Written by

Alla Zakarian

12-04-2019 | 15:53 Tennis

Novak Djokovic coach reveals key strategy to beating Rafael Nadal

Craig O’Shannessy, who is a strategy analyst for Team Novak Djokovic, has revealed a key strategy to beating Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has dominated ATP Clay court tournaments, has won 11 French Open titles in just 14 appearances at Roland Garros. Nadal has won 92 per cent of his matches at the five biggest European clay-court tournaments in total. O’Shannesy said: “In the past four years at these five events, Nadal has astonishingly lost serve only 12 times out of 424 service games when leading 30/0. It’s the next best thing to automatic, and here’s where the battle gets even harder for his opponents. After playing just two points on serve, Nadal is more likely to be at 30/0 than either of the other two scores. Nadal is still well in command when serving at 15/15, holding 83 per cent (324/392) of the time. Even from the perilous position of 0/30, Nadal is still effectively in break-even territory, rallying to hold 49 per cent of the time.” O’Shannessy helped Djokovic see of Nadal in straight sets at the Australian Open earlier this year. Nadal will be keen to bounce back. “Nadal’s most eye-popping return stat is that he has broken serve at Roland Garros 54 per cent (67/123) of the time when his opponent has served at 15/15 in the past four years,” he added.  “The game is just beginning, but Nadal’s hidden edge to break serve is already in full swing. Giving Nadal an early lead in the game makes winning it nearly impossible. Playing boldly against Nadal early in the game to grab the initial score advantage certainly has its merits.


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