‘If Rafael Nadal hadn’t made those changes…’, says top analyst

Rafael Nadal was the youngster on a mission in early 2003, reaching four Challenger finals and winning a title to close in on a place in the top-100 at the age of 16. Making his Masters 1000 debut as a Monte Carlo qualifier, Nadal showed his full potential and ousted Karol Kucera in the first round before defeating reigning Roland Garros winner Albert Costa in the second for the first top 10 win.

and a place in the round of 16. There, Rafa faced Guillermo Coria and put up a good fight in the first set before the Argentine posted a 7-6, 6-2 win in one hour and 34 minutes. Both players created eight break chances, and Coria converted five of them.

Guillermo broke three times and controlled the pace after that tight first set which he claimed following Nadal’s forehand error at 6-3 in the tie break. Trailing 5-1 in set number two, Rafa grabbed a break before returning to serve in the next game after a poor low shot propelled Coria into the last eight.
Despite the defeat, the youngster was satisfied with his performance that week, feeling a bit tired but wanting to continue with good results. “I am happy with this tournament and how I played today despite the loss as I produced solid tennis and created chances.

Guillermo was physically stronger than me. He had played a lot of matches in the last few days and I was feeling a bit tired, I have to admit. My shots weren’t where I wanted them to be and Guillermo dominated me; he deserved the victory.

Yesterday I defeated Costa, but it was not possible against Coria. Although I’m happy with a 7-6, 6-2 loss, that’s not too bad against such a good player. Tomorrow I will rest a bit and then I will start preparing for Barcelona.”
Patrick Mouratoglou on Rafa Nadal
In a recent interview, Patrick Mouratoglou shifted his focus to Rafael Nadal’s new and improved first serve. “His serve went from a way to start the point to an actual weapon. He changed some elements in his technique which allowed him to gain more power.

One of the biggest changes is improving his weight dispatch. [You can notice] how little his body was involved in the shot compared to how much he throws himself forward now,” Mouratoglou said. “He has also changed his trophy position, keeping his elbow higher and allowing his racquet to drop lower down his back for an increased whip-effect.

He has added a new shot to his game. In the Australian Open final, we saw him use the slice a lot to bring [Daniil] Medvedev to the net. He even used the drop shot to make him doubt,” Mouratoglou said. “Rafa has also improved his volley game, and now, you’ll see him come to the net. If he hadn’t made those changes, I believe that he wouldn’t be the player that he is today.”

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