Nadal played possibly his best Tennis ever to beat Novak Djokovic in 4 sets and Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in a tough 3-set match.
Let’s take a close look at the keys to the finals matches and lessons that can be learned!
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 to win his 13th Grand Slam and 2nd US Open title.
Nadal played what I believe may be the best Tennis he has ever played and Djokovic played good but not anywhere close to his best!
Nevertheless, the match resulted in some amazing rallies. Take a look at this ridiculous 54-shot rally between the two:
Why Nadal Won The Match
Nadal has really turned the rivalry between these two around since his loss to Djokovic at the 2012 Australian Open. That loss was Nadal’s seventh loss in a row to Djokovic and it was obvious that Nadal needed to make some adjustments to turn things around.
Rafa did exactly that and now has a 6-1 record against Novak since that match at the 2012 Australian Open.
So what does Rafa do differently now ? The key change has been that Nadal hits his two-handed backhand more aggressively throughout the matches against Djokovic and does not slice as often anymore!
Previously, Nadal sliced a lot of backhands and did not go for too much on his topspin backhands. Novak would hit his backhand down the line a lot and then take control of the point with his forehand after Nadal sliced the ball back and this pattern got repeated over and over.
As a result Nadal was on defense most of the time and at this level you really have to control a large percentage of the rallies to win matches!
Hitting his backhand more aggressively these days allows Nadal to stay closer to the line and also hit a lot more forehands inside the court, which is of course a winning proposition for him!
Novak so far has not been able to find an answer to this. Oftentimes he does not seem to be as aggressive anymore as he was in 2011, especially with his two-handed backhand.
I think the key for him to turn this rivalry around again, has to be to try and play even more aggressive and dominate as many baseline rallies as possible!
Lessons To Be Learned:
1. Never Stop Improving
Nadal is the best example I know of a player that never stops improving. He used to play way behind the baseline and nowadays he takes the ball extremely early.
It seems as if he always comes back with a better game whenever he realizes that he needs to improve to get to the next level!
2. Look For Your Patterns
Nadal was stuck in a pattern that got repeated over and over against Djokovic. Djokovic would hit a backhand down the line and then take control of the point because Nadal’s backhand response was usually too weak.
Now Nadal has found a way to play patterns that favor him, where he dominates points with the forehand.
There are usually only a few patterns of play when you play a match and it is very important that you are aware of which patterns favor you and which don’t!
The women’s finals was an incredible match to watch. We saw two very tough players in an intense battle that could have gone either way.
Serena struggled a lot with the wind and Victoria really tried everything possible and never gave up, no matter how devastating it must have been to play so well and still come up short.
Here are some highlights from the match:
Overall Serena has a lot more weapons than Victoria and I find it amazing that Azarenka kept the match this close!
From the baseline there is not a whole lot of difference between the two but the serve is the shot that makes all the difference in this rivalry!
Serena wins numerous “free points” with her serve, especially on big points whereas Azarenka oftentimes even gets attacked off of her first serve in this match-up!
Serena really struggled with the wind and in my opinion did not deal well with it. She kept looking up and in a way complaining about the wind as if it was somehow unfair. This certainly aided Azarenka in keeping the match close and winning the 2nd set!
Otherwise Serena was as mentally tough as usual. Both players showed an incredible will and belief to win this match!
I find it very impressive how Azarenka remained tough and positive even after losing the first set and being down a break early in the 2nd. Many other players would have dropped off at this point but she is a true champion and really maximizes her potential from a mental aspect in my opinion.
In order to have a chance to turn this rivalry around Azarenka would need to significantly improve her serve technique!
Her record against Williams is now 3-13 and none of the matches she won were played at a Grand Slam.
She may win a match here and there against Serena but overcoming that big of a disadvantage to start points off is simply too much to win against Serena when Serena is playing well, which she usually does at Grand Slam tournaments.
Lessons To Be Learned:
1. Be Mentally Tough Like Azarenka
Mental toughness is huge in Tennis and Azarenka showed a lot of it in this match. The key lesson to be learned i think is to remain positive even when you are behind in a match and this is what most recreational players struggle with.
Azarenka knows that she will usually lose to Williams when Serena is at her best but she did not care about that. Instead she simply focused on playing her absolute best and controlling what she can control, which is her own performance!
2. Develop Weapons Like Serena
Serena’s serve is a huge weapon and her backhand was also incredible in this match.
Tennis is simply a lot more fun when you have weapons and can dominate points with them!
So How Do You Develop A Weapon Like That ?
There are 2 main components that go into developing a big weapon on the tennis court:
#1: Great Technique
This is the cornerstone of a weapon. Great technique allows you to develop lots of racket head speed and control where the ball goes at the same time!
Great technique is the major focus here at www.onlinetennisinstruction.com and if you are serious about developing great technique you may want to consider one of our video courses to help you do that!
This is the second component necessary for a big weapon. Tennis in the end is also a strength sport and you need to be a great athlete with explosive power to hit serves at 130 mph or over 200 km/h!
So that is one good reason to work on your fitness and general athletic ability but just as importantly you will feel better in everyday life if you improve your athleticism and overall fitness!
Ok. So much for now. Please post any thoughts and comments underneath!