That serve has been an anomaly in his career thus far. I wouldn't plan on seeing it again.
He altered his technique pretty significantly around that time, but has seemingly since gone back to the old style. I would assume it's due to discomfort, and from what his fans have said, it sounds like it went even further than that.
Originally Posted by Thierry Champion
He doesn't have a great FH, average at best. It's very inconsistent.
Nadal said that that serving technique would injure him if he did it all the time. I remember reading that he said he would go back to that technique sometimes when he played Djokovic only. Am I remembering correctly?
I imagine if he did, he'd be very hard to defeat on any surface, not just clay.
I've often wondered this myself. His serving in the 2010 US Open really was a complete outlier to the rest of his career. I believe in that tourney his first serve averaged 119mph. In his second fastest serving tourney -- and there are several of them tied for second -- he averaged 116 mph.
Him serving faster in the 2010 USO was obviously a planned strategic move. And it worked out for him, which makes me wonder why he hasn't gone back to it. If it hurts his shoulder then just use it for the US Open, or even just certain matches in the US Open.