Nadal's serve [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Nadal's serve

Langers
01-24-2008, 11:28 AM
I'm a big Rafa fan, I was hoping he'd win the title and until about 5 hours ago I thought he would, but seriously, his serve needs MAJOR improvement. He's a lefty, he should be good, but he's one of the worst left handed servers I've seen of recent years. He gets decent enough speed, but there's just nothing to it, especially the second serve.

Horatio Caine
01-24-2008, 11:31 AM
Sure, the serve isn't patricularly effective, but that wasn't what killed him today imo. Hitting the ball that short (barely cleared the service line) gave Tsonga all the opportunity he needed to go on the offensive...tantamount to suicide.

ReturnWinner
01-24-2008, 11:31 AM
he has improved his serve a lot since 05 but it will NEVER be a big weapon

Langers
01-24-2008, 11:32 AM
Sure, the serve isn't patricularly effective, but that wasn't what killed him today imo. Hitting the ball that short (barely cleared the service line) gave Tsonga all the opportunity he needed to go on the offensive...tantamount to suicide.
Oh no doubt, there was a lot wrong with his gameplan and execution today but his serve is a consistent worry. He simply doesn't get anywhere near enough free points.

RogiRafaFan86
01-24-2008, 11:33 AM
I'm a big Rafa fan, I was hoping he'd win the title and until about 5 hours ago I thought he would, but seriously, his serve needs MAJOR improvement. He's a lefty, he should be good, but he's one of the worst left handed servers I've seen of recent years. He gets decent enough speed, but there's just nothing to it, especially the second serve.

He's not a natural lefty. I (and many others) believe that puts an inherent ceiling on how good his serve is ever going to be.

That being said, I truly believe it has gotten better. When he's feeling it, that is. It's still streaky and inconsistent. But he's getting more pop on it and the placement is really good sometimes. But 'sometimes' doesn't get the job done all the time...or even most of the time.

Art&Soul
01-24-2008, 11:35 AM
Federer not playing well at all.

Berdych played like a champ up until 5-1 in the tiebreak. Then his usual self came back. He's an idiot.

Nadal >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Federer at this AO. It's his.

Oh yeah quote by Langers :haha::haha::haha: And now Berdych says: He's an idiot, not me ;)

Langers
01-24-2008, 11:47 AM
Oh yeah quote by Langers :haha::haha::haha: And now Berdych says: He's an idiot, not me ;)
Relevance of this post in this thread?

Neely
01-24-2008, 11:57 AM
He's not a natural lefty. I (and many others) believe that puts an inherent ceiling on how good his serve is ever going to be.

Maybe, maybe not. Moya also isn't a natural right hander and still his serve was always a very good one. So are many others.

adee-gee
01-24-2008, 11:59 AM
Sure, the serve isn't patricularly effective, but that wasn't what killed him today imo. Hitting the ball that short (barely cleared the service line) gave Tsonga all the opportunity he needed to go on the offensive...tantamount to suicide.
Spot on.

Obviously it would be nice for Nadal to have a better serve and get more cheap points, but it isn't essential. Keeping decent length on his groundies on the other hand is an absolute must with the game he plays.

RogiRafaFan86
01-24-2008, 12:11 PM
Maybe, maybe not. Moya also isn't a natural right hander and still his serve was always a very good one. So are many others.

There are always exceptions.

I remember an interview where Rafa or someone in his camp said that Toni thought his lefty serve was no worse than his natural serve when he was much younger. I'm not sure, but I don't think that's good at all...:lol:

Who knows? Serving right handed he may have had a better serve, a worse serve, or the exact same serve. Of course, if he was playing right handed who's to say he'd even be in a position where we would know who he is to speculate about such things.

Sean
01-24-2008, 12:38 PM
It's the Moonballing not even players in the WTA do that anymore.
The only reason Nadal has been so sucessful is because there are no other good young claycourt specialists out there. (e.g Guga, Coria etc.)

When these guys start improving on clay Nadal will be truly finished.

Exodus
01-24-2008, 12:47 PM
It's the Moonballing not even players in the WTA do that anymore.
The only reason Nadal has been so sucessful is because there are no other good young claycourt specialists out there. (e.g Guga, Coria etc.)

When these guys start improving on clay Nadal will be truly finished.

so true and not to mention at wimbledon where he was playing a bunch of chokers

madmanfool
01-24-2008, 12:53 PM
He's not a natural lefty. I (and many others) believe that puts an inherent ceiling on how good his serve is ever going to be.



Sorry, but i don't buy that. That's bullshit. I'm the other way round. I'm left, meaning i write with my left hand, but i play right handed. In fact everything i do except writing and shaving is done right handed from a very young age. So yeah i'm a lefty because i write left handed, but everything else is right handed. Would you call me a natural lefty? I think that's a terrible choise of words because everything else is righthanded. And writing is only done with the fingers may i add. I'm sure Rafa is not much different. Have you ever seen my hit a serve left handed, it looks ridiculous.

Langers
01-24-2008, 01:00 PM
It's the Moonballing not even players in the WTA do that anymore.
The only reason Nadal has been so sucessful is because there are no other good young claycourt specialists out there. (e.g Guga, Coria etc.)

When these guys start improving on clay Nadal will be truly finished.
What utter garbage. :wavey:

thesupreme
01-24-2008, 01:25 PM
It's the Moonballing not even players in the WTA do that anymore.
The only reason Nadal has been so sucessful is because there are no other good young claycourt specialists out there. (e.g Guga, Coria etc.)

When these guys start improving on clay Nadal will be truly finished.


Did he really just write that in all seriousness??!!? :eek:

lolz

acharlesmobile
01-24-2008, 04:45 PM
His serve might not cut the mustard, but it does cut the cheese.

NYCtennisfan
01-24-2008, 04:58 PM
ACtually, his serve is quite effective against smaller players with less reach and players with one-handed BH's. He can pull them out wide on the AD side and hit a good first Fh and on the deuce, he can slide it up the middle, get a ball in the middle of the court and hit his fh CC.

Tsonga has is big and has a long reach. He got to those balls and used his strength to wrist those balls back deep.

stebs
01-24-2008, 05:40 PM
Most players aren't strong in all areas. Nadal will never have a great serve, different player have different strengths.

goldenlox
01-24-2008, 06:11 PM
When he's not on clay, there's a few problems. Serve is one of them.
Remember, Federer has been to 10 straight slam finals. He doesn't lose matches like this.
It's more than serve. Your groundstrokes have to do something. More than just keep the ball in play.

FluffyYellowBall
01-24-2008, 06:25 PM
When he's not on clay, there's a few problems. Serve is one of them.
Remember, Federer has been to 10 straight slam finals. He doesn't lose matches like this.
It's more than serve. Your groundstrokes have to do something. More than just keep the ball in play.

Im not worried about his serve as his ground stroke consistancy...It was so much better back in 05/06 so its almost like he traded his consistancy for a much improved backhand

goldenlox
01-24-2008, 06:37 PM
I think the rest of the field is getting better. Nadal is missing some shots, but he realizes he can't just topspin it back without great depth. It's different on clay.
You have to be very precise on this surface with his topspin.
He needs to flatten out some of those groundies.

Langers
01-26-2008, 01:18 PM
I think some of you are overrating his serve. Yes it's not bad, he gets good pace and it's pretty consistent, however, for the #2 player in the world it should, and needs to be better. Federer, Djokovic and even Tsonga now, they all have big serves and can get themselves out of trouble with a few aces and/or unreturnables. Nadal can't. He serves very few aces per match, and on the big points against the worlds best players he needs to get more. I hope he's putting an emphasis on this because I feel with a better serve he could be so much better.

l_mac
01-26-2008, 01:28 PM
I think some of you are overrating his serve. Yes it's not bad, he gets good pace and it's pretty consistent, however, for the #2 player in the world it should, and needs to be better. Federer, Djokovic and even Tsonga now, they all have big serves and can get themselves out of trouble with a few aces and/or unreturnables. Nadal can't. He serves very few aces per match, and on the big points against the worlds best players he needs to get more. I hope he's putting an emphasis on this because I feel with a better serve he could be so much better.

He is trying. It's got quite a bit faster. Personally I would prefer if he concentrated more on mixing it up than giving it extra pop. His serving is too predictable.

He'll never be a great server, but I don't see why he couldn't continue to improve as he gets older, sort of like Agassi did. It certainly won't be from lack of effort.

Horatio Caine
01-26-2008, 01:34 PM
His serve might not cut the mustard, but it does cut the cheese.

cuts the (ass)crack more like

Laba
09-09-2008, 04:03 AM
Now we're all well aware that Rafa doesn't get as many free points or serve as many aces as the other top players, but is it really because he can't or that he chooses not to? He doesn't have a very powerful first serve, but if he can hit overheads in play at around 200 KM/H or more... why wouldn't he swing so freely when it comes to serving?

His service motion is probably hindering him from hitting faster and flatter, perhaps muscling the ball a little much and forcing it rather than developing a rhythm for "easy power"... but do you think he'll change that? It's something I've always wanted him to do, but would it be too hard and too much effort to re-work his serve at this stage of his career and keep the percentages up? He saved many break points in the SF against Murray, almost of which he had to fight out or finish at the net if his serve didn't draw an error.

I just think he could make it easier on himself if he had a tougher serve to return by not only mounting more pressure on his opponents with easier holds, but conserving energy too. He has improved his serve over the last few years for sure, but I think there is definitely more room to grow.

Thoughts, opinions, whatever... discuss.

dusk
09-09-2008, 04:04 AM
cause he's a natural right hander.

Laba
09-09-2008, 06:27 AM
Alright.

Anyone else?

Synthesis
09-09-2008, 06:32 AM
What dusk said. It may be way Nadal will never win a hardcourt slam. After all, can you remember the last pusher-type to win the US Open? Hewitt in 2001.

Mohammad
09-09-2008, 08:32 AM
It's my question too!
Rafa really plays without an useful weapon like service! and he wastes his energy in service games!
Any physical reason except the mentioned one?

Zolka
09-09-2008, 09:02 AM
It's all about the technique and the serving motion, doesn't really matter that he can smash an overhead with a lot of speed. He can serve above 200 km/h, we all saw it. Just not consistently. He still can't hit an above average second serve to save his life, but he's improving. His inside out (?) serve is much better then what it was, it's a real weapon now. I can recall at one point during the Wimbledon final they showed the statistic about unreturned serves, Roger had maybe 56-58, something like that, and Rafa had 51 or 53, and i think it was in the fourth, maybe fifth. Okay, Roger returning game was absolutely off, but still, Rafa is improving in this department. I think he and Tony will put in a lot of effort to keep improving it. I think we all lucky though that he don't have a special serve, imagine him with a "Samprasque" serve, that would be ugly. :D I'm talking about "Golden Slam 2008 ugly" kind of thing. :D

Bernard Black
09-09-2008, 10:02 AM
Now we're all well aware that Rafa doesn't get as many free points or serve as many aces as the other top players, but is it really because he can't or that he chooses not to?

Believe me, if he could fire down aces like Ivanisevic, he would, and he'd be damned near unstoppable. Truth is, he has one of the worst serving techniques on tour, and the power he does get is almost all from his arm. You really need to learn the correct technique from a young age but Nadal's forte is in his groundstrokes, so those extra hours he spent rallying rather than practicing the serve have made him the player he is today.

It seems, you can't have the PERFECT player with world class groundies and a world class serve. Maybe the chosen one will come along one day though, Federer wasn't far off at his peak.

Nadal has worked on adopting a strategy on serve though instead. For the most part, it works well, especially on clay.

Burrow
09-09-2008, 10:28 AM
Now we're all well aware that Rafa doesn't get as many free points or serve as many aces as the other top players, but is it really because he can't or that he chooses not to? He doesn't have a very powerful first serve, but if he can hit overheads in play at around 200 KM/H or more... why wouldn't he swing so freely when it comes to serving?

His service motion is probably hindering him from hitting faster and flatter, perhaps muscling the ball a little much and forcing it rather than developing a rhythm for "easy power"... but do you think he'll change that? It's something I've always wanted him to do, but would it be too hard and too much effort to re-work his serve at this stage of his career and keep the percentages up? He saved many break points in the SF against Murray, almost of which he had to fight out or finish at the net if his serve didn't draw an error.

I just think he could make it easier on himself if he had a tougher serve to return by not only mounting more pressure on his opponents with easier holds, but conserving energy too. He has improved his serve over the last few years for sure, but I think there is definitely more room to grow.

Thoughts, opinions, whatever... discuss.

You're saying that he might be saying to himself "No, I don't want to smack aces everywhere"

:rolls:

Of course he would if he could, he just isnt a talented server, all their is in it.

Burrow
09-09-2008, 10:29 AM
And you get this crap every year that "his serve is now becoming a weapon" is it hell, it never will be. Nowhere near.

Burrow
09-09-2008, 10:32 AM
What dusk said. It may be way Nadal will never win a hardcourt slam. After all, can you remember the last pusher-type to win the US Open? Hewitt in 2001.

Hewitt has a pretty good serve, definitely one of the most accurate out their, plus he can hit it pretty hard as well.

Burrow
09-09-2008, 10:34 AM
Believe me, if he could fire down aces like Ivanisevic, he would, and he'd be damned near unstoppable. Truth is, he has one of the worst serving techniques on tour, and the power he does get is almost all from his arm. You really need to learn the correct technique from a young age but Nadal's forte is in his groundstrokes, so those extra hours he spent rallying rather than practicing the serve have made him the player he is today.

It seems, you can't have the PERFECT player with world class groundies and a world class serve. Maybe the chosen one will come along one day though, Federer wasn't far off at his peak.

Nadal has worked on adopting a strategy on serve though instead. For the most part, it works well, especially on clay.

Uh...pretty much any player in the top 500 has world class groundstrokes and serve...

Bernard Black
09-09-2008, 10:37 AM
Uh...pretty much any player in the top 500 has world class groundstrokes and serve...

Nit picking much? I see you have a lot of time on your hands. Ok, insert a more appropriate superlative if it will help you understand my post better. :)

Laba
09-09-2008, 10:41 AM
You're saying that he might be saying to himself "No, I don't want to smack aces everywhere"

:rolls:

Of course he would if he could, he just isnt a talented server, all their is in it.

I worded it wrong, I didn't mean it that literally. Of course everyone would love to smash aces. It all comes down to his service motion which is very limiting, so I guess my question is will he ever change it or tweak it more to benefit a stronger serve or is too late for that?

Chiseller
09-09-2008, 11:01 AM
Who's that ugly ginger? Doesn't look too bad

MacTheKnife
09-09-2008, 11:28 AM
Murray demonstrated clearly that Nadal has no options right now on his serve. By standing 10 meters behind the baseline, he frustrated Nadal and he obviously had no answer so he simply started spinning his first serve in an attempt to keep Murray off his 2nd serve. You can bet others will now exploit this so Nadal better start practicing serving to spots wide on both sides. Agree with everyone else, he doesn't have power and probably won't, but you can certainly learn to hit spots on a consistent basis, under pressure.

adee-gee
09-09-2008, 11:59 AM
He can reach over 130mph on his serve if he really goes for it.

The problems are:
a) His first serve % would suffer, and his 2nd serve (although hard to attack) isn't that strong.
b) He seems to be of the mentality that an accurate serve will set up the point, it doesn't have to necessarily be an ace or an unreturnable.

His serve is perfect for clay. On grass it can be fairly effective. On hard courts, it will always hold him back.

MatchFederer
09-09-2008, 12:21 PM
Nice avatar adee-gee.

Nice comments Mac the knife, and I agree. Nadal could struggle in a couple of years when he will probably have slightly less large advantages over other top players in terms of groundstrokes and will therefore need his serve to start functioning more effectively than it currently is.

GlennMirnyi
09-09-2008, 12:36 PM
Believe me, if he could fire down aces like Ivanisevic, he would, and he'd be damned near unstoppable. Truth is, he has one of the worst serving techniques on tour, and the power he does get is almost all from his arm. You really need to learn the correct technique from a young age but Nadal's forte is in his groundstrokes, so those extra hours he spent rallying rather than practicing the serve have made him the player he is today.

It seems, you can't have the PERFECT player with world class groundies and a world class serve. Maybe the chosen one will come along one day though, Federer wasn't far off at his peak.

Nadal has worked on adopting a strategy on serve though instead. For the most part, it works well, especially on clay.

What he said. Ultra mug.

ToniTennis
09-09-2008, 02:03 PM
It seems, you can't have the PERFECT player with world class groundies and a world class serve. Maybe the chosen one will come along one day though

Lol, I like that one :worship:. A player who will bring peace to MTF :cool:.

Don't mind if I consider adding it to my sig.:)

Bernard Black
09-09-2008, 02:17 PM
Lol, I like that one :worship:. A player who will bring peace to MTF :cool:.

Don't mind if I consider adding it to my sig.:)

Haha, I'm not sure that's possible but Jan Silva will try his best ;)

And yes, feel free to add anything to your sig :)

kobulingam
09-09-2008, 02:25 PM
It's all about the technique and the serving motion, doesn't really matter that he can smash an overhead with a lot of speed. He can serve above 200 km/h, we all saw it. Just not consistently. He still can't hit an above average second serve to save his life, but he's improving. His inside out (?) serve is much better then what it was, it's a real weapon now. I can recall at one point during the Wimbledon final they showed the statistic about unreturned serves, Roger had maybe 56-58, something like that, and Rafa had 51 or 53, and i think it was in the fourth, maybe fifth. Okay, Roger returning game was absolutely off, but still, Rafa is improving in this department. I think he and Tony will put in a lot of effort to keep improving it. I think we all lucky though that he don't have a special serve, imagine him with a "Samprasque" serve, that would be ugly. :D I'm talking about "Golden Slam 2008 ugly" kind of thing. :D


At Wimbledon every year Rafa serves about 10kph harder than he for the rest of the year. He always seems to amp his serve at Wimbledon, then the speed increases slowly vanish by the time US Open arrives. Then he amps it against right before the next Wimbledon.

ToniTennis
09-10-2008, 02:41 PM
Haha, I'm not sure that's possible but Jan Silva will try his best ;)

And yes, feel free to add anything to your sig :)

Meh, not sure if he's the one to bring the balance to MTF. Slight resemblance, though...


Just remember what Anakin finally turned into...

Johnny Groove
09-10-2008, 02:45 PM
Nice avatar adee-gee.

Nice comments Mac the knife, and I agree. Nadal could struggle in a couple of years when he will probably have slightly less large advantages over other top players in terms of groundstrokes and will therefore need his serve to start functioning more effectively than it currently is.

That's what Federer has done.

His serve has always been great but now that he is a step or two slower and his groundtrokes arent as crisp as they used to, he is throwing down 20 aces a match.

All serve this Fed, hear that in the past year?

groundstroke
09-10-2008, 02:46 PM
Nadal doesn't focus on a great serve technique, Federer at 22/23 was pretty much the same (completely different on Wimbledon and Federer, even as a teenager had a better serve than peak-Nadal), then when Fed was aging he started getting better at serving. Will we see the same with Nadal? Hopefully not.

MatchFederer
09-10-2008, 02:54 PM
That's what Federer has done.

His serve has always been great but now that he is a step or two slower and his groundtrokes arent as crisp as they used to, he is throwing down 20 aces a match.

All serve this Fed, hear that in the past year?

Yeah, I've heard it. The all serve Federer comments are completely stupid. However he has definitely not always been able to beat his opponents from the baseline and his very good serve which he is obviously constantly working on has helped him. Nadal will need to do the same in not so long, developing a more potent serve based on placement and maybe a touch of extra speed if possible. Due to an increased parity in baseline play in the future which I predict, he will have less overwhelming advantages off the ground. Nadal has already done a great job in becoming more aggressive and therefore shortening points which is already a hugely positive step in terms of his quest to be a great player for a long period of time.

GlennMirnyi
09-10-2008, 03:04 PM
Nadull has no serve. That's a fact.

Next.

prima donna
09-10-2008, 03:25 PM
Nadal's serve is sufficient to get the job done, I'd presume that his primary focus is directed towards decently placing the ball in order to allow for him to better position himself to maintain the upper-hand in service rallies. Ironically enough, this facet of his game matches up perfectly against Roger, which isn't always the case when opposing more aggressive returners, e.g. Andy Murray.

Roger's service game tends to revolve around more of a conventional strategic approach, also it needs to be noted that earlier in his career, Roger would serve & volley on 1st serves and even occasionally on 2nd serves -- which demands that one's 2nd serve be exceptional.

I wouldn't expect for Nadal's serve to improve to the point that he would be able to build his game around it. In fact, once Nadal loses a bit of pace on his groundstrokes, it's going to be extremely difficult for him to compete against quality opposition. In addition, his volleying skills are less than mediocre, therefore even with a stronger serve, how would he go about taking advantage of it ? I seriously doubt Nadal is going to start attacking net with regularity. Moreover, technological advancements have made it nearly impossible to follow the same pattern over the course of an entire match without the opposition finally catching on and making the necessary adjustments.

Anyway, this post isn't meant to demean Nadal in any sort of way, however I feel that when the time comes (and it will come, it's only a matter of time) Nadal isn't simply going to be able to transition his service game in the same way in which Roger has done so. It's all about movement with Nadal, he's a great player, but over the course of time he will perish due to the inherent level of difficulty in restructing one's game.

adee-gee
09-10-2008, 03:28 PM
Nadal's serve is sufficient to get the job done, I'd presume that his primary focus is directed towards decently placing the ball in order to allow for him to better position himself to maintain the upper-hand in service rallies. Ironically enough, this facet of his game matches up perfectly against Roger, which isn't always the case when opposing more aggressive returners, e.g. Andy Murray.

Roger's service game tends to revolve around more of a conventional strategic approach, also it needs to be noted that earlier in his career, Roger would serve & volley on 1st serves and even occasionally on 2nd serves -- which demands that one's 2nd serve be exceptional.

I wouldn't expect for Nadal's serve to improve to the point that he would be able to build his game around it. In fact, once Nadal loses a bit of pace on his groundstrokes, it's going to be extremely difficult for him to compete against quality opposition. In addition, his volleying skills are less than mediocre, therefore even with a stronger serve, how would he go about taking advantage of it ? I seriously doubt Nadal is going to start attacking net with regularity. Moreover, technological advances have made it nearly impossible to follow the same pattern over the course of an entire match without the opposition finally catching on and making the necessary adjustments.

Anyway, this post isn't meant to demean Nadal in any sort of way, however I feel that when the time comes (and it will come, it's only a matter of time) Nadal isn't simply going to be able to transition his service game in the same way in which Roger has done so. It's all about movement with Nadal, he's a great player, but over the course of time he will perish due to the inherent level of difficulty in restructing one's game.
Wow, a post about Nadal that I agree with :eek:

His volleying really isn't that bad though.

Sunset of Age
09-10-2008, 03:31 PM
Nadal's serve is sufficient to get the job done, I'd presume that his primary focus is directed towards decently placing the ball in order to allow for him to better position himself to maintain the upper-hand in service rallies. Ironically enough, this facet of his game matches up perfectly against Roger, which isn't always the case when opposing more aggressive returners, e.g. Andy Murray.

Roger's service game tends to revolve around more of a conventional strategic approach, also it needs to be noted that earlier in his career, Roger would serve & volley on 1st serves and even occasionally on 2nd serves -- which demands that one's 2nd serve be exceptional.

I wouldn't expect for Nadal's serve to improve to the point that he would be able to build his game around it. In fact, once Nadal loses a bit of pace on his groundstrokes, it's going to be extremely difficult for him to compete against quality opposition. In addition, his volleying skills are less than mediocre, therefore even with a stronger serve, how would he go about taking advantage of it ? I seriously doubt Nadal is going to start attacking net with regularity. Moreover, technological advancements have made it nearly impossible to follow the same pattern over the course of an entire match without the opposition finally catching on and making the necessary adjustments.

Anyway, this post isn't meant to demean Nadal in any sort of way, however I feel that when the time comes (and it will come, it's only a matter of time) Nadal isn't simply going to be able to transition his service game in the same way in which Roger has done so. It's all about movement with Nadal, he's a great player, but over the course of time he will perish due to the inherent level of difficulty in restructing one's game.

PD, you outdid yourself with this post. :yeah: :worship:

prima donna
09-10-2008, 03:44 PM
In a way, Nadal's unique approach to his service game has proven advantageous. Roger would always seemingly break Andy Roddick at will, even on quicker surfaces. I remember commentators praising Roger's relatively simplistic approach to returning, then Nadal came along and started focusing on placement and positioning; Roddick has always been raw power, he also is unable to consistently come in behind his monster serves due to mediocre volleying skills.

The very strengths which worked to Roger's benefit against more limited players, have plagued him against Nadal. It's the fact that Nadal wants him to simply slice the ball back, while players like Roddick would urinate all over themselves at the mere sight of someone actually managing to get the return in play. However, as movement diminishes with age, Nadal will find it all the more difficult to employ this strategy.

Sampras was a 1-2 punch type of player, either it was going to be a huge forehand off a weak service return or a smash following a 130mph ball with impeccable placement.

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 06:34 AM
PD, you outdid yourself with this post. :yeah: :worship:
I expect these things from PD but for you to agree with it? :rolleyes:

This "It's all about movement with Nadal" is nonsense and I really am amazed to see a Nadal fan who has watched a match or two in an objective way agreeing with that. Movement is important for Nadal obviously - is at is for every player - but to sit here and say, as a Nadal fan like yourself that you agree it's all about movement with him?

Come on, Karin. Deep down, there's still a Rafa fan in you who doesn't merely like him because he says nice things about Roger. Don't morph into Mellow Yellow. :sad:

Obviously it would be nice for Nadal to have a better serve and get more cheap points, but it isn't essential. Keeping decent length on his groundies on the other hand is an absolute must with the game he plays.
Exactly.

His serve is underrated IMO but even as a fan you have to admit that it's never going to be a top weapon for him. Indeed, key for him are those groundies.

Action Jackson
09-11-2008, 06:45 AM
I expect these things from PD but for you to agree with it? :rolleyes:

This "It's all about movement with Nadal" is nonsense and I really am amazed to see a Nadal fan who has watched a match or two in an objective way agreeing with that. Movement is important for Nadal obviously - is at is for every player - but to sit here and say, as a Nadal fan like yourself that you agree it's all about movement with him?

Come on, Karin. Deep down, there's still a Rafa fan in you who doesn't merely like him because he says nice things about Roger. Don't morph into Mellow Yellow. :sad:

You trying to be funny or what? Movement is the absolute key to Nadal's game, it's what he builds his game on. It's like saying Roddick's game isn't built around his serve. The things that Nadal does very well are linked to the movement, the anticipation and the fitness/endurance levels to keep up his level of play for the length of time he does are vital to his game.

Like any player he is going to have to adapt to survive in his later years on court, when he loses a bit of pace around the court, then he isn't going to be as effective, as he won't be in the best positions to hit the strokes like previously.

His serve relies more on placement and spin than pace, but he will have to beef that up, then there will come a time, when he will have to flatten out his strokes more than he does at the moment. He will still donkey punch players on clay for some time, but the other surfaces, well it's a matter of time, before they catch up.

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 06:51 AM
Movement is important for him, yes. but it's not all there is either so I disagree with the "It's all about movement with Nadal" statement because it's simplistic as a notion.

I agree about the need to adapt, though. But team Nadal are working on that and he has improved, esp. if you compare with how he played 2 years ago.

His serve has improved, not in sheer speed but in placement, as you noted yourself. Even the players have noted in press conferences how his serve is getting more and more difficult to read.
Like I said, his serve will never be a big weapon but he has worked on it and it's improving which is something quite a few MTF experts didn't consider as a possibility 3 years ago.

Action Jackson
09-11-2008, 06:57 AM
Movement is important for him but it's not all there is either so I disagree with the "It's all about movement with Nadal" statement because it's simplistic.

I agree about the need to adapt, though. But team Nadal are working on that and he has improved, esp. if you compare with how he played 2 years ago.

Movement is the key to his game and you don't need to working at CERN to realise this. It's not like guys with massive serves, who can win cheap points through the serve. Movement is the central thing to Nadal, it's all interrelated.

So Nadal is going to be blowing people off court like Safin did in his peak, now?

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 06:59 AM
So Nadal is going to be blowing people off court like Safin did in his peak, now?
No, I've never said that. His serve is never going to be a big weapon.

Nadal often uses a serve just to set up the point whereas a big server can start and finish a point just with his serve. Nadal can do that from time to time but it's rare and it's not key to his game.
However, there's more to a serve than speed and he has improved the variety and placement of his serve, making it more difficult to read and this is something he needs to work on some more. But no, he's never going to blast players off court with his serve.

Movement is key for every player.

However, I agree that on hardcourts, he often runs too much after the ball instead of being agressive, getting good length on his shots and letting the ball do the running for him so to speak.
Before you say it, I don't think that hardcourts is ever going to be his playground but he has room for improvement.

prima donna
09-11-2008, 07:10 AM
No, I've never said that. His serve is never going to be a big weapon.

Nadal often uses a serve just to set up the point whereas a big server can start and finish a point just with his serve.
Which is in essence what I had summarized in my analysis of his service game, so what part of my post did you find yourself at odds with ?

crude oil
09-11-2008, 07:16 AM
for both federer and nadal "its all about the movement"...a little more so for nadal but still crucial for both.

in fact same is said for djokovic...i would say movement is possibly the most valuable commodity in today's game.

roddick would agree.

a serve isnt good enough anymore...this isnt the 90s

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 07:17 AM
Which is in essence what I had summarized in my analysis of his service game, so what part of my post did you find yourself at odds with ?
Maybe I'm splitting hairs here :lol: but that's not the same as saying "it's all about the movement" although movement is important as it's for every bloody tennis player.

It's just that I think it's human nature to think in clichés.
Nadal: great athlete, good mover.

But, to add to that: the guy has a fantastic eye-hand coordination, anticipation skills and he can construct a point in a clever way (although it's easier for him on clay because that game is more natural for him) and that will help him when he loses a bit of speed. You can be a good mover but if you can't construct a point in a clever way, your movement will only do so much.

Note:
1. I don't think that hardcourts (and esp. indoors) are every going to be his playground.
2. I don't think that he will dominate the game for a long time either. Certainly not like Roger has done.
I wanted him to reach the number one spot and win Roland Garros and Wimbledon back-to-back and he's done both. So, I'm a happy fan.

Action Jackson
09-11-2008, 07:20 AM
Maybe I'm splitting hairs here :lol: but that's not the same as saying "it's all about the movement" although movement is important as it's for every bloody tennis player.

It's just that I think it's human nature like to think in clichés.
Nadal: great athlete, good mover.

Look at the respective skills of the tennis player, hence Nadal the movement to him is more important than some others because those players have other specific weapons that work for them.

It's like the whole what would Roddick be without his serve, Nadal without his movement thing, which is a whole lot of nothing, because these are their respective strengths.

prima donna
09-11-2008, 07:22 AM
It's not a case of using clichés, Nadal's game is predicated on his movement. In any case, I'm not interested in debating with someone that's just contradicting me for the mere sake of doing so. You're just being condescending, had anyone else on this board pointed that out, it'd be seen as a valid point -- unfortunately, I'm notorious for not praising Nadal.

His game revolves around great movement, there's no need to complicate something so easily understood. Moreover, has there ever been a good athlete that wasn't an exceptional mover ? Isn't movement one of the inherent features of athleticism ?

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 07:24 AM
Um, it's not a case of using clichés
Yes it is.

It's not a matter of contradiction because if you break down your viewpoint to the basics, it's true. Movement is key but it's key in tennis, it's key for every player (even more so today than in the 90s).
But you keep your viewpoints on Nadal too simple (although you have a way with words, I'll give you that) from my perspective. Fair enough but I disagree.

I'm not interested in discussing it with you further either so we agree on that. :)

prima donna
09-11-2008, 07:36 AM
Since Nadal apparently possesses such deadly reflexes, could someone explain to me why this hasn't translated into a higher percentage of returns on quicker surfaces, particularly against players with big serves ? How about those great reflexes at net ? How about that brilliant shotmaking ability ? It seems to me that the very individuals accusing others of thinking in clichès are the ones more likely to be prone to such behavior.

This argument is the logical equivalent to suggesting that Roger's game is predicated on his muscular build coupled along with his incredible level of endurance, as opposed to his innate talent. There's no denying that Roger is a hell of a player, but those lungs of his sure are underestimated -- right. It's not those aces and forehands that win him matches; it's that intimidating physique of his.

Just call a spade a spade, since we're talking cliches.

prima donna
09-11-2008, 07:44 AM
Yes it is.

It's not a matter of contradiction because if you break down your viewpoint to the basics, it's true. Movement is key but it's key in tennis, it's key for every player (even more so today than in the 90s).
But you keep your viewpoints on Nadal too simple (although you have a way with words, I'll give you that) from my perspective. Fair enough but I disagree.

I'm not interested in discussing it with you further either so we agree on that. :)
Right -- your only interest is that of being argumentative. I'm sure that you agree with most of what I said, it's merely your personal preference to take me out of context and create your own interpretation of what was initially stated.

No wonder it's becoming increasingly difficult to engage in a serious discussion on this forum when there are so many posters that are unwilling to see beyond an avatar or a signature. I mean, it's gotten to the point that even Nadal fans are forced to agree with me -- get the chip off your shoulder and be a good girl.

Nadal is the best player in the world primarily because of his movement. End of story.

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 07:47 AM
Since Nadal apparently possesses such deadly reflexes, could someone explain to me why this hasn't translated into a higher percentage of returns on quicker surfaces, particularly against players with big serves ? How about those great reflexes at net ? How about that brilliant shotmaking ability ? It seems to me that the very individuals accusing others of thinking in clichès are the ones more likely to be prone to such behavior.
:scratch:

He has good reflexes at the net (although he will never be a natural at the net either) and he is a good shot maker. :shrug:

Nadal has amped up his serve (no, no, not like peak Safin, not like Roddick, not like Karlovic...he's not a big server) over the years but Rafa seems to have placed the focus on placement and variety (which is something he needs do continue to work on). Just read what other players have been saying about his serve lately. It's not an easy serve to read. A serve is not just about speed.


Nadal is the best player in the world because of his movement. End of story.
Simplistic IMO. :shrug: Not wrong because his good movement is crucial but you're cutting corners. Surely, you can see the difference in totally disagreeing with everything somebody writes on the one hand and disagreeing with certain parts of what that person says on the other hand.

Listen, we're never going to agree on this and since I don't want this argument to get ugly, let's finish it.

prima donna
09-11-2008, 08:10 AM
This is tennis, of course it's simplistic. We're not talking philosophy or politics, which are interconnected in their own respect. Ultimately, what this boils down to is a complex of some kind originating from the idea that Nadal lacks versatility, a belief which has been perpetuated by a select group of persons that choose to dwell on the weaknesses present in Nadal's game rather than his strengths.

It seems that no matter how much I extol Nadal for his numerous improvements that his fans are never satisfied, they are undoubtedly the most hypersensitive bunch on this board. He's currently the most effective player in terms of executing his game plan on a consistent basis. Isn't this sufficient ? Should we all pretend that he's averaging 20 aces per match and 30 winners ? It is what it is, speaking of clichés.

This isn't only limited to Nadal fans, but also fans of Murray. It's as if these people expect for the world to laud them as shot making geniuses, a few compliments simply won't do. Enough.

-Tirade concluded-

leng jai
09-11-2008, 08:21 AM
:scratch:

He has good reflexes at the net (although he will never be a natural at the net either) and he is a good shot maker. :shrug:

Nadal has amped up his serve (no, no, not like peak Safin, not like Roddick, not like Karlovic...he's not a big server) over the years but Rafa seems to have placed the focus on placement and variety (which is something he needs do continue to work on). Just read what other players have been saying about his serve lately. It's not an easy serve to read. A serve is not just about speed.



Simplistic IMO. :shrug: Not wrong because his good movement is crucial but you're cutting corners. Surely, you can see the difference in totally disagreeing with everything somebody writes on the one hand and disagreeing with certain parts of what that person says on the other hand.

Listen, we're never going to agree on this and since I don't want this argument to get ugly, let's finish it.

Nadull doesn't possess good reflexes at net and can't be classified as a good shot maker at all. His gameplan involves wearing down his opponents and making them uncomfortable with a barrage of barrage of moonballs to their weaker wing. The only time Nadull "shot makes" is when he is forced on the full defensive run.

The only reason Nadull's serve doesn't get found out as much is because hes a lefty. The slider on the ad court gives single hander's fits.

Castafiore
09-11-2008, 08:24 AM
This isn't only limited to Nadal fans, but also fans of Murray. It's as if these people expect for the world to laud them as shot making geniuses, a few compliments simply won't do.
Ah, the game of the sweeping statements about fanbases. That always works well here in GM but it's even more in use in the player forums. But, I like that game, PD. :)


[sweeping statement]Federer fans. It's as if all the compliments and :worship: for Federer isn't enough for them. A compliment given to another player is often perceived as a direct insult to their own master.

Somebody says that Murray is a good shotmaker without mentioning Federer? Haters (A respected journalist should nuance that by stating that Federer is a better one, right?)[/sweeping statement]
It's easy to come up with a silly sweeping statement about the fans of players but it doesn't add much to the discussion either way.

Langers
02-02-2009, 01:49 AM
I'm a big Rafa fan, I was hoping he'd win the title and until about 5 hours ago I thought he would, but seriously, his serve needs MAJOR improvement. He's a lefty, he should be good, but he's one of the worst left handed servers I've seen of recent years. He gets decent enough speed, but there's just nothing to it, especially the second serve.
I still think this is the only part of his game that isn't complete.

Sure it came up big on 2 or 3 occasions last night but on the whole it still needs a lot of work. Needs to get more free points from it.

FedFan_2007
02-02-2009, 01:53 AM
Nadal will never have a top serve, but he doesn't need to do with that nuclear defense of his.

rafa_maniac
02-02-2009, 02:00 AM
Rafa doesn't use his serve to win points, he uses it to set up points, and anyone whose seen a match of his against Federer will know just how effective that is. Federer has a lot more trouble breaking him than vice versa.

Langers
02-02-2009, 02:48 AM
Yeh true but I feel it would extend his career if he were able to get more cheap points.

FedFan_2007
02-02-2009, 02:50 AM
Yeh true but I feel it would extend his career if he were able to get more cheap points.

If he can get a bigger serve, he will do it but not the cost of hurting the rest of his game.

fred perry
02-02-2009, 03:29 AM
I'm a big Rafa fan, I was hoping he'd win the title and until about 5 hours ago I thought he would, but seriously, his serve needs MAJOR improvement. He's a lefty, he should be good, but he's one of the worst left handed servers I've seen of recent years. He gets decent enough speed, but there's just nothing to it, especially the second serve.

try returning it.:wavey:

BackhandMissile
02-02-2009, 06:24 AM
Yeh true but I feel it would extend his career if he were able to get more cheap points.

A big serve is always an added bonus. He's definitely improved, and I'm sure Uncle Toni's going to be working on it some more.

He pulled off a few crucial aces yesterday.

crude oil
02-02-2009, 07:44 AM
nadal could have served underarm to federer's backhand. it would have been the same result.

Langers
09-14-2010, 06:19 AM
I'm a big Rafa fan, I was hoping he'd win the title and until about 5 hours ago I thought he would, but seriously, his serve needs MAJOR improvement. He's a lefty, he should be good, but he's one of the worst left handed servers I've seen of recent years. He gets decent enough speed, but there's just nothing to it, especially the second serve.
How much has Rafa improved his serve? Wow. :worship:

ossie
09-14-2010, 08:11 AM
'i dont practice just to practice, i go to practice to improve'

rafael nadal aka the goat

born_on_clay
09-14-2010, 11:29 AM
he's improved it a lot since 2005

romismak
07-04-2011, 02:09 AM
I don´t know why he is still not having better serve, I am sure he is working with his team on serve, he has improoved by few levels since he start on the tour, but still his serve is major weakness comparing to other players in top 10. There was only 1 tournament in his career he was serving as worthy No.1 player - US open 2010, US open ended and his super serve is gonne. I don´t understand how player with so much physicall strength is not able to to serve flat bombs on 1st serves all the time, i don´t think he lack enough of power for that, also i don´t understand why he is not having better that lefty slice wide of the court serve. Maybe, that he is naturaly right-hander has something to do with it, but after all he is playing with lef-hand so many years so that shouldn´t be such problem. Anyone who will argue that his serve is good. and has improveed is only partly true. His serve has improoved from very weak to average over last years. But still he needs to have it much better, harder bombs or use more that lefty serve. Everyone who wants to argue that his serve is good should look on ATP statistics and honestly give Nadal´s serve to other players and besides Djokovic or Murray, anyone else would struggle with that serve, because anyone who has not such great ground game and baseline game like those players would struggle a lot with his average serve.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx

Here we can see that Rafa is 33rd in aces this season and he has played more matches than anybody else, even 8 matches more than 2nd Djokovic who is winning everything and looks like playing most matches.
Nadal is 26th on Winning points on 1st serve..... guy with 2nd best ground game after Djokovic is only 26th? what is this for joke. that means average top 20 player with his serve won´t be maybe not even in top 50 in this statistics. But what is for me most shocking from top 10 players - 8 players are better in this statistics than Nadal, even Ferrer what is unbelievable i think that short Ferrer has more winning points on 1st serve than Nadal, there is no way Ferrer has better ground game and baseline game and rallies, so that means Ferrer has better pure serve than Nadal....
Yes Nadal is 2nd after Djokovic on winning points after 2nd serve, but this is logical, because after 2nd serve most of the time are rallies and players with best groundstroukes and baseline game are the best - that is why Djokovic and Nadal are 1st and 2nd in this statistics.

straitup
07-04-2011, 02:11 AM
Nadal's serve was quite good today...probably one of the only bright spots. In some of the other matches against Novak this year, Rafa's 1st serve percentage was so low and that had to play a part in denting his confidence a bit.

Henry Kaspar
07-04-2011, 02:16 AM
Rafa served just as fast as Djokovic in the final, got a higher percentage of first serves in, and converted a comparable percentage of first serves. The big difference is what happened on the second serve. Nadal lost the majority of points when he was second-serving, while Djokovic won the majority of secdond serve points.

Implying: Nadal didn't lose the match because of his serve, he lost because he was outplayed from the baseline. This is the real stunner in this final.

Match Summary


Nadal (ESP) Djokovic (SRB)

1st Serve % 64 of 82 = 78 % 69 of 95 = 73 %

Aces 5 7

Double Faults 1 1

Unforced Errors 15 12

Winning % on 1st Serve 43 of 64 = 67 % 50 of 69 = 72 %

Winning % on 2nd Serve 8 of 18 = 44 % 14 of 26 = 54 %

Winners 21 27

Receiving Points Won 31 of 95 = 33 % 31 of 82 = 38 %

Break Point Conversions 3 of 6 = 50 % 5 of 6 = 83 %

Net Approaches 6 of 9 = 67 % 19 of 26 = 73 %

Fastest Serve Speed 126 MPH 126 MPH

Average 1st Serve Speed 118 MPH 117 MPH

Average 2nd Serve Speed 89 MPH 93 MPH

MatchFederer
07-04-2011, 02:20 AM
Didn't Nadal have a virtually equal amount of irretrievable serves today as Djokovic despite being an inferior returner?

He did a good job on serve yesterday.

I dunno... A bunch of players need to and should try to improve a bunch of things. It will be interesting to see how his serve goes for the rest of the season, because during the clay court season I think he just generally serves more lamely and safely anyway. Djokovic did produce 61 aces throughout the tournament and Nadal 49, but the whole story isn't revealed just with the ace count.

MatchFederer
07-04-2011, 02:21 AM
Rafa served just as fast as Djokovic in the final, got a higher percentage of first serves in, and converted a comparable percentage of first serves. The big difference is what happened on the second serve. Nadal lost the majority of points when he was second-serving, while Djokovic won the majority of secdond serve points.

Implying: Nadal didn't lose the match because of his serve, he lost because he was outplayed from the baseline. This is the real stunner in this final.



Definitely. I felt the serves were more or less equal.

romismak
07-04-2011, 02:22 AM
this has nothing to do with his los to Djokovic, this is overall that after his improoved serve over the years he still has the worst serve among top players, and i don´t know why is it still so, with his strenght and power and as left-hander he should have one of the best serves if he worked hard on his serve

MatchFederer
07-04-2011, 02:32 AM
Yeh, maybe. I'm only really comparing to Djokovic as he is another top player and is considered to have a pretty good serve but as far as I can see Nadal's is roughly as good.

Would also be interested to see the serve stats for Nadal vs Murray semi.

Anyway, yeah I feel Nadal does need to improve his serve, but it is already fairly good. It's less vital than Murray improving his forehand probably, for example. We could bring up these sorts of issues for a lot of players.

** edit **

I think it's hard though; the more time you spend working on one things the less time you have to maintain other aspects of your game. In other words it's simply not so simple and Nadal is probably already virtually maximizing his game and his time.

Roddickominator
07-04-2011, 02:35 AM
His serve is pretty effective against guys not named Djokovic...who also seems to be getting EVERYONE's serve back with interest. The slice out wide is extremely effective IMO, and he knows just when to serve out wide to the forehand when his opponent is looking for it up the T.

Despite his natural inclination to simply use the serve to get into a rally where he is confident in winning a rally from the baseline, he has indeed improved the serve greatly. But he will never have an elite serve...he never needed it.

romismak
07-04-2011, 02:42 AM
His serve is pretty effective against guys not named Djokovic...who also seems to be getting EVERYONE's serve back with interest. The slice out wide is extremely effective IMO, and he knows just when to serve out wide to the forehand when his opponent is looking for it up the T.

Despite his natural inclination to simply use the serve to get into a rally where he is confident in winning a rally from the baseline, he has indeed improved the serve greatly. But he will never have an elite serve...he never needed it.

Agree with all, but still think now it times he will need it, if he want to become again No.1 and beat Nole, serve could the factor, yes Nole´s ROS is amazing but still Rafa´serve is average maximum.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/MatchFacts.aspx
How the hell Ferrer has more winning poinst on 1st serve than Rafa? how i wrote in my first post this is overall about Rafa´s serve this has nothing to do with Nole, he has worst or second worst serve in top 10 and maybe he should finally do something with it, how he will be getting older and won´t be able to be such beast in rallies - serve is maybe the key - the one aspect of game to develop even further for him.

stewietennis
07-04-2011, 03:16 AM
Rafa's serve was pretty good today.

Just as Roger needs to S&V more against Rafa because he doesn't have the firepower to rally too long, Rafa needs to flatten out his forehand more – his topspin forehand isn't going to cut it against Djoko.

MatchFederer
07-04-2011, 03:26 AM
Won't be surprised to see Nadal amp up his serve again anyway for the US Open, just like last year.

romismak
07-04-2011, 01:18 PM
Won't be surprised to see Nadal amp up his serve again anyway for the US Open, just like last year.

Hope he did someone to start serving better and have more unreturnable serves, because with his current serve he has no chance at Us open against Roger, Delpo and of course Nole

Sophocles
07-04-2011, 01:37 PM
Rafa served just as fast as Djokovic in the final, got a higher percentage of first serves in, and converted a comparable percentage of first serves. The big difference is what happened on the second serve. Nadal lost the majority of points when he was second-serving, while Djokovic won the majority of secdond serve points.

Implying: Nadal didn't lose the match because of his serve, he lost because he was outplayed from the baseline. This is the real stunner in this final.

Exactly.

He doesn't need a better serve to beat Djoker. He needs more talent.

Gagsquet
07-04-2011, 01:44 PM
Exactly.

He doesn't need a better serve to beat Djoker. He needs more talent.

:smoke: Brutal

xdrewitdajx
07-04-2011, 02:20 PM
he served well in the final...his serve was the only thing keeping him close for a while. Djokovic just happened to return the shit out of them. Nadal started returning like a monster as well in the last 2 sets. Nadal was doing a good job especially with serves to Djokovic's forehand, he has more trouble returning those effectively.

Overall, I wouldn't say serve was anywhere near being the main problem for him...his serve was working very well, he just came up against the best returner.

samanosuke
07-04-2011, 02:25 PM
totally wrong . just due to serve he won these few games in final . he has decent serve

Mjau!
07-08-2011, 05:36 PM
Rafa served AMAZING in that Wimbeldon final. 78% first serves in... :speakles: averaging 118 MPH... :eek: It was probably his best service performance ever by the numbers. :worship:

And it was thanks to this impeccable service performance that he only lost 5/16 service games - on grass! :yeah:

ossie
07-08-2011, 06:23 PM
yeah i noticed that too, still looked like a mug against djoker though.

Commander Data
07-08-2011, 06:31 PM
Rafa served AMAZING in that Wimbeldon final. 78% first serves in... :speakles: averaging 118 MPH... :eek: It was probably his best service performance ever by the numbers. :worship:

And it was thanks to this impeccable service performance that he only lost 5/16 service games - on grass! :yeah:

Impressive. Imagine: Had he chosen to serve first, he would have been 5/16 on return games. :eek:

siffleanimaux
07-08-2011, 06:44 PM
Yep. In the first two sets, the only thing winning Nadal points were his serves. Djokovic was absolutely dominating the rallies and there was nothing he could do.

romismak
07-08-2011, 06:44 PM
It is not so unbelievable that he has great serve statistics and still lost - first of all he was playing best player this season and best returner in the game and second Nadal´s serve is a JOKE serve for top 5 player.
http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?p=11187255
I made thread about his serve lately. He can have 100% 1st serve in against Djokovic and still will loose.

philosophicalarf
07-08-2011, 07:04 PM
78% at 118mph average is afaik the best serving numbers of Nadal's career.

He's not nearly as accurate as he was last year though, which is more important.

Sunset of Age
07-08-2011, 07:15 PM
78% at 118mph average is afaik the best serving numbers of Nadal's career.

He's not nearly as accurate as he was last year though, which is more important.

USO 2010, especially. Nadal's serving throughout that GS was pretty much unbelievable.
Nadal's serving was very good during this Wimbledon actually. Problem for him in that final was having an opponent being an even better reader of that serve, and hence, returner.

Not the only match where this kind of thing happened in this past Wimbledon. Federer had very good stats (don't know them exactly but I'm sure you are capable of filling me in on this :p) on his serve in his match against Tsonga as well, but still ended up losing the match. It... happens... :shrug:

philosophicalarf
07-08-2011, 07:20 PM
USO 2010, especially. Nadal's serving throughout that GS was pretty much unbelievable.

Yeah. Just to show the limits of serve speed numbers, if you exclude the USO 2010 R2/R3 matches, which were outliers for the tournament and his career, he only averaged 116mph for the event there (same as his Wimbledon norm for years).

Vastly more effective than any other event though, because he was hitting his spots. Was only 64% at the UO too.

BodyServe
07-08-2011, 08:06 PM
Yeah. Just to show the limits of serve speed numbers, if you exclude the USO 2010 R2/R3 matches, which were outliers for the tournament and his career, he only averaged 116mph for the event there (same as his Wimbledon norm for years).

Vastly more effective than any other event though, because he was hitting his spots. Was only 64% at the UO too.

As a matter of fact, speed guns are more sensitive some days than other days, of course thats hard to prove but i think it can varies from 2-4 mph.

Branimir
07-08-2011, 08:09 PM
Just proves Nole is by far the best returner of serve in the World.

SheepleBuster
07-08-2011, 08:10 PM
Rafa served AMAZING in that Wimbeldon final. 78% first serves in... :speakles: averaging 118 MPH... :eek: It was probably his best service performance ever by the numbers. :worship:

And it was thanks to this impeccable service performance that he only lost 5/16 service games - on grass! :yeah:

These numbers can be deceiving. Grass is slower than clay or so it seems. Nadal did serve great at some points but also was just spinning his serve in. On most courts, all Nadal needs to do is get the point started and he can outmaneuver most folks.

Pirata.
07-08-2011, 08:25 PM
Impressive. Imagine: Had he chosen to serve first, he would have been 5/16 on return games. :eek:

Another epic post from Commander Data :worship:

velikikomsa@gmai
07-08-2011, 10:02 PM
These numbers can be deceiving. Grass is slower than clay or so it seems. Nadal did serve great at some points but also was just spinning his serve in. On most courts, all Nadal needs to do is get the point started and he can outmaneuver most folks.

You didn't watch match for sure.
I mean how average serve of 118 mph can be just spinning the ball.
Tsonga was broken by Djokovic more times than all of his previous matches on tournament.

NYCtennisfan
07-08-2011, 10:41 PM
Yes, Nadal did serve very well, but the mph/kph numbers are skewed because Nadal was avoiding the Djokovic BH when he served to the AD side of the court.

For a right-handed player, the biggest serves in terms of mph/kph are down the T on the deuce court and out wide on the AD court because you can hit those serves the flattest with the one down the T on the deuce court the biggest. This is where Soderling, Berdych, Ivo, Roddick, etc., hit their biggest serves. The few times Federer cracks 130 mph, it's the flat serve down the T on the deuce court. He hit a serve 133 mph at RG this year and it was down the T on the deuce.. For a left-handed player, the biggest serves are out wide on the deuce court and down the T on the AD court with the down the T on the AD side the biggest one because you can hit those the flattest. For a lefty, the "screwdriver" up the T on the deuce court that spins away from the returner, on average, cannot be hit as hard as the flat one out wide. On the Ad court, the "can opener" out wide i.e, the slice/spin serve cannot be hit as hard as the flat one down the T. Where Nadal hits his serves affects his serve speeds. If you take a look at Federer's average serve speeds, you'll see that he seems to hit a lot "softer" (and a lot less aces for that matter) against a player like Ivo and that's because he isn't trying to hit aces against Ivo with the flat serve, but rather starting the point by serving out wide (the slice serve) on the deuce court, and the screwdriver up the T on the AD side for a righty that spins away from Ivo's FH. He knows he will win almost all the rallies so why miss a serve and let Ivo get a chance to possibly tee off on a second serve. If you take a look at just the numbers, you'll think that Fed's speed was down, but there's more to it.

In his match against Djokovic, Nadal served 19 balls down the T on the AD side and only 9 out wide in order to avoid the Djokovic BH. Against Federer, Nadal might hit 3 or 4 "surprise" serves down the T on the AD side, but send most of the serves out wide to Federer's BH. Nadal's mean serve speed always seems lower against Fed than it does against other players because almost all of his serves are of the slice/spin variety on both the deuce and AD sides. Against Djokovic, Nadal's serve speed is up because he's hitting more flat serve on the AD side to avoid the Djoko BH return.

Against Sweeting, Nadal served 12 out wide on the AD side and 10 down the T as opposed to 19 down the T and 9 out wide against Novak. On the deuce side against Sweeting, he hit 20 screwdrivers up the T, and 6 out wide that were flat, nearly the same as the 8 out wide and 25 down the T against Novak. The serves up the T on the deuce side and out wide on the deuce side don't have as big a variance in average speed as the down the T and sliced out wide serves on the Ad side do.

His average serve speed was then only 114 mph/kph against Sweeting, but he wasn't serving slowly or with less pace. His fastest serves of the day against Djokovic were basically the same speed as they were against Sweeting. His average serve speeds out wide on the deuce court, up the T on the deuce court, down the T on the AD court and out wide on the AD court were almost identical. Against Federer at this year's RG, his average serve speed was 107 mph. Why? Because he served every serve other than 6 first serves to the Federer BH (slice out wide on the AD and screwdriver up the T on the deuce court). The only difference in most of these matches? Where he served it.

Henry Chinaski
07-08-2011, 10:44 PM
astute post from NYCTennisfan

yellowboy906
07-08-2011, 10:46 PM
i'm tired of people always saying something like "tsonga didn't serve well or played as well as he did against federer" or "nadal has the worst serve out of the top players" or "nadal didn't play well against djokovic". well, murray could hardly smell BP and he's considered one of the best returner in the game along with novak and nadal. people need to accept the fact that djokovic made them look like little kid.

philosophicalarf
07-08-2011, 11:02 PM
Murray's return game isn't that effective on grass imo.

zlaja777
07-08-2011, 11:19 PM
I noticed that too. Best serving day for Rafa (not best ever I think, USO'10 was his best). Tells you just how good Novaks return is.

Sunset of Age
07-08-2011, 11:22 PM
Yes, Nadal did serve very well, but the mph/kph numbers are skewed because Nadal was avoiding the Djokovic BH when he served to the AD side of the court.

For a right-handed player, the biggest serves in terms of mph/kph are down the T on the deuce court and out wide on the AD court because you can hit those serves the flattest with the one down the T on the deuce court the biggest. This is where Soderling, Berdych, Ivo, Roddick, etc., hit their biggest serves. The few times Federer cracks 130 mph, it's the flat serve down the T on the deuce court. He hit a serve 133 mph at RG this year and it was down the T on the deuce.. For a left-handed player, the biggest serves are out wide on the deuce court and down the T on the AD court with the down the T on the AD side the biggest one because you can hit those the flattest. For a lefty, the "screwdriver" up the T on the deuce court that spins away from the returner, on average, cannot be hit as hard as the flat one out wide. On the Ad court, the "can opener" out wide i.e, the slice/spin serve cannot be hit as hard as the flat one down the T. Where Nadal hits his serves affects his serve speeds. If you take a look at Federer's average serve speeds, you'll see that he seems to hit a lot "softer" (and a lot less aces for that matter) against a player like Ivo and that's because he isn't trying to hit aces against Ivo with the flat serve, but rather starting the point by serving out wide (the slice serve) on the deuce court, and the screwdriver up the T on the AD side for a righty that spins away from Ivo's FH. He knows he will win almost all the rallies so why miss a serve and let Ivo get a chance to possibly tee off on a second serve. If you take a look at just the numbers, you'll think that Fed's speed was down, but there's more to it.

In his match against Djokovic, Nadal served 19 balls down the T on the AD side and only 9 out wide in order to avoid the Djokovic BH. Against Federer, Nadal might hit 3 or 4 "surprise" serves down the T on the AD side, but send most of the serves out wide to Federer's BH. Nadal's mean serve speed always seems lower against Fed than it does against other players because almost all of his serves are of the slice/spin variety on both the deuce and AD sides. Against Djokovic, Nadal's serve speed is up because he's hitting more flat serve on the AD side to avoid the Djoko BH return.

Fantastic post. As usual. :yeah:

BodyServe
07-08-2011, 11:22 PM
You cant judge a player returning skills when he faces Nadal...

NYCtennisfan
07-09-2011, 01:01 AM
Just to add to my previous post:

Against Sweeting, Nadal served 12 out wide on the AD side and 10 down the T as opposed to 19 down the T and 9 out wide against Novak. On the deuce side against Sweeting, he hit 20 screwdrivers up the T, and 6 out wide that were flat, nearly the same as the 8 out wide and 25 down the T against Novak. The serves up the T on the deuce side and out wide on the deuce side don't have as big a variance in average speed as the down the T and sliced out wide serves on the Ad side do.

His average serve speed was then only 114 mph/kph against Sweeting, but he wasn't serving slowly or with less pace. His fastest serves of the day against Djokovic were basically the same speed as they were against Sweeting. His average serve speeds out wide on the deuce court, up the T on the deuce court, down the T on the AD court and out wide on the AD court were almost identical. Against Federer at this year's RG, his average serve speed was 107 mph. Why? Because he served every serve other than 6 first serves to the Federer BH (slice out wide on the AD and screwdriver up the T on the deuce court). The only difference in most of these matches? Where he served it.

makesmewonder
07-09-2011, 01:09 AM
Even so his serve has a lot to improve.

FlameOn
07-09-2011, 03:31 AM
For all the talk of his improved serve at the USO '10, it didn't really last very long. :(

BackhandMissile
07-09-2011, 06:12 AM
The serve was very good, and perhaps the only part of his game that ticked well.

Djokovic completely outplayed him in rallies. If anything, the serve saved him from what might have been an embarassing final score.

AndyNonomous
07-09-2011, 02:24 PM
For all the talk of his improved serve at the USO '10, it didn't really last very long. :(

His serve speed seems to always peak at the two fastest slams (USO, Wimbledon). His serve seems quite ordinary outside these two tournaments (even a couple weeks before {Cincinnati}, or a few weeks after {Thai Open}).

I don't know of any other veteran male player who has this predictable variability in their serve.

czaree
07-10-2011, 12:34 PM
The serve was very good, and perhaps the only part of his game that ticked well.

Djokovic completely outplayed him in rallies. If anything, the serve saved him from what might have been an embarassing final score.

That's what I observed as well. He was serving very well but Djokovic absolutely murdered him on his second serves. If he wasn't serving well the score could be much worse.

philosophicalarf
07-10-2011, 01:19 PM
For all the talk of his improved serve at the USO '10, it didn't really last very long. :(

His R2 vs Sweeting at the Aus this year was "only" 119mph, as against 121mph against Istomin at the US. However, Australia is the slowest of the slams for serve pace by a long distance (average 4mph less than the US), so the Sweeting match was probably the biggest of his career. It then completely plummeted for the rest of the event, down to 112/113 or so.

People got overly caught up with the R2 and R3 stats at the US Open, but those two are outliers for the event. If you exclude them, then it's the same as Wimbledon 08/10 ....... and at a lower first serve % also.

dombrfc
07-10-2011, 02:53 PM
The only difference in most of these matches?

Nole > Sweeting :secret:

Filo V.
07-10-2011, 04:41 PM
Djokovic is the best returner in tennis.

NYCtennisfan
07-10-2011, 08:01 PM
Nole > Sweeting :secret:

I wasn't referring to the effectiveness of Nadal's serve against various opponents in any way, but rather simply about Nadal's serve speed as mentioned in the first few posts.

thefish11
09-13-2011, 09:19 PM
and what does he have to do to improve it? Amazing he made it 4 sets with that kind of serve. Some of worst serving I saw entire US Open with the exception of Davydenko and a few other guys.

Certinfy
09-13-2011, 09:25 PM
Well ever since the US Open last year he's never seemed to have gone to serving that big again due to the risk of getting injured (again). I mean he's used it occasionally (eg. vs Berdych Miami 3rd set) but he hasn't gone to use it as a weapon consistently since then.

I don't know what to say about last night though, if anything I thought he would try and serve huge like he did last year in New York since he is playing the best returner in the game but clearly he wasn't able to do that.

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
09-13-2011, 09:29 PM
since uncle phony decided to give his right handed nephew tennis lessons on his left hand

rafa coulda had a 140mph serve if he had a good coach

ballbasher101
09-13-2011, 09:36 PM
Lets face it, his serve has always been average. His serve last year at the US open was a fluke.Serving well comes naturally. Nadal is not a natural lefty and that has hindered him when it comes to his serve I suspect.

philosophicalarf
09-13-2011, 09:45 PM
Last year's final: 186kph avg. Versus Murray this year in semis: 185. Versus Djoko in final ..... 172

Pure mental block - 172 is what he produced at the US Open in 2004.

finishingmove
09-13-2011, 09:45 PM
since uncle phony decided to give his right handed nephew tennis lessons on his left hand

rafa coulda had a 140mph serve if he had a good coach

I think you got something there...

Last year's final: 186kph avg. Versus Murray this year in semis: 185. Versus Djoko in final ..... 172

Pure mental block - 172 is what he produced at the US Open in 2004.

you too

Roadmap
09-13-2011, 09:52 PM
Last year's final: 186kph avg. Versus Murray this year in semis: 185. Versus Djoko in final ..... 172

Pure mental block - 172 is what he produced at the US Open in 2004.

This is interesting.

NadalPhan
09-13-2011, 10:15 PM
Last year's final: 186kph avg. Versus Murray this year in semis: 185. Versus Djoko in final ..... 172

Pure mental block - 172 is what he produced at the US Open in 2004.

Interesting...

selyoink
09-13-2011, 10:18 PM
He has never had a good serve, purely a baseline player. His 2010 US Open serve was almost certainly the result of some nefarious workings as its never been seen before that tournament or since.

moon language
09-13-2011, 10:30 PM
He actually had a faster max serve speed than Djokovic. Part of the problem against Djokovic is the quality of return which most likely makes him want to take something off the first serve to get it in rather than have to hit his second serve. Obviously last year Nadal was in a groove on his serve, but the only time he showed that serve this year was in his first match when he hit 133.

Anyway he needs to put some serious practice time in to get his serve back on track. Speed aside his first serve percentage has often been poor this summer so the stroke as a whole is not where it usually is.

anticaria
04-21-2012, 02:17 AM
RICOH ATP MatchFacts: Nadal Beefs Up Serve
Rafael Nadal
by Matt Fitzgerald
| 20.04.2012


At the beginning of the season, Rafael Nadal stated he was going to continue bringing the intensity that’s guided him to 10 Grand Slam titles, declaring, “I will play like this until my mind and my physical performance say, 'finish'.

“If you are working very hard physically, but your mental game is not there, you don't feel competitive, you won't feel hungry to keep winning or to keep fighting every ball. If you're not ready to compete and to combine both things, [it] will be very difficult to be competitive in all the tournaments.”

Though he did not win a title in the first quarter of the year, Nadal certainly was ‘competitive’, reaching the semi-finals or better at every event he entered, including a runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. The RICOH ATP MatchFacts suggest that Nadal has stepped up on serve, something he’ll be looking to carry into the European clay-court season.

“Nadal's tennis has always been inspiring. But even more inspiring is the way he continually engages his head and heart to make himself better,” asserts acclaimed tennis columnist Joel Drucker. “There is a persistence to him, a sense that he will leave no stone unturned - not just in order to win but because in his mind this is what champions do most of all: They attempt, again and again and again.”

In the four tournaments the Spaniard played through March this year, all hard courts, Nadal won 88 per cent of his service games, a 6 per cent increase over his hard-court success in 2011. The 25 year old also went up from 63 per cent break points saved to 71 per cent, putting him in fourth place on the surface thus far in 2012.

“The slight increase in Nadal's service holds speaks to his unwavering desire to improve,” says Drucker. “That became particularly important for him in 2011 when he was displaced from No. 1 by Novak Djokovic. And Djokovic's quality service return is a major tipping shot in the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry. So Rafa is looking to generate more traction with his serve.”

In addition, Nadal’s hard-court first serve percentage rose five per cent, from 65 to 70. The 70 per cent mark equals his number on clay last year, but Drucker doesn't believe the World No. 2 will look to increase the statistic at the same rate this year on the red dirt.

“Nadal is so effective on clay he could probably spin in 90 percent of his first serves and generate the same match results. It just takes some massive returning to displace him from a favourable position on clay,” Drucker says.

“But I sense he's restless, that he doesn't want to merely build a game that will yield him clay results but instead one that will put him in good stead for Wimbledon, the Olympics (where he's the holder) and the US Open. In a strange way, a lower first serve percentage on clay is a sign of Nadal investing in his long-term game.”

Nadal’s most successful season-to-date on clay came in 2010. That year, he won 91 per cent of his service games, and saved 77 per cent of break points faced to go undefeated on the surface with a 22-0 record, winning all three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and his fifth Roland Garros crown.

Topspindoctor
04-21-2012, 05:20 AM
Nadal needs his USO 2010 serve back. His current fluffball serves are unacceptable. He should try copying Olderer's service motion. As a lefty he would be even more devastating with it. Getting broken 11 times in USO 2011 final was pathetic. He was a break up in every set but the inability to hold has cost him the match

Mountaindewslave
04-21-2012, 05:38 AM
Nadal needs his USO 2010 serve back. His current fluffball serves are unacceptable. He should try copying Olderer's service motion. As a lefty he would be even more devastating with it. Getting broken 11 times in USO 2011 final was pathetic. He was a break up in every set but the inability to hold has cost him the match

as though it's easy to copy and emulate Federer's serve.... :o

even if Nadal wanted he could not serve as well as someone like Federer, he just does not have the technique or style for it. Nadal at his best can merely speed/power up his current serve which unfortunately is not a serve that hits the spots very well or keeps opponents guessing.

Only thing good about Nadal's serve is how all the spin makes it jump up high on some people but expecting him to make it like Federer's is absurd, he can't just magically make his technique 100% different... his physique, style, etc, come on

Arkulari
04-21-2012, 05:45 AM
Nadal needs his USO 2010 serve back. His current fluffball serves are unacceptable. He should try copying Olderer's service motion. As a lefty he would be even more devastating with it. Getting broken 11 times in USO 2011 final was pathetic. He was a break up in every set but the inability to hold has cost him the match

This.

But he cannot copy Roger's service motion, their techniques are too different and it just won't work.

Don't you remember Djokovic's tragic association with Todd Martin to improve his serve? he DFed his way to crappy matches and lost tons of points.

Topspindoctor
04-21-2012, 05:56 AM
I am sorry but I disagree, if a clown like Dimitrov can copy Olderer's motion, then Nadal can definitely do it as he's more talented so it wouldn't be too much problem, only bad thing is that he'd lose a few matches as his muscles adjust to the new motion, instinctively he'd still go for his old motion due to muscle memory etc..

One thing is for certain though, something has to change. As far as I am concerned his serve is worse now than it was in 2006 - it's a puffball at 60%, at least back then he served at 80%. I feel like he's at risk of being broken every service game, while in 2010 he would hold easily even before USO (unbroken in RG+W finals).

Smoke944
04-21-2012, 05:59 AM
I am sorry but I disagree, if a clown like Dimitrov can copy Olderer's motion, then Nadal can definitely do it as he's more talented so it wouldn't be too much problem, only bad thing is that he'd lose a few matches as his muscles adjust to the new motion, instinctively he'd still go for his old motion due to muscle memory etc..

One thing is for certain though, something has to change. As far as I am concerned his serve is worse now than it was in 2006 - it's a puffball at 60%, at least back then he served at 80%. I feel like he's at risk of being broken every service game, while in 2010 he would hold easily even before USO (unbroken in RG+W finals).

:lol:

cmoss
04-21-2012, 06:06 AM
Learn to serve like Isner,and he might think about become the goat.:wavey:

Topspindoctor
04-21-2012, 06:13 AM
Learn to serve like Isner,and he might think about become the goat.:wavey:

He'd also need to learn how to move like Isner as well :wavey:

cmoss
04-21-2012, 06:16 AM
Learn Isner's forehand and aggressive play,instead of pushing (weak) players to death.:rolleyes:

Topspindoctor
04-21-2012, 06:22 AM
Too bad for all his aggressive play, Isner is still a mug with mediocre career and 0-3 against Nadal.

BroTree123
04-21-2012, 06:45 AM
Isner = 0. Nadal = 10. :wavey:.

viruzzz
04-21-2012, 06:51 AM
They met only once in 2012.
And it was so damn close.

One thing is fo' sure... 2012 wont be like 2011, not that 6-0 crap again. Nole 2.0 is dead.

Buuuuuuuuuuut! That doesn't means Djokovic wont win more slams, even 2012 Nole can win M1000 and slams. There's not superFed anymore (he's also dangerous, because he can play a superb match and defeat even Nole 2.0), and Rafa isn't 2010 Rafa (but on clay he can win all matches if he wants).

Regarding the thread.
Oh, I talked about the thread: Why don't we SHUT UP AND WAIT?!

Dmitry Verdasco
04-21-2012, 08:07 AM
His body serve was very good early on during the AO Final, but Djokovic got used to it eventually and dictated the return - and Nadal was reluctant to mix it up. He needs to utilise the his lefty swing more effectively, serving out wide to the Djokovic BH, swinging body serve into Djokovic's FH hip and the occasionally kicker to the FH on the deuce side and flat one down the middle on the ad side. He just overused that body serve in the final, it worked initially but Djokovic was hitting return winners at will once he knew it was coming.

anticaria
04-24-2012, 07:52 PM
BRAIN GAME ANALYSIS

Brain Game: Nadal's Improved Serve
Rafael Nadal
by Craig O'Shannessy

|
24.04.2012

Craig O'Shannessy embarks on a deep analysis of Rafael Nadal's service and forehand improvements this year...

Rafael Nadal has finally updated his game plan against Novak Djokovic.

Nadal defeated Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Sunday, unveiling new patterns of play that helped snap a seven-match losing streak against the World No. 1. The first noticeable area was his serve location.

Nadal typically looks to hit his lefty slice serve to a right-hander’s backhand to start the point, but this has proven to be a tough proposition against Djokovic, who has one of the best backhand returns in the history of the game.

Nadal served much more to Djokovic’s forehand in this match and reaped the rewards of serving not where he prefers to serve but where Djokovic is not as deadly returning.

This was obvious from the start of the match in Nadal’s opening service game, where he served five of the first six points to Djokovic’s forehand return. Nadal was down 15-30 in that game, but three consecutive serves to Djokovic’s forehand wing were all unreturned to even the score at 1-1.

Nadal typically likes to hit first serves down the T in the deuce court and out wide in the ad court but he completely stayed away from his favorite spots in this match.

Nadal's 1st Serve Location Deuce Court


1st Serves Made 1st Serves Won
Deuce Court Wide To Forehand 9/12 8/9 (88%)
Deuce Court T To Backhand 0 0%


Nadal's 1st Serve Location Ad Court


1st Serves Made 1st Serves Won
Ad Court T To Forehand 8/13 6/8 (75%)
Ad Court Wide To Backhand 0 0%


This could possibly be the only match in Nadal’s career he has never attempted a first serve to his favorite locations and signals a definite change of tactics, especially from the last match they played in the final of the 2012 Australian Open, which Djokovic won in five sets.

2012 Australian Open - Nadal's 1st Serve Location Deuce Court


Serves Won
Deuce Court T To Forehand 10/14 (71%)
Deuce Court Wide To Backhand 27/35 (77%)


2012 Australian Open - Nadal's 1st Serve Location Ad Court


Serves Won
Ad Court T To Forehand 16/22 (72%)
Ad Court Wide To Backhand 13/25 (52%)


The next part of Nadal’s game that bears clear evidence of his updated strategy is the first shot after the serve, which he loves to hit as a forehand. This “serve + one” combination turns these two weapons into one unit to keep control of the point.

Nadal hit 18 forehands (81%) and only four backhands as the first shot after the serve, winning 13 (72%) of them. He won two of the four (50%) points he started with a serve and backhand.

Nadal talked about this tactic in his post-match interview. “My serve worked very, very good,” he said. “Sure, I had a few free points with the serve. But most important thing, after the serve, I had the chance to go inside with my forehand a lot of times, so this makes a big difference, no?”

Once the point got started, Nadal made further adjustments with his game to bring his forehand more into play, particularly his runaround forehand in the deuce court.

Nadal hit six forehand winners for the match – five of them standing in the deuce court.

Nadal’s forehand was more of a force in this match than the previous seven matches by initially playing Djokovic more through the middle of the court in the beginning of the rally.

Nadal has traditionally tried to pound Djokovic’s backhand wider in the ad court, but that has created angle for his opponent to attack wider to his forehand in the ad court and also down the line to his backhand in the deuce court. Most importantly, this has greatly reduced the number of runaround forehands Nadal gets to hit in the deuce court - taking away his deadliest weapon.

In this match, Nadal played more through the middle earlier in the point, giving up less angle to get hurt and also providing less distance for him to run to turn backhands into forehands.

Nadal spoke of this updated strategy in his post-match interview. “After that (returns), against his forehand, I try to not open a lot the court. When you open the court to him, against most of the players you are in a good situation, but against him not, because he's able to open you more later with the next shot.

“So I try to hit long, but more to the middle. Then I try to have the control of the point with my forehand. After that I felt that I can change the directions.”

This is a clear change of strategy in baseline rallies that renders Djokovic’s backhand wing less effective and Nadal’s forehand in the ad court more effective.

Nadal was also more open to come forward to finish points at the net where he was a perfect seven for seven, including two overhead winners.

There is no denying that Djokovic, who lost his grandfather earlier in the tournament, was not at his best in the match, but there is also clear evidence that Nadal’s game plan has evolved to counter his higher-ranked opponent.

After seven consecutive losses, Nadal has finally made some chess moves that have paid off. Now it’s Djokovic’s turn to regroup, study the match video, and make some moves of his own.