Rafael Nadal, still searching for answers on how to regain his old dominant form, is hoping the recent modifications he made in his racket will bring positive results for upcoming tournaments.
Nadal, who resumed his South American clay-court campaign at the Rio de Janeiro Open, has reportedly made some adjustments in his racket, particularly on the placement of the ropes and strings, to produce the desired amount of top spin on the ball.
Fabrice Santoro, a teammate in the International Premier Tennis League, confirmed this to the National Post, adding that Nadal is putting these changes to the test at the Argentina and Rio Open.
“I asked him if he had not enough top spin and he replied that he had changed the ropes, especially to play the forehand with more top spin,” Santora said.
According to former ATP tour veteran Sebastian Grosjean, Nadal compromised on losing his signature shots with incredible top spin to make him a more all-around player, especially on the hard court.
“On these courts the ball is less fast and he lost spin that was his strength,” Grosjean stressed. “Maybe things will be different with these new ropes, especially if he plays aggressive with the backhand.”
The 29-year old Nadal opened his Rio Open campaign with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta.
“I think I played a fantastic first set,” Nadal told reporters via ATP World Tour. “Then in the second, the conditions were so heavy. It was so difficult to serve, so there were a lot of breaks. I was able to survive there.
The win was a positive sign for Nadal after losing to Dominic Thiem of Austria in a tightly-contested semifinal duel at Argentina Open and Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the Australian Open.
But the road to glory in Rio seems a lot tougher than he expected. Nadal’s second round opponent will be Nicolas Almagro, who reached the final in Argentina and scored few wins against him the past two seasons.