Nadal changes again, new serve at US Open: Moya analysis

He struggled for set and a half against the posh Fabio Fognini, hit his nose and then beat Richard Gasquet for the 18th time in a row. Rafael Nadal will continue at the US Open, after unexpected small events and a bit of tension, against Frances Tiafoe who was defeated at the Australian Open and Madrid in 2019 without dropping a single set.

John McEnroe considered the lead candidate to finish the season as the world number one, Nadal could return to the top by the end of the US Open. A challenge against Tiafoe could give an extra boost to Majorcan Island, who is so far undefeated at this year’s Grand Slam but had to retire before the semi-final against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear. The injury he suffered at the tournament, as explained by his coach Carlos Moya in an interview on the ATP website, is on the basis of the changes in serve that Nadal showed during the tournament.

Moya explained to the ATP, that Majorcan showed unusual anxiety in the match against Fognini. “Looking at how the match was going, we suggested that he keep the ball in play more, hit by a bigger margin and less angles. I haven’t told him such a thing in years: he hit in the middle and then he ran,” Moya said. He, like other coaches, can now give directions to his player during a match when they are on the same side of the field.

“It is difficult to control the mind – continued Moya -. Rafa explained that he has gone through many difficult situations in recent months, but we are all convinced that he will find his best tennis in the last rounds of the tournament. It really happened in the last rounds of the tournament. The past too. It’s the same at Wimbledon.”

Currently, Nadal aims to reach the 48th quarter-finals in 66 major tournaments played, his 10th in 16 matches at the US Open. The long-range goal is the fifth title in New York. If successful, he would become the tournament’s most Open-era title (along with Connors, Federer and Sampras) and the biggest winner since 36-year-old Bill Tilden’s victory at the then-US Championships in 1929.

Moya reveals: How Nadal changed the serve

Although he is not among the leaderboard by aces or percentage of points he has won first or second place in this edition of the tournament, service remains a key factor for the current Nadal.

Moya noted that Rafa serves in New York in a different way than usual. “During the training, we found that he was finding it difficult to find the ball high after throwing it,” he explained. In fact, the movement is shorter because the pitch is lower in order to protect the abdominal muscle area where he was torn at Wimbledon. In fact, the higher the layup, the more movement needed to give the breath a boost through rotation of the shoulders and the torso ending up putting pressure on the abdominal muscles.

The different movement, both smaller and shorter, does not appear to have reduced its effectiveness for the time being. So far, Moya admitted, “Nadal is doing really well. It’s a method that can give excellent results in a fast court, or even at Wimbledon, he said. He’s gaining more and more confidence and the speed doesn’t suffer. Even after that, the rebound of the ball is faster, And the effect you add gives results.”

Of course, there is no doubt that such a modification of such an important and mechanically complex shot as serving in a Grand Slam is too risky. “But if we had not, the risk of recurrence would have been much greater – Moya concludes -. Go to war with what you have.”