a couple of months later at the US Open went out rather meekly to Murray in the semi-finals. There has to be a reason why the Nadal that dominated the 2008 French Open, 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian Open struggled in Flushing Meadows.
It can happen against a rising talent who has nothing to lose. In either case, semis in the last two Opens are no more evidence that Nadal struggles on that surface than Edberg's more devastating 0-6 6-7 4-6 loss to Becker at Wimbledon that Edberg struggles on grass. Instead of surface struggle evidence, both results were further evidence that those kind of matches happen to everybody on every surface.
Nadal has won trophies on hard courts in Peking, Madrid, Monte Carlo, Dubai, Indian Wells, Montreal, and Melbourne. Whatever the difference between those hard courts and the ones at Flushing Meadow, it can't be anywhere near as great as the difference between clay at the French and grass at Wimbledon, both of which he's won within a matter of weeks twice.
Nadal's stroke technique – topspin, two-handed backhand - is the same that's used by legions of Spanish players. The reason that clay court player Nadal wins masters and slams on other surfaces as well is he gets to more balls more quickly and so can do more with them than anybody, independent of whether the surface is gravel or marble
For the record - Nadal is not my kind of player. I play tennis exactly the way Federer does, except of course for a world of difference in quality. I see myself when Federer plays, so he has my sympathy when up against Nadal. I know what it's like when the other guy moves so well that I'm forced to hit a series
of winners just to get one
point, start to finish for hours. Tennis, like life, is movement, and Nadal's got it in spades. If Federer is no longer struggling by the next Open, he will be again if he faces a healthy Nadal.
Edited by Sancho Panza, 06 July 2010 - 09:01 AM.