“Physically Punishes You”: Tennis Legend Details What Separates Rafael Nadal From Federer and Djokovic on Clay

Published 04/24/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea


World No.3 Rafael Nadal didn’t have a great start in this 2021 clay-court season. The ‘King of Clay’ lost to Andrey Rublev in the quarters of the Monte Carlo Masters 2021 and didn’t look in great form. Following that, he had a tough start in Barcelona and survived two close matches there as well.

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Even though Rafael Nadal didn’t have an ideal start this time, Patrick McEnroe believes he can still turn it around. In a recent interview, the former tennis player mentioned that the longer Rafa plays on clay, the more dangerous he becomes on the surface.

“The longer it goes on clay the better he gets and the more devastating he is,” said McEnroe in the interview.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second-round match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The former American player even claimed that nobody can match the level of punishment that Nadal gives to his opponents while playing on clay. He even cited that Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer can punish their counterparts as well. However, he stated that they too can’t match Rafa’s level on clay.

“The other two [Federer and Djokovic] will beat the crap out of you. But not in anything like the same way Rafa physically punishes you on clay,” added the 2-time French Open champion.

Patrick McEnroe gives insight into what helps Rafael Nadal to succeed at the US Open

Apart from winning 13 French Open titles, the Spaniard has also enjoyed success at the US Open. He has won 4 US Open titles in his career so far and recently won the Grand Slam in 2019.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina on day ten of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 04, 2019, in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Chaz Niell/Getty Images)

Keeping this in mind, McEnroe disclosed what really helps Rafa to succeed at the Flushing Meadows. He stated that the ball on the hard courts at the US Open bounces really well and Rafa’s topspin is quite effective against them.

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“The ball in New York, on those courts and in that heat, tends to really jump up. So Nadal’s topspin is really effective,” concluded the 54-year-old.

Rafael Nadal is currently playing at the Barcelona Open 2021. He will face Pablo Carreno Busta in the semi-finals of the tournament today. Will Rafa be able to march to the final today and then conquer Barcelona for the 12th time this year?

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DIVE DEEPER

Barcelona Open 2021 Semifinal: Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreno Busta Preview, Head-to-Head & Prediction

21 days ago

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Anshul Singh

820 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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