Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rafael Nadal: Strong Signs of Revival?



Rafael Nadal cruised to the fourth round of Australian Open with a comfortable straight sets victory over Lucas Lacko : 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. The good news for his fans seems to be that he is really playing good tennis with no signs of physical discomfort in his knees. He has not lost a single set till now and looks to be in impressive form.

His service seems to be improving with every game and he seems to be playing even better than 2010.

If we look at his statistics on hard court since 2010, we can clearly see the improvement. The effort that Nadal has put in during off season to make sure he is ready to take on the challenge against Djokovic seems to be paying off!

Nadal
2010
2011
AO*
  1st Serve %
64
65
70
  Aces
204
142
13
  Unforced Errors


50
  Winning % on 1st Serve
76
71
82
  Winning % on 2nd Serve
59
56
56
  Winners


105
  Receiving Points Won %
39
42
47
  Break Point Conversions%
40
45
56











* includes all the rounds

The most noticeable change in his game seems to be the new found aggression in his game where he plays close to the baseline and tries to take control of his shots rather than taking a defensive approach.  He already has hit 105 winners in 3 matches against 78 this time last year.

This is a good sign for Nadal as he will need this kind of aggression if he is hoping to go past his biggest rival of 2011- Novak Djokovic.  In the words of Sunzi:  “Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected”

Hold on to your seats as we prepare to go down in the second week as this tournament can prove to be a make or break for Nadal’s confidence.  And for now- Nadal is looking pretty strong- What do you think?





1 comment:

  1. My sense is that Nadal is playing very well. I say "sense" because I would not have expected him to play this well given last year's disappointments, and the start to this season in which he lost in Doha.

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