Rafael Nadal lost last year in the French Open to Robin Soderling,the only loss so far at the claycourts of Roland Garros.
If you are able to hit shots from both sides at shoulderheight with a lot of power you will feel like “this guy” isn’t as good as everyone says!Suddenly the unbeatable “Rafa” doesn’t seem intimidating at all.You can “drive”your shots deep into the court,which is where most players are vulnerable,and so is Nadal.
The most agressive player wins on clay today,not the defender!Which is why Nadal is so hard to beat,’cause he in general dictates the point.
But he is now using different strings in his raquet,he get’s less spin and therefore his shots goes further and deeper into the opponents court.What he is really trying to prevent is the “likes of”Robin Soderling feeling like -if I play my game I can win!So Nadals shots now “land” closer to the baseline with more power and less spin.That means that Roger Federer doesn’t have to face the “short shot”that lands on the serviceline and “jumps” way up,”out of the strike zone.Nadal has suddenly let more players “into the match”,yes,maybe he solved the one problem but he has created another one,namely Roger Federer,even on clay!!
The only Grand Slam Nadal hasn’t won is the U.S Open,the same surface as the Australian Open,which he won in 2009,beating Federer with the same tactics that he uses at the “French”!I’m guessing that “Rafa” doesn’t ever want to feel like he did pretty much all of last year after the loss to Soderling here at Roland Garros.Defenseless!
He is going to win more in the future on all surfaces because of the “change”,but winning here will be “more complicated’.