Rafael Nadal Struggles to Play His Natural Game Against Roger Federer

Australian Open 2017

The ‘Big Three’ have become representatives of tennis for more than fifteen years now. Either of the three, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are dwelling on the World Number one ranking of the ATP tennis since 2004 (barring the period when Andy Murray was ranked World Number one in 2016 for 41 weeks). 

The head to head clashes between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer records to 23-15, between Djokovic and Federer is 25-22 and between Djokovic and Nadal is 28-25. By analyzing these figures, the Spaniard, Rafael Nadal holds a prolific record of winning matches against the Swiss ace and the Serb, but however, Nadal has lost to Federer over their past six meetings. 

Indian Wells 2017: Rafael Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the fourth round
Indian Wells 2017: Rafael Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the fourth round

Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal revealed Djokovic to be a tougher foe for the Spaniard relative to Federer. “The most complicated was Djokovic”, Toni Nadal addresses the Spanish editorial, El Confidencial. “At least to me. I always felt that, if Djokovic played well, he would have been very tough to beat, more than Federer. He was doing everything well, he was able to attack and defend at a very high level. He was always very competitive. I wanted the maximum from Rafael.”

Toni Nadal also spoke about Federer’s revamped game strategics after the 37-year-old’s resurgence in the year 2017. Post Federer’s revival, as the Swiss started playing tennis with a different dimension, Toni Nadal believes that Rafael Nadal strives to be organic on the tennis courts against the Swiss master. 

Federer’s reconditioned single-handed backhand both down the line and crosscourt has resulted adversely for Rafael Nadal. Even Federer credits his ameliorated backhand for his victories over Nadal during big matches. Also, Federer has switched playing with a 97-inch racquet from 90-inch one. It has enabled him to serve and defend better and also it has established greater control over his shots.

Shanghai Masters 2017: Rafael Nadal lost to Roger Federer
Shanghai Masters 2017: Rafael Nadal lost to Roger Federer

In their past three meetings on the Masters courts, Rafael Nadal was thrashed in straight sets by the World Number Four tennis professional. Moreover, Federer is vigilant when it comes to committing unforced errors during matches and that halts Rafael Nadal from winning points.   

“For a long time, Federer’s game was comfortable to Rafael. But Federer changed tactics. He turned more aggressive and he made the game is quicker, not allowing Rafa to play his tennis. Rafael needs time to win points. Federer goes at a very high rhythm, accepting that he can make mistakes. But he makes less unforced errors than the rest and so it depends on him,” Toni Nadal mentioned.