Nadal is probably feeling a bit mentally tired at the moment. He had to conjure
something special to win the French Open, and that effort may have cost him
something in the short term. Going from Paris straight to Queen's is inhuman -
never more so than when you've won at Roland Garros.
urgently needed a break from competition. As soon as he feels fresh again
mentally, he will begin to realise how much he has accomplished, and that will fill
him with confidence.
French Open is the biggest goal of his season, and Nadal was rocked by the idea
that the tournament could get away from him this year. By winning it, a weight
has been lifted.
think he dealt with the pressure pretty well. By telling the media he was playing
badly and wouldn't be able to win the event he managed to drag expectations
back to a reasonable level - and of course, in the end he won.
Wimbledon, Nadal will find his aggression, his length, and his touch once
obstacle remaining for him is Novak Djokovic. I'm not talking in terms of the
world ranking - the Spaniard is already convinced that he'll lose that top spot
- and mathematically it's almost sure to happen in the next couple of months.
The real issue is that despite the French Open win, he hasn't solved the issue
of how to beat the Serb in a match.
feeling of helplessness, the sense that he cannot find a way to victory - it's
a problem Rafa has never had against any opponent before.
has the answer to Nadal's best weapon - he can prevent Rafa from causing mayhem
with the forehand. In contrast to Roger Federer, Nole is not troubled on the
backhand when he has to play from above-shoulder height, and when Nadal is
refusing to trade diagonally (his backhand against Djokovic's forehand) he goes
for a neutral shot and more often than not Djokovic's power punishes him.
pointed it out before, but by taking balls so early Djokovic also doesn't
suffer against Nadal's topspin, and because he's prepared to play a little
further forward in the court he deprives Rafa of time. Novak's forehand is
neutralising Rafa's forehand - and his backhand neturalises Nadal's.
leaves Nadal at a tactical dead-end - and with Djokovic possessing very few
flaws, Nadal's search for an answer is harder than ever.
maybe the fact that Nadal already has the prize he wants - the French Open - he
might just find that answer without the pressure on his shoulders.