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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:14 pm

He did not turn up in that final. Where is his grit and no die attitude now that he can't quite rely on his stamina as much?

You praised him so much for it but I always it was as good as his fitness allowed him to be. Had he smelt blood from Djoko he would have regain heart and belief but knowing he cannot outrun Djoko, once again, he goes for silly shots and easy UEs.

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Post by AceofDeath on Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:23 pm

He's a mental midget when he sees Djokovic outside clay. His only real advantage on the rest is his constant stamina and when that is nullified, he looks like he a very ordinary player.

Unfortunately his other opponents do not have a great deal of stamina. 

Nadal's fitness >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nadal's skill

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Post by Daniel2 on Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:09 pm

Nadal is a fighter when he knows he has a chance.  When he knows he doesn't - he throws the towel in or claims injury.

Usually, he has a chance - and hence he's very difficult to beat in finals. Well, not this time... since he's getting older and his game plan was next to useless v Djok.  He knew it was over by game 3.

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:04 am

Since this is a specific question to me I'll try to answer.

Nadal mental strength is still top and it always was. Why do you keep forgetting matches are not won or lost on mental strength alone. Mental strength is one important factor, but not the only factor.

Nadal could lose in 2005, in 2010 and 2018 and also in 2019. But he doesn't let the match situation or the opponent get the better of him no matter who is he playing ( Including Djokovic ). He never lost matches in the locker room. Even the AO19 final wasn't done and dusted before the last point was won.

Djokovic has handcuffed Nadal the way Nadal Handcuffed Federer at RG clay. Fed was not mentally weak, but Nadal came up with a game Fed just couldn't beat. The same is with Djo, he brings a game so water-tight Nadal can't get through him. 

When both players are mentally strong, mental strength doesn't decide the outcome. But the loser is thrown off mentally. Fed was, so is Nadal now.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:25 pm

I agree with a lot of this Rotla. And if I remember it was me saying that mental strength did not play such a great role nowadays when matches were so physical.

This is why I think you are a bit harsh on teh younger generation. The "professional" gap the top 3 players have created over the last 10 years make it much harder for youngster to feel so confident mentally.
If Nadal were to come back with his 2006 game, he would be pulverised by today's players as his shots then were hardly reaching teh T-line. But back then that spin and energy was unseen and that gave him huge confidence.

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:54 am

Tenez wrote:The "professional" gap the top 3 players have created over the last 10 years make it much harder for youngster to feel so confident mentally. 

Let's leave aside the performance of the young gen against the Fed-Nadal-Djokovic. 

There still hasn't been any youngster who has been dominating even their own peers. See the progression of Djokovic. Look how Djokovic was before 2011. He had more or less cemented his place at solid #3 before even winning his first slam and wasn't losing big matches ( especially Slams ) to journeymen. He was a clear successor to Fedal. 

Can you find any successor to Djokovic? There are none. All they have is some good season to stack up points but fizz out the next time. This is also the reason why Djoko is being so dominant. He has no challenger in big events. He has worked out his game to beat Fed/Nadal and since there is no new player chasing him.  

And its not due to professionalism alone. After Djoko there hasn't been any player good enough ( both mentally and physically) to solidify his position where they can narrow their target to beat the top-3. 

They are all struggling to beat each other.


Last edited by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:07 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by bogbrush on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:02 am

True, special mental strength is the capacity to give everything in a hopeless cause. Everything else is just easy.

In business I have found that almost nobody truly possesses that to the extreme; anyone will only continue to strive if they are trying to win something; that might not be the whole win, it might be mitigation of failure, or the chance to fight again rather than completely fail. I myself have been in the situation a few times and the current commercial success of our business owes as much to the determination to mitigate a failure so that at least we could go on as much as the great winning ideas we've done.

In sport it can be called "playing for pride" and in tennis you'd be looking at keeping a score tight.

On Sunday I saw Nadal panic from the very second point and I saw him play with no real mental strength except the pride to try. He never truly believed he could win and it showed in his approach, which was defeatist and not at all focussed on the win.

Like all elite sportsmen he has strong mentality but I have never believed it could be divorced from his confidence in success. he's only human.

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:04 am

Tenez wrote:If Nadal were to come back with his 2006 game, he would be pulverised by today's players as his shots then were hardly reaching teh T-line. But back then that spin and energy was unseen and that gave him huge confidence.

Pulverised by who all?
 
A lot of matches are decided in the locker room itself before a ball is struck. Its the aura of a top player.
So what game is played is irrelevant. Nadal even young at 18, never lost a match in the locker room no matter who he was playing. He was extremely fearless for a teen so young.

I don't see that with any youngster. They mostly will be happy to have reached this far and surrender seeing their resume. They hope to win, but don't believe that they can win. It has nothing to do with what game one plays.

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Post by Tenez on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:12 am

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
Tenez wrote:The "professional" gap the top 3 players have created over the last 10 years make it much harder for youngster to feel so confident mentally. 

Let's leave aside the performance of the young gen against the Fed-Nadal-Djokovic. 

There still hasn't been any youngster who has been dominating even their own peers. See the progression of Djokovic. Look how Djokovic was before 2011. He had more or less cemented his place at solid #3 before even winning his first slam and wasn't losing big matches ( especially Slams ) to journeymen. He was a clear successor to Fedal. 
But that could be due to the fact there was actually less competition. Zverev has achieved that cemented position too. But the difference is nowadays the physical aspect is so important that youngsters get injured much more easily nowadays (Chung, Rublev, Kokkinakis, Zverev himself, etc....).

During Djoko's early years, tennis was not about running as much.....except against Nadal. But Djoko and Murray have realised quickly they had to go that route and benefit from the new string technology to overtake the old generation quickly. Nowadays the youngsters have not got that technology advantage. So it is much harder to get to the top.
It is no different than in cycling. Back then many youngsters could do well (Ulrich, Fignon, Lemon..,) but then you have no under 25 with a chance to win the tour.

Belgian Cyclist Firmin Lambot was the oldest vainqueur so far, winning the 1922 Tour at 36 years old. And at 19, Henri Cornet is the youngest winner, though in true Tour fashion, he nabbed the 1904 title after the top four riders were disqualified for, among other things, alleged motorized assistance, and “stick-wielding” fan attacks against fellow riders, as Velo News recounts.

At 30 years, six months, the average age of Tour winners in the past 10 years skews slightly older, thanks to Lance Armstrong (32 to 34 when he won in 2003 to 2005), Carlos Sastre (33 in 2008), Cadel Evans (34 in 2011), and Bradley Wiggins (32 in 2012).

Can you find any successor to Djokovic? There are none. All they have is some good season to stack up points but fizz out the next time. This is also the reason why Djoko is being so dominant. He has no challenger in big events. He has worked out his game to beat Fed/Nadal and since there is no new player chasing him.  
That's because you count in # of slams. I can see many players who will play better than Djokovic. They are just much less consistent, for now.

And its not due to professionalism alone. After Djoko there hasn't been any player good enough ( both mentally and physically) to solidify his position.
Stay tune, you will see more and more incredible tennis in the future. It is very simple. YOu cannot go back to history and show me a tennis level that was higher in the past. In fact go and check and find me a single match where Djoko himself played better that in that last slam final. You will not find it.....so even him keeps improving.

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Post by Tenez on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:18 am

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:[A lot of matches are decided in the locker room itself before a ball is struck. Its the aura of a top player.
I do not believe this. It's the quick realisation that Nadal's shot were not hurting which affected nadal....nothing to do with the locker room. Pouille was destroyed cause his best serves were returned deep and fast. Against Nadal he did not lose that USO match in the locker room. You have to be consistent!

So what game is played is irrelevant. Nadal even young at 18, never lost a match in the locker room no matter who he was playing. He was extremely fearless for a teen so young.
Not at all. Nadal saw in 2006 that his shots, even as short as they were were hurting. Noone had ever faced such a spin. And that is a huge advanatge. If he were to comeback, he would be destroyed cause they all know how to handle it and this is why he had to change his game, plus the fact he hasn't got as much time to suck as much air.

I don't see that with any youngster. They mostly will be happy to have reached this far and surrender seeing their resume. They hope to win, but don't believe that they can win. It has nothing to do with what game one plays
You have 2 youngsters (Kasha and Zverev) who have beaten Djoko late last year. They are not far off and you will see that the 10 years gap Djoko has won't be enough very soon.

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Post by barrystar on Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:44 am

bogbrush wrote:True, special mental strength is the capacity to give everything in a hopeless cause. Everything else is just easy.

In business I have found that almost nobody truly possesses that to the extreme; anyone will only continue to strive if they are trying to win something; that might not be the whole win, it might be mitigation of failure, or the chance to fight again rather than completely fail. I myself have been in the situation a few times and the current commercial success of our business owes as much to the determination to mitigate a failure so that at least we could go on as much as the great winning ideas we've done.

In sport it can be called "playing for pride" and in tennis you'd be looking at keeping a score tight.

On Sunday I saw Nadal panic from the very second point and I saw him play with no real mental strength except the pride to try. He never truly believed he could win and it showed in his approach, which was defeatist and not at all focussed on the win.

Like all elite sportsmen he has strong mentality but I have never believed it could be divorced from his confidence in success. he's only human.

There's much I agree with here - the starting point of most of what we see as 'mental strength' is enormous confidence in fitness, form, and technique and Nadal has benefited hugely from that.  The fact that his game plan has traditionally relied on a larger margin for error than most of his opponents, particularly Federer, and he knew would put them under huge pressure to keep up a standard that is very difficult to maintain, has contributed hugely to this confidence.

The true test of mental strength (assuming it is possible to identify and view separately) is whether that sort of confidence is deflated when it bumps up against someone who is decisively superior in one or more of the categories that give birth to it.  And here Nadal can crumble if he realises he has no options that will hurt his opponent and the option of outlasting is off the table - this happens most against Djoko, occasionally vs. Federer since 2015.  The nature of his game can disguise that fact, but you can see that hang dog look in his eyes and a slump of the shoulders.  

Connors is perhaps the most obvious example of a tennis player whose 'mental strength' ran deeper than what I describe in the first paragraph.  He was hardly ever beat, however much he was being overwhelmed he stood up defiantly and angrily and laid down the challenge, 'you are going to have to keep this up and beat me yourself, I will not let up and make it easier for you'.  The epitome of this was beating Pernfors at Wimbledon from two sets and a break down, I think in 1987.  Even when he got walloped by McEnroe in the 1984 Final he didn't give up or lose his intensity.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:08 pm

I saw a chart on atp which comapred Nole’s, Fed’s and Rafa’s biggest titles (#slams, #masters, #ye1, #WTFs),
and the one thing that stood out like a sore thumb was a big 0 in front of #WTF for Nadal.

For someone with GOAT ambitions, this is a huge hole in their CV.

Does that perhaps illustrate the level of Nadal’s mental strength/lack of when facing top 8 players in back to back matches, which he rarely seem to be in he position of doing in other tournaments, esp slams, due to his kind draws?

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Post by Slippy on Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:47 pm

It reflects the fact that Nadal isn’t as good on indoor courts as Fed/Novak and also tends to struggle with injuries towards the end of the year. Nothing to do with mentality.

I didn’t really think Rafa looked weak mentally on Sunday. He started a little nervously but he kept fighting throughout. The problem was he couldn’t get near Novak’s serve and was constantly under pressure from the brilliance of Novak’s play. 

Agree with Barry though that his mentality is helped by the simplicity of his game - it’s a lot easier for him to focus on doing the same thing time after time than it is for someone with a more creative gameplan to handle nerves. I don’t think he ever stops trying when it doesn’t work - he just can’t significantly vary it.

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Post by Tenez on Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:13 pm

It's not so much the simplicity of his game that helps Nadal mentally, it's the big margins he plays with.

It's much harder mentally to play a la Federer, with a smaller sweet spot on the BH, while trying to hit lines while flirting with the net. That is mentally very demanding.

The higher the risk, the tougher it is mentally....especially on big points.

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:52 am

Tenez wrote:I do not believe this. It's the quick realisation that Nadal's shot were not hurting which affected nadal....nothing to do with the locker room. Pouille was destroyed cause his best serves were returned deep and fast. Against Nadal he did not lose that USO match in the locker room. You have to be consistent!

You don't believe in the aura of playing a top player, your wish. Don't bring the silly argument that playing Nadal and playing Djoko
is the same. Pouille may not suffer from this 'aura'  against Nadal, but does against Djokovic. And it showed in his face.

Tenez wrote:That's because you count in # of slams. I can see many players who will play better than Djokovic. They are just much less consistent, for now. 

Did I mention slam counts? Anyway we will see.


Tenez wrote:Not at all. Nadal saw in 2006 that his shots, even as short as they were were hurting. Noone had ever faced such a spin. And that is a huge advanatge. If he were to comeback, he would be destroyed cause they all know how to handle it and this is why he had to change his game, plus the fact he hasn't got as much time to suck as much air. 

Nadal's shots were short? You are alone in this argument. See his matches from 2005 you'll see.

Tnenz wrote:You have 2 youngsters (Kasha and Zverev) who have beaten Djoko late last year. They are not far off and you will see that the 10 years gap Djoko has won't be enough very soon.

Beating Djoko is not my point. Better record against a given player is not an indication of how will they fare against the Field. I point has always been how dominant they are in the field. And currently these Zverev and Kachnov aren't certain(almost) to win no matter who they face. They keep losing to players even before facing Djokovic. And that was not the case with Djokovic. He was losing big matches to only big payers, not some journeymen.

Among the guys after Djokovic, there won't be anyone who will dominate the field. They will all have mixed results, some marginally better than the other, but nothing like dominating the field.  No one will be winning 2-3 slams and 4-5 TMS a year. 
Remember the times between 2001-2003?? that's what I'm talking about.

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Post by Tenez on Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:45 am

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:You don't believe in the aura of playing a top player, your wish. Don't bring the silly argument that playing Nadal and playing Djoko is the same. Pouille may not suffer from this 'aura'  against Nadal, but does against Djokovic. And it showed in his face.
I don;t follow your logic once again. Djoko and Nadal have an "aura"? right? which according to you affects lesser ranked players who have not themselves that aura? So how come a player is affected by an aura one time and not the other time? Nadal's aura is not less than Djoko's, is it?

The reason is simple. Djoko had a way to contain Pouille, whereas Nadal has always been hurt by players who have strong BH and FH. Nadal at his peak (according to some here) was bothered by a PHM simply cause this guy had a strong BH and could cope with Nadal's CC. This is the very reason Djoko loves playing Nadal, it's also because he can handle Nadal's CC very well.

You read way too much into aura. Nadal may have an aura for you but for the professional players always feel they can have a chance until proven otherwise.



Nadal's shots were short? You are alone in this argument. See his matches from 2005 you'll see.
Yes I have seen them and they were bloody short. Check again. The problem back then is noone could time that ball but the ball was very short. Nadal's length increase with age thanks to confidence but again, for Paul Henri Mathiew that ball was easily handle.....for a set or 2 at least.


Beating Djoko is not my point. Better record against a given player is not an indication of how will they fare against the Field. I point has always been how dominant they are in the field. And currently these Zverev and Kachnov aren't certain(almost) to win no matter who they face. They keep losing to players even before facing Djokovic. And that was not the case with Djokovic. He was losing big matches to only big payers, not some journeymen.
I remember people saying this of Djoko back then. He will never beat Nadal on clay. Then he will never beat Nadal at the French, then he will never....Remember Djoko was 24 when he really became the player everybody feared. Nadal was 20...chances are Djoko will become a better player that Nadal is spite of peaking later.

Remember the times between 2001-2003?? that's what I'm talking about.
Yes I remember that time....and no one could see then that Federer would become a much better player than Hewitt, Ferrero or Roddick...so that's not a very good example.

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Post by Daniel2 on Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:04 pm

Tenez doesn't look at the older matches.  When I sent him about 5 videos from 2006, he simply said Fed was slower and not hitting as hard - when I can actually prove this isn't the case. Mathematically prove it.

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Post by Tenez on Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:42 pm


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Post by Daniel2 on Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:44 pm

His worst match up on his worst surface.  I guess you have a point somewhere?

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Post by Tenez on Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:33 am

The point is simple. His shots were short and that was enough to beat your "peak" Federer. That's how much tennis evolved in 14 years!

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Post by bogbrush on Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:17 pm

Oh come on Tenez, you cite a performance on clay against the greatest achieving clay court player of all time as proof of Federers weakness?

Any match highlights from less extreme situations?

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Post by Daniel2 on Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:25 pm

Also, a short ball from Nadal is not like a short ball from any other player.  He hits with the most top spin the sport has ever seen.
To a one handed backhand.

You'll likely find Federer will be whipped bad if he meets Nadal at FO.  Although his psychological edge will be better and Nadal isn't the animal he was.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:42 pm

Tenez wrote:

Wow Fed’s FH was good back then...at least at the beginning of the clip...later in the match it fades away.
The BH is so bad compared to now, no wonder Nadal was feasting on it.

I really can’t believe Fed waited for 10 years to switch to a larger (read: equal) frame.

And bloody hell...the size of Nadal’s bicep back then...noone can convince me it wasn’t full of steroids, noone!!!

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:02 am

Tsitsipas loses to the grinder Damir Dzumhur. And this is what I have been saying Tenez. After Djoko there is nobody who can dominate the field. 

Its evident from their performance graphs which is full of peaks and valleys. One good run into the AO, then the very next tournament loses in the opening match to someone not even seeded. How will they ever consistently be able to beat Djok/Nadal/Fed when they can't even consistently beat unseeded players in ATP500/250 level? 

They are struggling to win ATP250/500... what hope they have facing 2-3 top guys in TMS/Slams?  Big zero.
They can at most take one out and then fizzle when facing the next one.

My only hope is Thiem at RG. This is also highly conditional with his form and fitness in the buildup pre RG tournaments.

Tsitsi, Khacha... they will have to wait for the BIG 3 to retire. Else

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Post by bogbrush on Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:21 am

I agree, Thiem at RG is a real possibility.

After that I'm afraid you're looking to a freak run by a mega-server (like Raonic) on a speedy court.

Forget the likes of Nishikori or Dimitrov, they're rubbish.

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Post by Daniel2 on Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:21 pm

Tsitsipas is young.  You're expecting way too much of him this soon.  Again, look at Federer - beaten by Henman at Wimbledon.

Time will tell.

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty Re: So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:05 pm

Expecting too much?? Should I not be expecting him to beat Dzumhur?? Should I not be expecting him to win ATP 250s where he is the top seed??

He is 21, top 15 . Should I not be expecting him to have a bit more than 1 ATP250 title by now?

Fed lost to Henman at Wimbledon in 2001. But Henman was a top player in 2001. Dzumhur isn't. so losing back to back bo3 matches against him isn't going to draw much confidence in him. Apart from beating Fed in a close match this AO, his resume is basically void .


I'm not saying he won't get better. But buying his time and then looking to get some wins isn't going to make him any special. His results should be special when compared to his own peers. For now, it isn't. Even John milkman beat fed at USopen
Else he is same as the others of the generation useless.

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty Re: So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by Daniel2 on Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:38 pm

Yes, you are expecting too much.  Have a look at the Open Era and how many players were dominating at this age - and we aren't even sure if this guy has it in  him to dominate.

A few losses to lower players isn't an indication of ANYTHING.  Have you seen Fed lose to a rank 100 at Wimb recently (2013)?  I did.  

The best of them can lose to anyone on a given day - esp in a lower event where they won't be trying their most.

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty Re: So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:51 am

Daniel2 wrote:Yes, you are expecting too much.  Have a look at the Open Era and how many players were dominating at this age - and we aren't even sure if this guy has it in  him to dominate.

The best of them can lose to anyone on a given day - esp in a lower event where they won't be trying their most.

I'm not expecting him to dominate Fed/Nadal/Djoko and win slams. If he is as special as he is showing up to be ( some here like nitb are convinced already), then he needs better results against lesser opponents. He can't be among the top seed at a 250/500 level tournament and the lose out before even the SF. If he does, then he is just as ordinary as many like him.


A few losses to lower players isn't an indication of ANYTHING.  Have you seen Fed lose to a rank 100 at Wimb recently (2013)?  I did.  



I saw that match on TV and the performance Stakh brought was not ranked 100. It was the most spectacular attacking S&V tennis something I last saw was in 2001 Wimble 4th rnd.

Losses to lower ranked players are not an indication of anything..... for Fed/Nadal/Djo who have already raked up multiple slams. BUT repeated loss for upcoming players whose resume just says 1 ATP 250 title, who are looking to make their own space in tennis,  this matters. A lot. Its shows are they really good enough to make their own space. His progress is going to be slow like their peers.

The best of them can lose to anyone on a given day - esp in a lower event where they won't be trying their most.

Sure they can. But a just over 20-year-old who has recently won his 1st  and the only title is surely not going to be complacent in any level tournament. Tsitsi even tried some gamesmanship to win.

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty Re: So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by Daniel2 on Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:49 pm

He beat Fed in Aussie Open this year...  He can't be a complete no-one.  Time will tell. But projecting his future now is absurd.

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Post by Jahu on Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:25 pm

Well Osaka lost to Mladenovic yesterday too, guess she went to Dubai to pickup a $1M show up cheque and go back to train for Indian Wells.

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So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength? Empty Re: So Rotla what do you make of Nadal's mental strength?

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:53 am

Daniel2 wrote:He beat Fed in Aussie Open this year...  He can't be a complete no-one.  Time will tell. But projecting his future now is absurd.

I agree. He is definitely not a no-one. 

I'm just being desperate to see a great young player who comes up and romps everyone. The last time I saw such a thing was in 2005. Its been 14 years wait.

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