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Frontier Nadal is yet to cross – the one that can drastically change his plans / goals.

Posted by tennisplanet on July 8, 2010

With what we know today, specially after Wimbledon, there’s no doubt that there’s ABSOLUTELY no one who can now stop Nadal – at least on two surfaces – other than his knees. Even if he fails to master the US Open surface, we know he has won the AO once – beating Federer in his prime. If that’s primarily attributed to the rest from the off-season, producing a similar hiatus between now and the US Open could realistically change course allowing him to dominate EVERY surface. Translation: It’s come down to how masterfully he can manage his body and schedule essentially eliminating the competition from the equation. Or has it?

There’s still one stone rolling around who hasn’t had his say yet – a stone that cannot be brushed aside definitively even based on Nadal’s current form. Have a clue? No, you don’t!!!!!

Heard of some guy who has defeated Nadal the last three times they have met – two of them in straight sets? Score? 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. 7-5, 6-1. 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Even though Nadal has been able to master both Soderling and Berdych – miniature forms of this giant – Nadal cannot still claim to clear the landscape of ALL worthy opponents as long this guy is lurking. Del Potro anybody? Last time Nadal beat him was in 2007.

Unless Del Potro makes the blunder of prematurely returning to the tour before the wrist injury heals completely, Nadal’s clear path to being home free will forever remain ‘thwarted’ unless proven otherwise. Del Potro is way way way ahead of both Soderling and Berdych – combined – in his ability to unleash shots Nadal cannot handle even if they are coming straight into his strike zone. Del Potro’s game is the ideal mismatch for Nadal turning Nadal’s strengths into liabilities – instantly.

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14 Responses to “Frontier Nadal is yet to cross – the one that can drastically change his plans / goals.”

  1. Blake said

    Pfft. Nadal was suffering from the beginning of the knee letdown when he lost – in 3 sets – to Del Potro in (miami?) last year. Then, lost in his early comeback trip to him in Canada (remember, he lost to a few people last yr as he was trying to regain his form). As for the U.S.O, it was the muscle tear…

    So Del Potro has yet to beat a fully healthy, non-tired Nadal… when that happens, I’ll give him his due. Til then…

    • Somebody Else said

      hmm, that’s what they all say. 😉
      If he’s too tired, or too injured, doesn’t the fitter player deserve his win?

      • Blake said

        Sure. And he won the match – credit too him. But TP’s essentially asking the question as to whether JMDP is going to be a roadblock in his future, and I’ve yet to see any solid proof this is going to happen.

        It’s like Nadal vs Federer, but the opposite. You can say ‘Fed had a mono year or blah blah blah’ in terms of times maybe 1 or 2 occasions where Nadal beat him. But Nadal has been whooping Fed since his prime in 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 and now, 2010. Before Nadal’s troubles last year, it was Nadal taking out Del Potro in 4 consecutive matches, no sets dropped.

        So let’s hold off on this discussion until el Potty takes out Nadal 64 64 76 76 97 in the next wimbledon final, ok? 😛

      • Somebody Else said

        Blake, I understand your perspective on this issue in terms of achievement, but I’m just addressing your response regarding the injury/fitness matter.

        “…or blah blah blah…”
        — ah, I see now.

  2. Sarah said

    I wonder if ‘a healthy’ Del Potro will play at the US Open. Hope so, he has a title to defend.

  3. Bettyjane said

    I read last May a Reuters piece where he said he would NOT be defending his title Sarah. He said that the Paris Open indoor tournament in November was a realistic comeback target. This is great news for Rafa.

  4. Bobby said

    Remember that Nadal still leads their head to head 4-3.Last year Nadal was playing so short,that it was easy for delpo to blast shots.Now Nadal plays differently.If nadal keeps up this form,it will be difficult for delpo to beat Nadal.

  5. banti said

    Rafa’s recent hard court results, I mean recent people (Late November to just days before his dominant clay court season run in April):

    Matches against top ten players/ WINS : 6/0
    Sets WON / played : 2/15

    He lost like 11 straight sets in 4 matches to top ten players at one point I think. When has Fed ever done that? I think possibly never.

    I agree a healthy Potro will make it hard for Rafa to win games let alone sets (bc of the match up problem) but feel Rafa will have enough problems without him on this surface.

    • banti said

      Another stat to put prematurely in your record books: When Rafa loses in the semi’s or prior of this hard court slam It will be his third consecutive hard court slam he gives an excuse of injury for his loss.

    • BonnyBee said

      There was one astonishing year (I think 2004?) in which Federer did not lose to a top 10 player. Streak of 26 consecutive victories over top 10 was ended by Safin at that AO SF.

    • ricky said

      they just need to change the surface so Nadal can win there too!
      And just realize that it took a year (if ever) for Del Potro to recover from beating Federer, shouldn’t we count records like this one as well? Who is hurting most his/her adversaries? For how long?

  6. Andy said

    I don’t think it will necessarily be one guy who stops Rafa. If indeed he is stopped, I think it might be a tournament, namely, the US Open. That’s the “last frontier” for Rafa, and so far it has been a variety of guys who have stopped him there (Delpo. Murray, Youzny, Ferrer, Blake).

    Having said that, I think it is just as crazy to count him out at the USO as it is to automatically assume that he is going to end with 4 Wimbys, 4 more FOs and 2 or 3 more AOs.

    He obviously has a solid chance at the USO at some point. Personally, I hope he doesn’t win it, or at least has to wait a few years, not only because I am not a fan of his, but because I think it would be an exciting storyline in the years come – the one biggie that eludes him, as the French was for Mac, etc – and Fed til 2009, Wimby for Lendl and the USO for Borg.

  7. Chris said

    Correction. Last time Nadal beat him was 09 Indian Wells 6-2, 6-4

  8. Ash said

    Don’t underestimate Nadal as a tactician. He, together with his team can figure out a way of beating anyone – including Del Potro (who would need to play himself into major form anyway just to have a chance of defending his title – which is a pity). It’s also Nadals mental strength, his will to win, that sets him apart from all his peers. I cannot see any player stopping him taking the USO. Knees permitting he is only now entering into his prime – thats the scary part!

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