A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

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A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by lydian on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 12:02 pm

First topic message reminder :

I just read this article about Nadal from The Roar, an Aussie online news channel.
http://www.theroar.com.au/2016/02/26/why-rafa-nadal-will-rise-in-2016/
It wasn't a bad read actually, the article states:

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Rafael Nadal’s woes are being given some serious air of late. A seemingly dismal 2015, a first round loss at the Australian Open, and two back-to-back semi-final losses on clay at the beginning of 2016 are the perfect excuse to relegate him to the annals of history.

However, critics conveniently neglect to mention Nadal had a resurgent last three months of 2015 on the indoor hard courts; his least successful surface.

Across the Asian hard court swing and Paris Masters, Nadal went from final to semi-final to final to quarter-final – his best haul in a decade.

He then had a clean sweep in the round robin of the ATP World Tour Finals, beating Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and David Ferrer.

Then along came the Australian Open. His is demise was prophesied from the rooftops, but anyone who watched that match would agree the loss was more to do with Fernando Verdasco than Nadal.

After their 2009 semi-final, there was no way Verdasco would allow himself to lose again. He knew it, Rafa knew it, and given the ferocity with which Verdasco played, he would have beaten anyone. But it’s much more fun to condemn a champion than justify an inspired opponent.

And so we turned to the Argentina Open. The headlines will tell you Nadal inexplicably went down to a player outside the top 10. However, they fail to mention the terrible stomach problems Nadal had all week, which clearly affected his game.

Aside from this, his opponent, Dominic Thiem, who has just climbed to world No.15, played a sublime match. After an extremely tight three sets, Thiem managed to squeeze through in a third set tiebreak and backed up the result by winning the tournament. Not quite the career-crushing catastrophic loss we’re led to believe.

Next, the Rio Open. Losing to Pablo Cuevas, world No.45, was unexpected. But was it a collapse of form or lack of motivation? No. It looked to be an attack of bad nerves. And when you are Rafael Nadal, King of Clay, with the weight of the world’s expectation on your shoulders, you’re bound to feel them. Nerves plague every athlete and are hardly a career death sentence.

Putting aside the sensationalism surrounding Rafa’s stint in South America, let’s take a look at what’s been happening around the tennis world recently.

Ferrer, world No.8 eight, was also knocked out of Argentina in the semi-finals, by world No.50 Nicolas Almagro. He was then dumped out of Rio, as defending champion, in the quarter-finals by Dominic Thiem. As for Acapulco, where he was also defending his title, he was knocked out in the second round by world No.32 Alexandr Dolgopolov.

World No.6 Kei Nishikori suffered a similar second round Acapulco upset. In Marseille, world No.7 Tomas Berdych and world No.4 Stan Wawrinka were demolished in the quarter-finals, all by players 20 or more places below them.

At the Shanghai Masters in October 2015, Roger Federer was swept aside in the second round by the then world No.70 Albert Ramos-Vinolas. At the US Open, Andy Murray was stumped in the round of 16 by the then world No.14 Kevin Anderson. Even the seemingly infallible Novak Djokovic was quashed in Doha in 2015 by Ivo Karlovic, world No.31 at the time, in the quarter-finals.

Suddenly, Rafa’s losses look less unusual.

Upsets happen. All it takes is a bad day and an inspired opponent with nothing to lose. Career ups and downs are part of the game. Federer dropped to No.7 in 2013, his lowest ranking in 11 years. Murray fell to No.10 in 2014. They bounced back. There’s every reason to suggest Nadal will do the same. He has more natural talent than anyone except Federer, a healthy body, and a will to win bordering on the obsessive-compulsive.

It is senseless to suggest, at the age of 29, Rafael Nadal’s career is even close to over. His losses are sensationalised because finally, the mighty king of the clay courts has apparently fallen.

However, if you consider he finished the year as world No.5 with three titles under his belt and clean sweep in the World Tour Finals round robin, 2015 looks like little more than a wobble. Add to that the fact he has had, across a 13-year career, almost two years absent due to injury, and still managed to amass the titles and records he has, you’d realise what a miracle he is.

The start of 2016 hasn’t been ideal, but it hasn’t been wholly disastrous either. Tearing him apart after every less than perfect performance is pointless and crude.

While the thrill of winning is on the table, Rafa will keep on chasing that high. And soon enough, he’ll reach it.


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I think the article actually raises some good points, principally that all the guys can and are losing to different ranked players these days as players seem to revert to higher risk tennis these days?
What do you think of the points raised in the article?
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by hawkeye on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 9:01 am

lydian. Yes Rafa has always said he loves the competition. I liked that quote about the thrill of winning and I wonder how he will be able to replace it post tennis. Federer was talking recently about how win or lose it no longer mattered as much as it did when he was younger and talked about how upset he used to get. So perhaps this is an age thing? Rafa was 22 when he made that quote and Roger is approaching 35 with 4 children so perhaps a little more bogged down with everyday life.

Rafa talked about the buzz from the win there but he's also talked about the thrill of competing even when losing. One of his favorite matches was the 2012 AO final. Crazy! Makes me think that although his recent struggles for his fans have been as difficult to watch as that AO final they are not quite as difficult for him to endure. Of course I'm not suggesting he's happy to lose just that he's not being destroyed by it and can see it as a challenge. The other quote I took from his book was the football one

My uncles remind me how I was always so much more convinced of our chances than the rest of the boys on our team, how there were games when we were losing 5-0 and I'd be there in the locker room yelling "Let's not give up! We can still win this!".

That's what he's doing now and he's not even down by 5 goals. I'm certainly not going to start throwing stones.

https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal/status/704068497077354496/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by socal1976 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 9:22 am

hawkeye wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

So what is he doing differently?

What tennis player does anything different once past the age of 21/22? Apart from playing good/bad, changing tactics or in very rare cases learning a little self control? Watching Federer, Nadal and Djokovic they still hit the ball the same and still have their weaknesses and strengths. The idea of a constantly evolving game is a myth as far as I can see. Neither Federer nor Djokovic have faced the same obstacles in terms of injury and breaks from the tour that Nadal has. IMO that has been the difference because it has affected Nadal's form and ability to play with confidence and play well.
Yes the game doesn't evolve and this belief is a myth. Apparently, tennis is the only thing in the known Universe that doesn't move on. I like you HE, anyone with as intense an interest that is tennis related and has contributed as much text to this site as you have and is not insulting or personally nasty, will get some respect from me. While every poster has their biases and likes no one seems to distort or cherry pick facts to support their biases to the extent you do. The game evolves, always has, and anyone with a long twenty or thirty year history of watching tennis knows how daft your statement is. On a whole range of issues from technology, sports medicine, conditions, better training, and also tactically and technically. If you don't understand how it changes and sometimes rapidly then I suggest you YouTube some video of Mac or Connors hitting a FH and then compare it to Nadal or Fed. As an exercise in understanding how BS your myth of the constantly evolving game is. 

If you continue down the road of biased, non fact based, and passive aggressive posts then you risk increasing the marginalization of your own views.

I like you too socal Smile I wonder if you can remember when Novak was getting criticized (Pre 2011 and post 2011). He was often compared unfavorably with Murray but I maintained the same view about his game as I'm now doing with Rafa. ie He didn't need to change his game just keep applying it as it was good enough to win big. Novak had a great game at 21/22 and he still has that same great game. I don't see how that can possibly be insulting to suggest that. When Novak was going through lean times it would be viewed by some as a compliment and maybe as crazy optimism. But I had that crazy optimism for Novak same as I do for Rafa because I could see how good his game was.

Comparing players from a different age with today's players is not what I'm talking about. Of course the game has changed since then. But Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have the same great game they had at 21/22...  Of course they are all perhaps post peak due to age. Federer way further over the hill than the other two. This isn't as much as a problem as it should be because most of their rivals appear to be post peak too.
It's not about insulting it is just wrong. I don't take offense in anyway but this idea that none of them have evolved as players or that the game doesn't evolve is just not supported by any facts. Sometimes you may not see or notice it unless you view it through a long enough time scale. That is why I mentioned comparing fed or Nadal's modern FHs to let's say an old school technique like Connors or Mac. 

In regards to djokovic he is a much better player and has evolved his game and changed immensely since 2008 or 09.  No way a 21 year old djokovic could live with this Novak, everyone can see it but you. Tactically, technically, and even physically he is better. So contrary to your theory he has evolved and improved since age 21.

Now I agree that the biggest part of Nadal's decline is due to injuries, not to the game passing him up. But to claim that none of these players evolve or improve or that the game doesn't belies everything we have seen in this sport. 

And you miss the larger point, everyone has a bias you seem to let your biases drive your posts to level above and beyond. Everything is a Nadal oriented post or thread. Either spinning some irrelevant facts in his favor or by posting subtle little snubs of his rivals. Like how you tied yourself in a knot claiming Davy's BH volley looked sharp. All on a thread so you could slyly diss Djokovic by claiming similarities between Novak and a much lesser player.  You make some arguments that are so obviously wrong that it has to be bias or willful blindness. Look do what you like with your posts it doesn't bother me one way or the other but you tend to marginalized good points you might make by this type of stuff

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Calder106 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 12:09 pm

bogbrush wrote:
laverfan wrote:Nadal is unable to give up his core game which made him great, but is also his downfall. If you live by the sword, you die by it, too.

Despite many counter arguments of Nadal/Djokovic fans, IMVHO, Djokovic is a younger v2.0 of Nadal. It is a successful style as long as you are younger and have the power. As power fades, so does this style of play.

Habits are vices now.
I always saw Nadal as the Lendl to Federers McEnroe, in particular in respect of how they will play when the body ages. John McEnroe will, health permitting, be a hugely impressive tennis player at 65. So will Federer, but I think their rivals will not.

Don't agree with that. Although both have played to a baseline centric style I don't see Djokovic as being a power player and I also think he now tries, more frequently, to finish points more quickly. Think both have had pretty good lengthy careers so far and in Djokovic's case I don't see him dropping away quickly. They both have been very professional in their preparation and have lasted at the top of the game for a sustained period. If it were to finish now I don't see that it would prove your point. McEnroe (a great player) never got to a slam final from age 26.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by temporary21 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 1:58 pm

A lot of points raised. i think it's important to note that nearly everyone on this forum has an inner bias that drives their points forward, sometimes disrespectfully but it's great to see some good debate despite that

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 2:14 pm

Calder106 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:
laverfan wrote:Nadal is unable to give up his core game which made him great, but is also his downfall. If you live by the sword, you die by it, too.

Despite many counter arguments of Nadal/Djokovic fans, IMVHO, Djokovic is a younger v2.0 of Nadal. It is a successful style as long as you are younger and have the power. As power fades, so does this style of play.

Habits are vices now.
I always saw Nadal as the Lendl to Federers McEnroe, in particular in respect of how they will play when the body ages. John McEnroe will, health permitting, be a hugely impressive tennis player at 65. So will Federer, but I think their rivals will not.

Don't agree with that. Although both have played to a  baseline centric style I don't see Djokovic as being a power player and I also think he now tries, more frequently,  to finish points more quickly. Think both have had pretty good lengthy careers so far and in Djokovic's case I don't see him dropping away quickly. They both have been very professional in their preparation and have lasted at the top of the game for a sustained period. If it were to finish now I don't see that it would prove your point.  McEnroe (a great player) never got to a slam final from age 26.
Haven't you watched McEnroe in the last few years? The guy is still a super player, and plays a recognisable game from his youth. Rafa won't be able to do that, and though I didn't actually mention him I don't think Dkojovic will either - no stretching and impossible recoveries at 40!

As for why McEnroe faded, it was nothing to do with the durability of his game.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by lydian on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 2:31 pm

To be honest I suspect Rafa wont play much tennis after he retires...he's driven by different desires than Federer or McEnroe. I mean look at Agassi even, has barely picked up a racquet since 2006 except for that cringe-fest charity match vs Sampras (and Federer/Nadal). Nadal lives for the competition...and I suspect once that's gone he's not going to want to hit balls for the fun of it. He'd rather play football or some other pursuit. I'd probably say the same of Djokovic also. Federer just loves hitting balls so he's going to be around for a long time, before or after retirement.

I don't see Djokovic as another Lendl...except Eastern Block link. Its hard to box him to be honest...but then that's the thing...we're always trying to say someone is a reincarnation of someone else...when in reality all these top guys bring something pretty unique to the game that makes them successful.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Calder106 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:14 pm

bogbrush wrote:
Calder106 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:
laverfan wrote:Nadal is unable to give up his core game which made him great, but is also his downfall. If you live by the sword, you die by it, too.

Despite many counter arguments of Nadal/Djokovic fans, IMVHO, Djokovic is a younger v2.0 of Nadal. It is a successful style as long as you are younger and have the power. As power fades, so does this style of play.

Habits are vices now.
I always saw Nadal as the Lendl to Federers McEnroe, in particular in respect of how they will play when the body ages. John McEnroe will, health permitting, be a hugely impressive tennis player at 65. So will Federer, but I think their rivals will not.

Don't agree with that. Although both have played to a  baseline centric style I don't see Djokovic as being a power player and I also think he now tries, more frequently,  to finish points more quickly. Think both have had pretty good lengthy careers so far and in Djokovic's case I don't see him dropping away quickly. They both have been very professional in their preparation and have lasted at the top of the game for a sustained period. If it were to finish now I don't see that it would prove your point.  McEnroe (a great player) never got to a slam final from age 26.
Haven't you watched McEnroe in the last few years? The guy is still a super player, and plays a recognisable game from his youth. Rafa won't be able to do that, and though I didn't actually mention him I don't think Dkojovic will either - no stretching and impossible recoveries at 40!
As for why McEnroe faded, it was nothing to do with the durability of his game.


Might still be a superb player but how relevant is that when he is mainly playing exhibition tennis. What is relevant is their achievements during their main tour career. I know McEnroe didn't fade because of the durability of his game but for other reasons. They all contribute to how the player performs though. Nadal and Djokovic have lasted this far through how they have played and how they have approached the game off court as well as on court.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:43 pm

Well all that's true so long as you're prepared to completely miss the point I was making.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:44 pm

lydian wrote:To be honest I suspect Rafa wont play much tennis after he retires...he's driven by different desires than Federer or McEnroe. I mean look at Agassi even, has barely picked up a racquet since 2006 except for that cringe-fest charity match vs Sampras (and Federer/Nadal). Nadal lives for the competition...and I suspect once that's gone he's not going to want to hit balls for the fun of it. He'd rather play football or some other pursuit. I'd probably say the same of Djokovic also. Federer just loves hitting balls so he's going to be around for a long time, before or after retirement.

I don't see Djokovic as another Lendl...except Eastern Block link. Its hard to box him to be honest...but then that's the thing...we're always trying to say someone is a reincarnation of someone else...when in reality all these top guys bring something pretty unique to the game that makes them successful.

I completely agree about Djokovic / Lendl. It's clear as day that Djokovic is the new Hewitt.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by socal1976 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:56 pm

bogbrush wrote:
lydian wrote:To be honest I suspect Rafa wont play much tennis after he retires...he's driven by different desires than Federer or McEnroe. I mean look at Agassi even, has barely picked up a racquet since 2006 except for that cringe-fest charity match vs Sampras (and Federer/Nadal). Nadal lives for the competition...and I suspect once that's gone he's not going to want to hit balls for the fun of it. He'd rather play football or some other pursuit. I'd probably say the same of Djokovic also. Federer just loves hitting balls so he's going to be around for a long time, before or after retirement.

I don't see Djokovic as another Lendl...except Eastern Block link. Its hard to box him to be honest...but then that's the thing...we're always trying to say someone is a reincarnation of someone else...when in reality all these top guys bring something pretty unique to the game that makes them successful.

I completely agree about Djokovic / Lendl. It's clear as day that Djokovic is the new Hewitt.
You completely agree with his point by missing it completely. His thesis was that these players are all unique and it probably doesn't do them much justice or the debate as a whole by attempting to equate one with the other when in each case there are going to be major differences. I mean you can compare aspects and styles but saying someone is the new this guy or that guy invariably leads to distorted picture.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 3:58 pm

bogbrush wrote:Well all that's true so long as you're prepared to completely miss the point I was making.

The comparison of Novak and Nadal seems to me a very odd one. It's one I've only previously seen run by fairly extreme Federer fans. Their games are completely different.

Djokovic will still be a superb player even with slower movement. It's his supreme hand eye co-ordination which makes him exceptional. If I was going to compare him to anyone it would be Agassi.

Nadal I would probably say is closest to being a next gen of Muster.

The best comparator to Hewitt currently is Ferrer.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 4:23 pm

socal1976 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:
lydian wrote:To be honest I suspect Rafa wont play much tennis after he retires...he's driven by different desires than Federer or McEnroe. I mean look at Agassi even, has barely picked up a racquet since 2006 except for that cringe-fest charity match vs Sampras (and Federer/Nadal). Nadal lives for the competition...and I suspect once that's gone he's not going to want to hit balls for the fun of it. He'd rather play football or some other pursuit. I'd probably say the same of Djokovic also. Federer just loves hitting balls so he's going to be around for a long time, before or after retirement.

I don't see Djokovic as another Lendl...except Eastern Block link. Its hard to box him to be honest...but then that's the thing...we're always trying to say someone is a reincarnation of someone else...when in reality all these top guys bring something pretty unique to the game that makes them successful.

I completely agree about Djokovic / Lendl. It's clear as day that Djokovic is the new Hewitt.
You completely agree with his point by missing it completely. His thesis was that these players are all unique and it probably doesn't do them much justice or the debate as a whole by attempting to equate one with the other when in each case there are going to be major differences. I mean you can compare aspects and styles but saying someone is the new this guy or that guy invariably leads to distorted picture.

Ordinarily I agree that stylistic comparisons are approximate and serve a purpose only to inspire recollections, but now and again players come along who simply scream an echo of a former great. This is one such example.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 4:24 pm

Born Slippy wrote:
bogbrush wrote:Well all that's true so long as you're prepared to completely miss the point I was making.

The comparison of Novak and Nadal seems to me a very odd one. It's one I've only previously seen run by fairly extreme Federer fans. Their games are completely different.

Djokovic will still be a superb player even with slower movement. It's his supreme hand eye co-ordination which makes him exceptional. If I was going to compare him to anyone it would be Agassi.

Nadal I would probably say is closest to being a next gen of Muster.

The best comparator to Hewitt currently is Ferrer.
Yes. If only I'd made the comparison I could understand people writing to me about it.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Calder106 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 4:28 pm

bogbrush wrote:Well all that's true so long as you're prepared to completely miss the point I was making.

I reckon I got the point your were making and I could see Federer still playing a stylish game at 65. I was however tying your comment in with LF's 'live by the sword die by the sword' point. Yes these two will drop away as all players do. It could be soon (especially with Nadal) or a few years away. Who knows ? My point was that they have already been a the top of the game for a considerable period so when they do drop away it would be a a bit too easy to say it's their own fault playing the way they did I told you this was going to happen. As you had mentioned McEnroe I used him as an example of a player who dropped off at an earlier age (whatever the reasons). There are plenty of others who haven't lasted as long at the top as Nadal and Djokovic through injury, distractions, lack of motivation etc.


Last edited by Calder106 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 5:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Reworded)

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by lydian on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 5:21 pm

Dont agree about Hewitt and Ferrer at all...Hewitt is actually a highly adept fast court player as his numerous Queen's/grass titles show. Hewitt and Djokovic is probably a closer mix...infact if anything you could argue Djokovic has elements of Chang (speed, HC prowess), Agassi (hand-eye, deadly BH) and Hewitt (all-court play, takes an early ball around the baseline)...but each of them are different in different ways too. Ferrer is probably closest to a farmyard seed plough...and that's doing a disservice to a seed plough!
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by lydian on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 5:31 pm

Socal, on the game moving forwards...yes the guys don't play FHs like McEnroe anymore...but since around 2005 onwards (as you've said the game has moved forward beyond Rafa recently) what has specifically changed technique-wise as I'm intrigued know?

Hitting more flat is a tactical change not a technique change...and we've covered Roddick's serve which isn't an evolution, just an abbreviated normal serve which many others have had in the past...including former German player Rainer Schuttler...

Watch Rainer's serve action here from the start:
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Guest on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 6:05 pm

hawkeye wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

So what is he doing differently?

What tennis player does anything different once past the age of 21/22? Apart from playing good/bad, changing tactics or in very rare cases learning a little self control? Watching Federer, Nadal and Djokovic they still hit the ball the same and still have their weaknesses and strengths. The idea of a constantly evolving game is a myth as far as I can see. Neither Federer nor Djokovic have faced the same obstacles in terms of injury and breaks from the tour that Nadal has. IMO that has been the difference because it has affected Nadal's form and ability to play with confidence and play well.

picard no idea what game you are watching!

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by socal1976 on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 7:27 pm

lydian wrote:Socal, on the game moving forwards...yes the guys don't play FHs like McEnroe anymore...but since around 2005 onwards (as you've said the game has moved forward beyond Rafa recently) what has specifically changed technique-wise as I'm intrigued know?

Hitting more flat is a tactical change not a technique change...and we've covered Roddick's serve which isn't an evolution, just an abbreviated normal serve which many others have had in the past...including former German player Rainer Schuttler...

Watch Rainer's serve action here from the start:








Lydian my point is not specific to a particular thing that technically has changed lets say 2005. My point was that the idea that tennis doesn't evolve or change over time as He was contending is ludicrous. She imagines that Tennis attained Nirvana in 08/09 and has not evolved since. The issue is the general one of the game evolving over time and that evolution has gone on as long as the game has existed and the clock didn't miraculously stop in 09/08, its been changing and evolving since then. Some of the changes are to things like better training, a slow increase in the size and strength and fitness levels of players. These changes impact the game and don't necessarily involve a big technical change. A different tactical or strategic change, or fitter and better athletes in it of itself can play a huge role in the evolution of the sport. My highlighting Connors was to show that when you look at it over a long time frame these changes are huge.

The issues that you brought up are somewhat related but not exactly I am getting at. The issue regarding Nadal that I raised is simple.

1. If you look at what the RPMs of what players were hitting 10 years ago on FH and compare them to where Sock, Djokovic, Fed, Nadal and other big FHs are hitting you would see that RPM levels have come up over the last 10 years

2. Modern players are humans and therefore learn and adapt with muscle memory and repetition. If the tour on average is producing increasing RPM levels on their shots, then it is only logical to assume that the edge Nadal had in this area, while still there is not as unique or unorthodox as it once was. Just as players in 80s had better hands at net and took balls in the air much better today's players are technically, tactically, and technologically more able to handle the high ball with big revolutions to their backhand. I mean if the argument is that today's tennis is nothing but heavy shots from the back and baseline play well then conversely you have to assume that your average world tour professional has to be damn proficient in handling those heavy shots and playing that way. Afterall they spend every single match playing that horrible homogenized, moonball tennis as some would argue.

So the Roddick thing is not really related to my evolution of the game argument regarding Nadal. I can address that as well, but it isn't directly what I am talking about when I say that Nadal's FH doesn't seem to hurt players as much, even when he hits it from positions that he has his feet set. This leads me to believe that part of his problem is that as RPM levels have increased in the last 10 or 15 years everybody has had to get better at handling that ball, and while Nadal's FH is unique the gap he enjoyed in RPM level and the unique weight of shot is not quite as unique as it used to be in 05 lets say. This is what I meant by the tour evolving in regards to the fact that I just don't see players troubled as much as they once were by that heavy ball from Nadal. At least not to the same extent.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by hawkeye on Mon 29 Feb 2016, 9:51 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

So what is he doing differently?

What tennis player does anything different once past the age of 21/22? Apart from playing good/bad, changing tactics or in very rare cases learning a little self control? Watching Federer, Nadal and Djokovic they still hit the ball the same and still have their weaknesses and strengths. The idea of a constantly evolving game is a myth as far as I can see. Neither Federer nor Djokovic have faced the same obstacles in terms of injury and breaks from the tour that Nadal has. IMO that has been the difference because it has affected Nadal's form and ability to play with confidence and play well.

picard no idea what game you are watching!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoX4gkfSxWU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0EJ6GxaQFA

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:17 am

I do feel Nadal isnt hitting the same RPM as before. Its not like he's still hitting his FH like in 2013 for eg ( when at that time he was still giving other players fits esp on clay!). Even in 2014 his FH was still good enough for him to win his FO even when his back was hurting ( after the AO incident that year).

So, this 'other players are catching up on the RPM' or 'they're able to handle NadaL's FH' while may be true to a certain extent, we have to factor in the fact the Nadal's FH has also deterioriated from 2015 onwards. I do believe if Nadal hadnt had his injuries in 2014 and so was still hitting his FH as well like his 2013, I really doubt that other players could handle his FH they way they did in 2015, whether they themselves had increased their RPMs or not.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 10:25 am

bogbrush wrote:It's clear as day that Djokovic is the new Hewitt.
BB drops a rock in the pond and sits back to enjoy all the ripples it will make...  Smile

As for the earlier discussion re McEnroe/Fed and Nadal/Djokovic, the distinction is the level to which a player's talent is linked to his physical self.

The qualities that separated McEnroe and Federer from the pack were not derived from measurable things such as speed, strength and endurance but intangibles like imagination and touch.

Rafa's talent (and I don't dispute for second that it is talent) relies much more on his physical attributes. Without his power, speed and endurance, he wouldn't be anything like the same player (as we are beginning to see now).

Djokovic is probably somewhere in the middle but nearer Rafa's end of the spectrum. Certain fundamentals of his game - his return and his reaction speed - will likely be with him until the day he retires. The days of tearing across the court and sliding into the splits to hit a backhand however, will certainly come to an end.

The difference is we will watch Federer in an exhibition in his 50s and the architecture of his style will be recognisably that of the guy who romped through the game in the mid 00s.

If Nadal plays an exhibition at the same age, we'll have to satisfied that he looks a bit like that great champion of the past because his game will offer few reminders.


Last edited by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:40 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:30 am

HM Murdock wrote:
bogbrush wrote:It's clear as day that Djokovic is the new Hewitt.
BB drops a rock in the pond and sits back to enjoy all the ripples it will make...  Smile
Shocked angel

HM Murdock wrote:As for the earlier discussion re McEnroe/Fed and Nadal/Djokovic, the distinction is the level to which a players talent is linked to his physical self.

The qualities that separated McEnroe and Federer from the pack were not derived from measurable things such as speed, strength and endurance but intangibles like imagination and touch.

Rafa's talent (and I don't dispute for second that it is talent) relies much more on his physical attributes. Without his power, speed and endurance, he wouldn't be anything like the same player (as we are beginning to see now).

Djokovic is probably somewhere in the middle but nearer Rafa's end of the spectrum. Certain fundamentals of his game - his return and his reaction speed - will likely be with him until the day he retires. The days of tearing across the court and sliding into the splits to hit a backhand however, will certainly come to an end.

The difference is we will watch Federer in an exhibition in his 50s and the architecture of the his style will be recognisably that of the guy who romped through the game in the mid 00s.

If Nadal plays an exhibition at the same age, we'll have to satisfied that he looks a bit like that great champion of the past because his game will offer few reminders.
Perfectly put.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:48 am

Ump... Perhaps old Nadal could play some doubles in the senior tours, for its in doubles that he isn't running that much and could show some of his deft touches at the net.

If Nadal can't win in singles but still want to play professional tennis, maybe he can switch to playing doubles instead.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:52 am

Djokovic will lose his flexibility as he gets older and so he won't be defending or running that well that's for sure. Also all the big four guys rely on their footwork a lot and so as they get old, their game will be affected too.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:56 am

Belovedluckyboy wrote:Perhaps old Nadal could play some doubles in the senior tours, for its in doubles that he isn't running that much and could show some of his deft touches at the net.
For the fan, that would be like buying a "Best of Michael Jordan" DVD and finding it's about his baseball career. Wink

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 11:58 am

HM, without the physical attributes, Nadal would be playing a different brand of tennis; probably that 2004 brand would have continued....

He has his deft touches and good net approaches so yes as he gets old, he'll play a style unlike his successful style for most of his prof career; one that requires less running along the baseline.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:00 pm

Nadal is good in doubles and his doubles matches are no shortage of spectators. As long as his fans and see him play, it doesn't matter it's singles or doubles.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Calder106 on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:04 pm

Who really cares how a player will play in an exhibition when they are in their 50's. It's all about maximising whatever talent and physical attributes that a player has during their career on the main tour.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:14 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:HM, without the physical attributes, Nadal would be playing a different brand of tennis; probably that 2004 brand would have continued....

He has his deft touches and good net approaches so yes as he gets old, he'll play a style unlike his successful style for most of his prof career; one that requires less running along the baseline.
The '2004 brand' was also physical. Yes, he hit a flatter ball, but he fizzed with energy and zipped round the court. It was the game of a young man.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:19 pm

Calder106 wrote:Who really cares how a player will play in an exhibition when they are in  their 50's. It's all about maximising whatever talent and physical attributes that a player has during their career on the main tour.
Agreed.

But the talk about how players will play when they're older stemmed from the idea that Federer and Nadal were not just a contrast in styles but also a contrast in types of talent (although to a certain extent the style flows from the talent).

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:25 pm

I do not buy into the notion that Rafa's game was all about his physical strengths.. total rubbish.
The key element and the thing that is now missing from his game is his mental strength. Without this, theorise about his game, power and endurance as much as you like.. there would have been none of that had he not had the mental strength, determination, and will to win.
He has not forgotten how to play tennis, he has forgotten how to win

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:35 pm

HM missed the point. The 2004 version was more attacking. If he's not as physical, then naturally he won't be defending but would be more attacking to cut down the grinding.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:40 pm

^Haddie, it's simple mechanics, is it not?

If a player's main weapon is a forehand with an average rpm of over 3000, surely he's going to require above average strength to employ that weapon?

And any loss of strength is going to have a big impact?

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:43 pm

Also, Nadal tailored his game to win on clay, but that didn't mean he's any less talented than Fed. The 2004 Nadal didn't beat Fed the then no.1 player because he's physically stronger than Fed, but because he used his tennis brain and beat Fed tactically.

Nadal has his good enough all round game to win, if not he won't be winning Wimbledon and the HC slams and Masters, playing among two all time greats on the HCs in their prime. It's not like the other two were/are not physically extremely fit specimens.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:44 pm

From what I see everybody is missing the point. The 2004 version was not suffering with a confidence issue. The 2004 version was playing an attacking game because he felt confident enough to do so. He was determined not to lose.. we are not seeing THAT Rafa in matches today
How do you account for the fact that Riog is saying he is doing just what he needs to do  on the practice court but cannot bring it to his match play. Until, if ever, he finds that strength and confidence  again we will not see Rafa Nadal the man who would not lose. Nothing can help Rafa but Rafa Novak once said of him that he was the most mentally strong player on tour

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by bogbrush on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:47 pm

Has anyone actually seen Lendl play on the veterans tour? I bet it's hopeless.
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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:47 pm

HM Murdock wrote:^Haddie, it's simple mechanics, is it not?

If a player's main weapon is a forehand with an average rpm of over 3000, surely he's going to require above average strength to employ that weapon?

And any loss of strength is going to have a big impact?

HMM you are really, honestly, missing the point. If Rafa is not confident it will affect his physical game. When you are mentally below par it affects you physically, That too is simple mechanics. You are what you believe you are, you can do what you believe you can do.. if he tells himself otherwise it will affect his physical game.. really not hard to understand

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 12:57 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:HM missed the point. The 2004 version was more attacking. If he's not as physical, then naturally he won't be defending but would be more attacking to cut down the grinding.
Rafa's problem is not that he is getting tired.

The problem is he has lost power and that affects his game from the first point.

Conserving energy by grinding less will not suddenly increase his foot speed nor add strength to his arm.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:00 pm

HM Murdock wrote:
Belovedluckyboy wrote:HM missed the point. The 2004 version was more attacking. If he's not as physical, then naturally he won't be defending but would be more attacking to cut down the grinding.
Rafa's problem is not that he is getting tired.

The problem is he has lost power and that affects his game from the first point.

Conserving energy by grinding less will not suddenly increase his foot speed nor add strength to his arm.

picard

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:05 pm

Haddie-nuff wrote:HMM you are really, honestly, missing the point. If Rafa is not confident it will affect his physical game. When you are mentally below par it affects you physically,  That too is simple mechanics. You are what you believe you are, you can do what you believe you can do.. if he tells himself otherwise it will affect his physical game.. really not hard to understand
The reverse is also true.

A player who has declined physically will no longer be as mentally tough when things get tight because they don't have the same tools to call upon as they did in their younger days.

So, as I see it, we have two scenarios:

A) A player who has the reputation of being one of the mentally toughest players ever, suddenly has an explained crisis of confidence which make his physical game decline.

B) A player approaching 30, with a physical style and a track record of serious injury, begins to decline physically. This impacts his confidence.

Scenario B seems much more plausible to me.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:07 pm

Haddie-nuff wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:
Belovedluckyboy wrote:HM missed the point. The 2004 version was more attacking. If he's not as physical, then naturally he won't be defending but would be more attacking to cut down the grinding.
Rafa's problem is not that he is getting tired.

The problem is he has lost power and that affects his game from the first point.

Conserving energy by grinding less will not suddenly increase his foot speed nor add strength to his arm.

picard
As humorous as those Picards are, they are a poor substitute for actually refuting a point.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:12 pm

HM, it's not about conserving energy! From what you've posted here, I guess you really didn't watch Nadal in 2004. He was more attacking back then, hardly defending that much.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Haddie-nuff on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:15 pm

HM Murdock wrote:
Haddie-nuff wrote:HMM you are really, honestly, missing the point. If Rafa is not confident it will affect his physical game. When you are mentally below par it affects you physically,  That too is simple mechanics. You are what you believe you are, you can do what you believe you can do.. if he tells himself otherwise it will affect his physical game.. really not hard to understand
The reverse is also true.

A player who has declined physically will no longer be as mentally tough when things get tight because they don't have the same tools to call upon as they did in their younger days.

So, as I see it, we have two scenarios:

A) A player who has the reputation of being one of the mentally toughest players ever, suddenly has an explained crisis of confidence which make his physical game decline.

B) A player approaching 30, with a physical style and a track record of serious injury, begins to decline physically. This impacts his confidence.

Scenario B seems much more plausible to me.


Not in Rafa's case I refer you again to what Riog has said about him but I doubt that there is an elite athlete that has not been required to have

mind over matter

the power of the mind to control and influence the body and the physical world generally

I will stand by the belief that Rafa's loss of mental strength, and self belief is the reason that his physical game is suffering.  It is a perfectly reasonable assertion to make in the case of Nadal who has been noted for his mental game as well as his physical game and obvious talent.  Rafa is as well physically as he has been for years
So we agree to disagree?

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:18 pm

Haddie-nuff wrote:So we agree to disagree?
Of course.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:31 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:HM, it's not about conserving energy!  From what you've posted here, I guess you really didn't watch Nadal in 2004.  He was more attacking back then, hardly defending that much.
I was responding to your argument.

You said:

"The 2004 version was more attacking. If he's not as physical, then naturally he won't be defending but would be more attacking to cut down the grinding"

So you are equating not being as physical with doing less grinding (as he did back in 2004).

I'm saying that grinding less (by playing like he did in 2004) will not address his current issues. This is because I do not believe his current issues stem from stamina but rather from overall power.

So grinding less is neither here nor there. It won't restore the power that I think has gone from his shots and it won't restore the speed I think has gone from his feet.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 1:57 pm

HM, I'm not talking about his current issue. I thought we are talking about his game when he gets old?

You're saying because his game is of a physical nature, he won't sustain this style when he gets old hence watching him play when he's old won't remind us of his champion game when he's younger. You also mentioned he relied more on his physical attributes and it's about this point that I responded using his 2004 version as a reference point. Had he not had his physical attributes, he would be playing like his 2004, ie more attacking - playing close to the baseline, attacking at the net the way he did va Fed at Miami, etc. instead of switching to the defense/offense game he played so well on clay and then playing that too on other surfaces.

I hope that explains my point. I'm not going to talk about his current situation any further, prefers to wait and see how he fares in the coming events.


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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by HM Murdock on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 2:07 pm

^ Fair enough.

I refer you back to my first response though, that I think his 2004 style was built upon the speed of a young man. His energy back then was astonishing.

I think it would be a big ask to play that way as he approaches 30, let alone when he's on the veterans tour!

Had he always played that way though, maybe his game would have developed differently as he got older. Coming to the net more etc.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 2:16 pm

I refer you HM to his Miami match vs Fed in 2004. He didnt beat Fed because of speed and power( Fed wasnt lacking in those!), but with good tactics, pushing Fed back and then approached the net and won points there; thats the game I was talking about.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 2:20 pm

HM, watch his doubles matches, he CAN approach the net and he has good reflexes there.

Its strange that you think he cant approach the net when he gets older, I mean do you see old men playing the power game to push old Rafa back and prevent Rafa from approaching the net?? In fact I see old Rafa playing more up the net should he play in the senior tour!

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

Post by temporary21 on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 2:24 pm

Who cares how they play when they get old though? I don't remember who said it but they hit the nail on the head.
A lot of how the Seniors play is how fit they still are. Lendl still plays a decent game but Boris a few years ago looked terrible.
Its a big point for debate as to whether Nadals game and to a lesser extent Novaks are less effective because they may not last as long.


However this debate about how they will be in their 50's is more about inferring that their style may be inferior to other styles because its not the "correct" way to play or it wont last.
it goes right back to the idea that the way guys played in the 60's and 80's is somehow the "correct" way of playing, just because that's how it used to be played, or how the older among us remember, but its rose tinted.

Sports move on, they get played in different ways, there is no "right" way to play tennis, just pros and cons of their effectiveness.

Nadal and Novak have a defensive counterpunching styles, not just defense, they wear people down with a physical unrelenting game to tire them out, and then use what theyre given to make the angles and hit the returns to make their own offense.



Its very effective against all out attacking games like current Rogers, because they fall straight into the trap. Its con, is that they don't have as a long a career. Rafa could certainly afford one bad season of grace, but it looks like he may be reaching the end, though of course ive seen the guy attack as effectively well as Roger can, so a new coach might give him a bit longer...

It may be a dirty thing to say. But prime Roger had excellent counter punching defense, better than Hewitts I thought, slow slice to the bh and wait for the impatient short ball to hit. He won a LOT of matches when he wasn't playing the "better" tennis that way.

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Re: A voice of reason or clutching at straws?

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