Rafael Nadal’s coach and long-time friend Carlos Moya has said it was a pity that Nadal could not finish the season on a high, by winning the ATP Finals at London’s O2.
“A very rare season and a very strange year for everyone,” former World No 1 Moya told Libertad Digital in an interview.
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“As far as what has been possible to play, the balance is clearly positive because winning a Grand Slam always turns the year into a great year. That is undeniable.
“The pity was the end with the London Masters Tournament where I think Rafa had a chance to reach the final and also to win the tournament. Normally with him things usually happen in favor, but in this case they happened against.”
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In a season affected by the pandemic, Nadal did not travel to New York to defend his US Open title. But the Spaniard was back in his element at Roland Garros and won his 13th French Open title. He also gave the indoor hardcourt season a good go, registering his 1000th win on Tour at the Paris Masters.
The 34-year-old was hoping to clinch the elusive ATP Finals title but went out to Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals. Nadal even served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but eventually lost 6-3, 6-7, 3-6 to the Russian.
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Moya believes that Nadal had adjusted well to the indoor hard courts in London, and hence it was disappointing that he could not go all the way.
“There is always room for strategy,” said Moya.
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“Rafa is a good example of this because he has a wide range of possibilities within his game and that helps him build the points strategically. On a general level we try to adapt to the surfaces and conditions that we face in each tournament.
“If you watch a Rafa match in London you will see big differences with what he did a month before at Roland Garros. But it is true that this sense of adaptability and strategy is being lost.
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“The players hit harder, the points are shorter and depending on the opponent you play against, you barely have space for strategy during the point. The good thing is that, as I have told you, Rafa does.
“He continues to do and it is something that makes him different from the rest. He has different plans as the game progresses and he knows how to read very well what to do during the match.
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“Knowing how to read what happens in the middle of the game, not after, is what differentiates very good of the rest.”