When Rafael Nadal fired up his strokes to extend career

When Rafael Nadal fired his punches to prolong his career

At 36 years old, Rafael Nadal is still among the best players in the world. Rafa clinched two Major titles that year and topped the ATP race ahead of his closest opponents. The Spaniard has endured many injury setbacks during his career and many predicted he would retire much sooner.

Rafa proved them wrong thanks to his desire to constantly improve the elements of his game and change the approach. After a tough couple of seasons due to injuries and a lack of form, Rafa returned at his best in 2017. He captured two major titles and once again became the world’s leading player.

Nadal won five ATP titles in 2018, including Roland Garros and three Masters 1000 crowns. Still, the Spaniard struggled to stay injury-free and embrace a busy calendar. He won 45 of 49 games and skipped the last part of the season after the US Open.

Rafa worked hard on his game in the months that followed and came back stronger at the Australian Open in January 2019. The Spaniard made significant changes to his serving and game philosophy, adopting new serving moves and attacking from the first groundstroke to gain the advantage and narrow down the points.

Armed with this new package, Nadal sailed into the Melbourne 2019 final after winning all 18 sets. Rafa set the title fight against Novak Djokovic where he stood no chance and fell in straight sets. Speaking about significant changes in his game after the semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nadal was delighted with his performance after such a long break.

He wished for more of the same in the years to come and has achieved it.

Rafael Nadal spoke about his new approach at the 2019 Australian Open.

“It’s very emotional for me to be back in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

I’ve had some issues at this event throughout my career. After a while away from the pitch, this result means everything to me and I want to say thank you to the crowd. It’s always special to play on that pitch at Rod Laver Arena and I’m thrilled with how I fought tonight.

After such a long break, the opportunities to play at that level weren’t that high and I feel lucky to be where I am now after everything I’ve been through. I’ve been working on my serve and first shot in the offseason.

I’ve hit a lot of winners right off the forehand serve here in Melbourne, which is very important to me. If I want to extend my career a few more years, I have to find a lot of free points and keep working on them in the future; it’s a crucial element for me at this stage.

I’m enjoying my new serve and first forehand; I used to use it to prepare the point, but now it’s more efficient. Carlos Moya joined my team and formed a great combination with Francisco. He gave me the different perspective on the game and it was important to change some things with him on the board.

We are very organized and prepare well for the games; We are a great team working together. I’ve always believed in long-term projects, even now after having almost the same team for 20 years,” said Rafael Nadal.

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