Since Nadal puts SO MUCH muscular effort into every shot, he needs and wants the maximum time to transpire between plays, so he can fully recover and get his total strength. Therefore he pushes the allowable time between plays, even at the cost of warnings and the occasional infraction. So, good for him. That's his style. That works for him.
That said, Nadal's style and all his time-delaying ceremonies (like carefully lining up the water bottles and drinking from each of them), inevitably comes into conflict with other styles that flow a little bit faster.
No one style should have all the extra priviliges. The weather has exaggerated that contrast.
Why is the story Nadal, Nadal, Nadal? It wasn't easy to be in Soderling's position either either.
(Now I'm going to read those interviews)
You've said it right here.
But I don't think you've got the reason Nadal takes so much time right. I don't think he does it to recover from the effort he takes to win points. I think he does it because he has to do it. He has to do all those little things to get the mojo right (to take a little turn from Roddick).
We've seen this kind of thing in other athletes. Nomar Garciapara is a good example. His pre at bat ritual is incredible. Everyone has seen him with his approach to the plate, and his tightening of each batting glove a certain number of times (7 I think). His tapping each toes a certain number of times. He goes up and down the dugout steps touching each step with both feet every time. But as he is standing in batter's box waiting to hit he goes through an amazing array of hand gestures on the bat and waving his hands in front of his eyes. It's fascinating. Why? Some of those things are part of things that help him prepare (like waving his hands in front of his eyes to stimulate them), others are things that have developed along the way as superstitions. Perhaps one day he was mired in a a long slump and he decided to go up the steps touching each one with both feet and got a double. So from that point on he went up the steps the same way. The same with many of the other gestures. They've just gotten piled on to one another.
I think a similar thing is happening with Nadal. One day he put his water bottle just so, and he felt great. So he contiues to do it. One day he was a little uncomfortable, and adjusted his jock strap, and played great. He associates that with feeling good so he has to do all those things to feel right. These rituals are to the point of superstitions.
But tennis isn't Nadal's game. It's not all about him. There are rules that govern the amount of time a player can take between points, and he breaks that rule all the time. He makes his opponenet do everything first to take volleys. He will outwait them so that they have to go on court first, the umpire goes out to flip the coin and you will see his opponent and the ump waiting for Nadal as he fiddles with his stuff. He makes his opponent come to the net first. He makes his opponent come out and wait for him after changeovers. It's possible this is also something that just makes him feel 'right'. But it means that he is constantly getting under the skin of his opponent, and he is constantly breaking the time rules.
I've seen plenty of his opponents get up to the line to serve and then back off because Nadal isn't ready yet. I watched as Agassi played him at Wimbledon. In the first set Agassi got into his ready postion for the return when Nadal got to the line. And stayed the while Nadal did his little dance. By the third set Agassi had gotten a better read on Nadal's habits and just stood back until he felt Nadal was going to actualy go ahead and serve. Then he got down into his return stance.
These kind of things bug players to no end because they are creatures of habit too. But Nadal's habits always mess with theirs. He trumps them everytime. Their rhythm is put off. Their mojo is off.