Here’s what it feels like to play Rafa Nadal

Beating Rafael Nadal is one of the toughest tasks in tennis. Canadian Vasek Pospisil shares his experience detailing what it feels like to face the world number one.

Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Vasek Pospisil:

I mean, he makes you go for it and play the highest of your level. He just makes you really push your level and play better than you’re used to playing. If you want to have a chance to win, you almost have to play like that.

Yeah, physically he’s at a very high level. Physical and mental parts are so, so strongly connected. Obviously then he’s mentally very tough, too, because he’s physically very strong. I mean, if you’re doing a good job on your fitness, not getting as tired, mentally it becomes easier to concentrate.

I know that from when I’m playing in different conditions that are more difficult and less difficult for me, mentally I can be completely two different players. If I’m not exhausted or tired, pretty stable. Because he’s so strong physically, also very strong mentally, yeah, which makes him very tough to play.

Source: US Open

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68 thoughts on “Here’s what it feels like to play Rafa Nadal

    1. Alex

      I heard that. I think he was referring more generally to energy levels, rather than his knee. Everyone was talking about it anyway, so he probably thought why not address it, since it’s common sense.

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  1. Congrats fellow Rafans. But Nadal needs to raise his level. Thiem then probably del potro and then nole or fed. Needs a Herculean effort to defeat all of them n this kind of lapses won’t help. Thiem played brilliantly today. It’s going to be a tough challenge.
    VAMOS champ all the best

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  2. Fan love

    VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) 40: 0 CHAMPION BRILLIANT NADAL AND ENDING WITH A CLASSY ACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS SWEETHEART AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL, FEISTY , ONE AND ONLY RAFA NADAL VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) BEAUTIFUL EXCITING MATCH AND WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY A BEAUTIFUL EVENING AND CELEBRATE WITH YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY AND LOVED ONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE MIGHTY SPECIAL GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) PS: LOVED YOUR INTERVIEWS…..GREAT PRESENCE YOU HAVE WITH THE PRESS AND SO KIND AND CLASSY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE BRILLIANT IN TIE BREAKS AND LOOSING ONE DOES NOT CHANGE ANYTHING…..YOU ARE SO GOOD AT TIE BREAKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GORGEOUS RAFA….ENJOY EVERYTHING SWEETHEART & HAVE A LOVELY TIME WITH EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

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  3. OJay

    The one good thing about this match is that he came through a tough round after injury doubt. He might be able to trust his body better next practice/match. Maybe get some more legs into his serve again.

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  4. OJay

    He’d better be playing a whole lot better against Thiem or I don’t like his chances.

    Although I suspect Thiem won’t fully take advantage of Rafa’s weak serving, as his court position is so deep.

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  5. Fan love

    VAMOS BEAUTIFUL NADAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE FEISTY AND FIGHTING AND INCREDIBLY PASSIONATE…..BREAKING BACK SO DECISIVELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) 🙂 WHAT A JOY YOU ARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE BRILLIANT SWEETHEART A TRUE TENNIS GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : );) 😉 KEEP GOING SWEETHEART YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING SO JUT RIGHT…..GOD BLESS YOU SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) WE LOVE YOU AND ENJOY YOUR BRILLIANT BEAUTIFUL TENNIS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) MUCHAS GRACIAS GOAT OF ALL GOATS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) LION STRENGTH AND MIGHTY POWERFUL YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) THE POOR GUY LOOKS LIKE HE IS READY TO DROP…..HE CHANGED SOCKS SO HE COULD CATCH HIS BREATH……OLD TRICK……….
    VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOUR BRILLIANT COURT PRESENCE, YOUR BRILLIANT SKILLFUL TENNIS AND INTELLIGENCE AND YOUR EXTRAORDINARY DETERMINATION IS COMMENDABLE SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY IT ALL AND KEEP SMILING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) LOVE YOU SO MUCH DEAR RAFA AND YOUR EFFORTS AND SWEAT IS WHAT GETS YOU FORWARD EACH AND EVERY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO YOU ARE SERVING FOR THE MATCH SWEETHEART AND ENJOY EACH BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) 30 : 0……..LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE TO YOU DEAR RAFA NADAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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    1. OJay

      Rafa’s serving was topping out at 126 mph at this point last year. He’s like 15 mph down.

      Oh well, at least he broke again.

      He needs to go out and serve nonstop in practice tomorrow. Novak would eat this delivery for breakfast.

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  6. OJay

    Here’s a worrying sign as well – when failing to break, he struggles on his own next service game. That’s very unlike him, except 2015-2016 version Rafa.

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  7. Fan love

    BEAUTIFUL SWEETHEART….KEEP GOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE SOLID OUT THERE & SO GORGEOUS TO LOOK AT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX YOU ARE BEAUTIFULLY FIT AND SO FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) LOVE ALL YOUR STRONG POWERFUL RETURNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY SWEETHEART & HAVE FUN WITH EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOUR PRECIOUS FOCUS IS SO IMPRESSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

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  8. mjus

    basilashvilli reminds me of the way fognini played against nadal three years ago. Nadal keeps playing to the backhand knowing that the backhand is going very well today

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  9. Rafan

    Just don’t take it to fifth please. Rafa seems fatigued and I m not surprised. We were exhausted just by watching the match against Karen. Look at the positive, at least no tape on the knee. Vamos💪

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    1. OJay

      Would be interesting to know what caused his sudden drop in confidence and overall quality of play. Probably the physical issue that seeded doubt in his mind. Perhaps he wasn’t able to practice at 100 % yesterday because of it.

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