More predictions and other stuff from today’s news.
Nadal may have something up his sleeve – the most interesting article of this bunch.
Toni believes that they have found the right formula for playing on faster surfaces — staying closer to the baseline, flattening out the forehand a little more, and taking the ball earlier and out in front. Tinkering has become limited and the focus is largely on execution. “The only question is to be in top form, nothing else,” he said.
That burden of performance falls squarely on Nadal’s now-sleeved shoulders. While Toni unquestionably remains the head coach, he is giving his nephew increasingly more freedom to run his own life.
An evolution in his role was inevitable as the years go by, Toni observes. “With my son, I changed,” he said. “A son of 2, 3, 5 years — you have a [certain type of] relationship. When the son is 15, it’s different.”
“Rafael was with me when he was 3 years old. And the kind of relationship is different is than before. Now he is an old man!” he added, laughing. “Before I was so much [more] strict. Now no more.”
Q. You’ve been the chaser the last three years behind Roger. Now you are the person that people are going to chase. Does that change anything in your approach, how you look at it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, probably in three months I asked this question 100 times (smiling). For me, one number doesn’t change nothing, no? I was very happy be No. 2. I am very happy, for sure, be No. 1. But every year when I was No. 2, right now I start the season No. 1, every year the season start from zero from everybody, no? That’s my feeling. Start the new season, my goal is still the same like before.
I don’t know, later you gonna ask me if the pression is different. For me, no, the pression is the same because the goals is still the same. I try to improve my tennis because I still very young. I only have 22. Try to continue be in the top positions and try to continuing win tournaments. That’s the three goals.
In 2008, Spaniard Rafael Nadal became the first left-hander to finish No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1984. He also became the first Spaniard in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973) to finish No. 1. The 22-year-old was the first man to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980. He won an ATP-best eight titles in 10 finals and compiled an 82-11 match record. He advanced to the semi-finals or better in all four Grand Slam tournaments for the first time in his career, reaching the semis at the Australian Open and the US Open. He helped his native country to the Davis Cup title although he missed the final (along with the Tennis Masters Cup) with tendinitis in his right knee.
The Spaniard also has something else in his favour: one of the fiercest competitive streaks in modern sport
If his lack of a title in Oz has shown us anything, it’s that Nadal is a momentum player who is at his best when he’s got a few wins under his belt, not when he’s starting from scratch.