Rafael Nadal conquered just a few days ago #21 Grand Slam title, which leads him to lead the historical championship account. An overwhelming and almost unthinkable success back in 2015 and 2016, when the player from Manacor experienced a small physical, tennis and mental downturn that kept him from the great performance of his older peers. Many ruled him out, due to age and form, for the highest level tournaments for the future, but Rafa knew how to recycle himself perfectly and add new edges to his tennis, adapting to the passing of time and, above all, to his own physique, which no longer allowed him to win “by crushing” as in his most explosive times. But,what factor has been key for Rafa to continue winning on hard courts, even more so at 35 years old?
The arrival of Carlos Moya it changed everything. He injected Rafa with a new voice in his team and encouraged him and helped him improve in aspects that had clearly affected his performance. One of them was the serve, easily attackable by some of the best returners on the circuit, who were living their best tennis era in those years (Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray) and who found a real gold mine in the service of the Balearic Islands. All that changed with improved mechanics, much more aggressive thinking and later positioning that urged Rafa to take the initiative on every point. This gradual and progressive improvement explains Nadal’s successive successes on the hard court, with titles at the US Open… and now, also, at the Open de Australia 2022.
Because beyond the 11 double faults against Shapovalov, Rafa’s performance at service in Melbourne has been the great key factor that has led him to triumph once again, to be able to keep up with the pace of games that previously eluded him and to recycle his game, making it cleaner and more adaptable to speeds and short points of the present. So, in our latest Youtube video we put the magnifying glass on those improvements to Rafa’s serve: how has he increased the speed on his second serves? How does his performance in this tournament compare to other dominating weeks like the 2019 US Open? Is this the best version of Nadal’s serve? Come and see if you want to see how Nadal has managed to turn the game board around. We read you in comments!