rain in two seasons with the best car and he's mentioned in the same breath as Nadal on clay? :worship:

Certinfy
04-21-2009, 07:44 PM
The guy wins two races in the rain in two seasons with the best car and he's mentioned in the same breath as Nadal on clay? :worship:WAIT!! What happened on sunday? I think Lewis choked in the rain. Haha lmao...

Arkulari
04-21-2009, 07:49 PM
well, there are harder things to do, like beating Tyson on his prime, Isinbayeva, Phelps on butterfly stroke, Schumacher on his prime... :o

Har-Tru
04-21-2009, 07:59 PM
comparing sports: pointless.

zerocool_
04-21-2009, 08:33 PM
well, there are harder things to do, like beating Tyson on his prime, Isinbayeva, Phelps on butterfly stroke, Schumacher on his prime... :o

Well, you probably saw in Olympics that race when Phelps won by 0.01s over Cavic .. Rest of your list are alot harder then beating Phels and Nadal imo :) And i will add Bolt to that list too :)

tangerine_dream
04-21-2009, 09:03 PM
Yes, clay seems to be Rafa's personal torture chamber where he asks his victims to pick their poison.

Says Bob Brett, former Boris Becker coach: "His ability to sustain a long rally, one after the another, is remarkable. On clay it's difficult to finish points off quickly, and players can sustain (a certain quality) for a set against him but not three, not five."
This is right, nobody has the strength to go five sets with Rafa on clay and none of them can win more than one set, they exhaust themselves to just get one set and then Rafa picks them off easily in the next set(s).

It would be unkind to remind that the Nadal in Monte Carlo wasn't close to his best.
Fixed.

A_Skywalker
04-21-2009, 09:10 PM
Yes, clay seems to be Rafa's personal torture chamber where he asks his victims to pick their poison.


That sounds cool! I will repeat one of the famous users here - Pray for death!

charliebrown
04-21-2009, 10:54 PM
Love the closing line :worship:

BaselineSmash
04-21-2009, 11:01 PM
The toughest test in sport is inhaling deeper on a bong than Michael Phelps.

miura
04-21-2009, 11:23 PM
The toughest test in sport is inhaling deeper on a bong than Michael Phelps.
:haha:

Byrd
04-22-2009, 12:38 AM
Doing the centurion with Vodka is harder, trust me.

Commander Data
04-22-2009, 11:42 AM
in all my experiences from studying so many sports and having personally examined every olympics since 1956 Melbourne Olympics, i have seen no greater will than i have seen in Lance Armstrong, Muster, and now this warrior king (Nadal).


To me it is Michael Jordan. Just watch the "Flu" Game in the Finals againt the Jazz. Jordan would rather die on court then lose.

fast_clay
04-22-2009, 11:50 AM
no
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm182/patma2003/pain.jpg

Purple Rainbow
04-22-2009, 12:52 PM
To me it is Michael Jordan. Just watch the "Flu" Game in the Finals againt the Jazz. Jordan would rather die on court then lose.

Pffft. Any CEO can beat Jordan in a 1-on-1 game.

5B7U74Dg04k

kingfederer
04-22-2009, 12:59 PM
no
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm182/patma2003/pain.jpg

:eek: that is absolutely disgusting! who the hell is that guy?

federernadalfan
04-22-2009, 01:23 PM
^^^
his face expression...priceless :lol:

Merton
04-22-2009, 01:32 PM
Just seasonal hyperbole. Of course it is not.

Clay Death
04-22-2009, 02:50 PM
Right now, that would be impossible.

hardest test in sports is winning the tour de france.

Henry Chinaski
04-22-2009, 03:01 PM
hardest test in sports is winning the tour de france.

....without drugs

Clay Death
04-22-2009, 03:04 PM
....without drugs


affirmative.

finishingmove
04-22-2009, 03:04 PM
....without drugs

nobody even bothers trying that.

Kolya
04-22-2009, 03:11 PM
Beating Sebastien Loeb on tarmac...

Beating Jahangir Khan in squash... 555 straight match wins! :worship:

Purple Rainbow
04-22-2009, 03:15 PM
Beating Esther Vergeer in a wheelchair?
She's currently on a 357 match winning streak, which makes beating her obviously the hardest test in tennis.

Clay Death
04-22-2009, 03:22 PM
Beating Sebastien Loeb on tarmac...

Beating Jahangir Khan in squash... 555 straight match wins! :worship:


definitely Spartan stuff there.

jmf07
04-22-2009, 04:16 PM
Playing Gooch at RG and then playing the King at Wimbledon a month later will destroy anyone's career.

In all seriousness it is obvious that nadal on clay is not the toughest test in sport as you have others that are alot more physically and mentally demanding.

IMO though if you were to say out of the major sports who is the most dominant it would be out of Nadal on clay and Bolt over 100m.

FedFan_2007
04-22-2009, 06:19 PM
Just pray for death. Djokovic certainly did in that 3rd set after *1-2. He asked Rafa to disembowel him after that point.

maki925
04-22-2009, 09:17 PM
I'm pretty sure there are harder test in sport.:)

HattonWBA
04-22-2009, 10:02 PM
Good post and a legitimate contender