• Nadal returns to tennis with weapon

    1/30/13 2:31 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Nadal returns to tennis with weapon Rafael Nadal flies to Chile to begin his comeback to tennis after more than seven months out with a knee injury, ready to use a new racquet which he was at first loath to try.

    The former world No. 1, his ranking now down to fifth after his inactivity, will be playing in his Latin clay-court comeback with a Babolat's Aeropro Drive racket, according to dpa. While Nadal was chilly towards the major change of sticks, he apparently bowed to the wishes of his coach and uncle Toni.

    "Uncle Toni put pressure on Rafa to change. If you want to be better, you have to take risks," Eric Babolat, the owner French firm, told dpa. "I don't agree with what you're saying, but I'll give it a try," Babolat said Nadal usually tells his uncle-coach.

    Babolat said the new weapon will give Nadal's shots even more of the lethal spin which plays havoc with opponents. "He already has a lot of topspin, but he wants more," said Babolat.

    And there are even more plans in the works: It's possible that by the end of the season, the racquet model could be equipped with a chip which records the date on every shot it strikes, potentially a devastating statistical took for Team Nadal.

    "It could become a habit, something usual after sport: sitting with your friends to compare each one's technical data," said Babolat, who is also hoping it can catch on in the consumer market.

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Welcome back, Rafa. All the best with your recovery and return to the tour.

You are the best.

nadline , 1/30/13 4:30 PM

All the best Rafa. we all rafans waited so long for your return. please take care of your health. can't wait to see you play again. vamossssssss

gr8nadal , 1/30/13 7:04 PM


Conspirator , 1/30/13 7:44 PM

I have taken my fandom and support for Rafa to heights even I would never have imagined. On Friday, I am going to have an MRI scan on my left knee, which has been troubling me since November last year. Crazy or what?

I have never done anything energetic; all I did was run for the train the day before the pain started and it's still not healed.

nadline , 1/30/13 7:59 PM

Thanks for the link Conspiraor.

Apparently, the new racket and new strings will give Rafa ?more power and more control? So those who think Rafa would have lagged behind, think again.

Rafa says:
?The most important thing for me is the knee?that I can support the pain of the knee and then if I am able to play these three tournaments in a row I think it will work very well for me because I will have three important weeks to prepare for the rest of the season."

Can't wait to see a fully fit Rafa back in the mix.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 1/30/13 8:15 PM

Feast your eyes on this:

nadline , 1/30/13 8:33 PM

I find this information about Rafa's new racket quite interesting. It's nice to know that there has been some thought about what a new racket can do for his game.

I just cannot wait to see Rafa on the court again! I hope that the tennis channel will be covering his first tournament, maybe the latter matches.

Nativenewyorker , 1/30/13 10:20 PM

He should just return for the Golden Swing. That's the smartest thing he could do.
chr18, 8/9/12 11:21 PM

It seems I have underestimated Nadal. He is smarter than I thought. He either figured this out on his own or he reads TT and followed my advice. Maybe we should refer to him as underestimation Nadal now. I'm actually looking forward to his return now in SA since it will make me right.

chr18 , 1/31/13 2:39 AM

What do they say about an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters put in a room together? I suppose the same would apply to other animals like donkeys for example.

RT @SI_BTBaseline: BTB - Nadal reportedly using a new racket that gives him even more topspin. "Augh" said Federer's backhand. #atp


Conspirator , 1/31/13 3:30 AM

He had previously added some weight to his racquet for more power and better serve, but I heard that had compromised his racquet control and topspin, so I suppose he wants the topspin back or even more. I think the new racquet has a device to keep track of all the stats, like the rpm, the whatever. I wonder will that really help Rafa? I mean unless he wants more topspin on clay, how's that going to help him on grass and hard courts?

luckystar , 1/31/13 9:23 AM

I hope there are no copycats watching Rafa. One top player in particular copies from the others.............from developing biceps, eating sushi, to changing to a gluten free diet. I've even noticed that he now carries his racquet on court like Rafa does.

nadline , 1/31/13 10:37 AM

^^ No one needs topspin as much as Nadal, so the answer would be no. I wonder what the rankings would like with wooden racquets in use.

samprallica , 1/31/13 10:50 AM

"I hope there are no copycats watching Rafa..."

I hope so too.
Andy is far too talented to bother copying anyone else.
But i wish he had the abilities to recover the way Rafa & now Novak does as per the Oz final.
The gluten thing doesnt really work that well unless one has a medical condition.

Twinge , 1/31/13 10:53 AM

^^Oh and they ALL eat sushi....

Twinge , 1/31/13 10:55 AM

So how do you know I was referring to Andy? The red cap fits, does it?

Twinge, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and we all know that Andy looks up to Rafa, he's said as much so there is no point in denying it. Why has he taken to carrying his racquet onto the court? Because Rafa does that.

nadline , 1/31/13 11:12 AM

I don't know if Nole is eating sushi. There's mercury in the thing.

samprallica , 1/31/13 11:27 AM

Btw, Andy is doing himself no favours with recovery by bulking up.

samprallica , 1/31/13 11:30 AM

Well the sushi thing is something Andy talks about,but i doubt it was from Rafa.
And the gluten thing he took from Novak not Rafa.
Thats what made me think you were talking about Andy.
The racquet thing I havent noticed and its debatable that he is copying rafa for that at this stage, it could have something to do with the sponsors or anything for that matter.
Yes we all know Andy looks up to Rafa.. to his detriment!
Time to grow up I think as he is still the top 4 player with too many lessons still being uncovered.

Twinge , 1/31/13 11:32 AM

Actually, sampralica, Rafa is not bulky at all, Rafa is skinny next to Andy. Only Rafa's left arm has any biceps to talk about. Andy actually said, after Rafa beat him at Wimbledon in 2008, that he'd learned some lessons from Rafa and that he was going to try and train harder and in no time at all he was sporting his biceps.

nadline , 1/31/13 11:46 AM

"Btw, Andy is doing himself no favours with recovery by bulking up..."

Clearly that is the case. To win one of these slams one often has to go through 2 of the 4 unless he was playnig himself in his previous form i dont think Andy is quite fit enough to do this.
Novak used to quit when he was tired in slams (too hot etc) and now he can beat Andy in 5 rafa in 6 so i would be interested to know what he is doing now differently.
And i am also sure that Andy would be the first to copy it too :)

Twinge , 1/31/13 11:51 AM

Rafa has always talked about eating sushi and Andy has just taken to talking about it.

nadline , 1/31/13 11:51 AM

Lots of sushi and lots of sleep ...
Rafael Nadal

Hi everyone, Just came from dinner and wanted to write a few words to you.
We had a nice dinner here nearby the hotel. No match tomorrow, so some good sushi. We are staying at a hotel where basically you have all kind of restaurants. This is good since it is convenient but at the same time we tend not to go out much.
I have been 10 days here in Melbourne and not really gone out of this place. Have to change that! If I am here in 2 nights I think I?ll change!

Tomorrow I am practicing at 11 so that leaves me time to sleep until at least 9.30 so not bad.
Can?t complain.
Rafa d-things-cant-travel.html

nadline , 1/31/13 11:56 AM

Oh alright Nadline, surely the proof you have provided is incontrovertible!
Rafa was the one who inspired Andy to eat Sushi.
You must be well chuffed about that too :)

Twinge , 1/31/13 12:02 PM

I am also chuffed about the fact that Andy went to train in Barcelona because of Rafa.
5 Things You Didn't Know: Andy Murray

Andy Murray dropped out of school

Aged just 15, Andy Murray moved to Barcelona to train for a tennis career on the clay courts of the Sanchez-Casal Academy. After playing and losing to a young Rafael Nadal in a youth tournament, Andy found out that the young Spaniard was training with Carlos Moya, the then world number one, and so he made his mind up to train in Spain. Although a bright boy, his academic studies fell by the wayside, and he left school without any qualifications. His girlfriend Kim Sears may find this frustrating as she holds an English Literature degree, whereas Andy has confessed in the past to only having read a couple of Harry Potter books and part of Dwayne ?The Rock? Johnson?s biography.

Andy Murray?s favourite food is sushi

Although a bandy and gangly youth, Andy Murray has developed his physique as well as his tennis skills, and both improvements are beginning to pay their dividends. The young Scot has a much more physical presence now, and often sets female hearts a flutter when he strips off between games on court. The secret to his new ripped bod? Sushi. And lots of it. He?s been known to snack on the Japanese delicacy during post-match interviews and once admitted to eating 42 pieces of sushi in one sitting in an effort to add bulk. Sushi gives Murray the right mix of protein and carbohydrates to repair muscles and store energy for future matches. didnt-know-andy-murray.html

nadline , 1/31/13 12:09 PM

Who speaks spanish???


Conspirator , 1/31/13 7:01 PM

Rafa is on his way to Chile

nadline , 1/31/13 9:48 PM

Nadline I did not say Rafa was necessarily bulky. Like you pointed out, his arms carry the majority of his bulk.

I think Murray is making a mistake with Sushi and bulk. Being gluten free does help a lot if you've been consuming gluten previously it makes a noticeable difference but it has to go with the rest of his diet. You can't consume gluten free and then eat tons of sushi and expect results.

samprallica , 2/1/13 4:46 AM

That's why Murray should stop emulating other prople.

nadline , 2/1/13 7:59 AM

I think I prefer the not so bulky Murray playing with more varieties in his game style, like S&V, counter punching, varying pace and with controlled aggression. The bulky Murray seems to tire relatively easily. I prefer that Murray of Shanghai 2010 vs Fed; the Paris 2010 vs Nalby, the WTF 2010 vs Rafa and the Rome 2011 vs Nole.

luckystar , 2/1/13 8:49 AM

^^he had one c**p match this year guys,
Give it a rest.

Twinge , 2/1/13 10:44 AM

Not criticising him, just prefer the Murray who plays with varieties. It seems to me he's sacrificing varieties for his aggression; I think playing against Nole, defense or aggression aren't enough; he needs his variation of pace to keep Nole off his rhythm. He plays the right way against Fed though, ie playing with aggression.

luckystar , 2/1/13 11:07 AM

I agree with all of that,
His lightness of touch/variety is too fundamental to dissapear forever but it is clear that he needed to add aggression to his game Lucks, it was seriously lacking!
It WAS lacking badly in the final as he reverted back to a counter puncher style that just wont cut it in a final.
No one has more variety than Andy but everything must be applied with purpose.
He mustn't just react thats what happened in the final in last couple of sets and thats why he lost the match; Insufficient aggression.
But there were feet issues and he just wasn't feeling it so he resorted to safety and frankly his game collapsed.
I am very impressed by what Lendl has added already going forward it will click into place soon enough.
Also i dont think he played himself into form throughout the tournament due to how easy his draw became and the shock of raising his game against Fed and beating him proved a little too much.
Anyway it is done.

Twinge , 2/1/13 11:35 AM

The bulk might be to generate more power on the forehand side also, which is something he has traditionally had a problem achieving, compared to the other top 4.

Twinge , 2/1/13 11:39 AM

Also I dont think its about bulking up to copy nadal.
Its lendl's training regime taking effect.

Twinge , 2/1/13 11:59 AM

Re Murray and his bulking up: It's a slippery slope. On one hand, it should theoretically give you more power, but being more muscular can leave you more prone to injuries.(players with heavier frames tend to be injured more than those with wiry/elastic builds)However, I am sure Murray knows what he is doing to achieve the best possible outcome though.

tj600 , 2/1/13 12:30 PM

Actually, Lendl strimlined his body to become more efficent and beat the likes of McEnroe, he certainly did not bulk up; he was all skin and bones by the time he finished his conditioning which is why I don't understand how he could advice Murray to bulk up. I don't believe that Lendl has complete control over Murray. If Murray wants to bulk up then he will. Lendl probably helps him with his tactics and improving his shots.

Murray emulates the other players too much. I have always noticed that about him. He started training with the pulley because of Nadal. There is no denying it. The funny thing is, Rafa is not bulky, he would look the same even if he wasn't an athlete; his Dad is stocky so it's natural for him to look the way he does and he does work to develop his left arm because it's his weaker arm and that's what he plays with.

nadline , 2/1/13 1:31 PM

Wawvrinka is destroying the joke of a tennis player that is Rosol right now, and Ive noticed something interesting. Rosol was jumping around a lot and swinging his racket whilst nadal was about serve at wimbledon, watching him now he doesn't do it. This implies that it was a dirty tactic of his to put nadal off.

willmw101 , 2/1/13 1:49 PM

Twinge, soon you'll be claiming that Murray thought of the gluten free diet all by himself.

nadline , 2/1/13 2:05 PM

^^Its a different era now.
ANYWAY your point about Murray emulating other players ie Nadal because ALL ROADS LEAD TO NADAL has been well & truly made.
His fitness team will advise and if nadal is not bulky then he isnt copying him either.
He actually KNOWS Nadal, you just think you do Nadline. So if he isnt bulky he isnt the template.
Besides he is the only one of the top 4 looking like this now with the exception of nadal's arms. There must be some sort of strategic reason or it would not have just occured.

Twinge , 2/1/13 2:06 PM

"And the gluten thing he took from Novak not Rafa..." TWINGE 11.32

It was only a few posts up. Andy did it after Novak had started it, it had nothing to do with bleedin nadal nagline.
Anyway so WHAT?

Twinge , 2/1/13 2:10 PM

Of course he copied the gluten free diet from Nole, everyone knows Nole for his gluten free diet, unless they live on another planet. I'm just illustrating Murray's tendency to being a copycat. Of course he emulated Rafa over the fitness but he's just overdone it.

nadline , 2/1/13 2:31 PM

Twinge, did you even know that Murray actually left school to go and train in Spain because he wanted to emulate Rafa? I'm surprised he did not take spanish citizenship or naturalize and go an live in Manacor.

What else don't you know about Murray?

nadline , 2/1/13 2:37 PM

When will Murray start placing his water bottles and tugging his shorts?

nadline , 2/1/13 2:40 PM

You do live on another planet, somewhere called `Surburbia` I'm guessing ;)
Okay Point NOTED.
He is a copycat in some of his training methods.
Although for sure he doesnt know what the other players are up to exactly.
And he is yet to see the results that Novak and Nadal have achieved so the quest shall no doubt continue.
I wonder what Kohlschreiber is up to now?

Twinge , 2/1/13 2:41 PM

LOL at how awful Rosol is. Truly amazing that he managed to play so well in that one match against a sub par and injured Rafa.

willmw101 , 2/1/13 2:41 PM

"When will Murray start placing his water bottles and tugging his shorts?"

You mean picking his pants out of his backside area? Never i hope.
You simply have to much time on your hands dear, time to learn about the joys of bridge I think.

Twinge , 2/1/13 2:44 PM

Never mind Twinge. I just like a bit banter; don't take it too seriously even though I make a valid point about Muzz being a copycat.

nadline , 2/1/13 2:46 PM

If Muzz had an uncle who had been anywhere near a tennis court he'd be his coach, especially if he was called Toni.

nadline , 2/1/13 2:48 PM

Muzz now points to the skies when he wins, but I'm not sure if that comes from Nole or Delpo. Only Muzz will know.

nadline , 2/1/13 2:51 PM

wawrinka beat rosol easily.

tj600 , 2/1/13 2:52 PM

Only morons in the media (like Tignor) and Fed fans thought Rosol beat a fit Rafa.
It was obvious when I watched Rafa against Bellucci that his movement was impaired. But somehow Bellucci was too much in awe and could not take advantage.
I think that Uncle Toni has switched Rafa to a different racket to reduce his running. Rafa will play more aggressive and try to shorten the points.
I don't know how Rafa's injury will impact his performance. Rafa's game depends a lot on his superior movement.

holdserve , 2/1/13 3:47 PM

For what it's worth, let's remember also that a big part of strength is not bulk but core muscles strength, range of motion (Djoker, anyone?), what ratio of fast versus slow twitching muscle fibers you have achieved through conditioning over about 15 years...

And various other factors that do not fit easily in the above buckets: some people with smaller muscle volumes are stronger than others with larger ones for a variety of reasons, the old belief (for that is all it is imho) that muscle strength is (always) more or less proportional to its thickness is just not true in the real world, and normal folks use a small fraction of the potential strength of their muscles (because unlike primates our brain has some kind of override against this) except when for example trying to lift a car to save a family member (in contrast to this it seems that athletes esp pro athletes have train their mind (mind/body) to raise the bar on how far their brain will allow them to access the potential strength of their muscles (AO 2009 final is perhaps related to this although I am uncertain here), and have you ever witness the actual power of true taiji (tai chi) masters... they have little bulk but enormous strength.

In other words, visible bulk of (more external) muscles is but one of the dimensions of strength, speed and acceleration of strokes and stamina.

chlorostoma , 2/1/13 5:10 PM

Rafa arrives in Chile a.456161351025.251362.64822581025&type=1&theater

nadline , 2/1/13 7:25 PM

I don't know that Andy is specifically copying Rafa. Maybe he watched and learned some things or kind of took mental notes. But I believe that Andy wants to be himself. He will do what is in his best interests. Lendl was the one who started the whole physical strength and fitness regime. He knew in order to beat JMac and Connors that he needed every advantage. He may have been lean, but he was muscular and well conditioned. Borg was also legendary in his practice regimens and his athletic strength.

I think that chloro makes a good point about the components that make up strength. It's not just about bulk. Also, people I know who have been lucky enough to see Rafa play in person, have always remarked that he seems taller and slimmer. So it's not like Rafa is just a mass of muscle.

I think Andy and Lendl seem to be working well together to come up with whatever works best for him, be it something borrowed from another top player or not. Also, as I recall Uncle Toni did study Andy's serve and wanted to try to incorporate some of his motion into Rafa's serve. He has spoken about studying the other top players to see if there is something that will help Rafa. I like the fact that Rafa and Uncle Toni have been flexible and willing to work on strengthening and making incremental changes to his game.

Nativenewyorker , 2/1/13 7:55 PM

Rafa meets the president of Chile and Gonzo was invited also.

nadline , 2/1/13 8:01 PM

NNY, it's not much fun being objective. I love winding Twinge up because she takes it so much to heart. Having said that, Andy does copy other players a lot. Have you noticed that he even squeezes a sachet into his mouth now before a match a la Rafa?

As I say, imitation isthe sincerest form of flattery.

Here is the link to Rafa meeting a fawning Chile president who is only too pleased to be in the presence of the great Rafael Nadal.

nadline , 2/1/13 8:09 PM


Maybe I won't get points for being objective, but I think it's a mixed bag with Andy. There are things he may have copied, but I think Lendl is going to have the most influence with him from now on.

We know that Andy has always admired and respected and looked up to Rafa. Maybe for his fans, a bit much so.

If you want to have some fun, good for you!

Thanks for the picture of Rafa meeing the president of Chile! They certainly seem to be rolling out the red carpet for him!

Nativenewyorker , 2/1/13 10:26 PM

Welcome back, rafa, and all the best
Nadline, don't you remember around 3 years back when rafa was looking to improve his serve, him saying that he had been studying muzz's motion? And who did more than muzz to rescue the drop shot, showing that it can be a powerful weapon in the nodern game again, and now nearly everyone, even roger, is turning to it. My point is that all the best players are always looking around and learning from the best things other players are doing. No exceptions. They'd be foolish if they didn't. And they probably wouldn't be winners either. As for muzz mimicking styles and habits, nah, don't see it. I suppose some things kind if get picjed up unconsciously by players and almost become trends, but I can't say I see this in muzz more than anyone else. He, like rafa, seems to be one of the more insular and self-contained of the top players.
But as every top pro - rafa included - knows and does, if you see someone else doing something that works, at least give ut a try.

alex , 2/2/13 11:29 AM

Yes, I do remember U. Toni saying they were studying Murray's serve but that doesn't mean Muzz should want to morf into Rafa. Lol

I just want Rafa to stay unique I don't want anyone encroaching on his patch.

nadline , 2/2/13 12:20 PM

elmundo reports that the day it wa announced rafa is taking part in the tournament in chile, ticket prices went up by THREE TIMES ,lol ! the star is back ! Rafa has also confirmed that there are no riks of further damage so yes the doctors have given him a clean chit...

as far the as the above discussion is concerned, well I think muzz himself is as talented as any tennis player out there. He has so much respect for the top guys esp rafa so even if he does try to incorporate something positive from rafa's game/style there is nothing wrong about that. As alex said, rafa himself was looking at andy's serve ! The top 4 guys are so talented that I am sure they always look up to each other and try to spot things that can benefit them ! Of course not everyone would be willing to accept that openly.

Rafa has also said it twice that federer's serve is the best and if he were given a chance to adopt any player's service, it would be the federer serve.

vamosrafa , 2/2/13 1:02 PM

Rafa's presser in Chile

RAFA NADAL: "My knee is much better. The tests show that there is no danger of suffering a bigger injury. I still have some pain, which doesn't let me be on court as much as I?d like, but I have to start at some point.

It was the best decision to come to this country for the first time. Vina del Mar has the surface I need. Losing in the first round is something that could happen, because I haven't played in such a long time. I hope that doesn't happen and I can get back in form.?

nadline , 2/2/13 4:59 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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