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Nadal invents a survival boot

Nadal invents a survival boot

The serve is the great concern of Rafael Nadal since he suffered an abdominal injury that prevented him from playing against Nick Kyrgios one the semifinals of the last edition Wimbledon. For this reason, the Spaniard, a tennis player in constant evolution despite his 36 years, has decided to slightly vary the mechanics of his service to prevent this ailment from reappearing in a delicate area in which he recently had a gap. So he was able to beat unknown Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the first round of the US Openwho made a very good impression by achieving something that no one had achieved before in the tournament, beating the Balearic Islands in the first set in its premiere: 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3 in 3:08.

Nadal, what he angrily celebrated a victory he did not take for granted, faces this Thursday (about 02:45, Eurosport) still old acquaintance who usually annoys him quite a bit and who he beat her on the same stage in 2015, the Italian Fabio Fognini. “It’s been a long road, and for a while I didn’t know if I could go back,” he said. “I haven’t played much in the last 15 days. It’s about being humble and embracing the process. It is time to survive, with the right attitude,” she added.

Rafael came from lose at the first change in the Cincinnati Masters 1,000 against Borna Coric, the Croatian who was ultimately champion. In that game a change in the movement of the Spaniard’s serve was already glimpsed, which he confirmed and explained after his debut in New York: “It is evident that it does not change my way of understanding it, but I have changed it a bit. I throw the ball a little lower to try to avoid a much more aggressive gesture in the abdominal”. The Manacorí justifies this measure: “One has to survive with what there is every day. In that sense, I have experience and I try to do things that help give me real options, because the tournament is not going to be won today, but it can be lost”. With that caution, Nadal adds that he must be “intelligent.” “If something happens afterwards, then it happens. But I have to go step by step and every day that I win here is also a day of calm and of knowing that things are going in the right direction”.

The winner of 22 Grand Slams will continue to be “on the lead” when executing the service. “The scar that I have has to be flexible, and when it is not flexible at all, in a place that receives a lot of impact, there is always a risk. And since we are all clear about it, we do the necessary things to minimize it, even if it doesn’t allow you to play 100%, but it does help you to have possibilities”.

Antecedent

It is not the first time that Nadal decides to change his serve. in 2019 did it for technical reasons just before the Australian Openduring the preseason. “We are looking for him to do more damage and for the ball to go a little faster,” his coach, Carlos Moyá, told the ATP website. . Rafa began “to execute the swing taking the hand for a longer time below, instead of raising it laterally”. At the time of throwing the ball into the air” he did not “flex as much, with his body very upright” and entered “well with his right leg inside the court after falling”, explained Francis Roiganother one of his trainers. The second serve improved a lot and allowed him to continue the points with the drive without feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of the rival.

Now, hit the ball a little earlier so as not to punish the abdominal area. Against Hijikata it worked quite well for him: nine aces, 77% of points won with firsts and 65% with seconds, only two double faults and average speeds of up to 184 km/h. Survival.

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