Toni Nadal took time to comment on the first three months of the season played by his nephew Rafael Nadal. "These first months of the season have been good, but definitively not great" said Toni, "we weren"t lucky in Australia, where Rafa just couldn"t put up a fight in the final. In Indian Wells and Miami things started to get better, but Novak Djokovic played at a very high level. Rafael didn"t play bad in Miami, but as soon as he found a very good opponent as Novak is, he failed to find a way to beat him, especially on hard courts".
The Head-2-Head between Nadal and Djokovic still tells that the Spaniard has won more matches, but only 4 more than his Serb rival, a lot less than the advantage Rafael has for example in the previous meetings played with Roger Federer. "Obviously Djokovic is a much harder opponent than Federer to face for us. Looking at the Head-2-Head it"s easy to see that. With Novak is not easy. There might be some peculiar aspects of each opponent you find very hard to deal with, no matter what the name of your opponent is. I wouldn"t say that Djokovic is a better player than Federer, as Roger still is the best out of the two, but Rafael finds it easier to adapt to Federer"s game rather than Djokovic"s. Novak can move very well, he is very attentive and has a great mentality, so that when he is dominating the rallies, the only thing you can do to escape is to hit a winner. When we play against Djokovic, we already know that it is going to be a tough match, and unless you keep playing at a very high level for 2 or 3 consecutive hours, you"ll end up losing the match" revealed Toni on Wednesday.
The problems at Rafael"s back seem finally gone. "The second serve has been affected the most by those problems, because Rafa couldn"t rotate the ball as he wanted. I hope things are going to get better on clay, as on that surface serve is not such a determinant shot. We"ll what happens so we"ll know if we did a good job or not" continued Rafa"s coach.
Finally, Uncle Toni talks about Nadal"s chances on grass. "At Wimbledon things haven"t gone really great over the past years. Rafael faced many challenges in London, as he had to stay low and put weight on the knees, failing to give his very best. This year his knees are doing much better. Grass can adapt very well to Rafael"s game, as the 5 finals he reached in London are there to demonstrate" finished the Spaniard.
Tennis World Magazine - issue 31
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