Rafael Nadal he is facing his great opportunity to become a teacher. The Spaniard has been the most regular tennis player on the circuit for 15 years, with spectacular numbers that have given him the opportunity to play the Masters consecutively every year, although injuries have slowed him down on more than one occasion. Now, Rafa arrives healthy and with a renewed style of play that shows modifications key when fighting tennis players with greater punch on a fast track and with the extra complication of being indoors.
The 02 Arena in London is not a pavilion that suits Nadal’s tennis, at least in its classic version. The manacorense is not too fond of the indoor courts, and less if they are fast like the Masters Cup mat. However, the completeness of Rafa’s game in a constant improvement over the years has led to the possibility of making changes that allow maximum adaptation to surfaces that, a priori, give him a notable disadvantage with his rivals.
A serve worked to send
In front of Andrey Rublev you could see a novel version of Nadal, with two main points to highlight. First, the service, try a regular job in these seasonal instances, where this weapon acquires even more prominence. Rafa already demonstrated with a dropper in Paris-Bercy an improvement with a serve, and before Rublev, he unchecked without conceding a single break option and with a percentage of first serves that precluded any result other than a win for the number two in the box.
To the rest … and to attack
Besides the serve, Nadal also stood out for his rest, and more than in its effectiveness, which also increased, it did so from the position. Rafa is, with total security, one of the elite tennis players that is placed further back to subtract rival services but in a position diametrically opposite to the one he habitually uses, He positioned himself stepping on the bottom line in Rublev’s seconds and several firsts, to cut the pace and give no option to dominance of a tennis player who, despite his five titles in 2020, was inert and stunned by Rafa’s tactical deployment.
Less track time, better legs
The duration of the clash against Rublev, of a scarce hour and a quarter of play, also gives clues to what Nadal can look for in his physique. Rafa is used to dominating matches at a high rate And in London, with so much of a high-level match and often, maintaining the spark is key to reaching the top of the hypothetical semifinals and final in which he must have all his arsenal to qualify for what would be his first master’s title.
Before Dominic Thiem, another player with a desire for dominance in the exchange and who, in addition, prints a devilish effect on the ball, Nadal will give a second sample of his game in this Masters Cup. New brands of an aggressive position in serve and rest will leave confirmation of these news or will again impose doubts on Rafa’s repertoire in search of the champion trophy in London.