When Rafael Nadal fired up his strokes to extend career

When Rafael Nadal fired his shots to extend his career

At 36 years old, Rafael Nadal is still among the world’s leading players. Rafa has claimed two Major titles this year and leads the ATP Race ahead of his closest rivals. The Spaniard has had many setbacks with injuries throughout his career and many predicted that he would end his career much earlier.

Rafa proved everyone wrong with his desire to constantly improve elements of his game and change his approach. After a few tough seasons plagued by injuries and lack of form, Rafa returned in 2017 in top form. He conquered 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. Nevertheless, the Spaniard tried to stay injury-free and accept the entire calendar. He won 45 of 49 matches and missed the latter part of the season after the US Open.

Rafa worked hard on his game in the following months and came back stronger at the Australian Open in January 2019. The Spaniard made significant changes to his serve and game philosophy, adopting a new serve movement and attacking the ground from the first stroke to gain an advantage and shorten the points.

Armed with this new package at Melbourne 2019, Nadal cruised into the final after winning all 18 sets. Rafa set up a title match against Novak Djokovic where he had no chance and fell in straight sets. Talking about the major changes in his game after his semi-final win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nadal was thrilled with his performance after such a long layoff.

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

Rafael Nadal talked about his new approach to the 2019 Australian Open.

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

I have had some problems at this event during my career. After not being on the court for a while, this result means everything to me and I want to thank the spectators. It’s always special to play on this court at Rod Laver Arena and I’m thrilled with how I fought tonight.

After such a long break, the opportunities to play at this level were not that high and I feel lucky to be where I am now after everything I’ve been through. In the off season I worked on my serve and first shot.

I’ve hit a lot of forehand winners right after serving here in Melbourne, which is very important to me. If I want to extend my career for a few more years, I will have to find many free points and work on it further in the future; it is a crucial element for me at this stage.

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

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

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