Francisco Roig, coach of World No.1 Rafael Nadal, will be breaking down the two-time champion’s performances at Wimbledon for ATPWorldTour.com. Nadal hopes to lift the trophy for a third time.
On Monday, Nadal defeated Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final showdown against fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro or Gilles Simon, who will conclude their match on Tuesday after they were forced to halt their fourth-round showdown due to darkness. Roig lists five key takeaways from Nadal’s win over Vesely, and what the 17-time Grand Slam champion will need to do if he is to reach the semi-finals at SW19 for the first time since 2011.
Solid Performance Once Again Rafa is playing top-level tennis and looks in fine form. He’s serving well, returning well, attacking the net, his forehand and backhand are on point and he’s using his slice backhand intelligently. Vesely is dangerous on grass and we didn’t want to give him any openings. If we’re really picky and need to find one aspect to improve, it would be Rafa’s play toward the end of the match. We noticed Vesely was starting to control the pace, committing less errors and doing some damage. Rafa was sitting back during those moments and not taking charge of the court, but that happens. Maintaining the intensity he had for two hours takes its toll.
Focus Factor Concentration was key in today’s match more than any other throughout this tournament. Rafa understood going into the match that if he dropped serve, it wasn’t going to be easy to break back, even if he managed to do so a few times. That makes every point even more crucial. This proves that what we are working on during training is reflecting on the court.
A Different Style Matchup Vesely doesn’t serve and volley, and that allows Rafa to take command from the back of the court. There were moments during the match when Rafa could have pulled ahead even further, but he failed to do so. He knows better than to waste those chances because opponents pick up on those sort of things.
Why Reaching The Last Eight Is A Great Feeling Making it to the quarter-finals here is a bonus for us. Now, each win is a little more sweet, and we can enjoy it that much more. On top of that, each victory gives us confidence going into the following match, and makes us believe in what we can ultimately achieve.
The Best Version Of Nadal? Rafa was playing at this same high level last year, but he had two difficult sets in the same match (l. Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13) and that ultimately cost him a chance at the title. It’s not fair to say he’s better this year at Wimbledon than he was in 2017. It’s a different version of himself, equipped with different tools. We’ve been watching a lot of video, obviously. Compared to years ago, a younger Rafa was brutally fast with awesome mobility, but the 2018 version of Rafa is a more well-rounded player.
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