Nadal in action at Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal‘s prowess on clay court needn’t be said more as the Spaniard has done most of the damage throughout his illustrious career on clay by ammassing 13 French Open titles and an Open Era record of 62 titles on the red dirt.
Speaking on what makes Nadal so good on claycourt, Hubert Hurkacz‘s coach Craig Boynton said that Nadal’s ability to transition from defense to offense, forehand and his movement stood out.
“You’ve got to be able to transition from defense to offense and and offense to defense is the short answer. When you watch Rafa, he played way behind the baseline, and then he will hit a ball and quickly establish the middle of the court with the forehand to get on the offense. Don’t watch the ball, watch the court position of each player.”
Rafael Nadal is yet to participate in any claycourt tournaments this year due a rib injury he picked at Indian Wells, with the Spaniard just getting back to training.
“If it was there, he would take it.” – Boynton on how Rafael Nadal’s health will impact the way he plays on clay this year
Nadal in action against Novak Djokovic at the 2021 French Open
Boynton also spoke about how Rafael Nadal’s health is something that needs to be monitored as he might try to quicken the points rather than stretch into long rallies like he used to. Boynton continued:
“Basically we will see how he is with his health and where he is, but normally, if you look at the prototypical clay courter back him in his day, I mean, if it was there, he would take it. If it is not there, he would just hit the forehand heavy to get the ball to the strike zone and now his opponent has to move back, let the ball drop so he is giving up space and time and then if he drops it short, Rafa or good clay courters will then be happy to take that time and space and get their opponent on the defense or push him back and hit the drop shot.”
After the final against Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal spoke about how he was struggling to breathe due to the rib injury and has been sidelined ever since. Nadal will want to get a couple of tournaments under his belt before the French Open begins and will likely participate in Madrid and Rome Masters.