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Discussion Starter #1
More on this later, but I have always felt that Rafa's career could (and will) ultimately follow the pattern of Mats Wilander.

Look at his career: Former world #1. Winner of seven (7) slams...including one on hard court and two on grass. 33 titles in all. Hall of Famer. Legend of the game.

But Rafa fans should look further:

Mats won 33 titles in all-20 were on clay. He won ONLY nine (9) titles on hard court during his entire career. He won two (2) on grass and ONLY two (2) on hard courts. He ONLY made it as far as the semis of the U.S. Open THREE times.

AND...he only became #1 after he adopted a slice backhand, changed his tactical approach to hard courts...SEVEN YEARS after he won his first RG title.

Rafa may have some valleys...but if he is willing to adjust and adopt his game over time...there is NO reason to believe he cannot achieve his goals...and follow Wilander in his footsteps.

And, let's not forget: Mats had to contend with Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Agassi, McEnroe, Connors...serve and volleys, power players, baseliners...you name it...he fought and won...

WHY NOT RAFA?


VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Wilander peaked for the Slams. He actually won 2 Slams on hardcourt and yes Rebound Ace is ultimately a hardcourt.
 

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:snort:

You're objective and I'm not? It's obvious that you're a Nadal fan. On the other hand, you're right, whereas Federer is declining, Rafael has many years ahead of him in which he could turn things around and start winning. That would be best for tennis - a Djokovic/Nadal rivalry, rather than a complete domination by any one person. Nadal is incredibly accomplished for a 21 year old and theoretically he could have years to turn things around and start winning big on hard courts, or at least go back to his level two years ago or even one year ago. However, I feel like his game is too specialized, too perfect, for clay, that it is impossible to modify it enough to adapt well to hard. I thing he could definitely get out of his slump and end up being the greatest clay courter in history, beating Evert's (;) WTA again!) record, but I don't think he'll reproduce Wilander's accomplishment.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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I just saw the 88 USO final on DVD. Great match.
Brilliant match and bruising as well. Hasn't been a US Open final that good since.

The thing with Wilander was, that he was never the best player and had to adapt and that was Sawan's point in reference to Nadal. Wilander improved his serve and it was everywhere where he improved, except Wimbledon, which he didn't believe he could win.
 

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More on this later, but I have always felt that Rafa's career could (and will) ultimately follow the pattern of Mats Wilander.

Look at his career: Former world #1. Winner of seven (7) slams...including one on hard court and two on grass. 33 titles in all. Hall of Famer. Legend of the game.

But Rafa fans should look further:

Mats won 33 titles in all-20 were on clay. He won ONLY nine (9) titles on hard court during his entire career. He won two (2) on grass and ONLY two (2) on hard courts. He ONLY made it as far as the semis of the U.S. Open THREE times.

AND...he only became #1 after he adopted a slice backhand, changed his tactical approach to hard courts...SEVEN YEARS after he won his first RG title.

Rafa may have some valleys...but if he is willing to adjust and adopt his game over time...there is NO reason to believe he cannot achieve his goals...and follow Wilander in his footsteps.

And, let's not forget: Mats had to contend with Lendl, Edberg, Becker, Agassi, McEnroe, Connors...serve and volleys, power players, baseliners...you name it...he fought and won...

WHY NOT RAFA?


VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

i say to hell with the hard courts. stick to your knitting. you will also recall that Wilander was a more durable athlete who never suffered any serious injuries. he was also blessed with incredible level of vo2max like the great borg. these guys could not tire if they wanted to.

nadal is a permanent walking wounded who has to work hard on his fitness. he just chose to screw around and now it is costing him.

nadal has bad knees and a deformed foot that is painful. he can never be anything on hard courts. finally, wilander could make the adjustments on hard courts. nadal cannot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
:snort:

You're objective and I'm not? It's obvious that you're a Nadal fan. On the other hand, you're right, whereas Federer is declining, Rafael has many years ahead of him in which he could turn things around and start winning. That would be best for tennis - a Djokovic/Nadal rivalry, rather than a complete domination by any one person. Nadal is incredibly accomplished for a 21 year old and theoretically he could have years to turn things around and start winning big on hard courts, or at least go back to his level two years ago or even one year ago. However, I feel like his game is too specialized, too perfect, for clay, that it is impossible to modify it enough to adapt well to hard. I thing he could definitely get out of his slump and end up being the greatest clay courter in history, beating Evert's (;) WTA again!) record, but I don't think he'll reproduce Wilander's accomplishment.
My analysis, my friend is that I believe it is POSSIBLE, NOT certain. You stated that you actually predicted, and I quote, "that Novak will win FO, Wimbledon, and USO, as well as the Olympic gold" in 2008. I am a Rafa fan, but I could never objectively predict that Rafa would win every slam in a year. And, as I pointed out to you about Novak, even a FO final is iffy. This does NOT mean that it is possible (its even possible that Davy could win the remaining three slams and end the year #1), but NO ONE in tennis can objectively predict that Novak would win all the remaining slams AND the Olympic gold this year.

I agree: Rafa will probably NEVER be top flight hard court player. But, again, look at Wilander: he managed to "steal" a U.S. Open from possibly the best hard court player ever...Lendl. And if that is all: hey, Rafa is still a legend.



Brilliant match and bruising as well. Hasn't been a US Open final that good since.

The thing with Wilander was, that he was never the best player and had to adapt and that was Sawan's point in reference to Nadal. Wilander improved his serve and it was everywhere where he improved, except Wimbledon, which he didn't believe he could win.
My point exactly. Rafa should look to Wilander as the template...because, while limited in power...still managed to win SEVEN slams.

i say to hell with the hard courts. stick to your knitting. you will also recall that Wilander was a more durable athlete who never suffered any serious injuries. he was also blessed with incredible level of vo2max like the great borg. these guys could not tire if they wanted to.

nadal is a permanent walking wounded who has to work hard on his fitness. he just chose to screw around and now it is costing him.

nadal has bad knees and a deformed foot that is painful. he can never be anything on hard courts. finally, wilander could make the adjustments on hard courts. nadal cannot.
Rafa CAN make the adjustments. Did you ever watch Wilander in 1988? He worked on his slice, and CAME INTO THE NET. Was he an exceptional volleyer? No. But what he did to Lendl in that final (and the players leading up to that match) was say: yes, you may pass me 40 out of 100 times. But, I will still win 60% of the points at net...and in the end, Lendl could NOT produce enough passing shots to win. And he had some of the best passing shots ever. Again, WHY NOT RAFA?
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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My point exactly. Rafa should look to Wilander as the template...because, while limited in power...still managed to win SEVEN slams.
Just because they were both greats on clay, doesn't mean they are similar players. The game is a lot more physical now.

In game style Nadal is closer to Muster than Wilander, and Muster changed his game to improve on hardcourts and was very successful at it, though it cost him in the fact, his hip degenerated because of his game and the knee problem and he lost the focus on clay.

Don't make it out like Wilander was a chip/charger. He could always volley, he just believed in it more and used the serve/volley tactic on big points as a change up and it worked.

No stealing of titles, that was earned.
 

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Just because they were both greats on clay, doesn't mean they are similar players. The game is a lot more physical now.

In game style Nadal is closer to Muster than Wilander, and Muster changed his game to improve on hardcourts and was very successful at it, though it cost him in the fact, his hip degenerated because of his game and the knee problem and he lost the focus on clay.

Don't make it out like Wilander was a chip/charger. He could always volley, he just believed in it more and used the serve/volley tactic on big points as a change up and it worked.

No stealing of titles, that was earned.
Exactly correct. Just because it's clay doesn't mean they use the same styles. Borg and Sampras had very different grass court styles and both were very successful. The fact that Wilander was able to push a bit into the hardcourt domain and win some slams on hard doesn't imply that Nadal will be able to. Nadal's game seems to be built for clay - the more superior his clay game, the more difficult it will be for him to shift into a style that's compatible with hard.

If Nadal is ever to win a non-clay slam, it will be Wimbledon. He's obviously able to make the adjustments necessary to give Federer a good fight. Whether he'll be able to do the same for this Wimbledon, and for Djokovic or some other top player in the future, remains to be seen. Unfortunately, I think that in terms of Wimbledon, Nadal wasted some time and should have taken the title last year. This year may be too late.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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Exactly correct. Just because it's clay doesn't mean they use the same styles. Borg and Sampras had very different grass court styles and both were very successful. The fact that Wilander was able to push a bit into the hardcourt domain and win some slams on hard doesn't imply that Nadal will be able to. Nadal's game seems to be built for clay - the more superior his clay game, the more difficult it will be for him to shift into a style that's compatible with hard.
Well, it depends on the individual as well as you know. It was different with Wilander, though his game was a claycourt game well the foundations were. He had a lot of experience playing indoors on faster surfaces, well it's not exactly easy to play in Sweden outdoors all year long. This helped his ability along with Borg to adapt well to surfaces they weren't suited to.

As for Nadal, this is where I used the Muster example and what he did was when he played on hardcourt was flatten the ball out, well not having 3m clearance over the net, stood closer to the baseline and came to the net more often.

Then this goes to the confidence thing, when players lack confidence they go to the habits they are familiar with and that's not a surprise. So he stands back and just retrieves instead of taking the initiative. It's a fine balance, he can't be like Tursunov just bash the ball, but he has to find a way within his game to progress.

The AO when it was on Rebound Ace was a good chance for him, but that was then.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Exactly correct. Just because it's clay doesn't mean they use the same styles. Borg and Sampras had very different grass court styles and both were very successful. The fact that Wilander was able to push a bit into the hardcourt domain and win some slams on hard doesn't imply that Nadal will be able to. Nadal's game seems to be built for clay - the more superior his clay game, the more difficult it will be for him to shift into a style that's compatible with hard.

If Nadal is ever to win a non-clay slam, it will be Wimbledon. He's obviously able to make the adjustments necessary to give Federer a good fight. Whether he'll be able to do the same for this Wimbledon, and for Djokovic or some other top player in the future, remains to be seen. Unfortunately, I think that in terms of Wimbledon, Nadal wasted some time and should have taken the title last year. This year may be too late.
My point is that some argue that Rafa, because he is so dominant on clay, cannot succeed at the highest level. His game does not translate, obviously, as well to hard courts as the games of Djokovic, Roddick, Blake, etc. However, that does NOT mean he can have one run...especially if the draw opens up...and win a hard court slam.

Well, it depends on the individual as well as you know. It was different with Wilander, though his game was a claycourt game well the foundations were. He had a lot of experience playing indoors on faster surfaces, well it's not exactly easy to play in Sweden outdoors all year long. This helped his ability along with Borg to adapt well to surfaces they weren't suited to.

As for Nadal, this is where I used the Muster example and what he did was when he played on hardcourt was flatten the ball out, well not having 3m clearance over the net, stood closer to the baseline and came to the net more often.

Then this goes to the confidence thing, when players lack confidence they go to the habits they are familiar with and that's not a surprise. So he stands back and just retrieves instead of taking the initiative. It's a fine balance, he can't be like Tursunov just bash the ball, but he has to find a way within his game to progress.

The AO when it was on Rebound Ace was a good chance for him, but that was then.
Muster is a good example. When I say "steal", what I meant was that Lendl back then was THE dominant hard court player...eight U.S. Open finals in a row!!!!! And yet, Wilander defeated him in that epic final. It can be done...and it was done because Wilander "tweaked" his game...and attacked from time to time...mixed things up well. If I recall, he even served and volleyed on match point (Lendl dumped a backhand into the net under the pressure).:eek:

Like I said in a previous post, Rafa seems to really want that # 1 ranking. I hope he gets it...and then never worries about it again. Worry about the slams. Whether you're #1, #2...#5...whatever...you can win a slam...and that is what he needs to focus on.
 

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Just because they were both greats on clay, doesn't mean they are similar players. The game is a lot more physical now.

In game style Nadal is closer to Muster than Wilander, and Muster changed his game to improve on hardcourts and was very successful at it, though it cost him in the fact, his hip degenerated because of his game and the knee problem and he lost the focus on clay.

Don't make it out like Wilander was a chip/charger. He could always volley, he just believed in it more and used the serve/volley tactic on big points as a change up and it worked.

No stealing of titles, that was earned.

great post. wilander was also a much better thinker. perhaps one of the best tennis minds around in his day. secondly, he was far more fluid and efficient that nadal. thirdly, he was, as mentioned previously, simply a more durable athlete who also happened to have the endurance of elite tour de france cyclists.
 

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Forum Umpire:, Gaston Gaudio,
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great post. wilander was also a much better thinker. perhaps one of the best tennis minds around in his day. secondly, he was far more fluid and efficient that nadal. thirdly, he was, as mentioned previously, simply a more durable athlete who also happened to have the endurance of elite tour de france cyclists.
It's just a lot of people think tennis didn't exist before 2005, that was a generic comment by the way.

I mean this is a guy who won 7 Slams when he was not the best player in the world, so he didn't do it by just his looks. The efficiency of movement, well the game was a lot slower then. Wilander moved effortlessly, whereas Nadal you can hear him from Antarctica and he has shown a lack of durability.
 

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It's just a lot of people think tennis didn't exist before 2005, that was a generic comment by the way.

I mean this is a guy who won 7 Slams when he was not the best player in the world, so he didn't do it by just his looks. The efficiency of movement, well the game was a lot slower then. Wilander moved effortlessly, whereas Nadal you can hear him from Antarctica and he has shown a lack of durability.
affirmative. johhny mac says that when nadal moves, he hurts the courts. i feel bad for nadal since i am a huge fan but we have to be somewhat objective. right now nadal is just not in wilander`s league. he has work to do and its looking like the work is not getting done.
 

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affirmative. johhny mac says that when nadal moves, he hurts the courts. i feel bad for nadal since i am a huge fan but we have to be somewhat objective. right now nadal is just not in wilander`s league. he has work to do and its looking like the work is not getting done.
Well he is a big guy and it's a genetic thing as well. It depends on what league you mean? If you mean overall, then that would be fair, if you mean specifically on clay, that depends on who you talk to.
 

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Well he is a big guy and it's a genetic thing as well. It depends on what league you mean? If you mean overall, then that would be fair, if you mean specifically on clay, that depends on who you talk to.
wilander was a better all around player. he made the finals of 4 australian opens alone while winning 3 of them. one of those wins was over Lendl who was in something like 21 slam finals.

he gunned down Lendl at the u.s. opn also in 1988; the score: 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. it was a a hotly contested match and wilander came through.


Wilander was also in at least 5 french open finals while taking home 3 titles. so record wise, nadal has some work to do. i dont think he can ever win a slam on hard courts. it will be extremely tough for nadal to equal wilander`s record. now he can get 6-7 french opens but he has to start changing some things fast.
 

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wilander was a better all around player. he made the finals of 4 australian opens alone while winning 3 of them. one of those wins was over Lendl who was in something like 21 slam finals.

he gunned down Lendl at the u.s. opn also in 1988; the score: 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. it was a a hotly contested match and wilander came through.
I am very aware of Wilander's record and achievements and like I said he peaked for the GS events and realised that worked for him. He wasn't as driven as his contemporaries and the US Open match has been spoken of already, great result.


Wilander was also in at least 5 french open finals while taking home 3 titles. so record wise, nadal has some work to do. i dont think he can ever win a slam on hard courts. it will be extremely tough for nadal to equal wilander`s record. now he can get 6-7 french opens but he has to start changing some things fast.
Better watch it the Nadal fanboys and fangirls might attack you for that above statement, in reference to clay of course.

Keeping this on track, there is only so much Nadal can do, he is not all of a sudden going to be stepping into the court hitting balls with 1cm clearance over the lines and cleaning up down the line winners on hardcourt.
 

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I am very aware of Wilander's record and achievements and like I said he peaked for the GS events and realised that worked for him. He wasn't as driven as his contemporaries and the US Open match has been spoken of already, great result.




Better watch it the Nadal fanboys and fangirls might attack you for that above statement, in reference to clay of course.

Keeping this on track, there is only so much Nadal can do, he is not all of a sudden going to be stepping into the court hitting balls with 1cm clearance over the lines and cleaning up down the line winners on hardcourt.
i just saw your post count. impressive. you must have a trained robot that can post for you around the clock.

nadal fanboys and fangirls have nothing to fear. i am about the biggest fan around of clay and those who have dominated on clay like borg, vilas, muster, and nadal. i just think nadal could have been so much more than he is. he is not even close to maximizing his potential. this dude won won 21 titles by the time he was 21. 3 slams and 2 wimby final appearances by the time he was 21. the wind was clearly on his back.
 

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There is no comparison at the moment between Wilander and Nadal, even on clay one has to take in mind that Wilander and Lendl faced each other during the 80s while for the moment Nadal is unchallenged.

The problem for Nadal is that with his style he will need to be on peak form to have chances on the hardcourt slams, yet he peaks during the clay court season and has not shown any tendency (so far) to peak during the hardcourt slams.
 

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i just saw your post count. impressive. you must have a trained robot that can post for you around the clock.

nadal fanboys and fangirls have nothing to fear. i am about the biggest fan around of clay and those who have dominated on clay like borg, vilas, muster, and nadal. i just think nadal could have been so much more than he is. he is not even close to maximizing his potential. this dude won won 21 titles by the time he was 21. 3 slams and 2 wimby final appearances by the time he was 21. the wind was clearly on his back.
Hahaha about the robot comment. I am not going to appreciate someone just because they dominated on a surface.

Nadal has already done quite well for himself if he were to stop this season, not that this is happening. Players peak at different ages and Nadal is always ready when the clay season is around and there are so many rodeo clowns on clay currently, his RG run doesn't look likely to be stopped.

Hence the next challenge is get better on other surfaces, he has shown it was grass, but the hardcourts, well it's like any player they are more vulnerable on certain surfaces and this is it.
 
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