Tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has highlighted three changes Rafael Nadal has made to his game since the start of his career that have allowed him to dominate for so long. One of the first changes Nadal made to his game was becoming more aggressive.
"In 2005, Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam title. He emerged with his own unique gamestyle, standing far behind the baseline and adding crazy spin to every shot. With this game, he became the king of clay," Mouratoglou said in a clip uploaded on his Instagram.
"Now, he is not just a clay specialist. He's leading the race in terms of Grand Slams won. How did he adapt his game to winning on faster surfaces?" "First, Rafa's game has become more and more aggressive.
Early in his career, he would win games by forcing long rallies from baseline. Now he is looking to step inside the court more, take control of the points and shorten the rallies to conserve energy."
Mouratoglou: Nadal also improved his serve, volleying
"His serve went from a way to start the point to an actual weapon.
He changed some elements in his technique which allowed him to gain more power. One of the biggest changes is improving his weight dispatch. [You can notice] how little his body was involved in the shot compared to how much he throws himself forward now," Mouratoglou said.
"He has also changed his trophy position, keeping his elbow higher and allowing his racquet to drop lower down his back for an increased whip-effect." Mouratoglou concluded by saying Nadal's game now features an effective slice and his volleying skills have gotten better.
"Third, he has added a new shot to his game. In the Australian Open final, we saw him use the slice a lot to bring [Daniil] Medvedev to the net. He even used the drop shot to make him doubt," Mouratoglou said. "Rafa has also improved his volley game, and now, you'll see him come to the net. If he hadn't made those changes, I believe that he wouldn't be the player that he is today."