Rafa Roundup: Here’s what’s going on with Rafa’s service motion

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“The change is based on three pillars,” Roig explained. “The first is that when he executes the swing, he takes his hand away from the ball quicker, instead of letting his hand linger. Second, Rafa is working on staying more upright and using his size, rather than launching into the serve by twisting and recoiling. That extra spring motion actually resulted in a reduction of power after the ball bounced. The last thing we’re working on is getting Rafa to plant his right foot in the court upon landing from his serve.

“An added benefit is that his second serve is also going to throw opponents off. It might be a more risky approach, but the positive part is that his opponents won’t be looking at the same high bounce; they’ll have to be more on their toes and react faster instead of just keeping the ball in play.”

For as long as the 33-year-old believes he can haul himself back to contend for Grand Slam titles, his motivation remains resolute. Only three shy of Roger Federer’s tally, it is a record the Spaniard would feel is well within reach, pending fitness and health.

Match toughness will need to come in practice sets. Not that the Spanish great needs a ton of matchplay under his belt these days to find his groove. As he has done so many times before, the 33-year-old will attempt to play his way into title contention.

Of the top four seeds, Nadal’s immediate future is the toughest to predict. Since last summer, he has been beset by injuries, one of which forced him to pull out of Brisbane just two weeks ago. Rafa also has a history of getting hurt during the Aussie Open itself. On paper, though, his draw looks manageable. He’ll start against 245th-ranked James Duckworth of Australia; this will be their first meeting. Things could get more interesting if he faces another, younger, faster Australian, Alex de Minaur, in the third round.

If form holds, Rafa would get No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals. There’s a decent chance that form may not hold, though, as Anderson has never been past the fourth round Down Under, and he lost his opener last year. 

AUDIO: Tennis World Stops For Andy Murray, Until Politics Takes Over; Kyrgios Wins Our Hearts Again; What’s With Rafa’s New Serve? | The Tennis Podcast

VIDEO: ‘Sad day for the sport’: tennis world pays tribute to Andy Murray | The Guardian

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7 comments

    • HE IS THE BEST HOWEVER HIS QUIRKS ARE BEGINNING TO BE A PROBLEM AS HE ADDS MORE AND MORE MOVEMENTS.
      HIS MENTAL GAME WILL SUFFER. SAD BUT TRUE HE NEEDS TO LOOK AT THIS AND HAVE HIS COACH ADDRESS THIS IN PRACTICE.

      Like

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