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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thiem won Rafa in straight sets in 2016,2017,2018,2019 on clay. So did Schwartzmann in 2020.

Yet they were demolished at RG by Nadal. It seems that those victories didnt give them nothing special when facing Rafa at Chatrier.

Why is this? Why can Thiem be quite superior to Nadal in Barcelona, Rome or Madrid only to be trashed by Rafa at Paris?

Something similar happened this year, with the roof and the cold. People where not fancing Rafas options much yet he demolished Djokovic.

I mean how can you say that RG conditions favour Nadal when he has won this year without dropping a set with indoor conditions and 10 degrees less of average temperature?

I think that this explains that Rafa builds up to be to at his 100% at RG. Maybe in his physical prime he tried to be at his 100% for the whole clay season, but nowadays I think he plays Barcelona, Madrid, MC or Rome not at the same intensity or concentration.

I mean, I really think that If the Clay GS was played on Madrid or Rome and not Paris, he would probably also have 13 GS.

Its not that Paris favours him especially above other clay courts. Its just that Rafas 100% at clay is too much for any rival today.

How many sets has his lost in the last 4 RGs that he has won?
 

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Could be, maybe for some mental trolling too, to make his rivals think he's vulnerable (even at earlier rounds in RG he looks a bit shaky too), to then catch them off guard in the Final where it seems it was prime Nadal again.
 

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Is told here a million of times that Rafa is a different beat at RG.
The fact that he loses matches in masters on clay does not reflects anything.
 

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Rafa obviously sees the clay tournaments before RG as a prep. Not saying he doesn't try to win them but I'm sure he doesn't give it his 100%.

The huge dimensions of PC court is another big factor. Rafa was returning Novak's 1st serve from 12.5 feet behind the baseline.

Add the BO5 factor to it and you have your answer.
 

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i quote myself from the Nadal-Schwartzman RG match thread: "Rafa is Prince of Clay, King of RG, God of PC!"
 

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Nadal took a lot of strength right from the get-go when he broke Djokovic, who was visibly tight. Of course everyone give their best!
I meant that as in play their best. Aura based reasoning means level drops due to this aura. That’s what Aura is, it‘s something not ‚real‘ even if existing of course
 

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The ball bounces so much higher at the French. Even today, Djoker was struggling to control that spin. When it's hotter, it's even worse. Only old age and injury can threaten Nadal at the French. Even at 40, the guy will still be winning the thing if he is healthy enough. No one has the game to deal with the spin over five sets, and Nadal can still chase balls down when he wants to. He is a clay machine. Boring but impressive.
 

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I meant that as in play their best. Aura based reasoning means level drops due to this aura. That’s what Aura is, it‘s something not ‚real‘ even if existing of course
Don't kid yourself, it wasn't real Djokovic, he had to go for broke to win points.. Maybe he was thinking too much about the opponent across the net or wasn't up to it physically to play the rallies.
 

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A few things I can think of:
1) First, Madrid is different. It's played at a high altitude which makes the ball fly through the air faster and bounce lower. It plays almost more like a hard court than clay. Rome, Barcelona, Monte Carlo all play more or less similar to the French Open, with only more subtle differences.

2) Best of 5 changes things. Best of 5 will always favor the better players because it reduces the role of luck in the match (it's easier to get lucky and win 2 sets than to win 3). Also, the thought of facing Nadal on clay for 5 sets is just physically and mentally so much more of a daunting task. You have to be really ready or get killed. And your chances of not getting killed are pretty small.

3) Nadal rises up to the occasion a lot more at the French Open. In some of the previous tournaments, he'll want to save a bit of energy and not go all out. He leaves his best till the end.

4) Sometimes, Nadal starts to get a bit tired by the end of the season. In 2017, for example, he won every match he played until Rome, where he probably got a bit tired and lost to Thiem.

5) In some cases, he's come in to the clay season underprepared. This was definitely the case this year when he lost to Schwartzman. It was also the case in 2019, where he lost several matches before finally finding his best form in Rome. Since Roland Garros is played last, he's usually at his best by then.
 

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@Fedjokodal Aren't conditions also low-slow here, so what's the difference with say Madrid, is it the speed, with less effort by opponents who do play it more aggressive?
It's mainly the speed. The ball was bouncing much lower than usual here, but it was also extremely slow, which made cheap points on the serve very tough. In Madrid, you get a ton of cheap points on the serve. Djokovic didn't have that luxury here. This gives a big advantage to Nadal and Schwartzman.
 
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