Unstoppable Roger Federer Tames Rafael Nadal Again for Miami Open Title
by Staff | April 2nd, 2017, 6:38 pm
  • 62 Comments

Roger Federer will take a well-deserved rest until the French Open after Sunday winning the Miami Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over his rival Rafael Nadal.


Federer, who also won the Australian Open and Indian Wells over the first three months of the year, won Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back for the third time in his career, and dropped Nadal to 0-5 in career Miami finals.

He is projected to return to No. 4 on the ATP rankings Monday, and is the clear No. 1 in the 2017-only ATP points standings.

“I think it was a close match,” said Federer who’s won his last 11 matches, losing just 2 sets. “Maybe if you didn’t see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you’re thinking it was straightforward with couple breaks and that was it. That’s not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today.”

In the first set Federer broke at 4-3, and both players in the second set fought off break chances until the Swiss broke at 4-4 then closed it out behind another awesome serving display.

The win was Federer’s 26th at a Masters, 91st overall and an ATP-leading 3rd of the season.

Federer is an incredible 19-1 this season and 7-0 against Top 10 competition after missing the end of last season with injury. And he nearly was bounced in the quarterfinals when he had to save two match points to beat Tomas Berdych.

“Physically, emotionally it’s been a draining week, so I did very well,” he said.

The Swiss added that he will take an extended break to recover, and next take to the court at Roland Garros.

Nadal has now lost four straight to Federer who joins Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko as the only other players to beat the Spaniard in succession more than three times.

“I think that I was close,” said Nadal. “I think I was close enough to win the first set. It was not my day. It is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he’s winning a lot, all the things are going your way. So that’s what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second it was close.”

Nadal’s last hardcourt title came at Doha in 2014. He now heads to his favorite clay, where a meeting with Federer is highly unlikely, at least until the French, according to the Swiss.

With Federer resting, Nadal has a chance to close the gap and overtake Federer in the 2017 points race as he heads to his beloved clay in just a couple of weeks.

“I’m playing enough well to fight for everything I think,” Nadal said. “I have good hopes that I going to be ready for Monte-Carlo. Always when I am playing that well, on clay it helps a little bit more for me. I need to work hard to be ready for that. If I am ready for that, I think I am very excited about playing on clay again.

“I think about resting a little bit, having fun a little bit in Mallorca and I’ll be happy to be back home after one-and-a-half months. Then I will start working hard on clay. That’s my goal now. My goal is to feel ready to play on clay again and I know if I have good preparation and have a healthy transition to the clay and find my rhythm on clay, I can be one of those candidates.”

Earlier in the season, Federer had stated he was not going to be 100% back until April. Well, it’s April.

“The comeback is over,” Federer said. “I’m happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It’s been a dream run on the court, off the court as well. My body has reacted very well and I couldn’t be happier, of course.”


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62 Comments for Unstoppable Roger Federer Tames Rafael Nadal Again for Miami Open Title

skeezer Says:

“Unstoppable Roger Federer…..”
Love that title.
The Moet will be flowing this evening. Thank you RF for the great performances this year. Unbelievable Tennis.


naderer Says:

Gee Whiz he shold play at least one clay court tournament


montecarlo Says:

Two net chords decided the match. One in the first set and when Nadal had the early break chance and one late in the second set when Federer broke.


skeezer Says:

A shout out to Kimberly, who was there. Thank you for all the first hand reports shared here!


Markus Says:

Oh, I thought two sets decided the match.


skeezer Says:

@Markus
👍
—-
Where is the Church? Lemme guess, same place they were at after AO, IW, and now Miami.

Silence is Golden.


DC Says:

While Fed and Nadal made the same numbers of unforced errors, Fed hit 29 winners , 10 more than Nadal

So i would say though the match looked like a closely fought battle, Fed clearly had the upper hand throughout.


skeezer Says:

I thought the tactic to have to hit/serve to Feds FH was a major blunder of desperateness. You keep kidding me? He has made his career on his FH (and serve). Fed must have loved that….OB’V.

.


RZ Says:

Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years.


Tennisfansince1976 Says:

I wonder what happened to Gannu. He was a die hard Federer fan. Haven’t seen him around in a while. He should be enjoying this.


courbon Says:

Congrats to Fed and his fans.Very imprressive last 3 months


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Incredible victory. Not as one-sided as IW. Rafa was on fire in the first set, but Fed was up to matching the level at all times. There wasn’t much between them in the first, but in the second the dynamic changed. Fed took full control of his serve – 3 straight games to love- and challenged every Rafa service game.
This was intense tennis. Best play from Rafa in his comeback, if not – years? Like Berghain said on the other thread, this is more than an epilogue now, its a new act. More than a hot streak, its a new level. This IS how Fed his BH and returns in 2017.

Hope he’ll change his mind and play a clay masters, but he’s done pretty well with long pre-slam layoffs lately. He could win a LOT of points on clay this year if he tried.

What a gift this has been for his fans. It feels like 2006 watching him!


rognadfan Says:

The first thing that went to mind when I saw the the serves going to Fed’s FH, I saw the lack of confedence that Nadal had come to the court with. I knew from watching Fognini match that Nadal was preparing himself to hit big crosscourt BH should Fed reach the final. He tried that strategy but clearly it’s hard to gain upper hand in that exchange since you are going to the best freaking FH of all time.
At the end of the day having weaker serve will always bite you, no escaping from that when your opponent has consciously made a decision to return very aggressive, and is very very good at it.

Nadal clearly didn’t have a solid plan that was based solely on his execution. He came to the court with a plan that required Fed to be just a notch below the level he was playing in earlier rounds. And that totally spells disaster especially for a guy like Nadal who doesn’t have too many dimensions when it comes to the game plan.

It’s amazing how the rivalry has turned upside down at this juncture of their careers. Fed must be thinking, ‘man why didn’t I even think about playing with such a simple tactic as this during all those years against Rafa. I simply tried too many approaches that were too complicated”.

I know his BH is improved now but still it’s not like he was not at all capable to hit through then.

But if you look just on the tennis side, having too many tactics when playing against one of the best players of all time is a talent only Roger Federer possesses.


rognadfan Says:

@TV
Yeah it does’ feel like 2006. I wrote in another thread I got at least 3 texts during Kirgyos match taht read ‘is it 2007′?
totally agree on what you said. ‘it’s not just the streak its the new level’. and as i just said in the last post, for Nadal, Fed’s concious decision to hit aggressive returns combined with bulletty BH means no way to beat him with the old game plant. And today Nadal showed us that he and his team have totally realized that.

It’s been a real treat and total spoiler of my work, the 2017 season.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I’m dying to write more in analysis, in fandom, and on the year-so-far, but I only have one good hand for the moment and its too slow.

Skeeze, also wondering why Novak fans have disappeared to this extent. One would think, as tennis fans, they’d still have some things to say despite Novaks absence.

I’m super excited for the clay season- hoping for a full throttle return from Andy and Novak, and see how they fair against Rafa, Kyrgios and Stan. Even in Fed’s absence, there aint enough points to go round for that number of serious competitors. Who’s going to be odd man out on clay? And can DelPotro or zverev get some high-level licks in?

What an exciting season so far. Just incredible the number of epic matches Fed has already played!


Leo Says:

Exciting times ahead. Hope Roger can stay injury free and play with this same clarity.

Any reason Kyrgios can’t win Wimbledon this year? His serve is going to be even more difficult on grass.


Margot Says:

Congratulations to the age defying, flying Fed. A….mazing!
And commies to Rafa fans.
As an afterthought, any challenge to the “big 4″ seems to be coming from the generation once removed, as in Naughty Nick, Sascha and Prepster.
While Kei, Milos and GG just can’t seem to do it.
Will indeed be interesting TV, to see what 2017 brings.


steve-o Says:

It’s just pure joy to watch Federer in this form. He’s relaxed and having fun and it’s all just flowing beautifully off his racket at the moment. Glad as a Federer fan to be lucky enough to see this.


Van Persie Says:

Congrats to Fed…and his fans :)

Tennis Vagabond,

“Skeeze, also wondering why Novak fans have disappeared to this extent. One would think, as tennis fans, they’d still have some things to say despite Novaks absence”

Your match analysis was missed here after the French Open Final last year. Skeeze commented at least a basketball match ;)…Rafans were more active here

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2016-06-05/23134.php

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2016-06-05/23147.php


tennisfriend Says:

well as good as Roger playing, Rafa defense is not as good as it was. his defense was so good to reach ball and hit shot which is not happening and hence many UF errors. so its combination of both.

at this time , only Novak can match to roger and I will not be satisfied until he beat Novak in GS once again.

one thing is sure that Big 1 is aggressive and rest Big 3 is Defensive and even stock market says aggressive plan win ultimately with High risk and return.

GO Roger.


All Out Says:

Well this is very much expected. Didnt get to watch the match live but the highlights will suffice to know just how horrendous Nadal has played this year against Roger. The swiss is in extreme attack mode and that backhand is just killing it. Well done Ivan Ljubicic i must say!!!

As for Rafa. Where did it go wrong? Everywhere is the answer. After 36 matches he must know that standing for a first serve return so deep must be absolute brain fart but he keeps doing it anyway. His first two groundstrokes had no depth or venom whatsoever and Fed just ate it up like he has done the previous 3 times they met.The forehand to backhand tactic works only if he can keep wrong footing federer on his return games. Where is the forehand that opponents used to fear less than 3 years ago?

He needs someone to tell him to stand darn close to the baseline for both first and second serve returns. That is the only way he can generate enough depth and power on his returns and groundstrokes throughout the match and put his opponent under pressure. Just go back and watch the tapes of 2013. Hopefully clay can bring about a change in fortunes but i’m not being overly optimistic about that as well.


Michael Says:

Well it is nothing short of a magical run as far as Roger is concerned and a fairytale come true. It is really hard to believe that a man can dominate the tour at over 35 more so especially when Tennis has transformed to become a brutally physically demanding sport and an age of athleticism and power Tennis. Roger is simply doing the ridiculous, impossible and unthinkable. When both Roger and Rafa had an injury break to recoup, 2017 was expected to be a cake walk for Andy and Novak to dominate the tour without major challenges except for countering each other . But that popular script pictured by Tennis analysts and commentators have failed to materialize and atleast Roger is on a roll and on top of the world. What an amazing list of accomplishments at this age winning the Australian open and as an icing on the cake, winning the coveted Sunshine double at Indian Wells and then backing it up with Miami to complete one of the most wonderful run the Sport has ever seen.

I think Roger is doing the right thing in skipping clay court tourneys ahead of the French. He definitely needs rest.

As regards Rafa, well he mastered Roger when he was in his prime, but with the later at over 35, he is finding it extremely difficult as to how to turn the tables against an ageing Roger who is just pulverizing him on court where Rafa is clueless as to how to stop a


Michael Says:

Contd..
Where Rafa is clueless as to how to stop a reinvented and reinvigorated Roger riding with the momentum, motivation and the hunger to win.


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/breakpointbr/status/848624905054826496
Here you go fedfans, he’s trying to say he juiced too much, he now needs a break! Lol


Danica Says:

Congrats to Roger and fans!!

With the new job I started in February, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch almost any matches. I really, really tried to see the reruns late in the evening but alas, couldn’t fight being tired and falling asleep. Saw bits and pieces of Roger’s matches with Berdych and Kyrgios but not enough. Wasn’t able to see the final either :((.

But what can one say? Roger’s results this year are top notch and sincere kudos to him. I remember writing here at the end of last season I think, that with good scheduling he could still be winning titles. But honestly, I didn’t believe he would be able to win the biggest three titles of the first quarter of the season. That is just fantastic. At his age, he gave everyone a task – catch me if you can.

I am reading that he will be skipping the whole clay season and return for the RG. This is a smart move.

One more time, just great, inspirational result so, congrats to the fans and to Roger and his team.

Sorry to Rafa and the fans. At this moment, Roger’s playing the best tennis in the world.


the_mind_reels Says:

From the looks of his website, Federer is going to play a charity exhibition match next week in Switzerland with A. Murray — haven’t heard any reason why that might be cancelled due to the Scot’s elbow woes. That aside, the 1+ month rest should do wonders for Federer, though I am curious if he’ll slip Madrid in the schedule since he can rest for quite some time both before and after that tournament.

If he decides not to play anything until Roland Garros, it will be the same gamble he took going into the Australian Open: basically no match-play on the surface in question, and he’ll just feel his way into the draw. The big difference is that he’ll still be riding a huge wave of confidence from the way the season has started so far.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Haha, VP, please do more digging. I think you’ll find I was pretty vocal about what an incredible accomplishment that was for Novak, as I’ve been through his reign at #1. Sometimes we miss a day. Thats life. Feel free to dock my pay. (As I mentioned a few hours later, here:
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2016-06-05/23136.php

…I couldn’t watch the FO match live but on tape delay. Which is why I also didn’t comment on yesterdays match thread. But thanks for checking in on me!)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Lets not forget that Rafa is far and away the #2 of 2017. So I don’t think he deserves a lot of second guessing. He’s beating everyone except Fed this year, and I thought he played a tremendous first set at least.

Is there any updates on Novak n Andy?


Van Persie Says:

TV,

Well, I sincerely apologize to you for missing that one.
But you have to agree with me, it was not raining on those threads with Federer fans. ;)…and that was an extraordinary event for tennis history!


skeezer Says:

VP,
My congrats was there;
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2016-06-05/23136.php#comment-688031

Thanks Danica!


Van Persie Says:

Well done, Skeezer. Good boy ;)


J-Kath Says:

TO: the-mind-reels

Previously Roger joined Andy in Glasgow to raise funds for Andy’s charity – hence the reciprocal commitment.

Last week Andy pulled out of Davis Cup due to elbow, shingles, viral flu “hangovers” but still planned to fulfil the charity match. However, it seems he is still well below par and will likely need to cancel.


J-Kath Says:

TV

Nole is playing Davis Cup.


Daniel Says:

TV, skeeze,

We know why some Djoko fans vanished. The ones who can’t stand Federer and os not believeing / accepting this is happening. Is like bad karma to them

And also, it is just me or that “Truth” fella vanished together with them and he only posts same day one of them also posts. I got him figured out and thought if anybody thins the same or just actullay thinks he is a new poster out of knowehere.

Humble Rafa at least seems a genuine alias, although he may very well be a “second” nickname. But he is true to himself.


skeezer Says:

“The ones who can’t stand Federer and os not believeing / accepting this is happening.”
Truth dat Daniel.
Re: Truth aka Baa? Ia that the poster who had a crush on Roddick? ;)


the_mind_reels Says:

@J-Kath — thanks for that! Had forgotten about Andy’s charity.


Giles Says:

Shame mat4 isn’t around. He would have been writing 1,000 words per post trying to prove fed is “juicing”.


Kimberly Says:

Hi all I was at the match and in all honesty can say neither played an amazing match. The Kyrgios Federer match was a much higher quality affair.

Not sure I understood the strategy of Nadal in this match. Surely in such an important event, v a top player one must have a game plan? Nadal served well for him but seemed determined to engage in cross court rallies with his backhard to Federer forehand, not moving well enough, not running around his forehand to hit the heavy spin forehand to Federer backhand. Federer fans can talk all they want about the improved backhand but every time nadal executed “the shot” he got a floater and won the point. Problem is he only did it a few times and was kept off balance and never got into any rythum. His shot selection was poor which is a contrast to all his other matches where he seemed so solid and smart.

I think part of the issue is his “B” game, solid smart, high percentage play is good enough to beat 95% of the tour so Rafa elects to play that way. He definitely has another gear he is not going to. You saw it in the last game when he was trying to break back to stay in the match. Why not play that way more often, or at least on big points. Go hard or go home!

Anyway it was a nice event but nothing like the Friday night semifinal. I’m glad I got to see them play. Was sitting next to Toni and Carlos and the Nadal box, also a famous former soccer player Ronaldo in Nadal box. So it was glamorous and nice to be there. Colin got Roger to autograph the session 24 ticket just as he has Novak on session 24 last year.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

VP, no worries. I do think you are correct in general that Novak’s GS did not get the attention it deserved. But on TX the guys I think of as Fed fans, myself, Skeeze, Mad Max, Michael, were never short on praise for Novak.

To be honest, some posters have been so disgusting in their comments that I hope they’ve been banned. Others, I hope we’ll hear from again. Naturally, whoever is dominant has the most crowing fan base.

I would guess some non-Fed fans want to puke just from the gag-worthy poetry and praise for Fed lately, but what the heck, thats how it goes.

Very glad novak is back so soon. lots of time to get right before MC too. Should be some really amazing battles.

I have said the last few years, I believed Rafa could come back, but that, with his loss of a step, he would never beat Novak in a big match again. I think Rafa could prove me wrong this year. His play is not getting the attention it deserves and I think some folks will be reminded come clay.


SG1 Says:

It’s interesting. Federer didn’t look like he was playing all that well. He’s beating Rafa the same way Rafa would beat him. With a sound strategic approach.

And Federer held too many of his service much too simply. In the last 3 matches between Roger and Rafa, I’m seeing the following:

1) A lot of straightforward holds for Roger
2) A lot of backhands hit on the rise
3) An uncharacteristic number of bad misses from Rafa at bad times. Particularly from the forehand side.


SG1 Says:

Rafa has to play Roger’s forehand more. It’s not like Rafa doesn’t have one of the better forehands of all time. He needs to hit the forehand inside out with authority(…not over-spin it) and take Roger far enough out of court that he has can’t hit the backhand on the rise. I do agree that making your living going at Roger’s forehand seems like suicide but what other choice does he have? Rafa needs to extend the rallies and make the sets go longer to wear out the older Federer. Too many 6-2 and 6-3 sets which playing right into Federer’s hands. He needs 7-5 sets and tie-breakers where it’s more difficult to play so boldly.


SG1 Says:

And Roger is more likely to have fatigue based errors creep into his game in longer sets.


SG1 Says:

I can sum up Roger with 4 letters…G. O. A. T.

How can there be any debate? He’s 35 and dominating the sport. Who gets better at 35? Unheard of. The greatest at their craft elevate the standard for excellence. That’s what Federer is doing right now.


Van Persie Says:

TV,

There is no perfect fanbase. Thing with Fed is, since he is the most popular, he gets also the most “fanatics” and it is difficult to deal with them. Hehe
I told here last year, Fed would have more chances than Rafa to get another slam. Rafa had already so many comebacks during his career…and it is not easy to make a comeback. Will he be able to get one once more? Time will tell.
I hoped for Nole to have a comeback this year…but Fed did instead what Rafa did in 2013. We’ll see also with Nole.
About Andy I would not worry. His problem is only the injury, and not the lack of motivation.


monterey Says:

But Fed didn’t let Nadal get into long rallies. Attacking, first strike tennis is where Fed is supreme. He knows that the longer the rally goes the more it suits Nadal. Much better to push the envelope and force him out of his comfort zone.

What good is sound strategy if your opponent doesn’t let you execute it? Your level of play is dictated by your opponent to a great degree.

Execution is the thing. Man, I have a great plan to beat Fed at Wimbledon and Nadal at RG. Just one small problem….I can’t implement it because they wouldn’t let me.


Van Persie Says:

P.S. Djoko is scheduled to play MC, Madrid, Rome and RG after DC.


lylenubbins Says:

Anyone else notice Rafa seemed to have problems moving side to side?


monterey Says:

Novak is such a phenomenal player, clearly one of the best to ever play the game. I don’t think his winning four majors in a row on three different surfaces received nearly the attention it should have. First time since 1969 that anyone has done that. And remember, Laver won a CYGS on only two surfaces.

As a huge Fed fan, I acknowledge and and am supremely impressed by Novak and of course Rafa too. Let’s see how Fed does against Novak, Rafa and Andy the rest of the year.

Maybe Fed should just take the rest of the year off…..he’s done enough already…..


montecarlo Says:

lylenubbins: Yes, Nadal let go of few balls he could have easily retrieved. May be some sort of Minor injury or may be he thought it wasn’t worth it since Federer was hardly missing anything.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is not the player he once was retrieving wise. I remember when people went ot his FH he always returned deep and was able to stay in the point, not to mention when he unleashed that DTL FH on the run in the corner. He hardly goes for that shot anymore. Last time we really saw he delivering it time and time again was RG 2014, which was his last big title (MC last year was Ok, but not compared to RG 14´) agaisnt Djoko.

Djoko exposed that going to his FH inside out work and eveybody else does it. When you move him side to side there is a great chance you win the point. Of course, he still makes you hit one more ball, yestedray he made Federer volley a lot to close, smash and etc.. But the quality which he did in the past is gone and is just not going back at his age. He will be 31 in 2 months. His game is not like Federer´s.

His chance is to grind and hope opponents are not at peak form. His “best” this days is not good enough to his other players A form and I don´t knwo if he still has that “another gear” to go through. There is just too many motnhs laready and we haven´t seen that form again in 30 months already.

Also, he will have the points to be top 5, but hard to see him contestng for #1 if he doesn´t win RG and continue his no HC title trend, it just won´t cut it.


lakie Says:

yes lunerubbins, his lateral movement is definitely impaired. Which not only impacts his retrieval but the accuracy and depth of his forehand. He is not able to move fast enough sideways to be in position.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Boy, there sure sounds to be a lot wrong with the 2nd best player of 2017. The rest of the field must be malnourished cripples for this ‘Rafa’ guy to keep making finals.


the_mind_reels Says:

@skeezer: as you probably don’t know, I’m a long-ish time reader but only more recently slightly more active as a poster. What is the deal with people talking about you and cats? Personally, I love cats and have two of them. Also, I like dogs.

@ Tennis Vagabond: *so* much wrong with that guy. He’s destroying players en route to finals and then losing to a guy who’s playing lights-out tennis. I can’t quite figure it out either ;) Rafa is going to roll this spring on the clay, I’m sure.


skeezer Says:

TMR,
Re; cats. Have no idea, you’ll have to ask them. Don’t have them. Dogs I have.👍😃🎾


the_mind_reels Says:

@skeez: haha, fair enough. I can’t say I’m *that* interested to find out, so whatever.


steve-o Says:

@Tennis Vagabond: Yeah, the hand-wringing over how Nadal has “lost a step” or how his forehand “lacks its old bite” is patently ridiculous. I watched parts of his matches at AO–he was running like a rabbit, and hammering his forehand as hard as ever. Not a single thing was different. Or do people think he beat Zverev, Raonic, and Dimitrov and took Federer to five while hobbling around on one good leg?

Largely, this is a way for the true believers to explain his losses. They’ve been well-trained to recite the “a healthy Nadal never loses” catechism. God forbid they entertain the idea that Federer has raised his game, broken his mental block, and is now being super-aggressive with his backhand.

Nadal’s game is so physical that if he really ever did permanently lose a step, he wouldn’t be making it past the fourth rounds of hard court tournaments, let alone the finals. Unlike Federer, a small loss in strength or footspeed translates to a precipitous drop in performance because he relies so much on pure speed to prolong rallies, and raw arm strength to put that heavy spin on his shots.

This is one of the best starts Nadal has ever had to a season. 3 finals in four HC tournaments, including a Grand Slam and a Masters–and probably a fourth HC final (also a Masters) if he hadn’t run into Federer early at IW. He’s still the tour leader in wins this year. His problem is that is the losses have pretty much all come in finals and nearly all to one player. Without Federer, Nadal would have won AO, Miami, and most likely IW too–so again, the idea that he is in poor shape is ludicrous. 2015-2016 he was in poor shape. But not now.

With Federer playing so little on clay, and Djokovic and Murray only slowly coming back, Nadal is almost surely going to steamroller everyone on clay. Whether he can be #1 depends pretty much on whether Federer can maintain his level–if Federer is winning their matches on slow HC in straight sets, then on grass and fast HC, Federer will sweep him aside every time. And Nadal will have to win big titles on those surfaces to stand a chance of being #1.

In 2011 Nadal had a great year–it could’ve been even better than 2010 since he was in the IW/Miami finals, plus the finals of all the tournaments where he reached the finals in 2010 (YEC excepted). But Djokovic beat him in six finals that year, four of which were Masters and two in majors, so he was #2 by some margin–even though he was way ahead of any player not named Novak Djokovic.

The same thing looks to be happening this year. Instead of Nadal having one of his best-ever starts to the season, he’s #2 by some margin to Federer.


SG1 Says:

Nadal has built his reputation, as Humble Rafa would say, by being the “GOAT Owner”. These days, he doesn’t have a way to beat they guy he has owned for much of the past 10 years. Someone above had mentioned that there can’t be much wrong with a guy that’s the 2nd best player in the world. Fair enough. But, Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka have all made changes (health, coaching, tactics etc.) over the past 3 or 4 years. Standing pat doesn’t get you to No.1. Nadal won many big matches through sheer will. His body doesn’t let him do that anymore. He needs to change something. I don’t know what but something if he’s going to win majors again and get back to No.1. If Novak were right physically and mentally, I think Nadal would fall to No.3 and I don’t think his game has matched up well against Djokovic for a while.


SG1 Says:

If I was to suggest something, I would say that he needs to figure out how to either prolong the rallies or hit a lot flatter from the forehand so he can push his opponents around more.


skeezer Says:

I don’t think Rafa has ever changed anything technically, he can’t. He can make subtle changes but there is no way he can change that buggy whip FH to hit a fast ball consistently. He can and has hit a flatter BH. In the past, he tried to change his service, which indeed helped him win 2010 USO. But it promptly caused shoulder problems and his serve had to go back to the original motion.
Someone said earlier he needs to stop play from 10 feet behind the baseline(although this works on Clay) and start learning how to hug the BL and take the ball on the rise more. Tactically, there are things but the guy is so rooted in his patterns ( look at the water bottles ) don’t know if it possible to re tool the game as it sits now. On thing he could change technique wise(if he is going to hug the BL more) is shorten his Backswing. I just don’t know if he can change his swing pattern…shortening it…maybe?


skeezer Says:

^fast=flat


DC Says:

Rafa has been playing perfectly fine and is poised to get a few trophies on clay.
He’s played some amazing matches .At the AO,he was a beat against Dimitrov and played great against Fed.
Feds new backhand is doing the harm here. It’s not letting Nadal play his traditional patterns and .Against Fed , now Nadal at every shot has to pause and think what shot to play. The extra work that the brain has to do can damage ones game.
Nadal has never had to think and play. He pretty much knew what patterns work against whom and all he had to do was concentrate on hitting his shots. Now almost every shot has to be strategized and played, just like at a game of chess.

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