Even with the title win in Montreal I can’t see Rafael Nadal winning in New York

I suppose it’s time to play ‘devils advocate’.

I can’t see Rafael Nadal winning the US Open. I happily be proved wrong but I feel like we have got caught up in noise of late.

Even before the final of Montreal began I said he’s going to withdraw from Cincinnati, head back to Mallorca and practice. There is nothing wrong with that. His knees can’t take the physical challenge of consecutive hard court events.

A lot was made of him defending a hard court title for the first time and it’s a fun fact but the bigger picture is there is no momentum on a hard court.

Since the start of 2018 this is his hard court record;

2018

Brisbane – Withdrew
Australian Open – Retired in QF v Cilic
Acapulco – Withdrew
Indian Wells – Withdrew
Miami – Withdrew
Toronto – Winner
Cincinnati – Withdrew
US Open – Retired in SF v Del Potro
(missed rest of season)
Beijing – Withdrew
Shanghai – Withdrew
Paris Masters – Withdrew
World Tour Finals – Withdrew

2019

Brisbane – Withdrew
Australian Open – Runner up – 3-6 2-6 3-6 v Djokovic
Acapulco – R2 Loss to Kyrgios
Indian Wells – Walk-over before match with Federer following 7-6 7-6 v Khachanov
Miami – Withdrew
Montreal – Winner
Cincinnati – Withdrew

Out of 19 tournaments that is;

2 titles – both Rogers Cup
2 defeats
1 walkover
2 retirements
12 withdrawals

People might think this is a piece about having a dig but it’s anything but that. Without looking you wouldn’t think it’s like this to have only completed four of nineteen tournaments on a hard court in 18 months or more.

Obviously there were injuries at the end of 2018 and around Indian Wells but the continuity and momentum on a hard court has been a struggle.

He was outplayed by Nick in Acapulco, he had him running around. I remember at the time I felt like even though he beat Khachanov the tank looked empty and then withdrew.

What was the biggest shame for me was the Australian Open final. He wiped the floor and went back for seconds against everyone on route to the final.

I remember watching him against De Minaur in Melbourne. It was a edgy and close start and he grinned up the gears and ran away with it. He played lights out to get to the final and if you pardon the pun the light went out in the final.

I missed it, I was mid-air to Perth when it began hoping to see a bit waiting for my connecting flight to London and by the time I landed Novak was serving for the match.

Nadal played well in Montreal, he didn’t play fantastic throughout the week. He played his best match in the final. Obviously having the day off at majors does help but I just don’t feel it. I feel there are better players on the surface.

He did win it in 2017 and was forced to retire in semi-finals of 2018 but in 2017 he won 41 hard court matches during the year. 14 last year and 15 so far this year so the momentum and continuity due to the withdrawals surely has an impact?

Screenshot 2019-06-07 at 14.33.10

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