Rafael Nadal- In and out of form: An analysis for Tennis fans [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Rafael Nadal- In and out of form: An analysis for Tennis fans

The_Nadal_effect
02-13-2007, 09:02 AM
I am not an avid tennis fan, but one fine day, when I was surfing the tube, I was struck by the appeal of a sweating hot animal, sporting a bandana beating the blues off his opponent, who I later learnt was the great Roger Federer. Since that day--which was the semi-final of the French Open- 2005-- I've tried to follow his matches most eagerly always waiting to witness him perform with the same alacrity and charming ruthlessness with which he devastated Federer that fateful day. However, I've never seen him slide, run, pounce, or even (famously) punch with the same ferocity as he did then. Of course, he's only twenty.

I later learnt that clay was his most natural surface which is why he could outplay just about anyone in it. Yet, Nadal has managed to secure victories outside claycourts and even managed to runner- up behind Federer in the Wimbledon final last year. What really bothers me is his inconsistent patch after that lawn tennis last year.

Rafael Nadal is quite entirely, a different player. Here's a man who can win against Roger Federer when it is least expected, and falter against somebody ranked in the hundreds. Most recently, at the Chennai Open, which was the first tournament of 2007 for Nadal, he lost the semi final to Xavier Malisse in straight sets (that is not to suggest that Malisse played bad). But Nadal was never there. There was no leap, no joy, perhaps even no peace of mind (something he complained about, in the US open last year after his loss to Younzhy). Something was missing in his game.

Cut to the 2007 opening grand slam- The Australian Open. Nadal struggled to sustain himself against German Phillip Kohlshriber ranked 62 (who actually played well) but amazingly, went past rising star, Andy Murray to find himself a berth in the QF. Then sensationally, he lost to Fernando Gonzalez in straight sets! There was no fight! In all the cases, Nadal has never looked the same, and the reason for it is definitely not age, nor exhaustion, and in his case certainly not too many tournaments (because he's quite an energy drink himself); but something else: A worry. A concern. Something that 'takes away his peace of mind'. It is particularly annoying to see something unstable happen to a player of potential class, but on looking at the issue objectively, one figures that it must be just a doubt nagging in the back of his mind: because of the expectations, because of all this noise being made in the world of tennis and outside about him, his style etc, which has distracted his from the ball to outside the court: his image. I am sure it must be very blinding to recieve love from people, and believe it is love, when what they actually adore about you is your game, and removed from that, they might love you as a human being but not adore you as a talent.

Of course, in Nadal's case, talent is not something most people associate him with (I certainly do). For them, he represents brute force, but in any case, it is the result that matters at the end of the match, and with his present form, that is difficult to predict. All I can say is that I sure hope this one leaves fast, and the other fellow returns soon enough; you know- the other one- the one who loved his tennis, that same fellow who could rip his opponents with ease, as that is the job nature sculpted him to do without feeling shame or guilt...I make some sense, no?

brent-o
02-13-2007, 04:12 PM
I think Nadal is very much a confidence player. If he got to the final or won a good tournament in the coming months, look for him to carry that success to the next ones. The problem is he's been struggling so much to recapture that consistency. I still think it'd be foolish to count him out of the tennis radar though.

FluffyYellowBall
02-13-2007, 06:57 PM
Personally im not fan of his game but rather how he uses it to get past difficult opponents. Unlike most people, i dont think he will continue to slip. Im sure its all confidence and its almost impossible to be 100% confident when ur trying to change so much..

alsace
02-13-2007, 10:06 PM
I make some sense, no?

Perfect sense, TNE.

Poor, endlessly fascinating Rafa! Everywhere one tries to get a hold, one grasps double-edged swords. Beginning with the most basic.... First, the family... the source of his unusual strength, but also seemingly a trap, the cause of that prolonged adolescence. Then the island paradise of Mallorca... its warm waters do clearly heal when he returns, but they also seem strangely like an embalming fluid preventing him from moving on to larger challenges in life and tennis (Florida, anyone?). And the much-praised decision to educate and train him at home, instead of at the high performance school in Barcelona (ah, the choices one has when one is wealthy enough)... the jury may still be out, given the implications in Tío Toni, Xisca, tennis skills, adventurousness, independence, and such... no?
:wavey:

bobrocks
02-13-2007, 11:51 PM
The Clay court season is coming up.
The French Open is coming up.
And Nadal has established himself as the number one clay court player, winning the last two French Opens. So regardless of how he has been playing over the last 5 or 6 months, he still has to falter at Roland Garos before I'll wonder too much about him.
As much as Federer is clearly number one in the world, he still has to beat Nadal and/or Win the French. (It's really one of the few challenges left for him).
If that happens this year, then we can really get excited about the chance of seeing someone win the Grand Slam for the first time since '69!

Sunset of Age
02-14-2007, 01:12 AM
Well, my contribution to this discussion: http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=95658&page=5 :) :wavey:

The_Nadal_effect
02-14-2007, 05:35 AM
Im sure its all confidence and its almost impossible to be 100% confident when ur trying to change so much..

That could be very true! Its perhaps the change and the ambitious need to excel thats making him slouch so much. Maybe, he should just ease himself somewhat, no?

The_Nadal_effect
02-14-2007, 06:40 AM
As much as Federer is clearly number one in the world, he still has to beat Nadal and/or Win the French. (It's really one of the few challenges left for him).
If that happens this year, then we can really get excited about the chance of seeing someone win the Grand Slam for the first time since '69!

If Nadal can save his crown just once more, it means he has amazing resilience. If for whichever reason, Nadal does falter (I'm hoping otherwise), then also, knowing his will power, he might just return with a win in the US open, spoiling Federer's dream run of four straight slams. That'd be interesting.

The_Nadal_effect
02-14-2007, 06:50 AM
Perfect sense, TNE.

Poor, endlessly fascinating Rafa! Everywhere one tries to get a hold, one grasps double-edged swords.
:wavey:

Totally agree. Is big trouble with one happy family. I got to take Discipline with Disneyland, no? I think my Spanish is getting better.

bobrocks
02-14-2007, 03:00 PM
If for whichever reason, Nadal does falter (I'm hoping otherwise), then also, knowing his will power, he might just return with a win in the US open, spoiling Federer's dream run of four straight slams. That'd be interesting.

That would suck.

The_Nadal_effect
02-15-2007, 02:04 PM
That would suck.

No. Its perfectly possible.

Sunset of Age
02-16-2007, 07:48 PM
^^ It would be Heaven for Rafa, finally winning again - and HELL for Rogi.
I have yet to find out how to deal with that, should it indeed happen...

But let's not look too far ahead. The Clay Season hasn't yet started, and I gather that we shouldn't make any predictions before it has.