Rafael Nadal became the protagonist of a fabulous start to the season.
Former world No. 25 Mischa Zverev described Andy Murray’s shots as “relatively straight” and suggested he had no problems when he faced the Briton at the 2017 Australian Open.
In the 2017 Australian Open Round of 16, Zverev stunned then-World No. 1 Murray, beating the Briton 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. Murray knew exactly what Zverev was going to do before each point, but even so he couldn’t get past the German, who came up to the net on practically every point. A few weeks earlier, in Brisbane, Zverev lost 6-1, 6-1 to Rafael Nadal.
Reflecting on those two matches, Zverev said that Nadal had “19 different ways” to pass him at the net. “Murray can’t speed up,” Zverev recently told Tennis Magazin. “That sounds strange for a player of his class, but he doesn’t have the train in his arms like Rafa or Federer or even a Jack Sock.
He had played Rafa in Brisbane the week before and lost one and one. He had no chance. He could pass me 19 different ways. I couldn’t read the punches from him. They were too fast and they also had topspin, so sometimes it felt like he was flying into the net.
But still he fell to the bottom. Murray’s forehand and backhand are relatively straight.” Zverev faced Nadal three times and each time he suffered a loss in straight sets. Nadal is one of the best players in the history of tennis and Zverev believes that Nadal’s ability to surprise his opponents at key moments is one of the reasons for his success.
“Rafa constantly analyzes the game and knows when it is convenient to create moments of surprise.”
Barbara Schett praises Rafa Nadal
A fully fit Rafael Nadal will be dangerous at the US Open despite his stuttering return to action at the Western & Southern Open, according to tennis analyst Barbara Schett.
“Don’t forget that was his first match since that injury,” she said on Eurosport. “The match is always different from practice. And whoever had an abdominal injury and a tear on the abdominal muscles knows how it feels.
You have to be extremely cautious. You’re worried that you’re going to reinjure it again. And I think that’s what we’ve seen on Wednesday. When he played against Coric, he was a little bit uncertain how the body was going to hold up.
And for sure he’s going to feel better and better. If there’s no damage to the abdominal muscle, then he still has a week and a half to improve his health, to improve the trust also that he can extend and he can’t bend on the serve because that’s the trickiest shot, the serve and the smash.
When that is the case, Rafa Nadal certainly can be dangerous again at the US Open. I mean, he’s so fired up at every single Grand Slam. We’ve seen this year playing the best tennis of his life. You can never, ever write him off”.