Thursday, 16 August 2012

Federer, Nadal...

Two sparking performances from Fed at Cincy put him within touching distance of holding the top ranking during Flushing Meadows. That 300 weeks at number one is tantalisingly close. At 291 weeks, the total already looks unbeatable, a fitting monument to the finest player seen on Earth thus far.
Fed's opponent today, Tomic, showed in flashes why some think very highly of him. The big serve, the flashing forehand. In reality, unless he works arse-whippingly hard over the next year or two, he can't and won't rise higher than number ten. His footwork is shabby and the second serve bland. Not good enough. As John Hovis has said before, the boy Raonic is the one to watch...

Now; Nadal. Acres of pixels have been exercised over the past few days on this. John Hovis will now twiddle with a few of them himself.
Nadal could well be finished (I don't think so). Brad Gilbert has suggested that it has been known for some time that Rafa needs an operation which Uncle Toni doesn't want him to have. Circumstances have now railed against Rafa which will mean a long recovery period. Don't expect to see Rafa play with intent until next year's clay season.
What will this mean in the long term? I feel that Rafa will now focus on the clay, with a view to effectively wrapping up the season at Wimbledon. To keep the ATP happy (who will not allow a part-time player) Rafa will chuck in a few performances at strategic times of the year. The harsh realities would suggest that Rafa's body can't take the punishment of sliding and stamping on hard courts any longer. The grinding has finally caught up with him. The effects of style can clearly be seen comparing Rafa to Fed. Fed's movement is light; he dances around the court. Rafa rampages and screeches around. The physical impact is translucent and a stark warning for Djokovic.
 What can't be forgotten is that injuries will be harder to recover from in future for Nadal, as will the lengthy lay off. The effects on Delpo from his long term wrist injury can still be viewed. Nadal will be 27 next year. Can he come back? Will the long term health implications force his early retirement?
I'm too scared to write him off. Perhaps it's time for him to listen to his body and not burden himself with terrible future physical problems. He will also have to weigh up the possibility that not being able to play the game in his traditional manner will result in a sharp decline of performance and results.

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