Rafa Roundup: Nadal shows renewed confidence and improved form

Switzerland's Roger Federer (R) celebrates after winning against Spain's Rafael Nadal (L) at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, 01 November 2015. (Tenis, Suiza, Basilea) EFE/EPA/DOMINIC STEINMANN
Photo: EFE/EPA/DOMINIC STEINMANN

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It wasn’t quite a classic, but it was certainly compelling. Federer ultimately made his attacking superiority tell, not least on serve, with his reward a sixth title of the year and a seventh in Basel. The Swiss is now just six title wins behind second-placed Ivan Lendl in the open era (88 to 94). Nadal, meanwhile, stays on three tournament victories for the year, but seems to be making steady progress at the end of what has been a chequered season by his standards.

Nadal either tried to hit hard to rush the Federer backhand, or hit heavy spin to get the ball up high on the one-hander, which is a lot tougher to achieve on an indoor hard court surface than the Spaniard’s preferred outdoor clay environment.

Nadal’s forehand has been a problem area for him this year, but 10 forehand winners and only 16 groundstroke errors is a big step forward with his renewed confidence and improved form in recent tournaments.

“I lost but I was close to winning, very close,” said Nadal. “I hope we can play in finals like this in the future.”

It was the 34th time Federer and Nadal played, and for the 34-year-old, it was clearly worth the wait.

“Six hundred-plus days have gone by a so a lot of things have happened,” Federer said. “Definitely I had the right game plan today. ‘It was a very special day. Probably it was my best victory here in Basel.”

For years, Borg versus McEnroe was the rivalry gold standard, the golden-haired god against the super-brat. No more. By 2006, Federer and Nadal had taken over.

Still, a Djokovic v Federer duel, or Djokovic v Nadal, fails to ignite the kind of passions that a Federer v Nadal showdown does.

That, of course, is no reflection on the Serbian, he has been an incredible champion, but Fedal and their contrasting styles, and personalities, take tennis to a different plain.

Federer, with a game that enunciates elegance, is a puritan’s delight, while Nadal is the nemesis, the darling of the rebellious and irreverent Generation Y.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts with the trophy plate after losing the final match against Switzerland's Roger Federer, at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament at the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, 01 November 2015. (Tenis, Suiza, Basilea) EFE/EPA/DOMINIC STEINMANN
Photo:  EFE/EPA/DOMINIC STEINMANN

Big Four Dominance – The ‘Big Four’ of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal have won 47 of the last 51 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, which dates back to Nadal’s triumph at Monte-Carlo in 2010. The only other players to emerge with an ATP Masters 1000 title are Robin Soderling (2010 Paris), David Ferrer (2012 Paris), Stan Wawrinka (2014 Monte-Carlo) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2014 Toronto).

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10 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Nadal shows renewed confidence and improved form

  1. Maria

    What a treat to be able to see Rafa play in the doubles . A game you can enjoy watching without being on edge hope Rafa doesn’t tire himself out to much as we need him to be fresh for his game against Rosol

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  2. aui aui…..Rafa & Paes Just broke their opponents 1st serve game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VAMOS!!!!!!!!!! Nadal just challenged & GOT IT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    both look great out there!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : )

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  3. Great game Rafael. Great game Roger. Sorry Rodger, I love you second to Rafael so I wish he had won! I am his self-appointed Aussie Abuela! Fantastic sporting people in Switzerland. Rafael, your wonderful nature was once again displayed in your speech. I pray for you to succeed in your Paris tournament. I hope Uncle Tony is wrong in saying it will be hard for you to reach No.1 status in 2016? I pray that you do. God bless you. Vamos Rafael. Love your Aussie Abuela. 😀😊😇

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  4. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a great day & lots & lots of fun playing Doubles with your great partner….he too has a great touch & strong strokes…. !!!!! : ) Just watched Replay of Basel Semi….. great match! : ) Lots of neat points!!!! VAMOS sweetheart, have a bright morning & enjoy Paris !!!!!!! God bless you!!!!!!!!!! : )

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