'The more the match lasts, better for Rafael Nadal.' How many times until two years ago we heard this sentence from media, simple fans or also who knows Rafa well like for example uncle Toni. This "theory" surprisingly lacked since the second part of 2014 season both at the best of three and five sets.
This year not even Nadal knows the exact, and especially true reason. 'I did not lost for a mental thing, nor physical or pressure thing. It lacked to me something in terms of tennis level', he said after the match against Lucas Pouille.
It's difficult to share this very discutible opinion: when you are up 4-3 30-0 in the fifth set, when a few games later in the tie-break on 6-all you miss a very easy forehand, especially if you hit a winner from the same position with the same shot a few mind later, it's not understandable believe that all these missed chances are caused by his technique or by a lack of confidence on this shot that is less effective than the forehand.
We fooled into ourselvee after the Olympics, and even more after the first three rounds at the US Open where he had lost just 20 games, but against low - level players just like in Rio where he had faced the first competitive opponent in the semifinals, lost always in the decisive set tie-break.
It's the record at the third or fifth set that worries more on the Rafa's physical and mental shape, this year on 16 matches ended at the third or fifth set he lost five, without taking in consideration that in Rome against Djokovic did not convert set points in both two sets and that against Murray in Madrid the result was equally balanced (7/5 6/4).
IN THE SLAMS IT'S AN ONGOING CRISIS - In the last ten Majors did not reach any semifinal, his best results are the two quarter-finals reached at the Australian Open and Roland Garros 2015, then two fourth rounds, two third rounds, a second round and a first round.
In the middle, he withdrew from two Grand Slams. In 2016 at the best of five sets results have been the ones that normally a good World No. 25-30 player reached, and the curious thing is that by next week he will be World No.
3 if Wawrinka does not reach semifinals, which says a lot about the moment men's players are going through Murray and Djokovic expected. The two losses in Melbourne and New York cannot be justifiable, with all the respect for Pouille and Verdasco's incredible performances.
Against Fernando he was even 2-0 up with a break point to be 3-0 in the fifth set. And it's not even right to say the opponents play the matches of the life against Rafa, who is unable to close the matches. AN UPS AND DOWNS GAME - If in the key moments best players can count on a very important shot like the serve, he always puts IN a first serve that does not hurt.
"Only" six years ago just at the US Open he served for the first snd only time at 200km/h, it's really a mistery that he could not find those angles and speede anymore. The positive thing is that he went to the net many times recently.
During the match against Pouille he won 35% net points on 48 played, showing that the doubles gold medal won in the doubles in Rio did not happen by chance. ASIAN SWING... AND THEN ATP FINALS? - It comes a very important part of the season for Rafa who defends 1.700 points in total in Beijing Shanghai, Basel, Bercy and just World Tour Finals where he should play: at the moment is sixth in the ATP Race with more than 600 points than the ninth Berdych.
It's difficult to have high expectations on a surface that has always been tough for him.
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