Tennis - Also Chris Evert speaks about Rafa: 'Big difference is that he is confident'
A few weeks ago, after the tenth Roland Garros title Toni Nadal had said his nephew Rafael is a more complete player than 2008. This year Rafa is playing aggressively and is dictating points probably more than ever. Just about this intriguing topic, during an ESPN conference call the American analyst and coach Brad Gilbert said: 'The biggest misconception in the history of the world is about Rafa. He has never been a defensive player for one second. He’s an offensive machine, who’s willing to play defense. But the basis of his game is relentless offense. Even if he’s eight feet behind the baseline, he’s relentless on offense that’s willing to play defense. And Fed is an unbelievable all-arounder.'
Then he made a prediction about Wimbledon: 'For Rafa, the last few years, the biggest thing is getting through the first week,' Gilbert said. 'I’ve never see him look better personally (than he did) at the French and this entire clay-court season. I think the serve is as good as it looked, the forehand is back to being devastating. And I said it in December and I’ll say it again: I think the best thing that happened to him was bringing Carlos Moya on board. I think that totally reinvigorated him and has given him a different perspective. He looks a lot happier on the court. It’s all about getting through the first week. If he can get through that first week, then I think he can get a lot of confidence going into the second week.'
Also the other ESPN commentator Chris Evert spoke about Nadal, and said: 'I think with Rafa the big difference is confidence. He’s stepping in, moving in. When he wasn’t confident, he was six to ten feet behind the baseline and just counter-punching and retrieving. I feel he’s so confident now and that’s reflective in how aggressive he is—he’s playing closer to the baseline—but he’s coming into the net a lot more. That, to me, shows confidence when a baseliner starts coming in a free way and looks so natural up there. He’s moving in, he’s volleying and he’s a lot more confidence. He’s gonna be really psyched, I think, to play Wimbledon. If it’s a good grass court, if it’s playing as a good grass court does, I think he’s going to feel very comfortable.'