Author Topic: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic  (Read 15378 times)

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Offline tennisfan78

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2011, 09:32:54 PM »
Wow!!!  Great topic!!! :king:


Thoughts:
-  perhaps one reason Nole had a tougher time on HC was due to less time.
-excellent observation that one of Raf's strengthes plays into Nole's strike zone!  CCFH to BH.  Nole clearly has the advantage in the DTLBH, it is an amazing shot when he tees it up!
-  Nole's consistency on the FH has been incredible.  Perhaps this is due to his improved fitness/movement?
-  Nole's serve has been good.  I think there is still room for improvement in both 1st & 2nd deliveries. 
-  Raf flattening his forehand seems contradictory to me.  Maybe he could play to the Nole FH and bit more to create space on the BH side in order to force Nole to hit BH's on the move.
-  Raf has to serve better.  Nole is taking charge of points immediately with his returns.  He has no respect for the Nadal delivery.  Time and again he wrong foots Raf with his returns and turns the tables with his first shot.
-  anyone else notice there has been no puffing of the cheeks for Nole after extended rallies?  I wonder if the deep breathing used during yoga is helping?  Control of breath leads to calmness of mind = improved confidence.  It's scary to watch.  No longer do we see the repeated outbursts and looks of panic.  Just a confiedent determination. 
-  I think Raf needs to be very aware of his court position relative to Nole.  He seems more than willing to back off the baseline and let Nole take charge.  Maybe Nole is forcing this to happen and Raf is unable to go toe-to-toe at the baseline.  The timing required for his long sweeping FH just won't permit it.

Great thread!!!  Thank you!!!

Thanks monster!!

You make a very good point about the breathing/puffing with him.  He doesn't seem to be bothered playing long and extended rallies lately, and is showing much better fitness.  How would he do in a 5 set format would be interesting to see.
See Alex's post in the NoleNoleNole thread for one possible explanation for his improved breathing.

ok, will check it out!


Offline falcon

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2011, 10:05:05 PM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.

MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.
Looked to me like the moonballin' was a tactic and not a stroke deficiency.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:

As I've said before, I think Nole steals position and therefore time from Rafa causing the FH & BH to appear 'off'.  His ROS has been devasting as well, wrong footing Nadal time and again, forcing him to play weaker shots than normal.

But hey, that's just my opinion.... ;-()
Simple...he wins without those two weapons against everyone...even against Nole. He had to change his game and bring in some drastic improvements to beat a prime Fed; similarly he needs to tweak some aspects of his game to beat this Nole. We all know he is capable of it, just that he needs to find it in time.


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Offline williamchung7

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2011, 11:32:30 PM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.

MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.
Looked to me like the moonballin' was a tactic and not a stroke deficiency.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:

As I've said before, I think Nole steals position and therefore time from Rafa causing the FH & BH to appear 'off'.  His ROS has been devasting as well, wrong footing Nadal time and again, forcing him to play weaker shots than normal.

But hey, that's just my opinion.... ;-()

Maybe Nadal slowing down cause this issue, only way for him to against is Djokovic himself or he change some his tactic and learning new thing.

Currently ,his serve is gone and his backhand also gone. If he cannot recover, maybe it is time for new thing. How about cross-court slide, I seldom see Nadal play this shot. Maybe he can improve it or learn it.   


Offline monstertruck

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2011, 06:03:30 AM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.

MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.
Looked to me like the moonballin' was a tactic and not a stroke deficiency.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:

As I've said before, I think Nole steals position and therefore time from Rafa causing the FH & BH to appear 'off'.  His ROS has been devasting as well, wrong footing Nadal time and again, forcing him to play weaker shots than normal.

But hey, that's just my opinion.... ;-()
Simple...he wins without those two weapons against everyone...even against Nole. He had to change his game and bring in some drastic improvements to beat a prime Fed; similarly he needs to tweak some aspects of his game to beat this Nole. We all know he is capable of it, just that he needs to find it in time.
Well, I guess when someone posts a clip showing how his BH has broken down against other players I'll see the light.  Until then, I shall remain in the dark. :))
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Offline monstertruck

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2011, 06:23:31 AM »
Loss of BH is subjective as this stroke is not strictly controlled by the player.
Reduction in effectiveness of the serve can be mostly attributed to the server but the actions of the returner have an impact as well.

Let's hope they meet again in a final soon to see if Raf implements any changes/improvements and Nole continues his tear through ATP 2011.
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Offline TheEternalCowboy

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2011, 06:59:08 AM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.


MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.
Looked to me like the moonballin' was a tactic and not a stroke deficiency.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:

As I've said before, I think Nole steals position and therefore time from Rafa causing the FH & BH to appear 'off'.  His ROS has been devasting as well, wrong footing Nadal time and again, forcing him to play weaker shots than normal.

But hey, that's just my opinion.... ;-()

Simple...he wins without those two weapons against everyone...even against Nole. He had to change his game and bring in some drastic improvements to beat a prime Fed; similarly he needs to tweak some aspects of his game to beat this Nole. We all know he is capable of it, just that he needs to find it in time.
Well, I guess when someone posts a clip showing how his BH has broken down against other players I'll see the light.  Until then, I shall remain in the dark. :))


Actually, even I thought his backhand was weak sauce.  This blog entry from tennis.com highlighted what I thought I saw:

http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2011/05/new-boss-old-boss.html

Quote
What about Nadal? Aside from Djokovicís absurd mobility, what sunk him Sunday was his own backhand. Itís not in the same league with Djokovicís. Nadal came out cracking it, but he has trouble keeping that up for an entire match. Instead, when he was pushed, he resorted to a little flip moonball to give him time to recover. It was a disasteróDjokovic ate it up with his own backhand. Thatís an advantage of Nole's, and always will be, but what about the slice from Nadal? He can hit it, and maybe he should more often. It has to be better than the flippy thing heís trying.


He was going to this lofty flip to try to recover much more often than I am used to him seeing.  I said so during the match itself in the thread.  I don't know if it's the "breakdown" that these other guys are talking about, but there was a noticeable difference.

Offline williamchung7

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2011, 07:30:15 AM »
Looks like eveybody including me consider weak backhand and slower motion are the main issues for Nadal.
How about in other hand? A lot of people talking about Djokovic's backhand. I feel like it is closely solid as Nalbandian's backhand. Still, I perfer Nalbandian's backhand is the best double hand backhand. But Djokovic is solid enough to make trouble to Nadal by his backhand wing. When I review the full match in Madrid and Rome. These matches remind me Nadal against Nalbandian in Paris 2007. The cross- court backhand make Nadal a lot of troubles. It is similar phenomenon and same thing happen again.  :)>>>>


Offline Swish

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2011, 10:47:16 AM »
Looks like eveybody including me consider weak backhand and slower motion are the main issues for Nadal.
How about in other hand? A lot of people talking about Djokovic's backhand. I feel like it is closely solid as Nalbandian's backhand. Still, I perfer Nalbandian's backhand is the best double hand backhand. But Djokovic is solid enough to make trouble to Nadal by his backhand wing. When I review the full match in Madrid and Rome. These matches remind me Nadal against Nalbandian in Paris 2007. The cross- court backhand make Nadal a lot of troubles. It is similar phenomenon and same thing happen again.  :)>>>>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCFdXTMuc64


No doubt Nadal's BH needs some work and he knows it. Wouldn't be surprised if he gets it working again.
Djokovic can run down the ball and put it back into play with quite a bit of pace, this keeps Nadal from taking the offensive and gives Nole additional chances.

If you see the Nadal vs DelPo USO semis from '09 you'll notice that the DelPo CC BH also hurt Nadal on numerous occasions.
Everyone knows Nadal has a problem with this but few are good enough to exploit it, and the rest of the game has to be top notch too.
Djokovic is the only one to put all the pieces together consistently.

Offline Emma

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2011, 11:27:35 AM »
Moonballing is indeed a tactic for Rafa. Anyway, in order to beat a prime Nole, Rafa will have to change his whole game. It's either that or he will just have to wait for someone else to take him out/tire him out. Or wait for Nole to crumble altogether again.
 
Nole's confidence is of course through the roof at the moment and Nadal is just afraid of that height. Somehow it's coming down to whose confidence level is higher than whom. It's not like Nole changed a number of things in his game, hardly in fact, and his game was always better than Rafaís. But it's the confidence factor that's getting in the way now and the fact that, both Nole and Murray are a bit younger than him doesn't really help in the mental department. Besides which, Nadal's been playing very well and been very consistent for a while now, so it's only normal if he is seeing a bit less success right now. Still, all can change in a matter of a few days. Sure Nole had a couple of victories over Nadal on clay, but it's still RG that will be a real testament for both players as well as for the rest of the field. 
 
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Offline williamchung7

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2011, 11:28:10 AM »
Looks like eveybody including me consider weak backhand and slower motion are the main issues for Nadal.
How about in other hand? A lot of people talking about Djokovic's backhand. I feel like it is closely solid as Nalbandian's backhand. Still, I perfer Nalbandian's backhand is the best double hand backhand. But Djokovic is solid enough to make trouble to Nadal by his backhand wing. When I review the full match in Madrid and Rome. These matches remind me Nadal against Nalbandian in Paris 2007. The cross- court backhand make Nadal a lot of troubles. It is similar phenomenon and same thing happen again.  :)>>>>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCFdXTMuc64


No doubt Nadal's BH needs some work and he knows it. Wouldn't be surprised if he gets it working again.
Djokovic can run down the ball and put it back into play with quite a bit of pace, this keeps Nadal from taking the offensive and gives Nole additional chances.

If you see the Nadal vs DelPo USO semis from '09 you'll notice that the DelPo CC BH also hurt Nadal on numerous occasions.
Everyone knows Nadal has a problem with this but few are good enough to exploit it, and the rest of the game has to be top notch too.
Djokovic is the only one to put all the pieces together consistently.

Agree, it prove the improvement of Djokovic this year.

It will be good question to ask is it any tactic or new skills for Nadal to prevent same happen again.

Offline monstertruck

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2011, 05:23:42 PM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.


MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.
Looked to me like the moonballin' was a tactic and not a stroke deficiency.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:

As I've said before, I think Nole steals position and therefore time from Rafa causing the FH & BH to appear 'off'.  His ROS has been devasting as well, wrong footing Nadal time and again, forcing him to play weaker shots than normal.

But hey, that's just my opinion.... ;-()

Simple...he wins without those two weapons against everyone...even against Nole. He had to change his game and bring in some drastic improvements to beat a prime Fed; similarly he needs to tweak some aspects of his game to beat this Nole. We all know he is capable of it, just that he needs to find it in time.
Well, I guess when someone posts a clip showing how his BH has broken down against other players I'll see the light.  Until then, I shall remain in the dark. :))


Actually, even I thought his backhand was weak sauce.  This blog entry from tennis.com highlighted what I thought I saw:

http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2011/05/new-boss-old-boss.html

Quote
What about Nadal? Aside from Djokovicís absurd mobility, what sunk him Sunday was his own backhand. Itís not in the same league with Djokovicís. Nadal came out cracking it, but he has trouble keeping that up for an entire match. Instead, when he was pushed, he resorted to a little flip moonball to give him time to recover. It was a disasteróDjokovic ate it up with his own backhand. Thatís an advantage of Nole's, and always will be, but what about the slice from Nadal? He can hit it, and maybe he should more often. It has to be better than the flippy thing heís trying.


He was going to this lofty flip to try to recover much more often than I am used to him seeing.  I said so during the match itself in the thread.  I don't know if it's the "breakdown" that these other guys are talking about, but there was a noticeable difference.
The soft backhand was sometimes a tactic and at other times all he could muster due to pressure from Nole.  The stroke itself is not weak or deficient.  It's a purely a lack of time courtesy of Nole's position.  As I mentioned before, no one is talking about his weak BH against other players because there's nothing wrong with it.
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Offline Start da Game

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2011, 08:31:55 AM »
Aside from the serve, I don't see any concrete evidence to support the notion that it's a matter of stroke failure. 
My opinion is that the strokes are failing because of position and movement issues directly resulting from the wrong tactics.

MT, as Shank pointed out rightly, Rafa is just moonballing even on the easiest of stroked which is quite alarming. Someone as quick as Nole or Murray will take advantage of the time gained when Rafa moonballs. I see that his backhand is almost gone, his precision is a bit lost too. I think all this comes down to confidence as well. Nole is very confident at the moment which allows him to play fearlessly. This is something lacking in Rafa right now and he SHOULD get his forehand flatter and get back his backhand as well.

Odd how no one mentioned Raf having a weak backhand or having to flatten the FH until his 2 losses to Nole. :whistle:



his backhand has been on the decline since indian wells and was totally dead by montecarlo, i wrote about his backhand decline on the other forum 2 months ago.........

he blasted everybody but djokovic with his great forehand alone and the experience of getting it done on clay........djokovic just feasted on that weak backhand because rafa couldn't protect that wing by running around his backhand against the speed of djokovic.........

i am sure he is working on fine tuning his positioning and swing dynamics of his backhand side before the FO, which are totally lost at the moment.........

   
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 08:42:37 AM by Start da Game »
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Offline monstertruck

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2011, 04:10:06 PM »
I'd be interested in hearing the supporters of the ' declining BH' theory describe the technical breakdown of the stroke in comparison to a time when it was allegedly effective.  That should be simple enough to describe and for him to correct.
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Offline falcon

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2011, 04:18:27 PM »
I'd be interested in hearing the supporters of the ' declining BH' theory describe the technical breakdown of the stroke in comparison to a time when it was allegedly effective.  That should be simple enough to describe and for him to correct.

I am not saying that Rafa had a killer of a backhand and that he has lost it completely. His strength was always is forehand. I see him making errors of the forehand as well which is worrying; he did incorporate a lot of variety on the backhand side...BHDTL, slice etc. I just didn't see any of those shots coming against any of the players in recent times. His forehand (despite the higher margin of error now) is still good enough to beat anyone on the tour but against this Nole, it was his weak backhand that was exposed a lot more. He didn't use the slice at all!! His serve was totally ineffective as well.


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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2011, 04:30:45 PM »

"a killer of a..."

BHDTL...


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Offline Alex

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2011, 04:31:39 PM »
There is nothing wrong with Rafa's BH. It hasn't changed that much. I was watching some of his matches he played a couple of years ago. The difference is that Rafa is stagnating and Djokovic improved a lot (especially his fitness and stamina). Novak's defense is amazing, he is being much more patient, therefore he can easily turn his defense to lethal offense when the moment is right. He can play a 25-35 shot rally with Nadal and not get tired like he used to. Because he is more patient, Novak is making less UE. Nadal tried different things. moon-balling, hitting more to his FH etc. but nothing really worked out because Djokovic is so freaking consistent right now - both of his BH and FH are deadly.

Rafa has been playing this style of tennis on clay since forever and it's good enough to win matches against anybody else except Djokovic. However I still think that, based on history and his previous accomplishment, Rafa is a slight favorite to win RG, but it is going to be much tougher if he meets Djokovic in the final.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 04:35:52 PM by Alex »

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2011, 04:33:41 PM »
I'd be interested in hearing the supporters of the ' declining BH' theory describe the technical breakdown of the stroke in comparison to a time when it was allegedly effective.  That should be simple enough to describe and for him to correct.

I like that monster is holding strong on his position. :good:

Conventional wisdom says "weak backhand." But it's exactly that, conventional wisdom.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 04:34:20 PM by Babblelot »
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Offline monstertruck

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2011, 04:51:56 PM »
The BH hasn't changed, it's the fact that Nole is putting him out of position and robbing him of time.  To some, that may appear as though the stroke itself has changed.  A quick look at his other matches over the past 2 months shows ZERO technical change in his BH.  There was a slight tactical change in the last match against Nole in an attempt to regain POSITION & TIME.  He tried playing the ball higher over the net which also gave a bit more depth.  To me it appeared to be unsuccessful as he was unable to regain a NEUTRAL POSITION after this shot.  Nole just punished this tactical error. 

I would much rather see Raf play more drop shots and move Nole North & South instead of East & West.  Nole's defensive skills have improved considerably and he plays quite well side to side.  Forcing him to play a variety of balls at different heights in addition to forcing the lateral movement would give Nole a more complex puzzle to solve instead of just thumping away.

Come to think of it, that's been the main reason I wasn't a Nadal fan. ;-()
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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2011, 04:55:54 PM »
The BH hasn't changed, it's the fact that Nole is putting him out of position and robbing him of time.  To some, that may appear as though the stroke itself has changed.  A quick look at his other matches over the past 2 months shows ZERO technical change in his BH.  There was a slight tactical change in the last match against Nole in an attempt to regain POSITION & TIME.  He tried playing the ball higher over the net which also gave a bit more depth.  To me it appeared to be unsuccessful as he was unable to regain a NEUTRAL POSITION after this shot.  Nole just punished this tactical error. 

I would much rather see Raf play more drop shots and move Nole North & South instead of East & West.  Nole's defensive skills have improved considerably and he plays quite well side to side.  Forcing him to play a variety of balls at different heights in addition to forcing the lateral movement would give Nole a more complex puzzle to solve instead of just thumping away.

Come to think of it, that's been the main reason I wasn't a Nadal fan. ;-()

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Offline falcon

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Re: Rafa's game plan against Djokovic
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2011, 04:57:39 PM »

"a killer of a..."

BHDTL...


What's up with this jibber-jab jive Canadian English?

ok I was lazy to say back hand down the line (now I get it....the north americans are plain lazy  :rofl_2: :rofl_2:) Alright I shall be more refined now  :)~


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