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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

First of all, I would like to say that Rafael Nadal shows a very good tennis level in 2019 when he inflicted correction after correction on his opponents. Nevertheless, if I analyse the situation objectively, I cannot assess the level of the Spaniard at the beginning of the year (I obviously speak before his injury).

Does Rafael Nadal owe his performances in 2019 to an incredible level, or does he owe them to opponents who are quite successful? Let me explain. The Spaniard is back from 6 months of injury and generally to regain some feeling in his game, you have to be tested, win some hard fought matches, find rhythm and confidence to remember those moments when you arrive at the end of the tournament against opponents who are more complicated to handle. And for me, in 2019, Nadal was not tested. The only matches he's ever been tested in, he loses them. He is destroyed by Djokovic and dominates Kyrgios, and eventually loses. That's why I have this "false good impression" about his current level of play.

As a reminder, here is the average ranking of the 11 players he beat (Duckworth, Ebden, De Minaur, Berdych, Tiafoe, Tsitsipas, Mischa Zverev, Donaldson, Schwartzman, Krajinovic, Khachanov): 64th.

Against these 11 players before facing them, Nadal led: 37-4 (And he had only lost 16 sets in 41 games: 13 against Berdych, 2 against Schwartzman and 1 against Khachanov).

Of course, it is not the Spaniard's fault if his potential opponents lose beforehand, but when you take players like De Minaur (Lack of power), Berdych (His favorite victim), Tiafoe and Tsitsipas (Weakness on the reverse side) etc.... We can only notice that they are favorable matches-up for him.

So where is Rafael Nadal really at in 2019? He is more aggressive, only 4 players have managed to take his service: Duckworth, Djokovic, Krajinovic and Khachanov. Nevertheless, he seems to have more difficulty on his defensive phases, especially his lateral movements where he can no longer counter at the end of the run, and often puts the ball back into the net.

Maybe the Australian Open final was traumatic for me, but I'm having a hard time really gauging his level. To have such a career path to reach the final of a Grand Slam is a blessing for him, to beat Djokovic is another story. And to see the monumental gap in the Australian Open final and its lack of realism despite its clear domination against Kyrgios, makes me say that maybe in the end it is not that impressive.

(And I put Roger Federer in the same basket in this year 2019. He too has not been tested, and this may explain his lack of realism about some of his defeats).

What do you think of that? Trauma of the Australian final or, on the contrary, legitimate doubts?

Thank you. Have a good day.
 

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I think his ball striking is good, but he seems slower than ever. His body language is also poor, negative. In his prime, no matter what happened on court, he would never get down on himself, now he shows frustration often, and I think it affects his mental game. Opponents know when he's rattled and grow in confidence.
 

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Good (for his standards).

For the rest of the world: Best player there is
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think his ball striking is good, but he seems slower than ever. His body language is also poor, negative. In his prime, no matter what happened on court, he would never get down on himself, now he shows frustration often, and I think it affects his mental game. Opponents know when he's rattled and grow in confidence.
Yeah, I’m totally agree, he seems slower but more agressive.
 

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justice for all
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Nadal is at his absolute peak this year.

Unfortunately it's not enough to avoid a beatdown from Djokovic.

It's not enough to beat Fed either, that's why he decided to run away to Mickey Carlo already.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nadal is at his absolute peak this year.

Unfortunately it's not enough to avoid a beatdown from Djokovic.

It's not enough to beat Fed either, that's why he decided to run away to Mickey Carlo already.
Monte-Carlo seems to close for treating tendinitis.
 

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He is undefeated this year in my book to players who don't play Pim-Pam-Pum brand of tennis or are sent from God.

He has been a little unlucky that his draws have played out too easily early and then Thor's hammer comes later, so it is difficult to level up suddenly.

What more can RAFA do in his 33rd year? :shrug:





Respectfully,
masterclass
 

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Monte-Carlo seems to close for treating tendinitis.
Don't worry. He already confirmed in IW that he will be ready for Monte Carlo.
Not "try to be ready". He said "I will be ready".
A body that broke down after 13 hardcourt matches spread over 3 months will coast through 27 clay matches within 2 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Monte-Carlo seems to close for treating tendinitis.
Don't worry. He already confirmed in IW that he will be ready for Monte Carlo.
Not "try to be ready". He said "I will be ready".
A body that broke down after 13 hardcourt matches spread over 3 months will coast through 27 clay matches within 2 months.
Usually, he had 3 weeks off to treat this tenditinis. Wait and see.
 

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I'm watching Mari Osaka play rn and I think they're comparably talented.
 

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Miles keep on racking up, I was very concerned he could barely finish a single practice match before AO

Now he is injured once again. Dude cannot stay healthy at all. When he is healthy he is still at worst #2 in the world, but he is never healthy nowadays. There is just too much wear and tear. He could easily retire tomorrow. But he wants another run on clay and then we will see what's going on. As a Nadal fan for like 15 years, I've already come to terms with the fact that he may be done at any time
 

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The most amusing thing was it was Duckworth who took the most games off Nadal prior to him meeting Djokovic.
Nadal was in his groove during the AO but he wasn't exactly pushed. When you don't have pressure on your back it's easy. Funnily enough it was also when he came off supposed knee problems too. This is why I have a bit of trouble taking that AO run too seriously.

Actually I thought Nadal struggled with De Minaur more than he should have, even though it totally felt on his racket because of some technical deficits and physical differences between De Minaur and Nadal. Tsitsipas was playing well during the AO, with a shock win over Federer but he has the tendency to drop back a bit at times which is not great playing Nadal, and one handed backhand doesn't easily play well with Nadal. Most of the players just either have limit experience or poor matchups. Berdych was egregious. <45% first serves in the first two sets explains a lot. He really had chances in the third set though, and could have snatched it. A confident Nadal plays well, but it is also somewhat dependent on opposition. A good deal of the tour just cannot handle Nadal's intensity and court tactics. Djokovic though is very used to Nadal and balanced on both wings, with strong return making Nadal look very slow and ill timed in the final.

So all in all, Nadal was confident and playing within himself, certainly showing some of his best BUT also aided by his opponents.

The loss to Kyrgios wasn't a bad one actually. He just didn't take his chances at the right times (partly because Nick was playing well on a few of those), and got a bit tight in the final stages. That's very normal, could happen to any player, even top players with as much fortitude as Nadal. You win some, you lose some. Nick backed it up the entire week so nothing to be embarrassed about.
 
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