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Big, big mistake. *from another board - translated from a Spanish paper*

Nadal out to repeat "formula for success" in 2008

Madrid.–With the 2007 season about to come to a close, Spaniard Rafael Nadal already has it quite clear that in 2008 he will opt for the same "formula for success" that has enabled him to maintain himself as the principal threat to the king of tennis, the Swiss Roger Federer, for the third year running.

That "formula" implies sacrifices: if health and logic had precedence in sport, Nadal would be playing in Latin America in February, in Buenos Aires and Acapulco to be exact, two of the most important tournaments in the region, both of them played on clay.

But in a superstar's career, other aspects also come into play and, because of that, Nadal will play in Rotterdam and Dubai, two tournaments that are not very kind to his long-suffering joints, which this year have once again complicated his season and threaten to keep on doing so, as his injuries are chronic.

There is another angle to it all: the tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai pay extremely motivating extra sums of money to ensure they get their stars, especially the event in the Arab emirate.

"Of course it would be better to play on clay, because of his knee problems, for his feet and ankles. But it can't be," Toni Nadal, the world number two's uncle and trainer enigmatically told dpa. "There is no possibility of Rafa playing in Acapulco or Buenos Aires," insisted Toni Nadal.

"He is going to play in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells after the Australian Open and the Davis Cup in Perú, because if not it will make for a very long tour." Last week, The Acapulco tournament director, Raúl Zurutuza, and Miguel Nido, president of the company that organizes the Buenos Aires one, had expressed to dpa their hope that Nadal would finally play in Latin America in February.

"You must take into account that he now has a Davis Cup match in Perú after the Australian Open. It is not so easy to travel to Rotterdam and Dubai from here and then return to the United States to play in Indian Wells," Zurutuza ventured to say.

But Toni Nadal has put paid to any glimmer of hope the Mexicans and Argentines may have had. The question that now arises is whether Nadal's body will be able to put up with the demands of a fourth year chasing Federer.

On Friday afternoon, after suffering the most overwhelming defeat in his career, in the Madrid quarter finals at the hands of the Argentine David Nalbandian, it appeared that at least he is mentally prepared to keep on dealing with the enormous pressure of being a star, of being famous.

Nadal was playing table tennis in the player's lounge with a little boy, very far removed from the pretensions of so many of sport's superstars

A few metres away Toni Nadal was setting forth the objectives for 2008: ahead of catching Federer, the aim is to maintain himself in the second place in the ranking.

"I'm much more worried about those that are coming up from behind than about Federer. The Murrays, the Djokovics, the Gasquets... ".

That Nadal of 2005 with the face of an adolescent and an almost permanent smile that swung between happiness and astonishment no longer exists.

It is true that the Spaniard is still one of sport's diplomats, a naturally pleasant young man.

But there is much pressure on him, and what was once fascination and discovery has become more of a routine; a routine he values highly, but routine just the same.

Where is Nadal's smile?

His uncle thinks that what has happened is logical: "Rafa is perfectly well, the thing is that it is not the same when you are on the way up as when you have to defend what you have achieved."

That is what 2008 is all about. It will probably be the toughest season in Rafael Nadal's life.

There is much at stake: the possibility of a Davis Cup final, the battle for an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, and the ever increasing pressure of a Novak Djokovic who wants to fight directly with Federer for the world number one by leaping over the Spaniard who is still holding his own in second place.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What an idiot
he dont deserve be number 1
If anything I think Rafa is trying too hard to be #1, rather than enjoying himself.

I think that Nadal is too soft a character and is letting Uncle Tony dictate his life. Tony will run Nadal into the ground and out of tennis soon unless Rafa mans up and kicks him out.
 

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Rafa is a big boy and knows what he's doing. The problem is not lack of SA clay court events. The problem is his overall playing style. Remember he got injured on grass.
 

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I also think this is a big mistake Rafa is making, but I think he's made this decision himself because doing the SA clay swing would mean too long away from home. :baby:

I think there's already been a thread about this btw, or maybe it's just been discussed on another thread.
 

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I guess they realized that adding Stuttgart didn't really help last summer so they are changing their plans.

I'm far from an expert but IMO this is not necessarily a mistake. Nadal said in his interview that he is planning to work hard in December and continue improving his game. If he wants to increase his confidence on HCs he needs to play more on them to implement and pefect those changes in small HC tournaments instead of chasing the #1 ranking by getting a few points here and there on clay. Besides, we have seen in the past that that does not affect his performance in the main clay court season. As long as he can manage his injuries well, he'll be fine.
 

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There's no reason to play the February clay events. Everyone plays Dubai. He could drop Rotterdam depending on how he feels like.
 

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I guess they realized that adding Stuttgart didn't really help last summer so they are changing their plans.

I'm far from an expert but IMO this is not necessarily a mistake. Nadal said in his interview that he is planning to work hard in December and continue improving his game. If he wants to increase his confidence on HCs he needs to play more on them to implement and pefect those changes in small HC tournaments instead of chasing the #1 ranking by getting a few points here and there on clay. Besides, we have seen in the past that that does not affect his performance in the main clay court season. As long as he can manage his injuries well, he'll be fine.
But I guess that is the main issue: he kept on bitching about how hardcourts were bad for his body throughout the US summer. I would think that him playing on hardcourts would be a great idea if he were to come out with a different game plan, regardless of if he would win or lose. My point is: him playing on hardcourts would be great if he used those early hardcourt tournaments as a "laboratory" for him developing a new approach to hardcourts.

However, if he is going to play on hardcourts like he is playing now, odds are that he is going to win a couple of those tournaments, but at a higher price for his body. To me it would be a bit of a nonsense.

I still think that Rafa has the weapons (and he showed it a lot of times already) to win big on hardcourts: but alwasy at a big price to his knees/ depending on how the other hardcourt specialists are playing. In my eyes, the best approach would be him, against lesser opponents, come out swing freely and playing "a la Federer": good enough to beat the opposition- leaving the hard fights to the big guys.

I dont know, but I still think that a good tactics would be playing some of those clay court tournaments at south america, coming to the hardcourt season fresh. If the second semester of 06/07 showed is that "sacrificing" too much might not work out.
 

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POWER...UNLIMITED...POWER
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If anything I think Rafa is trying too hard to be #1, rather than enjoying himself.

I think that Nadal is too soft a character and is letting Uncle Tony dictate his life. Tony will run Nadal into the ground and out of tennis soon unless Rafa mans up and kicks him out.
So true.
Nadal needs to man up and fire his drunken idiot uncle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The reason why I think it's a mistake is that Nadal is putting way too much pressure on himself. He already looks exasperated, he's not enjoying himself. The clay break would be the perfect remedy for him, to start feeling good again, especially if he loses again at the AO.

Stuttgart was different. First of all, he dove into it without getting sufficient rest after Wimbledon and RG. Secondly, the hardcourt events following that all had fast surfaces. Miami and IW are super slow. And getting hurt in Montreal was in no way due to Stuttgart.

Besides, that's way too many hardcourts to play through. Rafa is risking hurting himself and then affecting his play in the clay events to follow.

Nadal should go with his strengths and play the clay events. He's one of the greatest clay courters ever and he's depriving himself of doing what he does best.
 

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He should just stick to the damn clay.

Only the AO, IW, Miami, Queens, Wimby, Rogers Cup/Cincy, USO, Madrid, Paris, TMC and adding 8-10 clay tournaments and he'd be the no.1
No, he would not. He has already maximized his clay points... At the moment he has 2900 clay points out of theoretical maximum of 3800 (5 titles in optional clay events, RG and all three MS titles).
 

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He better be going to Indian Wells in 2008! I just got my tickets in the mail!
 

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Jaap, are you RFK's sockpuppet? You seem just as unhinged as Vader-boi.
 

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Nadal will do what is best for him, going to South America he would be away from home for some time and I guess he also enjoys playing in Dubai for the love of the game. (meaning the difference in the sign up bonus between Dubai and what he would get from BA and Acapulco.)
 

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I agree with Cyborg. I don't see 2007 as a formula for success. Maybe he would have done better with a different schedule, with more rest.
His injuries should be enough to tell him that he needs to take it easy next year.
 

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At first I thought Nadal should keep playing on hard to try to improve, but that doesn't even seem like what he's doing, he's not changing his game very much so that he doens't screw up his clay game. So what's the point?

But yeah, I think he needs more clay, and then he can just play the big hard tournaments, that way it won't be as much a stress on his body, and he can come out feeling good. He always seems so demoralized towards the end of the season.

And yes, Uncle Toni needs to go. Now.
 

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"I'm much more worried about those that are coming up from behind than about Federer. The Murrays, the Djokovics, the Gasquets... ".

Where is Nadal's smile?

His uncle thinks that what has happened is logical: "Rafa is perfectly well, the thing is that it is not the same when you are on the way up as when you have to defend what you have achieved."
Great post. Thanks for translating. They sure are doing the right thing! It is much more difficult than what we armchair critics think!
 

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Its a double edged sword. On one hand, he wants to improve on hard courts. The only way to do so is to play more events on it. But, its much rougher on his body than clay

Qwat to do? :awww:
 
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