'Rafael Nadal is a master at stressing opponents', says expert

“Rafael Nadal is a master at stressing opponents,” says the expert

Rafael Nadal is set to compete at the Cincinnati Masters next week, returning to action for the first time since the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Nadal arrived in Cincinnati on Thursday and trained on the court with youngster Holger Rune on Friday.

Nadal will play in Cincinnati for the first time since 2017, aiming for the second title after that famous series in 2013. The Spaniard will look to cement his form in Ohio ahead of the US Open, where he will aim for the 23rd Major crown.

Nadal leads the ATP Race To Turin after a 35-3 record in 2022, claimed two Grand Slam titles and hopes to become world No. 1 soon. He’ll get it if he wins in Cincinnati and Daniil Medvedev loses before the quarterfinals.

Rafa’s main concern at the moment is his serve as he sustained an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and is struggling to serve correctly in training. Rafa missed the second half of 2021 due to a foot injury and this year he has returned perfectly.

He clinched three straight titles earlier in the season, including his first Australian Open crown in 13 years. This allowed him a lead over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and gave him a boost for the coming months.

With momentum on his side, Nadal lifted the trophy in Acapulco and advanced to the Indian Wells final. He played it with a broken rib and lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets. Rafa missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and didn’t play at his usual level in Madrid and Rome.

Rising on the biggest stage, Nadal secured his 14th Roland Garros title after defeating Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud.

Rafa Nadal will play in Cincinnati

In an interview with tennis MAGAZIN, Mischa Zverev praised Rafael Nadal for being unpredictable and using surprise tactics like serve and volley to surprise his opponent.

“The players, especially Medvedev, prepare for long rallies. After serving and returning, you play the point practically like a penalty. That’s the tactic of building the point from behind. Rafa constantly analyzes the game and he knows when it is clever to create moments of surprise.

He often does something new or unexpected when he’s behind,” said Zverev. “After a very long game, advantage – two – advantage – two, he suddenly throws in a serve and volley,” he added. “He does it when you don’t expect to get dressed in a stressful situation.

Or he uses his attack, especially with the forehand. If Rafa was playing serve and volley all the time, it wouldn’t work.”

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