Mens Tennis Forums banner

Has Rafa been playing scared since coming back last fall?

  • Yes

    Votes: 5 15.6%
  • No

    Votes: 2 6.3%
  • Lack of confidence and match play

    Votes: 22 68.8%
  • Injuries and other maladies have taken their toll

    Votes: 3 9.4%
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,270 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·


This question is mostly for Rafa's fans, but anyone can offer their reasonable non-hater opinion of the status of his game, I hope.

Since coming back in the fall, he has only played 4 tournaments and 8 matches being knocked out of tournaments by players ranked 56, 21, 124, and 127.

To me he almost seems almost afraid to really extend himself and dig deep in the important moments, perhaps fearing to get re-injured or maybe because he doesn't think he can make the shot? Instead of him giving everything to chase a drop shot, or everything to run from side to side, I've seen him just shake his head and give up. When he plays players that give it their all on most shots, he seems particularly vulnerable, even on his normally stronger forehand side. It seems when he gets into a tight match, facing a losing position, he has crumbled instead of pushing harder. Where is that fighting spirit for which so many admire him?

In his comeback in 2013, he built tremendous confidence, starting on the clay, and then carried into the hard courts.

Did he make a mistake trying to come back on hard courts and has it deteriorated his confidence to the point he fears losing every match, even against relative nobodies? Should he have waited for the clay season to start in South America? I guess we might know that better after the Australian Open, but that would be in hindsight.

Maybe this is simply a question of him being healthy, winning and building confidence, but it's troubling that he has not won a 3rd round match in any of the 1 Masters 1000, 2 500's, and a 250 event since Wimbledon and lost in his 1st match in 2 of those tournaments.

I personally believe he needs to get on the clay as fast as possible to get his mojo back. If he keeps getting beaten like this he might not recover from the loss of confidence, even on clay.

"Clay is the wellspring from which he flows." - Clay Death

Respectfully,
masterclass
 

·
The Last Mohican
Joined
·
24,808 Posts
Dull is the most confidence dependent player in the top 5. That's why his game is a ponzi scheme. Players feed into the strength of his game without realising how mediocre and exploitable it is.

On the other hand, Roger doesn't need confidence. He wins because he's too good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,270 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dull is the most confidence dependent player in the top 5. That's why his game is a ponzi scheme. Players feed into the strength of his game without realising how mediocre and exploitable it is.

On the other hand, Roger doesn't need confidence. He wins because he's too good.
Don't really want to get into a Rafa vs. Roger debate, but, for all his prowess, Roger fails to take advantage of what you say 2/3 of the time when he plays Rafa.

Seems a player of Roger's admittedly tremendous caliber would be able to adjust his game more often to take advantage of the exploitable and mediocre game you mention, despite the "matchup issue". Or is it simply a question that Roger seems to mostly play Rafa when Rafa is at his most confident, or is it something else?

Anyway, your answer appears to be lack of confidence causing these losses. Thanks.

Respectfully,
masterclass
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
It is true that Rafa can very much be a confidence player. This all stems from uncle Toni - always on Rafa's back no matter how well he plays. He needs matches under his belt for him to start to get into the groove again. I think he has nothing to lose coming back on hard courts - if he crashes out early in the AO then so be it. It's only going to help him in the long run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,270 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is true that Rafa can very much be a confidence player. This all stems from uncle Toni - always on Rafa's back no matter how well he plays. He needs matches under his belt for him to start to get into the groove again. I think he has nothing to lose coming back on hard courts - if he crashes out early in the AO then so be it. It's only going to help him in the long run.
Thanks King for your honest reply. Another vote for confidence, match play or lack thereof.

I disagree with you a bit, about coming back on hard courts, instead of clay. Yes, matches are needed, but he has a better chance of winning against players on clay than hard courts when he lacks both match play and confidence. Hard courts are too competitive, I think. Even guys ranked up to 150 or so are very capable of raising their game on hard courts when facing Rafa. I don't see and haven't seen that depth on clay in the last 10 years. And when he loses on hard courts against weaker players, it just erodes his confidence even more. Anyway, that's my 4 cents... 2 in my OP and 2 here. ;) I've said more than enough already.

Respectfully,
masterclass
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
Obviously he should be worried losing to these rather mediocre players (by HIS standards) since Wimbledon. And the most likely explanation is that he lacks some confidence in his game and his body. His comeback has of course been further disrupted by appendicitis. So yeah, one injury on top of another, surgery, etc - I guess I'd be feeling my way back somewhat if I was him.

AO will tell us more, as you say. If he's able to "feel" his way into that tournament and get a couple confidence-boosting wins early on, it could be business as usual. I predict semis at worst unless he gets a tough draw with some really big hitters early on. As he's got older, he's developed Federer's habit of peaking for the majors (aside from that first week Wimbledon grass, that is).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,036 Posts
Great article. Yes he seems nervous Rafa from time to time. Thé double win in Qatar should help him but thats double. Hej never tells himself "I am the best" he should Do that he needs a coach, he is too humble its ridiculous. Good luck sure he is a champion but he needs improve confidence wise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,835 Posts
Last fall he came back in the part of the season where he has always been the least succesful. in 2013, He started on clay and then on slow hard court.
Anyway, I don't think he will have a come back like in 2013 again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,036 Posts
Thanks King for your honest reply. Another vote for confidence, match play or lack thereof.

I disagree with you a bit, about coming back on hard courts, instead of clay. Yes, matches are needed, but he has a better chance of winning against players on clay than hard courts when he lacks both match play and confidence. Hard courts are too competitive, I think. Even guys ranked up to 150 or so are very capable of raising their game on hard courts when facing Rafa. I don't see and haven't seen that depth on clay in the last 10 years. And when he loses on hard courts against weaker players, it just erodes his confidence even more. Anyway, that's my 4 cents... 2 in my OP and 2 here. ;) I've said more than enough already.

Respectfully,
masterclass
Agree he just cant play clay hej must play hard~its a mind thing confidence
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,103 Posts
Pure fear of re-injury IMO.
With those huge margins in his game, he should be least susceptible to confidence fluctuations of all players.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,489 Posts
I think he lost some fitness, explosiveness... Due both to repeated injuries / subsequent work and to age, simply.
Maybe the confidence factor, plus the injury fear factor, play a role, but to me it's mostly body saying no to mind, while in the past he could force his body into tremendous effort and suffering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,761 Posts
Afraid or nervous same thing.

With each new injury it takes a toll on you, i dont care how strong your are.

Players come back from knee injuries, back and wrist all the time. This is the 1st ive hear a tennis player having an App removed.


On another note, people complained when he missed AO13. Now he gets critized for playing after long time off?

We dont know if he has limitations on court or not. I think hes fine now, no injury or pain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,721 Posts
He has always lost to mugs. It's not anything new.

Nadal doesn't rely on confidence, he has plenty of that. His mental strength is one of the few things I can praise him for. He relies on his opponents level of tennis. If his opponents play well, no matter what their ranking is, they can beat him. The difference is now that guys aren't afraid to do it like they were before. Their fear has dissipated and now they realise there is no reason why they can't take him on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,761 Posts
He has always lost to mugs. It's not anything new.

Nadal doesn't rely on confidence, he has plenty of that. His mental strength is one of the few things I can praise him for. He relies on his opponents level of tennis. If his opponents play well, no matter what their ranking is, they can beat him. The difference is now that guys aren't afraid to do it like they were before. Their fear has dissipated and now they realise there is no reason why they can't take him on.
Youve been saying that since Rosol. And look what he did after that.

Yeah hes lost to some mugs. Everyone has a good day once a year. add that to a injured or outshape Rafa and you got your asnwer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,139 Posts
What did he play 7 matches in the fall/ winter 2014? haha.

Gosh, if only there was a big event coming up... like a meaningful tournament one could use to accurately gauge Rafa's form. Is such a thing coming up?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,627 Posts
he just hasn't been confident, but few players are after months off from playing while your competition has been. nothing to freak out about
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,038 Posts
Youve been saying that since Rosol. And look what he did after that.

Yeah hes lost to some mugs. Everyone has a good day once a year. add that to a injured or outshape Rafa and you got your asnwer.
:lol: :superlol:

Which injury Wafael had against Rosol, Darcis and Kyrgios? I don't know exactly but it could be butt injury caused by repetitive kicking from elites of the game. :lol:
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top