Sep/19

9

Nadal Survives Medvedev, Captures 19th Major at US Open

Expectations for yesterday’s US Open final from Daniil Medvedev in his first major final vs all time kingpin Rafael Nadal were not the highest, as the Russian only won three games from Nadal in their recent Montreal final.

The rout was on too, with Nadal showing his superiority over the six-foot-three 23 year old, taking the first two sets 75 63.

But there was something different about this Medvedev character and it was perceived by 2000 US Open Champion Marat Safin who intelligently remarked on social media in the third set that he sensed the match was not over, Safin astutely noted that Nadal was still showing expressions of “fear and respect” for Medvedev. Safin’s observation was proven true by Medvedev, who with Nadal trying to push him off the cliff, won the third set 75 and the fourth set 64.

Medvedev’s focus and poise through the entire heavyweight slugfest were impressive. Playing arguably the fiercest, toughest competitor in the history of not only tennis but any sport, was a gargantuan task but Medvedev was up to it. Medvedev resembled Safin in his 2000 US Open victory vs Pete Sampras, machine like efficient, focused with an expression, aura and energy that quietly conveyed he EXPECTED to win.

Then the first flinches came in the middle of the fifth set. At 2-2, Medvedev was serving at 40-love and then missed a rocket forehand long, even though Nadal had conceded the point by just standing there. From there, Nadal won the next two points for deuce and then got the crucial break. Rafa held for 4-2 then Medvedev was up 30-love and bungled a lob for 40-love and ended up surrendering the second break for 5-2.

But it still wasn’t over. Medvedev broke back and almost leveled the match at 5-5 in the fifth but Nadal did what Nadal does best, finish the job of winning major titles. On championship point, Medvedev returned serve long. Nadal collapsed flat on his back, he is now 19-8 in Grand Slam finals compared to Federer’s 20-11.

Nadal’s fearlessness under pressure is what sets him apart. He is at his most dangerous, most effective and most comfortable on the most important points. Nadal serve and volleyed seven times in the fifth set, converting six.

Overall in the match, Nadal serve and volleyed 20 times. Before the final in his six matches, Nadal serve and volleyed five times, according to Brain Game stat man Craig O’Shannessy.

Not quite able to dominant the mighty Medvedev from the baseline, Nadal managed to think his way out of trouble and solved the puzzle by changing tactics and once again, performing his best tennis when it mattered most.

Nadal had nothing but high praise for his conquest. “This victory is so important for me,” said a tearful Nadal at the trophy presentation. “Especially as the match became more and more difficult. I was able to hold the nerves. They were so high. It was a crazy match and I’m just very emotional. It was an amazing final. Daniil is only 23-years-old and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was amazing. He will have many more opportunities like this.”

“The last three hours of the match were very, very intense,” Nadal continued. “Very tough mentally and physically, too. The crowd has been as always amazing, all these facts that make the moment super special. It was an unforgettable moment. At the same time Daniil created this moment, too. The way that he fought, the way that he played, he is a champion. Just well done for him. I really believe that he will have many more chances.

“The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport. I’m just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today.”

Medvedev, ten years younger than Nadal, shared a different point of view with a happy, smiling spirit despite the heartbreaking manner in which he failed in the most important match of his career. “I definitely will remember tonight,” Medvedev added. “I’m sure even talking about Rafa’s 19 Grand Slams, I’m sure he remembers his first final, even though he won it and I lost it. It was an amazing match. It’s an amazing story. All this summer is amazing for me. I will remember every moment of it. I have a really good memory if we talk about tennis. I’ll definitely remember it even when I’m 70 years old.”

Nobody who watched yesterday’s final will ever forget it, it was sports at it’s very best, comparable to the Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns 1981 championship boxing match.

Nadal actually may be at his very best still at age 33. Or is his very best tennis still yet to be played? Anything is possible with this racquet-wielding marvel, obsessed with an insatiable hunger to keep winning Grand Slam titles.

Photo by Wojtek Kubik

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65 comments

  • Andrew Miller · September 9, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Nadal’s been excellent 15 years running…

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Might be excellent to age 40 or 38.

  • Andrew Miller · September 9, 2019 at 10:41 am

    If players don’t learn from Medvedev…then I question why they’re in the game.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Medvedev is a master now, and many players will be watching him closely to see how he does it. How he is able to put Rafa through the five set live and death ringer and give lessons to the likes of Wawrinka.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Interesting that Djokovic saluted Rafa and Medvedev for this memorable final. But Federer has not made any social media comments.

    Novak Djokovic
    @DjokerNole
    ·
    7h
    Congrats to Rafa for creating more history in our sport and showcasing amazing fighting spirit. And congrats to Daniil for an incredible summer on hardcourt in USA. You should be proud of yourself. Great things to come for you. Well done boys & thank you 🙏 for fantastic match.

  • Hartt · September 9, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    I imagine Fed can contact Rafa directly, without going through social media.

  • Bobby · September 9, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    I will say what no one else will. The key difference in the match was Nadal’s gamesmanship in the fifth set. While Nadal has bullied his way to getting proper time to plan his serve and the point. And all the mainstream outlets were faulting the umpire for enforcing the time violation rules. Nadal doesnt care about the viewers.

    Nadal repeatedly threw off Medvedev’s serve by putting his hand up. Repeatedly stealing aces from Medvedev. Danil was deprived of serving when he felt right. Deprived of being able to focus on his point construction, and visualization of his muscles working perfectly in his service motion. Nadal succeeded in getting inside his head via his return routine of getting a towel, giving himself an enema, and holding up his hand. Nadal gets away with not playing to the servers pace. This cost Medvedev being broken early in the fifth. This made a difference. Dont fall for Nadals fake humility.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 9, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Good points Bobby. Rafa’ s incessant stalling was a factor and like you assert, possibly the difference maker. I was surprised Medvedev didn’t protest more to the umpire. Or that the media ignored it. Rafa stalling was a major element of the fifth set. He did it without shame. And without respect for Medvedev.

  • jackson · September 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Oh please. What ridiculous nonsense that Rafa was stealing aces from Medvedev. Most of the people making these whiny complaints are Federer fans who are salty about Rafa getting one slam closer to Fed’s record.

    They keep forgetting that the receiving rule is that the receiver has to play to the REASONABLE pace of the server. The server isn’t allowed to quick serve and put the receiver at a disadvantage either which is why most umpires don’t penalize the receiver. I’ve heard the umpire tell players who are complaining about the receiver not being ready that reasonable is 10-11 seconds and the server was trying to serve at about 5-6 seconds.

    The umpire certainly wasn’t giving Rafa any special treatment yesterday with time violations in the first game of the match and on break point in the fifth set! Most other umpires would have been a little more reasonable after a four and a half hour match which featured dozens of long strenuous points and a roaring crowd and realized that a couple of extra seconds wouldn’t benefit just one player. The umpire caused a break of Rafa’s serve and an umpire should NEVER NEVER impose themselves on the outcome of a match. And the whiners should get a grip with their nonsensical claims.

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 1:04 am

    Lots of players, men and women, don’t congratulate each other on public Twitter etc, as Hartt says. In fact few do. I didn’t see many clapping their hands for Bianca. Why should they ? And when Kerber sent her congrats to Bianca after Miami everyone laughed because they knew how fake it was – damage limitation.

    (Simona did tweet but she was hailing Bianca as a fellow Roumanian)

    Djokovic always has an eye on his image. I thought that tweet was a bit toe-curling. Just PR. Anyone could have written it.

  • DAN MARKOWITZ · September 10, 2019 at 6:12 am

    “An Umpire should never never impose himself/herself on the outcome of a match.” C’mob Jackson, we know that’s not always going to be the case. I’m still in the camp that Ramos for the most part did the right thing in penalizing Serena. Did you feel he acted wrongly in that match?I didn’t watch the men’s finals carefully enough to judge whether the umpire–who seemed a little somnolent in his high chair–overstepped his boundaries or not, but there was one point in particular I remember an ace being taken away from Medvedev because Nadal put his hand up at the last second. I was surprised Medvedev didn’t object at all to his ace being stolen.

    Also, Johnny Mac, who’s certainly a big Nada fan, voiced a couple of times that Nadal got away with ticking the shot clock down to zero without being penalized. Johnny Mac also said there should be a shot clock in-between first and second serves because Nadal was taking an inordinate long time between those two serves. So Nadal has to be reined in with his stalling tactics for certain.

  • Hartt · September 10, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Medvedev was not serving at a quick pace, but at a reasonable one. I agree that Rafa, by holding up his hand so often, did interfere with Daniil’s serve.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Players could always just beat Nadal. Man, Nadal looks much different, even from recent years. It isn’t even the purple outfits. The man is getting older in front of our eyes. He’s beginning to look like McEnroe a little as he aged, but far bigger dude.

    No speculation from me. Just a note, the man is bigger and thicker than he was. Maybe somewhat heavier. He’s not the Rafa in his 20s of years past.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Sabalenka-Mertens d. Barty-Azarenka. Nice to see Sabalenka and Mertens win this.

    Out of fairness to a player I criticize often, I leave this:
    Congratulations! She rescued her tournament with Mertens.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Fed text msg to Nadal: “Rafa, congrats. Especially winning in purple, you pulled it off. re: slams, thanks for keeping next gen in cellar and throwing away the key. Have a good rest of the summer. – Rog.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Sabalenka should graduate on to singles majors success like Kuznetsova and Stosur did after winning their first majors in doubles.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Hartt, in my book Facing Nadal, several players including Ljubicic point out that Nadal is a notorious staller, with his stalling even beginning in the locker room BEFORE the match. He’s called out to play and only then does he start taping his hands and feet and wetting his hair, etc. The stall routine starts even before he enters the court.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Possible Uncle Toni txt to Rafa: “We’re getting the record. Vamos!”

    Possible Uncle Toni txt to Moya: “It’s your job to help Rafa get the record, Carlos. Get it done!”

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Scoop, suggests Nadal is a different competitor than he is outside of competition. Almost totally different person. We don’t seeing him rearranging the mic at press conferences etc or being a control freak during interviews.

    It’s like Jekyll and Hyde for pro sports. Greatest most merciless competitor in competition, sweet and gentle demeanor off it. I’ve seen the Nadal sneer! It never happens in an interview from what I’ve seen.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Andrew, what do you detect some kind of ego rift between Moya and Uncle Toni?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Off the court, Rafa will pet puppies, tenderly stop a little Chinese girl from crying, sign anything graciously, on the court he will slaughter you like an axe wielding insane asylum escapee.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Is Scoop possibly one of maybe two or three people on Earth, including Dan and Pete Bodoz that recognize Nadal has his own version of Must See Medvedev or Must See Kyrgios TV?

    I’ve been watching the guy now for over fourteen years, before the 2005 Miami match. And Nadal puts on a huge show out there. The run to the baseline, the arm and fist pumps. Why are we so convinced that Nadal isn’t offering his own brand of Must See TV?

    Is he a spectacular player? Definitely, possibly the best of all time TBD.

    Is he a generous person? Absolutely. Seems like a dutiful person in all regards. The Nadals have said this, they wanted Nadal to be a good person and he certainly seems to be that.

    But the man that goes out there on the court isn’t quite the same as the one who is interviewed. One is a showman and a ruthless competitor. The other is himself.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Andrew, I have never ever heard or witnessed one bad story involving Nadal. Not one. I have seen him at the Ashe back door entrance about to go in but a crowd of kids screaming for his autograph from 30 yards away. Rafa could have pretended he didn’t hear them and busied his way in the door escaping the kids but he stood there and waited for them to run over and then he signed everything. I saw him sign everything after a practice on Armstrong and then climb over the railing and cut through the seats to Ashe, instead of taking the private tunnel, and then he took even more photos and signed things with no security or member of his team there. I saw these incidents. I saw Rafa lose badly to Delpo in Miami and keep his promise to do a video interview with Tennis Now, even Tennis Now expected him to cancel the interview. Rafa is a good person, a great person. He also does wind sprints inside the locker rooms, players tell me. SO it’s not just a show, it’s to keep up his intensity at a high level. There’s a method to his madness. It’s working. He is the perfect rival for his polar opposite Federer. We like them both but many of his have a slight preference of one over the other, mine has always been Rafa slightly.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Kerber has a new coach!

    Jannik Schneider
    @schnejan
    ·
    3m
    #Kerber comes back from 1:3 in the decider but lose at #ZhengzhouOpen 7.5, 4:6, 6:7 (6) vs. Riske.

    Positive: New Coack Dirk Dier was out for on-court-coaching at 2:3 to clearify tactics. Kerber smiled for a second

    Negative: a good 1serve % (71) still got broken 9x. A lot work..

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Off topic and off to China – Alison Riske bts WC Kerber in 3 sets over nearly 3 hours in Zhengzhou. After many dispiriting exits this year a good fight from Angie – she played about 2 matches in 1 there and only lost in t/b.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Scoop, Uncle Toni seems like a guy that wants Nadal to win and doesn’t want to get in the way of that. He is director of the Nadal academy and when he wants to promote his nephew or his observations he writes an op-ed and publishes it in Spain’s El Pais, which has an English language edition.

    On the technical side of the house,I’m sure Moya and others run the team. Toni has a way of getting his advice considered, I’m sure he and Moya talk and I’d guess pretty regularly. Moya is a friend to the Nadals and I’m sure he gets that he needs to stay within the good graces of all Nadals. Otherwise we’d see something in Spain’s newspapers and conflict with team Nadal. Since Nadal won two slams this year, I doubt we’ll see any of that.

    Basically Uncle Toni now has a bigger job – ensure the Nadal Academy is viable. Toni needs players beyond Nadal and, other than op-eds he can’t really monitor Rafa anymore and has no reason not to trust Moya.

    Both of them are obsessed with Nadal’s ailments, which is odd because the way the guy plays those ailments will always come and go, and come and go. How a few guys and endless reporters decided to focus on one player’s knees…another mystery.

    My recommendation to players is to get themselves some fans. If it worked for Medvedev it will work for them. Work as hard as possible, improve as much as possible, and get some fans. Otherwise we’ll be obsessed about one man’s knees despite the fact that he has nineteen grand slams.

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Scoop – you got there before me. Great news about new coach – hope this one works out. Don’t know anything about him.

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Story out about spectators being ‘pressed’ to attend WTA tournament in Zhenzhou – events in China normally played in empty stadiums. We’ll hear more of this but not on WTA site I imagine 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Scoop, I know Nadal is decent and very generous.

    Just not when the first ball is struck or a tad before it, until the moment it’s over. I don’t like the narrative or idea that Nadal isn’t in any match for the competition, that he’s trying to give the world a…no. that’s the narrative I’d like to see go away forever. No one gets that many slams without being ferocious. And if someone is fighting for every ball that’s hit in a match for years and years and years they’re not playing pong out there.

    I’ve always like Nadal. But it’s never escaped me that the guy is a ruthless competitor. I think to suggest otherwise as some in fanland have done is to deny what takes place during competition. It’s as if they remember his signing autographs, then forget the match, then resume talkint about how wonderful he is.

    I look at that and say, don’t miss the fact he just decimated the opponent in the sixty or ninety or one hundred eighty minutes in between the first autograph and the handshake at the net. Because that showed the Nadal that is the great competitor, without which there’s no autograph, no love, no nothing. The ferocity allows for people to appreciate the man’s grace

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Man, forced to watch tennis. It would work for me but I get it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Andrew, Moya is a far more advantageous for Rafa than Uncle Toni is. Uncle Toni never played one pro match, no experience of what it takes to sustain a successful pro career and to keep improving, Moya has that intricate experience. Uncle Toni did a fantastic job developing young Rafa and hiring freelance coaches to enhance Rafa in various areas (he was not the sole coach). At some point Uncle Toni’s input to improving Rafa became limited or outdated or obsolete. Moya was the logical move. It was likely a blow to Toni’s ego to be removed or demoted from the team to a lesser role but it had to be done. It had to be done to Donald Young’s mom, but it was not. It had to be done to Martin Laurendeau, Peter Carter, Landsdorp, Benhabiles, etc. Maybe Larri Passos should have been let go too, wonder how Kuerten’s career would have panned out with a more experienced ATP level coach?

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Wozniaki off for a semester at Harvard Business School – the course aims to ‘aid transition’ (Sharpie did it) so Woz is looking at her life beyond tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Dirk Dier was one of those German players who played in the 90s and never won a title. I think he was a journeymen doubles player. Made 118 ranking in singles. He has a page in the 1992 ATP media guide and a wikipedia page. He coached Groenveld before. Lost to Stich 1R at 1990 Wimbledon, beat Eltingh in Dijon Challenger 76 in third. SF of 14s Orange Bowl. Won AO juniors by beating Paes. Good junior career.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Andrew we will never see a video of Rafa kicking a cat or dog or dumping a gatorade on a fans’s head. Not gonna happen, Nadal is pure class off court and an axe murderer on the court. He easily separates business from life.

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Dier was previously coach of Anne-Lena Groenefeld and I recognise him from being around the Fed Cup team so Angie will know him well. Rittner might have had something to do with this.

    Don’t know if Angie waved the cheque book to lure him from Anna-Lena or he’d already moved on. Doesn’t strike me as high-powered but maybe that’s what she wants at this stage. Nothing on her Twitter. Can’t think he’s just a fill-in – but who knows with AK ?

  • Harold · September 10, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Uncle Toni got Nadal to what, 15 freaking Majors.. he knows nothing? This whole superstar coach to get you from 15 Majors to 16 is a joke. If Uncle Toni wanted to keep coaching, do you think RN fires him? I think anyone would have figured out as RN got older, that he needed to shorten points, in any way possible, bigger serve, take the ball earlier, throw in a serve and Volley.

    In the men’s game with no on court coaching, it’s all preparation .. Uncle Toni prepared his charge extremely well for 14 years

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Scoop, yes – Toni Nadal basically lost out to Carlos Costa and Miguel Nadal, Nadal’s dad. F. Roig had been the traveling coach anyways.

    Toni Nadal when he stepped down said it. I wouldn’t doubt him. So I’m wrong.

    “(Toni) has felt increasingly sidelined by Nadal’s (IMG) manager Carlos Costa and the player’s father. ‘The truth is that every year I am making fewer decisions, to the point that I won’t be deciding anything anymore.” – February 2017, Toni Nadal.

    That’s of course very stark and clear – Toni Nadal became director of the academy, where he’d focus on new players, and Nadal underwent a formal coaching change.

    A longer excerpt from ESPN, 2017.

    “Until (Nadal) was 17 years old it was me who decided everything. Then Carlos Costa arrived as manager. Then (his dad) became closer, each having his opinions. And the truth is that every year, I had less decision-making, until the day when I will decide nothing.”

    Uncle Toni sees things clearly out there. He was obviously upset at seeing the sidelines, which apparently was a surprise even to Rafa Nadal. But all is well. Toni Nadal is doing good things and remains a good analyst, and Moya is basically in charge of Nadal’s training until retirement.

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Not overwhelmingly warm at the net – Riske and Kerber have met before and Alison can cause Angie problems. She looked disappointed but it was a good match and she didn’t do a 3rd set collapse.

    Dier may be a DTB coach.

  • Harold · September 10, 2019 at 11:15 am

    When should Medvedev Fire his coach, for Safin, or Kafelnikov? Tsitsipas will have to fire his father, he only got him to 7. Aristotle will come in and coach him to Majors

  • catherine · September 10, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Said Kerber (who had a m/point): ‘I’ll try to do better next week’.

    Crowd was on the sparde side and looked none too interested – even if they were ‘pressed’ by offers of free sweets etc. Kids mostly.

  • Hartt · September 10, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Of course Rafa is a cold-blooded assassin on the court. So are Novak and Fed, they just show it in different ways. We’ve said before that these top players take competitiveness to a crazy level. That is why they keep winning, and winning, and winning.

    I am nearly finished Sharapova’s autobiography. She says several times throughout the book, starting at an early age, that she just wants to beat everybody. Not simply to win titles or be No.1. Sven Groeneveld even said that was why he accepted the coaching job. When he asked her why she was still playing, she replied: “Because I want to beat them all.”

    Somehow there is something mean-spirited about that, as though she has to get even with the other players. It’s not that she has to beat them to win titles or get the No.1 ranking, she has to “get” them.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Scoop, re DY, yes under other coaches he broke the top fifty repeatedly. Under his parents he didn’t. Maybe money or credit or both the issue.

    Yes, we can probably say all of this. The people most responsible for gutting a potentially good career. First and foremost the player. Second, his coaches.
    Given the lack of consistency fron a player whose talent has always been obvious, the blame continues to be the player and the coaches

    And yes the coaches led him the wrong way. He probably should have trained with Nadal to see how the greatest player of all time trains.

    If I were DY I’d call Nadal now and ask if he has some time for training.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Medvedev has done well with his coach. Nadal’s been with the same group for a long time, even when Toni was the figurehead of the coaching. If that coach wants to add people and it makes sense to Medvedev he should add them.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Harold, Uncle Toni deserves a ton of credit for his association and massive success with Rafa but his range of knowledge is limited, it was inevitable that Moya would take over and offer Rafa additional and better input. At some point Uncle Toni’s coaching probably became stale and repetitive. Let’s face it, Moya knows more a lot more.

  • Hartt · September 10, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Someone on Reddit posted a photo of a huge billboard in Manhattan of Rafa roaring. It is downright scary!

  • Harold · September 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

    His range of knowledge is limited? Thats crazy. He changed him from righty to lefty, taught him a game, that made him a GS champion at 18 or 19…a game that dominated the Goat in the Goats prime…and I’m a Fed fan. give the guy some freaking credit..he got older, family, wanted to stay in Mallorca and run the Academy..gave the reins to Moya and Roig. How do you know Roigs not giving the advice,

    Rafa calls the shots, not his father or Costa, doubt he fired his Uncle…was probably planned for years before it happened, the Academy didn’t build itself . It wasnt, “ hey lets build an Academy so I can gracefully get Moya to coach, and Toni will run it,” between Nadal losses.

  • Andrew Miller · September 10, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Harold’s no doubt correct. But Toni did indeed feel slighted by the move. I’m sure all is ok, don’t worry about the Nadals. Nadal is winning big and often again, another epic career year that most players would trade whatever for, and Toni Nadal is no doubt in demand as he comments on Nadal for his columns in Spain’s important newspapers.

    Toni Nadal is a great coach. He was also sidelined when Nadal needed a traveling coach, given Toni has his own life etc and couldn’t do it and Nadal most importantly needed it, and given that Nadal’s game needed a new voice.

    Personally I don’t care at all. They do what they do. Toni Nadal did feel slighted but he is fine, and Nadal as anyone here recommends for any player should always get a new voice when things hit a rough patch for too long.

    On my end I always advocate against parents being the lead coaches. They can be involved but they shouldn’t call the shots. The player should and the player should have a few voices to help.

    Here’s an example. Tiafoe – he made a major coaching change. If this doesn’t work out and by all accounts to my eye it is not (I don’t count a five setter with struggling Alex Zverev at the US Open as an amazing result, or a lackluster year outside of a Masters event), I’d hope Tiafoe pursues another change.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Yes Uncle Toni is an excellent coach but he’s lacking in one area, the experience of what it actually takes to win ATP matches, he never won a single match. At some point it became essential for Rafa to add a coach with that experience. Moya is a perfect fit. Roig was also a successful ATP player. Roig has been around for a long time, through Rafa’s junior development, surely he is an important part of the team. Uncle Toni is a perfect coach for the academy now as he is a master at managing the process of developing a child into a pro.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    If there is a rift between Moya and Uncle Toni we will probably never know, and it will be covered up from the public. When they do sit in the Rafa box, they rarely sit aside and when they do there does not seem to be any warmth, they seem distant. When Uncle Toni talks to him, it looks like Moya pretends to listen, they don’t have interaction with eye contact. My guess is Moya and Uncle Toni are not fond of each other but they control it and extinguish it, all for the good of the captain of the ship, Rafa. My guess is Rafa called for the change which happened gradually, even Harold has to admit made perfect sense. No knock on Uncle Toni, great coach but Moya has more to offer.

  • Harold · September 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Kerber had the fish. Passed on the chicken

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