After exiting in the semifinal of the French Open at the hands of ATP number one Novak Djokovic, Spaniard Rafael Nadal took part in a single event on the circuit: the Washington Open, where he beat Jack Sock before going out against Lloyd Harris in three sets. . Subsequently, Rafa announced that he had undergone surgery and would only return to compete in 2022. Speaking recently on the ‘Tre Iguales’ podcast, Toni Nadal – Rafa’s uncle and former coach – commented on the transformation of the sport over time: “Tennis has become a game of speed, not strategy. In a short time everything became much faster than in Rafa’s early career, when you met tennis players who let you play, who fought on every single ball and who reflected. Now the way to victory is to hit hard before the opponent. It seems to me that today everything is very studied, but in the end it depends on whether you play well or not. Having a high percentage of first balls, playing with good speed… I think that at the moment young people are the least willing to think, because they focus on hitting hard and have coaches around them who deal with strategy.”
Toni Nadal opens up on Novak Djokovic
Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and ex-coach, recently spoke at length about his nephew, the Big 3, the Next Gen and tennis in general on a Spanish podcast. And in one section of the interview, Toni tried to explain why Novak Djokovic isn’t as popular among the fans as his two big rivals. “It hurt him to finally arrive on the circuit when there was already a very strong rivalry between Roger and Rafa,” Toni said. “Federer and Nadal, they were two opposing styles, two different trajectories, and that made the fans very excited. It was therefore difficult to find a place at that time.” However, the Spanish coach also believes that Novak Djokovic’s ego and on-court attitude contributed to his relative lack of love from the public. “After that, I also think Novak’s ego has hurt him,” Toni said. “Especially when it comes to having certain behaviors on the court that are incompatible with being number one.” Australian Open is planning to have a quarantine period for incoming players in 2022. Even though the overall plan is yet to be revealed properly, it’s safe to say that the quarantine effect will be more for players who are hesitant to get their COVID jabs. Both the ATP and WTA tour have reported that at-most 50% of their players have had their vaccinations. But, the remaining players who are reluctant to get COVID jabs include the likes of Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and others.