Rafael Nadal's "best weapon on clay" has been revealed by Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci, who analyzed the Spaniard's biggest advantage on the surface.
The 37-year-old tennis legend is known for his dominance on clay, having picked up a record 14 of his 22 Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros between 2005 and 2022. He has also achieved a record 26 Masters 1000 titles, adding to an Open Era record of 63 ATP titles overall on clay throughout his career.
Nadal has been absent for the majority of the year due to injury. He was defeated in the second round of the Australian Open, after which he withdrew from several tournaments before announcing in May that he would be undergoing surgery and would therefore miss the French Open and the rest of the 2023 season.
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Macci: Nadal's biggest weapon was there before the match
The Spaniard has announced that he will be returning in 2024, although he has been very open about the fact that his level is likely to be lower than what fans are used to from him and that he has no expectation of winning Grand Slams immediately upon his return.
"I don't know at what level I will be able to return, but I have never lost the illusion. I haven't played for a year and for me, personal success, which is more powerful than general success, is to maintain the illusion of playing again," he said.
Meanwhile, Macci, who has worked with tennis legends such as the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova, reflected on Nadal's biggest weapon at the height of his career, revealing that he thought it was partly a mental game as players would struggle to believe they could beat him before they even walked onto the court.
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"@RafaelNadal best weapon on clay was felt before the match even started. Everybody knew you had to bring Breakfast Lunch and Dinner but the Spanish Bull would be the one enjoying dessert as the Winner," wrote the 68-year-old on X, formerly known as Twitter.