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Nadal Stands Alone with his Historic Seventh French Open Title

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Nadal Stands Alone with his Historic Seventh French Open Title


Roger Federer learned the lesson in 2006 and again in 2007. Today, it was Novak Djokovic’s turn. With clay virtuoso Rafael Nadal around to dream of a calendar grand slam or owning all four majors at once is pointless. Nadal prevailed 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 over Djokovic to earn his 11th major and a record seventh French Open trophy.

Regardless of the outcome, history would be made at Roland Garros. World number one Djokovic was vying to be the third player in three years to attain the career grand slam and the first since Rod Laver to hold all four majors simultaneously. For his part, Nadal was seeking to surpass Bjorn Borg and become the winningest male.
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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title

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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title



For the second consecutive day, the French Open became a part of history as Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5,7-6,5-7,6-1 to equal Bjorn Borg with six French Open titles. Nadal also became the seventh man in the exclusive club of those with 10 or more major trophies.

The last time the two clashed in a final at a major was the 2009 Australian Open. This was the twenty-fifth meeting between Nadal and Federer, their fifth at Roland Garros and their fourth final.

In 2008, Nadal blew Federer off the court 6-1,6-3,6-0. After ending Novak Djokovic’s 2011 unbeaten run at 41 matches, Federer came in rejuvenated and relaxed, it was evident in the first set.

Subsequent to guarding serve, on a backhand error by Nadal, Federer had double break point. Despite Nadal getting to deuce, on his fourth opportunity, Federer seized the break and consolidated for 3-0.

After constructing a 5-2 advantage, as Nadal’s forehand sailed long, Federer had set point. However, with the dropshot missing its mark, Nadal was at deuce and later captured the game.

Serving for the initial set, Federer’s first serve which was instrumental in building his lead deserted him. Federer netted a backhand to hand Nadal break point. When the Swiss misfired on a volley after a passing shot, the players were back on serve.

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Nadal Recoups Title at Roland Garros

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Nadal Recoups Title at Roland Garros


With an unbeaten record and a historic three Masters clay titles leading up to Paris, victory seemed a mere formality for Rafael Nadal at the French Open.  Still, with Robin Soderling, the only rival to defeat Nadal at that venue as his finals’ opponent, an interesting twist was added to the plot.  Irrespective of the challenger, Nadal demonstrated that he is the master on this surface.  The Spaniard triumphed 6-4,6-2,6-4 to claim his fifth “Coupe des Mousquetaries” and recapture the number one ranking.

Soderling commenced the first set with a couple of unfettered games. Then, with a forehand down the line error by Nadal had break point. However, Nadal got to deuce when Soderling’s backhand traveled out of play. With Soderling donating two forehand mistakes, Nadal equalized the set at 2 all.  Promptly, when Soderling made another forehand error, Nadal had his initial break point.  Despite Soderling dismissing one, Nadal obtained a second and capitalized with a backhand crosscourt pass for winner.  Quickly, Nadal consolidated to widen his advantage to 4-2.  In the next game, Soderling double faulted on game point resulting in deuce and later gave Nadal two additional opportunities to break. Yet, the Swede maintained his composure to pull off the game and remain one break down. When Nadal himself double faulted, Soderling had break point.  But, on a forehand miscue by Soderling, Nadal rubbed out that previous error.  A second break point came along after Soderling crushed a second serve return and Nadal was unable to deal with the subsequent shot.  Yet, with Soderling gifting another error, Nadal won the point.  Thereafter, Nadal secured the game and eventually seized the set 6-4.

After Soderling’s uncomplicated game to open the second set, on an errant forehand by Nadal, the Swede had double break point. With an ace and a botched backhand by Soderling, Nadal reached deuce.  Soderling manufactured two more opportunities.  Nevertheless, each was snuffed out by Nadal to tie the set at 1.  Soderling short memory helped as he held at love right after.  Nonetheless, Soderling’s next time out, Nadal connected on a couple of winners for triple break point.  When the Swede misfired with the forehand up the line, Nadal broke for 3-2.  Later, with a glut of mistakes, Soderling handed Nadal a double break lead.  The Spaniard easily closed out the set at 6-2.

Unlike last year, for Soderling, the errors far exceeded the winners.  Moreover, the serve, a potent part of Soderling’s game was being neutralized by Nadal’s excellent defense.  Conversely, as the match progressed, Nadal cleaned up his game.  Following an ace for game point, Soderling committed another error for deuce.  With two consecutive forehands flubs by Soderling, Nadal bagged the break to begin the third set.  By charging to net, Soderling forced Nadal to place a backhand pass out of play for his eight break point.  Yet, by netting the backhand return, Soderling was now 0 for 8 on break points.  Eventually, Nadal guarded serve for a 2-0 edge.  The next couple of service games, Soderling comfortably held.  When the Swede double faulted in the seventh game, Nadal had another break point.  Still, Soderling dealt with the pressure and maintained serve for 3-4.  But, Soderling was given no further looks at a break point by Nadal.  As the mistakes flew off Soderling’s racket, Nadal promptly held the rest of the way to take the championship in straight sets.

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Fait Accompli: Federer Solidifies Place In History With First French Open Title

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Fait Accompli: Federer Solidifies Place In History With First French Open Title


img_0441-version-2For three years, Roger Federer has been a bridesmaid at the French Open. Today, at last, Federer vanquished Swede Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 to seize his first ‘Coupe Des Mousquetaires’ and complete the career grand slam. Federer becomes just the sixth male player to possess all four majors.

Federer got off to an idyllic start by pressuring Soderling’s serve. With a forehand up the line error by Soderling, Federer had break point and cashed in courtesy of a double fault. After consolidating with a love game, Federer extended his lead by connecting on a forehand return winner for 3-0. After Soderling held serve in a tight game, he was unable to get a point in Federer’s game. Then, Soderling watched the first set end when Federer cranked a backhand crosscourt pass to break again.

In the second set, the caliber of Soderling’s play improved with a higher percentage of first serves and more forehand winners. With Soderling serving at 15-0, a deranged spectator leapt on court and accosted Federer, waving a Barcelona flag in his face. This frightening incident was terminated when security personnel tackled the intruder. Fortunately, after Robin won his game, Federer refocused and comfortably held for 3-2. With neither man able to dent the other’s serve, the set went to a tiebreaker. With an ace and by forcing Soderling into a forehand error, Federer went ahead 2-1. Soderling never touched Federer’s serve. With three additional aces, a backhand down the line error by Soderling and a forehand drop shot winner, Federer carried the set.

A double fault offered Federer his first opportunity to take charge in the third. Roger capitalized when Robin missed a forehand up the line. With his serve on autopilot, Federer went up 2-0. A hiccup came when serving at 2-1, Federer miscalculated a forehand up the line handing Soderling his first break chance. However, with a forehand down the line winner, Roger wiped out his previous error and held for 3-1. Once Federer extended his advantage to 5-3, tears began to creep into his eyes. Federer realized that he was four points from securing the only major trophy that had escaped him. After Soderling guarded serve, Federer misfired on a forehand mid-court to donate a break point. However, with a good serve and a forehand error from Robin, Roger was back on track. Subsequently, with a forehand volley winner, Federer finally arrived at match point and sealed the championship when Soderling’s return found the net.

This was an unpredictable French Open. Soderling’s run to his maiden major final was surreal. In the round of 16, Soderling beat Rafael Nadal, Federer’s hindrance at the French the ultimate four years. In so doing, the Swede prohibited Nadal from surpassing countryman Bjorn Borg’s record of four successive French Open titles. Strangely, Bjorn had Nadal to thank last year for preventing Federer from overtaking his record of five consecutive trophies at Wimbledon. Moreover, Soderling’s road kill list included David Ferrer in the third round, Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters and Fernando Gonzalez in the semis, all formidable clay court players.  Also, unlike prior years, Federer’s path was fraught with peril. Roger needed four sets in both second and third round against Jose Acasuso and Paul-Henri Mathieu, respectively. Further, Federer was possibly one forehand miscue from losing to Tommy Haas in the round of 16. Then, world number five Juan Martin Del Potro pushed Federer to five sets in the semifinals.

Post match, Soderling acknowledged he had a tough time since Federer did not permit him to be ‘aggressive’. Soderling felt his task was impossible because ‘Roger makes [one] play bad’. Federer confessed that ‘it was an emotional roller coaster’, citing he was nervous and his mind kept wandering. The question ‘what if I win this tournament’ continuously popped in his head, adding to his anxiety particularly when serving out the match. Federer claimed that along with his first Wimbledon, undoubtedly, this was his most satisfying win. Now, Federer has equaled Pete Sampras’ record of 14 majors. More importantly, unlike Pete, Federer has a French Open title on his resume.

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Clay : You Have To Love It For It To Love You Back

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Clay : You Have To Love It For It To Love You Back


img_9979_bwFor as long as I live, when I think of the red clay at Roland Garros, the picture that will always come to mind is that of Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten tracing the contours of a heart on the ground after his grueling five sets win over Swede Magnus Norman in the 2000 French Open final.

Bar none, clay is the most demanding surface to play on. The points can be endless.  A men’s three set match can last longer than three hours. Thus, that type of court can exact a significant mental and physical price. Ironically though, clay is much gentler on the body than a hard court where joints can be prone to injury. Despite the clay presenting some significant health benefits, the list of players who excel on that specific turf is far shorter than that of those who perform well on hard court. Therefore, the question must be posed as to the source of this disconnection.

One explanation may be the competitors’ lack of familiarity with the surface. The majority of Americans and non- Iberian Europeans nowadays grow up playing on concrete. Red clay practice courts and tournaments have become a rarity in the U.S. Currently, the ladies have a choice of either Charleston or Jacksonville; many have characterized both as “simulated clay”. Players have described the green surface as a hard court dusted with clay which makes their movement feel awkward. For the men, their only option is the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston. Although it is more suitable than what’s available to the women, in many respects it falls short of the necessary requisite to offer a full fledge European red clay experience.

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Déjà Vu: Nadal Takes Down Djokovic In Rome

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Déjà Vu: Nadal Takes Down Djokovic In Rome


img_2763After pushing Spaniard Rafael Nadal to the limit in Monte Carlo two weeks ago, Serbian Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, fancied his chances of retaining the title. But, Nadal once more proved his invincibility on clay defeating Djokovic 7-6, 6-2 in the finals of the ATP Masters Internazionali BNL d’Italia for a record setting fourth trophy at this venue.

Leading 40-15 in the first set’s opening game, Djokovic committed two forehand errors while Nadal converted a forehand up the line winner for break point. Then, Nadal capitalized on another Djokovic error in a long rally for the advantage. With mistake after mistake by Novak, Rafael sprinted to a 2-0 lead. After calming down, Djokovic finally got on the board with a forehand down the line winner. With Nadal serving at 3-2, Djokovic for the first time got to 30 all. Nadal rescued the game for a 4-2 advantage due to a net court winner. Still, there was a sense that the tides were possibly shifting. Djokovic had an easier time holding serve while inserting himself more and more into Nadal’s service games. At 5-4 with Nadal serving to close the set, he made three forehand unforced errors permitting Djokovic to level things. Untroubled by the previous game though, Rafael caused Novak to net a backhand crosscourt then produced a dipping forehand which the Serbian was unable to volley giving the Spaniard double break point which he converted for 6-5. Except, Nadal again had problems with the forehand and was broken after having set point. Thus, it was on to a tiebreaker. As a result of bad judgment by Djokovic, including dropshots which never cleared the net, Nadal bedded the first set.

Nadal started the second set prevailing in long rallies for 40-0; Djokovic countered with three consecutive forehand winners for deuce. When Nadal’s forehand up the line went out of bounce, Djokovic arrived at break point. Yet, Nadal responded with a forehand down the line winner to salvage the game. Serving at 1-2, Djokovic ran into trouble with too many errors. Nevertheless, with a couple of wide serves and backhand winners, the Serb forbade the Spaniard from doing any damage. Nadal, under fire on his own serve after a double fault, curled in a forehand up the line winner to stay ahead 3-2. In the sixth game, Djokovic avoided going down 0-30 with a reflex backhand volley winner after Nadal crushed a forehand down the line. Ahead 40-15, Djokovic misfired twice with the backhand, dumped a forehand crosscourt into the net and double faulted to gift Nadal a break for 4-2. After easily consolidating, Nadal curved a forehand pass for a winner to break Djokovic and win the match.

What a difference a year makes! Last May, Nadal was fighting off Djokovic just to retain the number two ranking. By prevailing in Rome, the Spaniard claims his 15th Masters’ shield and is now two behind the all-time leader Andre Agassi. Moreover, with his 25th clay title, at 22, Nadal is five shy of the mark set by the great Bjorn Borg. With this lost, Djokovic cedes the number three spot to Andy Murray albeit the latter exited in the second round in Rome. Despite falling to Djokovic in the semifinals, Roger Federer hangs on to the number two ranking although by his finger nails.

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The Dunlop Orange Bowl Showcasing Tomorrow’s Stars


One of the world’s most celebrated juniors tournaments, the 62nd annual Orange Bowl, took place at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne from December 7 thru 14.  For most players, it is a stepping-stone to greatness. Some of the past winners include Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Bjorn Borg, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Chris Evert. Therefore, MiamiTennisBlog.com was on the scene scouting out the game’s future champions.

In the finals of the girls’ 18 category, wildcard entrant Julia Boserup from Boca Raton defeated another wildcard participant Christina McHale from New Jersey 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.  These two competitors are pupils at the USTA Player Development Facility in Boca Raton.  Other names deserving of a few lines include junior Wimbledon Champion and second seed, Laura Robson of Great Britain who retired in the quarterfinals and Nevada resident Asia Muhammad, Andre Agassi’s protégé, a gifted player who reached the third round in singles.  Muhammad did pick up the doubles trophy along with Lauren Embree from Marco Island.

Yuki Bhambri Indian Yuki Bhambri, the second seed, stopped Georgia denizen Jamere Jenkins, ranked 78th, from winning the boys’ 18 title, beating him in two sets 6-1, 6-3.  Jenkins partnered with Devin Britton from Mississippi and exacted a bit of revenge by prevailing in the doubles final over Bhambri and Chase Buchanan from Ohio.  An unseeded player ousted top seed and junior French Open champion, Tsung-Hua Yang of Taiwan, in the third round.

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Not Just Clay: Nadal Prevails At Wimbledon For the First Time In Five Set Epic


The Wimbledon gentlemen’s final between the sports’ premier players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal surpassed expectation. After four hours and forty-eight minutes and two rain delays, Nadal triumphed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French and Wimbledon titles in the same year.

After his wretched performance at the French, Federer needed to prove that he was still in command on his favorite surface. But Roger started the first set on the wrong footing, surrendering his serve in the third game. In the subsequent game, after Nadal took a 40-0 advantage, Federer rallied to get a break point after three deuces. Yet, Nadal stood his ground to take a 3-1 lead. Down set point, a net court allowed Federer to hit a down the line winner for deuce. But, two second serve return errors erased Roger’s break points and Rafael pocketed the set at 6-4.

As the aggressor in the second set, Federer broke Nadal in the second game. Afterwards, Roger was on cruise control on his service games while pushing Nadal on his. But at 4-2, Federer missed two makeable volleys giving Nadal a break point which he cashed in. In the next game, Roger had a chance to redeem himself, but with a couple of great serves, Nadal thwarted his break point opportunity. With three consecutive first serves misfired, Roger went down 0-40 and with his superior groundstrokes, Rafael converted for a 5-4 lead. With Nadal serving for the set, Federer resisted and got to an ad point. However, another backhand error was Federer’s undoing, thus, Nadal went up two sets.

With Nadal one set from the finish line, Federer could have folded. After squandering double break points on two occasions, Roger salvaged a 0-40 service game in the seventh, to prevent Nadal from getting ahead 4-3. After a tough service game, Federer went into the locker room up 5-4 with a rain delay. When Nadal stepped out to serve, he stormed to 40-0. Roger inched his way back to deuce, but with a couple of errors, Nadal held for 5-5. Ultimately, the set was decided by a tiebreak. With a correct challenge, Federer stopped Nadal from getting a mini-break early on. Then with clutch serving, Roger went on to win the set.

In the fourth, Nadal’s serve continued to bother Federer causing many service return errors. In the long rallies, Nadal had the upper hand, producing some superb passing shots. Conversely, when Federer’s first serve was accurate, he had little trouble holding. In the tenth game, down 0-30 and two points from elimination, Federer came up with the goods to level things at 5-5. Again, a tiebreak became necessary to determine the set. After being down two mini-breaks at 5-2, Federer was plucked from the jaws of defeat when Nadal threw in a double fault and made an unforced error. Then down championship point, Federer hit a sensational backhand down the line winner and eventually won the tiebreak 10-8.

In the fifth set, Nadal had a far easier time than Federer holding serve. On a horde of occasions, Roger had too many winnable volleys go long. For instance, in the fifth game, up 40-30, Roger lost a point at net leading to deuce and a stoppage of play due to rain. Luckily, Federer’s rhythm was undisturbed and he held for 3-2. In the eight game, Federer had his first break point opportunity since the second set which Nadal fought off with a phenomenal serve. With Roger serving at 5-5, Nadal had double break points. Nonetheless, Federer escaped for 6-5. After a comfortable hold, Nadal jumped out to 0-30, Federer again fought back to get to 7-6. With Nadal serving at game point, Federer made a great lob which Rafael chased down and later won the point with a beautiful cross-court pass. This was the indication that it was truly Nadal’s turn. In the next game, Nadal connected on a couple of passing beauties to go up 15-40. Somehow, Federer crawled his way back to deuce. But, Nadal would not be denied. When Federer committed an unforced error, Rafael took an 8-7 lead. On Nadal’s fourth championship point, Federer netted the return, giving Rafael his first Wimbledon crown as Manuel Santana,  the last Spaniard to hold this coveted trophy in 1966, looked on.

Click here to see a video of Nadal serve for the 2008 Wimbledon title provided by the BBC. 

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The Serve and Volley: A Dying Art


Although it may seem like eons ago, there was a time in tennis when one could distinguish two different types of players because they relied predominantly on one style of play. Competitors were earmarked as either baseline grinders or serve and volleyers. In the last few years, there has been a scarcity in the singles’ game of the latter type of play. Homogeneity has become the rule with competitors apparently content with being branded baseline specialists, not venturing to the net even when the occasion clearly presents itself. Thus, this begs the questions as to whether the “classic” serve and volleyer will become a thing of the past.

In a society where the desire for instant gratification is the norm, one would think that the serve and volley would be better appreciated because it does not demand a long attention span. Simplistic as it may sound, there may be a logical explanation for the gravitation towards baseline play, power- the ultimate high. From my viewpoint, this love affair may arise from one’s desire to take his or her aggression not only on the ball but to also demonstrate his or her dominance over the opponent; a statement made less effectively by the serve and volley precisely because the points are too short. Advancements in technology are in part to blame for the prospect of this art form being retired to the tennis hall of fame. As wooden rackets have given way to metal ones, players have been able to generate so much power with their shots that their primary goal appears to be to hit a winner from five feet behind the baseline. Granted, this type of play is simultaneously exciting and exasperating. Enjoyable in the sense that one is amazed at the player’s ability, for instance, to maintain a thirty plus stroke rally. On the hand, endurance at times gives way to boredom on the part of the viewer when he or she realizes that shots are just mirror images.

Baseline play appears quasi a duel, a display of raw power, conjuring up images of two battling gladiators. Yet, the beauty of the serve and volley lies in the subtlety with which power is exhibited; power is the essence of that style of play. Historically, the most successful serve and volleyers have been the likes Boris Becker and Pete Sampras whose blazing serve was their invitation to the net. These days, big servers are widespread, but proficiency at the net is lacking. At times, net play seems either an afterthought or a tactic of last resort. Even the volley itself has undergone some modifications. With the traditional volley, the player maintains his racket in front as he rushes the net where he finishes with a crisp shot with the racket in that same stance. Nowadays, the uneasiness that some competitors feel with the conventional volley, since they utilize it so sparingly, has given birth to the “swing volley”, a more aggressively struck shot, leaving the only similarity between the two the location from which the ball is hit. To the observer, this is further evidence that some players are just having difficulty mastering the fundamentals of volleying.

In essence, technology has been both a blessing and curse in that the serve and volley may become obsolete on the surface best suited for it, grass. With the exception of Bjorn Borg who was a baseline player and won five Wimbledon titles, history has shown that when the “classic” serve and volleyer is confronted with the baseline hoverer in the finals, the former has usually come out the victor. The speed of this type of court has always favored the competitor willing to come to the net. Over the last few years though, baseline play has invaded even this surface, at the end of a fortnight of competition, the baseline is the part of the court that is most worn out is while the grass around the net stays pretty intact. Lately, there have been rumors the All England Club may be altering the composition of the grass to “slow” down the court. Invariably, this kind of move may mean that players whose game fare better on a clay court may have better result while serving to the detriment of the serve and volleyer. It seems that the talented athlete should be able to adjust his game regardless of the surface without technology having to be a key variable.

In my opinion, variety is an important element when it comes to spectator sports. The ideal player is one who can marry the two forms of play. Versatility provides excitement and captures the interest of the viewer, thus, there is still a place in the game for the “classic” serve and volleyer. Two excellent examples are Martina Hingis and Roger Federer, both from Switzerland. The words often used by tennis connoisseurs to describe Hingis are a “ smart player”; she is an expert at both baseline and net play, with variety being the cornerstone of her game. Although Hingis was formidable enough to defeat lower ranked players, she could not keep up with the so-called “power hitters”. Ironically, power was often the latter’s only weapon against Hingis’ well-rounded game. Like Hingis, Federer is a master at shot selection. He knows when to charge the net and when to stay back or play from the baseline. Unlike his compatriot, Federer is capable of bombing the serve or to sustain a rally and hit a winner from the baseline when the opportunity presents itself; thereby, neutralizing the opponent’s power.

Since everyone is not as gifted as Federer or Hingis, there exists a need to focus on finding out where the player’s talent lies since that is an integral part of the equation. Obviously, all baseliners are not proficient at the craft. Otherwise, there would a more equitable distribution of trophies and not the skewed dominance exhibited by just a few players. The hope is that the current trend is cyclical. Perhaps, eventually balance will be restored whereby both styles can flourish so that the serve and volley will not become a dying art.

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Will Rafa’s Career Be Short-Lived?


Youth, age 21! Success, three French Open championships, the first player since Bjorn Borg to achieve such a feat! Despite all these accolades, I foresee that tennis sensation Rafael Nadal’s star may be dimming. True, Nadal has succeeded where no other tennis mortals have, he is the only player to have infiltrated ‘Fedland’ on a consistent basis. By blocking him from lifting the ‘Coupe des Mousquetaires’ the last three years, Rafa has been the boulder preventing Roger Federer from being exalted as the greatest tennis athlete of all time. Many experts may argue that this conclusion maybe a tad premature. After all, Nadal has reached the last two Wimbledon finals and played competitively. He was particularly impressive this year, if a few points had turned out differently, he may have been victorious in lieu of Federer; hence, why such a gloomy prediction. Although time may be his ally, longevity may not be in his horizon. The punishment that his style of game inflicts on his own body may be his silent adversary.

A rash of injuries has caused Rafa to look less than ordinary at the last few tournaments. His game appears to be taxing not only on his opponents but also to his own physique. Such a comment may seem odd if one examines the subject in question. Without a doubt, the first thing one notices about Rafa is his musculature which in essence gives one the illusion of indestructibility. Yet, it is painful at times to watch him play. One gets the sense of that he or she is in a boxing arena rather than a tennis court, with so much punching and counter punching, one invariably starts to cringe. At the US Open this year in his first round match against Australian Alun Jones, the Spaniard had both knees wrapped and his facial grimaces with each stroke were a reflection of the pain he was undoubtedly suffering. There is no question, Nadal works extremely hard at tuning his body, therefore, the riddle becomes how to find a balance between aggressive play and energy conservation for purely survival’s sake.

A couple years ago, fellow competitor Justine Henin came to such a crossroad. If memory serves me correctly, Henin was not only sidelined by mononucleosis, she blamed her physical ailments partly on over training, building too much muscles, as such, she fired her trainer. Since that period, Henin has recuperated her form and is dominating the women’s game. For Nadal, the solution lies in his modifying his game whereby he is converted into the astute matador with all the majesty and pageantry that is usually displayed in a ring while maintaining the built of a bull. By developing other aspects of his game, Nadal will be able to utilize his variety so that his matches are a bit shorter so that his body will not fail him regardless of the surface he is tackling. To me, this seems to be the formula that will give him continued success. Otherwise, the news of a premature demise to his tennis career may not be exaggerated.

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