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Old 06-18-2006, 07:35 PM   #1
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Default Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

I've noticed when watching his matches this week he has a striking similarity with Lleyton.

He is serving well, defending well, he is retrieving well, and he is going on the offensive as well. He is also coming into the net and volleying superbly.

He is clever in that he can win points when on the back foot but he can also crank it up and dictate the play himself, like he did before he suffered the shoulder injury. Lleyton couldn't deal with the power and aggression, Nadal was bludgeoning him Tursunov-style.

If he is fully fit, you watch him go this year.
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Old 06-18-2006, 07:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

I didn't see the Hewitt match, but did see his wins over Fish and Verdasco. He got lucky in the latter, but how about that running forehand pass down the line coming from the other end of the court? The crowd gasped at the way he was able to whip that ball up and over when it had virtually bounced twice already. A worrying sign for the traditional grass-court players when someone can make that shot on the surface nowadays.
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

He said he wanted to win Wimbledon, and I am sure you should really count on him!
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

We cannot really estimate Rafa's potential on grass until he learns moving in the surface, but he seems to be getting there. I expected him to lose in the 1st round but he surprised me once again (i also didn't expect him to win in Madrid last year).

One statistic that has been overlooked is that Rafa is on the top-10 for percentage of service games held, something that shows the improvement of his serve this year. It also seemed to me that his backhand was much more agressive than it was on clay. Overall, very positive signs from Queens, lets see the draw he gets at Wimbledon. (hoping that his shoulder injury is nothing serious)
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyd2005
I've noticed when watching his matches this week he has a striking similarity with Lleyton.

He is serving well, defending well, he is retrieving well, and he is going on the offensive as well. He is also coming into the net and volleying superbly.

He is clever in that he can win points when on the back foot but he can also crank it up and dictate the play himself, like he did before he suffered the shoulder injury. Lleyton couldn't deal with the power and aggression, Nadal was bludgeoning him Tursunov-style.

If he is fully fit, you watch him go this year.
yes, good observation...i always thought he plays similar to Hewitt, but has more "heart"...i hope he could challenge Federer in grass sometime
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Old 06-18-2006, 09:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjengster
I didn't see the Hewitt match, but did see his wins over Fish and Verdasco. He got lucky in the latter, but how about that running forehand pass down the line coming from the other end of the court? The crowd gasped at the way he was able to whip that ball up and over when it had virtually bounced twice already. A worrying sign for the traditional grass-court players when someone can make that shot on the surface nowadays.
Nadal has an incredible passing shot. In a way I feel like he is often more likely to make a shot when he is on the run and it seems impossible than when he has a bit more time. It seems to come naturally and his backhand pass is also phenomenal although a little unorthodox.

I think Nadal will be a threat at Wimbledon but as on a hard court and even on clay a player hitting big and playing well will trouble him. Unlike on clay, however, he will not be able to return everything and he will be outhit. If he played the match against Mathieu on grass he would've lost it. I know you cannot compare but that's the way it is. Also, with volleying being more natural and easier on grass it will be a simpler task to finish off Nadal making him fair game for anyone with big strokes who's on form.

I think his draw will play a big part, he doesn't need a draw with lower ranked players he just needs the right type of player. So long as he can avoid guys who smack the ball he can beat anyone else who will try and out play him with a beautiful game unless they are on scintillating form.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyd2005
I've noticed when watching his matches this week he has a striking similarity with Lleyton.

He is serving well, defending well, he is retrieving well, and he is going on the offensive as well. He is also coming into the net and volleying superbly.

He is clever in that he can win points when on the back foot but he can also crank it up and dictate the play himself, like he did before he suffered the shoulder injury. Lleyton couldn't deal with the power and aggression, Nadal was bludgeoning him Tursunov-style.

If he is fully fit, you watch him go this year.
I agree totally, I think we're gonna see a lot of him!!
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

I agree, I think we'll be seeing more of him on grass. I'm starting to wish the grass season was longer, so we could get the chance to see him play more on grass, fully recovered.

He was better on grass against Lleyton, than Blake was. To me, this says something. And yes, he does have many similarities to Hewitt, I see some Borg too.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChloeLove
He was better on grass against Lleyton, than Blake was. To me, this says something. And yes, he does have many similarities to Hewitt, I see some Borg too.
I think that is a match-up issue rather than a quality issue.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by stebs
I think that is a match-up issue rather than a quality issue.
Yes, probably so. However, I do think Rafa's first set against Hewitt was good quality grass tennis, and looking at their H2H's their really isn't much of an issue, at least not in Nadal's advantage. Hewitt looked to have an easier match against Blake, IMO.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChloeLove
Yes, probably so. However, I do think Rafa's first set against Hewitt was good quality grass tennis, and looking at their H2H's their really isn't much of an issue, at least not in Nadal's advantage. Hewitt looked to have an easier match against Blake, IMO.
Yes, I think Nadal has many aspects of tennis which are required for good grass tennis. His volleys are exceptional and although his serve is not devestating it sets up points very well and his forehand is a weapon.

I think Hewitt is actually oddly enough a fairly bad match up for Nadal. I know that seems strange because of the H-2-H but in the first three of those matches Hewitt was simply a superior player. In the fourth he played a great match and lost and in the fifth he looked like losing on his best surface. What Hewitt loves to do is get balls back with something on them and then hit good angles to switch the momentum or wait for an error. Nadal will not give him an error and can trade angles with the best of them. I think Hewitt-Nadal is a H-2-H which will turn on it's head if the two continue to meet whereas I think Blake shoul continue to beat Nadal on all but clay so long as nothing drastic changes.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

I agree with all that's been said. He surprised me immensley when he played against Mardy Fish, I really expected it to be a whitewash, and as well with him not having that much confidence in his ability on grass coming into Queens.

His passing shots are magnificent and they way he's played has been pretty good. I do think if Verdasco had been fit he's have had him, no question when he played him. I'm sure he'll get better and better and will be a match for most people at Wimbledon
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

There is still a lot to do on his game to make it work on grass.

First his return is neutralized on this surface, big servers have a big advantage on this surface, on this surface Nadal will be forced to be patient, because so many times he will be getting aced, and the games go by quicker on grass, much more than on ther surfaces.

Second Nadal does not construct a point volleying, like sometimes Federer does, for example and some of the, Nadal goes there to close the point, and that´s a big difference, plus Nadal is not really a natural volleyer, i don´t really get this "Oh Nadal has such an incredible volley" quotes from some people here.

Third not only big hitter can give Nadal trouble, but also players that rush the net, the ones that understands how to use the slice on this surface, which will make the extreme forehand grip of Nadal pay on this surface, also because the topspin is not really effective on grass.

Fourth Nadal has a tendency, on any surface, to hit short balls, with a huge amount of topspin but really short, and that on grass, players will make him pay for it.

And to answer the thread starter despite the similarity on movement between Leiton and Nadal, their tecnique is NO SIMILAR at all.

Hewit returns are better for grass, he normally gets the ball down, making it difficult for the volleyers to do much there. Also Leiton can hit flat strokes, something that Nadal really CAN´T.
Both have great passing shots, but Nadal hits them with topspin, Leiton does not use as much topspin, but once again on this surface, the topspin passing shots does not make as much damage.
I also consider that Hewit is a much more agressive player, and uses the slice a little better than Nadal.

The guy has probably the best mentality on the tour, Nadal, you can´t count him out, but he has a lot of work to do. We´ll see what he does at Wimbledon this year.
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

smart analogy
I can see Nadal improving on grass
he has the touch & speed & plenty of motivation to do well at wimbledon
in very few matches played he has adapted well to grass
what his stats for grass matches played
how many has he played ever

whats with that lame sign
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give respect where it is due
Sampras is 14 GS afterall
as much as many want to ignore & belittle that
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Old 06-18-2006, 11:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rafael Nadal on grass..my observations

The Queen's tournament was a very pleasant surprise for me because I thought Rafa didn't have enough time to adjust, even though he had the will. Do you know that before the Fish match he had practised for only 2.5 hours? Talk about a quick learner! Yes, he was lucky in the Verdasco match (although he couldn't take full advantage ) - Nando is a big hitter and had a very good chance of beating Rafa. The key, apart from Nando's injury, was their H2H (4-0 now), I think Rafa always felt he had a chance, even on grass. In the QF against Lleyton Rafa was actually very good, and even though I didn't give him much of a chance before the match, I changed my mind during the first set and actually thought he'd win it in two.

Grass being Rafa's weakest surface, the match-up issue will be more significant than on the other surfaces. Like stebs, I think a big flat hitter a la Blake (if on) would give Rafa no chance and just blow him off the court. However, a big server does not necessarily mean an automatic defeat as long as Rafa's serve is on; he has a great TB record and the best-of-five format gives him an advantage because he's stronger and more consistent than virtually anyone else.

He could serve much better than he does but even now the serve is not bad. His ace count per match is very inconsistent, but I've seen him serve three aces in a row, so he's getting better. His volleys, when he's focused, are very good and he's not afraid of coming to the net, although s&v will never be his game (OT: he's also got a lovely drop shot with incredible sidespin, I've seen him play it three times in the last couple of weeks, it's a beauty ), his PSs (especially on the run) are great, and he's movement hasn't been bad at all.

There's also a key difference compared to last year - Rafa's really put his mind to improving. He doesn't have the pressure of either expectations or defending points. The two and a half wins at Queen's have given him confidence, so provided he's fit (which looks likely at this point) and doesn't have a very nasty draw he could actually win a few matches. The signs are promising, but I think we'll have to wait a little longer before he can be considered a serious contender at Wimbledon.
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