The start of a new season brings surprises, joy and sometimes frustration to the players on the professional tennis tour. Rafael Nadal currently ranked number two in the World, has had his share of special moments and disappointing times.
As the Australian Open started Nadal remained consistent winning each round at three sets. He poured his special 'extreme' tactics out there and defeated two qualifiers, an iconic Berdych and three NextGens. The cross courting and drop shots were on point.
The pushing his opponent back and then coming in was successful in all of Nadal's six rounds. But the shocker was his meet up with Novak Djokovic in the final. Nadal did play the three sets but the wins all went on the Serbian's racket in a surprising dramatic ending.
The Spaniard lost in three straight sets and gave credit to Djokovic for playing an excellent game. "When he plays that way I think I needed something else...I wasn't able to have that extra thing tonight..."
Nadal had explained to the media after the Australian Open Final press conference. Should Nadal always play in the 'extreme mode' with his opponents? Some say players have to put it all out on the court to get good results.
Many say 'more is less' while others go by the 'less is more' motto. Finesse sometimes works over power and Nadal still can do it, but consistency might be the thing. It just depends on the player and the opponent's actions during court time.
Before the Australian Open, Nadal splattered his skills onto the court at the U.S. Open getting to the quarterfinal with Dominic Thiem and going five sets to come up the winner. The Spaniard was in 'extreme mode' and it worked.
The acute cross-courts were done but he was defeated by 6-0 in the first set in under 30 minutes. It was the extra pressure along with a combo of treats and stings as keeping Thiem back, opening up the court, going down the lines that resulted in Nadal who won in five sets with laying all his strategies out there.
The extremes took its toll though and the semifinal with Juan Martin Del Potro drained Nadal's tank resulting in his retirement to the Argentine after the second set. "It's very difficult for me to say goodbye before the match is finished," Nadal says at the U.S.
Open press conference upon retiring in the semis. "I had to retire", the Spaniard had admitted after injury provoked his actions to give it up. The match with Nick Kyrgios at the Mexican Open was filled with great plays, tons of gossip and issues but at the end of the day, both left a lot out on the court.
Kyrgios says "..to come to Acapulco and be able to put in a performance like that is pretty special against the number one seed, clearly a crowd favourite...I left it all out there and was very fortunate to get the win."
Nadal poured his tactics on and won many a grand point but the volleys and the power serves, the movement and rallies wasn't a match for the Spaniard as he lost in three sets to Kyrgios. Rafael Nadal is here now at one of his favourite tournaments, Indian Wells.
"Rafa", the crowd screams at even his practice sessions as he gives a big grin. He knows what it takes and he'll certainly go to his 'extremes' if it will result in a win. But nothing is guaranteed and when you get on court the fight can be vicious with some matches and not so much with others.
Some say it's the luck of the draw or others think it's the misfortune. Many say it's if you can execute your shots. It's for sure that Rafa will be in his 'extreme mode' for every player and sees what comes back.