Quotable Quotes: Next you’d be telling me he needs a singlehanded backhand.

It must be a tough time for Nadal fans to be in their favourite part of the season and yet, torn between genuine concerns, disappointment, optimism, faith and at times, sheer defiance. But as I alluded to a few posts back, as a Federer fan, it’s been both frustrating and amusing to see the cyclical nature of the discourse on Nadal and Federer.

Just as I drew a parallel between Nadal’s 2011 and Federer’s 2008, I feel like the same headlines that were used on Federer just last year have now become part of the media attention surrounding Nadal: “Old Boss, New Boss” you say? And more amusingly “McEnroe: Nadal must change his game”.

Oh mah-GAH! Nadal must change his game?!

Excuse me while I lapse into a reflection on the profound cyclical nature of tennis as the microcosm of life, or something equally pretentious.

Yes, JMac. Just because ONE guy got such a giant boner from winning the Davis Cup last year and refused to lose for another 5 months, Rafael Nadal must change his game. Never mind the fact that whatever terribly loserish game Nadal now has still works against 99 out of the top 100 on the ATP World Tour.

What next? Should Rafa play right handed? Develop a singlehanded backhand? Marry Xisca and start popping out twin mangoes ASAP?

To be fair to JMac, it was a rather dramatic headline to some undramatic suggestions that Nadal revamp his game plan against Djokovic, namely to get Djokovic on the defence and prevent him from dictating play.

Yeah. I’m sure that’s … err … helpful. Especially when Djokovic is defending as well as Nadal these days, and plays a naturally more aggressive, faster and flatter game.

But I’ll let you be the judge of it all. It’s not in fact a bad read, even if I do keep bursting out into operatic renditions of the Lion King soundtrack worthy of any good shower in the world.

Hakuna matata, I say. Hakuna matata!

xx doots

John McEnroe believes that Rafael Nadal will have to change his tactics if he faces Novak Djokovic at the French Open, which begins on Sunday. Nadal, who can meet Djokovic only in the final in Paris, had not lost on clay for nearly two years until he was beaten by the Serb in successive Masters Series finals this month in Madrid and Rome.

“Rafa’s going to have to think about changing some of the ideas he may have had before the last couple of matches,” McEnroe said yesterday. “In particular he might have to take a few more chances and try to get Djokovic on the defensive a little bit more.

“It appeared that he was allowing Djokovic to dictate play and was banking on him missing and not being consistent enough. It seemed like he was getting pushed around too much. I’m sure his camp is going to go back to the drawing board and try to make it harder for Novak to step in and be as aggressive as he’s been the last couple of weeks.”

“Nadal came off one of the greatest years in Open tennis history and now all of a sudden he finds himself befuddled and baffled at what to do when he plays against Djokovic. I think this is an exciting time for our sport.”


15 responses to “Quotable Quotes: Next you’d be telling me he needs a singlehanded backhand.”

  1. Marie says :

    I hope Wogie stuns them all and ends up raining on their “dream final” parade. Wogie has yet to face the new and improved Djoker on clay. He may just surprise even Johnny Mac and you too Dootz.

    • dootsiez says :

      Oh I hope he surprises me. But my modest expectations are semifinals or better. The game changer should be Wimbledon, I think.

  2. steve says :

    Nadal doesn’t have ideas, and he doesn’t need them, because he has unlimited strength and stamina.

    He was always absolutely sure he could outlast his opponents, that’s where his confidence and vaunted “mental strength” stemmed from. He never worried about court positioning (he can retrieve from anywhere, even from way back where the fans are sitting), or tiring (he never does) or injury, despite his many ostensible crises (his game is no less hard charging than ever and he shows no hesitation in going for everything).

    If you don’t have to worry about any of those things, you can just put the blinders on and keep grinding until your opponent is either exhausted or mentally worn down.

    Now that he’s met an opponent with equal stamina and a technically superior, more aggressive game, he’s at a loss. And I think it will be much harder for him to find a response that doesn’t involve getting stronger again.

    Don’t count out our favorite product of Switzerland, either. The next Grand Slam final he makes, he will win. And I hope against hope it’s this one.

    • dootsiez says :

      Spot on in terms of the two major advantages Nadal has over his opponents – ability to outlast mentally and physically, and movement. Djokovic has taken those two edges out of the equation with improved mentality, movement and physical fitness.

      As for Woger, we’ll see. I’m done with blind optimism. Semifinals or better would be ideal going into Wimbledon.

  3. marcoiac says :

    Giant boner? 😀

    I don’t really care about Rafa, even though I’ll make a comment in passing: moonballing ain’t a plan, it’s just pathetic.

    What I do care, is that a certain Swiss maestro slices and dices, chip-and-charges, serve-and-volleys, is on the constant attack, his nose on the net. He clearly can’t beat those two guys on consistency and dogged retrieving, and he can’t even beat them with a power baseline game. Go back to your roots, Fed, save the game from drugged 20-something hit rallies that exhaust the mind of the viewer even before they exhaust the body of the players

    • dootsiez says :

      You want him to slice and dice, chip and charge, serve and volley on CLAY?!

      • Marcoiac says :

        Yes! He won’t beat Rafa and Djioko from baseline. Unless he gets them poisoned. A couple of guys went really close to win RG with S&V, and Fed is better equipped than them. So, if he wants to win, and he’s not delusionally thinking he can win from baseline against the top 2 seeds, he needs to do what I said. Unless he’s resigned to lose, there is no other choice.

  4. pban says :

    why not ?he is not and never was as consistent as rafa or nole from the back but i think marcoiac is thinking of Wimby and the US open….RG I am just hoping to wake up and find it is over.

    • Marcoiac says :

      I am thinking any surface. From now on, if he wants to win, he needs to play old fashion all attack tennis. He can. Yes he can.

  5. dari says :

    The giant boner- ha!
    Well its not as bad as the headline suggests,.Rafa does need to change something to beat djokovic and it doesn’t have to be drastic, but must NOT include moonballing on the backhand!
    I agree with marc, fed’s.gotta mix it up if he wants a.chance. I imagine that’s how Murray got closer shot at beating novak- that and his incredible lungs and legs.
    Well anyway, I’m waiting for the Rog sneak attack while everyone is worried about Rafa and novak. RG or Wimbledon- either will do 🙂

  6. flo says :

    word. too much talking. just 5 months ago, distinguished legends as Martina were giving Nadal the next five years.

  7. pban says :

    just goes to show how life throws up curve balls all the time…..someone up there has a sick sense of humour. The only thing you can predict is that it is going to be totally unpredictable.As for these experts,they are the most ridiculous bunch of morons …is it so necessary to put your foot in your mouth everytime a question is asked??

    • dootsiez says :

      As long as they keep generating headlines like this, they’ll keep getting asked to comment and they’ll keep answering.

      It’s a vicious cycle of crap.

  8. Katarina_YYZ says :

    JMac has a point. Rafa was just moonballing towards the end in Rome… pretty sad. Not sad for me, though, 😛 He could use a better serve, too. (what of that US Open serve that abruptly appeared, and just as abruptly disappeared?)

    Good luck to Roger at RG! 😀

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