In an interview to Love Tennis Podcast, the tennis strategist Craig O'Shannessy commented on how Roger Federer managed to beat Rafael Nadal all four times they played each other, starting at the Australian Open, then in Indian Wells, Miami and the Shanghai Masters' finals.
'When Roger adjusted against Rafa in 2017 in the Australian Open final, simply by coming over his backhand return, he completely changed the dynamic and all of a sudden Roger is now winning matches against Rafa,' said O'Shannessy during US Open.
'That one shot – when Roger slices the backhand return against most players, he’s neutralising, he’s keeping the ball low, he’s giving them no speed to work with and very soon Roger will find offence.
With Rafa, he actually giving more time for the runaround forehand. Rafa is incredibly good at starting with a serve and a forehand, he’s winning all of those points, the low ball doesn’t trouble him because of the spin and it just keeps Roger on the defence.
So what Roger was doing so well against other opponents, didn’t work against Rafa. He went through a decade of not understanding that dynamic, he should have been doing it all along in that entire rivalry. He went down 23-10 at one stage but he’s coming back and doing much better against Rafa these days,' O'Shannessy recognized.