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If Andy wants to beat Rafa consistently he needs to treat him like he does Djoko

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ChrisMac
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 Nice post Teejay!  clap
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tamila
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Great post, TJ.  Exactly my thoughts.
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janscribe
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Mine too TJ - well said.
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OldScotSupport
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Wow, TJ! I don't think anyone can better your comments. Well expressed
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Alis
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As usual TJ, you've managed to hit the nail right on the head - well said!
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laundry
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What I think Andy has done, which to my mind helps him with any opponent, is win the battle with himself. Take that semi at Wimbledon in 2011 for example. Was it me or was Andy playing that first set with a 'Do not make a mistake, do not miss', attitude? Well, for a while it worked. Andy was a set and a break up when he missed a forehand. Andy got down on himself. He made another error. He got more down on himself. From then on Nadal must have thought all his birthdays and Christmases had come at once. Andy began to lose his grip on the match and Nadal took control. Nadal won in four, and I have to say I was gutted. I honestly felt Andy had lost the match between the ears as much as with his game, perhaps more so.
I think the exact opposite. Andy was playing the 1st set highly aggressive and it was some of the best tennis he has ever played, Nadal was playing really well in that 1st set as well. Then in the 2nd Nadal started playing out of this world as he often does against Andy, and Andy wound up making a few UEs with his aggressive play because Nadal was getting everything back but over-all Andy was playing very well in that 2nd set still. In the 3rd and 4th sets Andy continued to play very aggressive (in fact over-all I think it is the most out and out aggressive match I think I have ever seen Andy play) but his level dropped a bit and he started making UEs as you should somewhat expect considering how aggressive her was being, Nadal also possibly started playing even better; I felt overall Andy had no chance in that match with Nadal playing at the level he was - no way did I see Andy sustaining the level he showed in that 1st set and even if he did Nadal probably stepped his own game up to that level as well. Andy said in interviews afterwards that he was too aggressive in that match it was the wrong approach to it, he should have stopped pressing so much after the 2nd set.

The stats alone show how good Nadal was on that day, I don't think people quite realize how well he played:

Murray Nadal
15 Aces 6
135mph Fastest serve 128mph
58.00% 1st serves 68.00%
73.00% 1st serve win% 81.00%
49.00% 2nd serve win% 58.00%
5 Double faults 1
37 Winners 42
39 Unforced errors 7
1/4 Break pts 5/8

7 UEs in a 4 set match against Andy, 7! I challenge you to find a better UE stats than that for any match played against Andy, Nadal or Djokovic in the past 5 years. I think I recall Nadal made about 3 or 4 UEs in the 1st set, then 0 UE's in the 2nd set (I wonder why Andy lost that one?) and 1 or 2 apiece in the 3rd and 4th sets. To put it in perspective Andy made 21 UEs against Djokovic in that 3 set win. I think Andy's UE count was like 2 in the 1st set, then 5 or 6 in the 2nd set and then he started making quite a lot in the 3rd and 4th.

However looking at things now the game has moved on, I've seen Djokovic putting in sublime performances week in week out to the level that Nadal was displaying in that match - at time it seemed more impressive because quality like that wasn't as common place like it is now. In consideration for the match-up at present, I think they will be on more of a level playing field because Nadal's game has dipped a little from it's best and Andy's has improved that extra 10 or 15% he was looking for since 2011, it will certainly be interesting to watch when they are paired up again.
[ Last edit by laundry July 17, 2013, 02:11 PM ] IP Logged
Grabcopy
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They haven't played since Tokyo in 2011, when Murray thrashed him, allowing Rafa only four points in the third set. I don't see Nadal as a factor now, except on clay.
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OldScotSupport
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They haven't played since Tokyo in 2011, when Murray thrashed him, allowing Rafa only four points in the third set. I don't see Nadal as a factor now, except on clay.

Am I correct in recalling that the 4 points Nadal won were achieved from Andy's UEs?
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ProdigyEng
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They haven't played since Tokyo in 2011, when Murray thrashed him, allowing Rafa only four points in the third set. I don't see Nadal as a factor now, except on clay.

He will be a factor on slow hard court also.
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teejay1
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They haven't played since Tokyo in 2011, when Murray thrashed him, allowing Rafa only four points in the third set. I don't see Nadal as a factor now, except on clay.

That's right. I was going to mention Tokyo myself, but decided to stick to the slams.

Andy was superb that day, recovering from a bad start so well. He was out of this world in the third set. I've got the match, but I'd forgotten Nadal won just four points in the third.

I wonder just how much Nadal will be a factor beyond the clay. I know he won Indian Wells this year, which, of course, is hard, but I really do wonder how he will handle a sustained period on the hard, even if they are slow. I still can't get over how dreadful his movement was at Wimbledon. I felt a bit sorry for him.
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laundry
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I wish I could watch that SF again though, I want to compare how good Nadal was to the level that Djokovic has been doing.
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teejay1
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I think the exact opposite. Andy was playing the 1st set highly aggressive and it was some of the best tennis he has ever played,

I didn't mean to suggest Andy wasn't playing well. He clearly was. I was just suggesting that to me there was an air of panic in the way Andy was playing that day. To me there was a feeling of 'do not miss, do not miss', going on. That's why I think it seemed like the end of the world when he missed that forehand.
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Katie
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Very interesting stats Laundry. I had no idea that Nadal only made 7 UFEs in that Wimbledon match, such an impressive total. Andy did play that match very aggressively, but I think the missed forehand in the second set had a negative effect on his mentality. He seemed to lose focus after that, which when playing Nadal is the worst thing you can do.

I think that was a problem in a lot of their matches. Nadal played at such a high level of concentration all match long, making very few UEs, while Andy couldn't quite match that (not consistently anyway). Long rallies would invariably end in an Andy error. But he showed at the USO 2008 and AO 2010 just how effective he could be against Nadal by playing with controlled aggression. He plays that style much more frequently now against other players so hopefully that should help him in the Nadal matches. And the fact he hits his forehand up the line more often now should help him too.

They haven't played since Tokyo in 2011, when Murray thrashed him, allowing Rafa only four points in the third set. I don't see Nadal as a factor now, except on clay.

The Tokyo final was an excellent performance from Andy, but at the same time Nadal doesn't usually play his best tennis after the USO. His level is definitely higher in the stretch from Monte Carlo - USO. He beat Andy pretty convincingly at the USO a few months beforehand (including two 6-2 sets which was disappointing). 

I think he'll be selective about the hardcourt events he plays, but if his knees are ok then I can see him doing well at the USO and AO. His performance at Indian Wells against Del Potro was excellent - if he brings that kind of form to future hardcourt slams then he'll be dangerous. I don't see him having a shock early exit like he did at Wimbledon.

Novak's definitely got the upper-hand against him on hardcourts though. I'm sure he'd much rather play Nadal than Andy right now. Andy's the opposite - he's always been much more comfortable playing Novak. Hopefully he can do what Novak has done, and start to turn the head-to-head round. It's the matchup I'm most looking forward to seeing, but I hope it takes place before the USO so that Andy can test his tactics out in a match that doesn't have the pressure of a slam SF/F.
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laundry
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That feeling of 'do not miss' was there because Nadal was playing so well, simply put he actually couldn't afford to miss - he would have had to play perfect to beat Nadal that day and Andy knew that he couldn't sustain that through-out the entire match playing as aggressively as he was.

But it seemed very apparent to me that the team had told Andy to go full-out aggressive before the match but Andy didn't truly have faith in it so he was annoyed with them for steering him wrong and getting the tactics wrong. You could see suggestions of this in the match with the way Andy was looking up to his box and in his post-match interviews he kind of stressed the point by emphasising that he needs to get the game-plan correct next time he plays.
[ Last edit by laundry July 17, 2013, 03:46 PM ] IP Logged
ABF
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If Andy fails to consistently beat Rafa (when he appears to be playing with one and a half legs) then for sure he will always be thought of by the tennis world as a very good tennis player but not a tennis great. Despite the slam wins.

Im pretty hopeful Andy will now more often than not beat Rafa. That said , the doubters will just point out that Andy could only beat him when he was injured. The 13-5 h2h makes it hard to argue at the moment.


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