Rafael Nadal's coach Francis Roig explained why the Spaniard lost six of the last seven matches played against the Swiss. Roig said: "It's clear that Federer played more direct and aggressive tennis. He marked a difference on the return.
Before he was making more unforced errors, he was giving you more free points. Now he misses less. Before, we had the mental aspect on our side. The 2017 Australian Open final marked a turning point. Rafa was leading 3-1 in the fifth set and there it changed.
But if I should mention a favorite at five sets, on any surface, it's Rafa. We are ahead again. He can lose, of course, but we need to think we are favorites. If you believe you can win, you have more chances to do it. He needs to be smart and play aggressive."
How is Nadal doing physically? "Well. Last week he did more physical training and now we came to Mallorca with Carlos Moya looking for new goals, doing what he did better and training the return a lot. I think on return games he can improve and we are adding new details to the very good basics he has."
Asked if last injuries influenced Nadal mentally, Roig replied: "The last injury that influenced him the most mentally was Indian Wells. He was feeling well, he was in the semi-finals and he was not able to play the match against Roger Federer.
He had a bit of a complicated moment. Paris Bercy did not affect (him) a lot, even if he did not get into the ATP Finals being that well-rested. There are times during the year where physical issues come up, but the results have been very good overall.
We will try to make sure he heads into the Grand Slams feeling well. He is playing better on hard and grass. He was struggling more in the past in making a difference on hard (courts). The wins have been less close and it was shown in the Grand Slams on hard court.
He reached the final rounds with less fatigue. He is a better player, he suffers less on serve, can shorten points and moves his opponent. Before, his game was more about consistency and points were longer."