Rafa Roundup: Winning mentality still motivates Nadal

MONTREAL, ON - AUGUST 10:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after scoring a point during day one of the Rogers Cup at Uniprix Stadium in his doubles match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and Jack Sock of the USA on August 10, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

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At his peaks in 2015 – admittedly a rare sight – Nadal has looked physically and technically excellent, but his inability to sustain that level has been borderline shocking at times, particularly in the string of defeats that saw him lose his French Open crown and bow out early at Wimbledon.

So if it’s true that he has his mental strength back? Well, that’s pretty much all he was missing. Let’s hope it proves so, at least, because tennis has been poorer this season for his absence from the top table.

Looking to put an “up-and-down” first seven months of the year behind him, the Spaniard hopes to push forward on the North American hard courts.

“Hamburg had been a positive week for me. Mentally I was stable all week, something that I wasn’t able to do very often this season. My mental powers have been up and down more. Hamburg was not the case and I’m working well.”

“This season I had so many important moments and I had the chance to get positive feelings in matches that I lost.”

Compared to the singles matches on the two big show courts, the action on Court 9 Monday on the first day of the Rogers Cup was star-studded – even if it was doubles.

None of the crews were complaining about the rather basic conditions – a long way from the players’ box at Wimbledon. And the crowd was loving every minute of it.

The Spaniards needed one break of serve and 29 minutes to win the opening set. Undeterred, Berdych and Sock saved five break points in the second set before edging Nadal and Verdasco to force a Match Tie-break.

Most career titles on clay (players in activity in singles) : Rafael Nadal (47, +2 in 2015), David Ferrer (12, +1), Nicolas Almagro (12), Roger Federer (11, +1) and Novak Djokovic (11, +2).

“Puede volver al mismo nivel que tenía”, aseguró Roig. “Le falta continuidad y mejorar su juego, como los desplazamientos y estar más rápido, pero lo veo capaz. No ha perdido el nivel porque le falte fuerza, movilidad o fortaleza mental. Está capacitado para darle la vuelta, estar competitivo e intentar ganar torneos del Grand Slam, que al final es su objetivo”.

“I just think Rafa needs to get a little bit of a different view point,” Stefanki told CNN when asked about Nadal, who sports a 2-6 record versus top-10 foes in 2015. “Not getting rid of Uncle Toni, either. I don’t think that’s a good thing. He should probably stay around.”

“I would bring in somebody that knows the type of game that Nadal has to play now to get back,” said Bollettieri, Agassi’s former mentor, to CNN. “Maybe bring in somebody that hears all the gossip on the street, that knows what’s going on. But I certainly wouldn’t change the foundation.”

PHOTOS: Nadal/Verdasco Into Round 2 At Rogers Cup

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5 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Winning mentality still motivates Nadal

  1. Move In Rafa Or Move On

    From the CNN article linked above:

    “Now, two of the game’s most successful coaches, Larry Stefanki and Nick Bollettieri, are adamant that Nadal NEEDS A NEW COACH if he is to rebound and add to his haul of grand slam titles.”

    “Stefanki even suggested a name, Andre Agassi. The American, according to Stefanki, employed a smarter brand of tennis late in his career and won 5 slams after his 29th birthday, a feat matched only by Rod Laver.”

    “If advising Nadal, one of the first things Stefanki would do is show him a selection of his best performances, including his 2008 Wimbledon final against Federer. He said that Rafa can definitely come back and win more slams if he watches some clips of his old matches.”

    “Stefanki said he was “shocked” that Nadal didn’t change his serving tactics during his loss to Dustin Brown at Wimbledon. He also lamented Rafa’s lunging returns and missed forehands.”

    “He, like Bollettieri, called for Nadal TO STRIKE THE BALL FLATTER AND STAND CLOSER TO THE BASELINE INSTEAD OF STAYING WELL BEHIND IT AND REVERTING TO DEFENSE.”

    “When Rafa beat Federer at Wimbledon, he was taking backhands on the rise and hitting winners. He was standing inside the baseline and ripping winners like Agassi”, said Stefanki.

    “That’s the thing: he can do that. I’ve seen him do that. He needs to go back to that. And he’ll have a lot more fun playing.”

    “BUT IF HE KEEPS THINKING HE CAN PLAY LIKE A 13-YEAR-OLD AND RUN AROUND AND PLAY DEFENSE, IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK. HE’S NOT GOING TO WIN ANOTHER MAJOR.”

    “Nadal has a huge heart, but I just don’t want to see him running around backwards,” said Stefanki. “That really irritates me. He can’t do that at his age. He’s got to be a bit smarter.”

    My thoughts exactly, as you all know from my comments over the last year or so. A few months ago I recommended both Stefanki and Agassi, among others, as potential new coaches for Rafa. After reading this article, I am more convinced than ever that they would be SUPERB choices, especially Stefanki, whose analysis of our favorite player’s problems is spot on, IMHO.

    VAMOS!!!

    Like

  2. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Great win ………..Congratulations on your strong Doubles w Verdasco!!!!!! : ) very nice opening match…. very happy for you & for all the fans that were able to be there !!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!! (we followed the LIVE score board & saw the excitement of the adding points…: ) VAMOS!!!!!! : ) Have a great day!!!!!!!!! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. what never happens for the rest of this season to Rafa, he has been simply marvellous he has done so much for tennis. and I will never forget him when he retires, just want him to be happy,.
    I used to admire B,Borg. good luck god bless you Rafa xx

    Liked by 1 person

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