What do Spain’s best tennis players, past and present, think about the “new and improved” Rafael Nadal? Here are translated excerpts from an article published on the website as.com, that quotes Manolo Santana, Carlos Moya, Albert Costa, and Marc Lopez talking about Rafa at the Davis Cup. For the full article by Jesus Minguez (in Spanish), click here.
“Rafael Nadal is better than before, has found the balance”
Two days after landing in Madrid, with the U.S. Open in his pocket, Nadal was at the Caja Magica ready to pull Spain back into the category [Davis Cup World Team playoffs, where Spain beat Ukraine to get back into the World Team]. Yesterday, he saw the victories of Marc Lopez and Fernando Verdasco and then flew to Manacor. In two weeks, starting September 30, he will take on the number one Novak Djokovic at the ATP 500 Beijing, a city where he was crowned in 2008, and then continue on to Shanghai.
After seven months off, ten titles and key effort at the Magic Box, is this the best Nadal ever? Those responding to the question in Madrid agree on the concept of “more aggressive” and, for most, the best version yet.
Carlos Moya, who trained him in Manacor before the US Open: “It’s not just that he isn’t worse, he’s better than before. He understands tennis better. Having no explosiveness [that he had] at age 20, he has learned to read the game better and is more aggressive. There was no other way, and he has understood it perfectly.”
His best buddy in and out of the circuit, Marc Lopez: “He’s better. He’s being more aggressive. His “sin” was the overuse of hitting to others’ backhand, and now he varies his direction. I never saw him play as well as in the North American tour. I know he will be back to biting trophies and taking over the court. His life is tennis. “
Tennis legend Manolo Santana: “Nadal is totally different offensively. One can say that he has found the balance. And he’s getting a lot better…yet, when he’s in trouble, he turns to what has always characterized him: putting the spin on the ball”.
Albert Costa, former captain and current sporting director of the RFET: Nadal “has managed to reach a higher level. He has more power, is faster and is playing more closer to court, which translates into more aggressive.”
It’s a good way to sum up Rafa’s success this year, to say that he is a better version of himself. Knowing Rafa, it might just be that the best is yet to come! Vamos, champion!