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"Better to try to become a Rafael Nadal than a Roger Federer" - Jean-Rene Lisnard

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Modified 18 Dec 2020, 17:13 IST

Former World No. 84 Jean-Rene Lisnard believes younger players would be better off trying to emulate Spain's Rafael Nadal rather than Roger Federer, even though he is a fan of the Swiss legend himself.

The 41-year-old Lisnard is currently part of the coaching team at the Elite Tennis Center. During his playing days, he had scored wins over the likes of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Marcelo Rios and Mangnus Norman.

The Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal debate has been going on for very long in many different aspects, and Lisnard is just the latest expert to jump into the conversation.

While both Federer and Nadal have won 20 Grand Slams singles titles, their games are poles apart. The Swiss is known for his effortless style of play and graceful movement on the court. On the other hand, Rafael Nadal's heavy topspin groundstrokes and physical game are not as pleasing to the eye, but they have helped the Spaniard achieve the same level of success as the Swiss.

In a recent interview, Lisnard compared the practicality of trying to replicate the playing styles of Federer and Nadal, before eventually leaning towards the latter.

"I'm a Roger Federer fan but taking him as an example is rather perilous," Lisnard said. "That we want to get closer to it is understandable but it remains a difficult path to lead because the peculiarities of his game are still very specific."

Lisnard highlighted the mental fortitude and equanimity of Rafael Nadal as 'easier' qualities for young players to emulate.

"In the end, if you want to settle on a player, it is better to try to become a Rafael Nadal rather than a Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal is an example easier to 'copy' even if I do not like this term, especially in terms of state of mind, combat; and without disrespecting Roger who is a huge champion." 

Lisnard agrees with Gilles Simon about the French obsession with Roger Federer's style of play

Gilles Simon and Roger Federer
Gilles Simon and Roger Federer

Gilles Simon's new book ' Ce Sport Qiu Rend Fou (This Sport Drives You Crazy)' has been quite a major topic of conversation since its release a couple of months ago. In the book, Simon asserted that not every player is capable of playing with the same grace and aggressiveness as Federer - a point of view that Lisnard agrees with.

"Then, I understand what Gilles means about the Federer obsession," Lisnard said. "Surely this can be summed up by the fact that in France we often tend to favor a beautiful technique. On this specific point, Gilles is right, it is the truth, it is still the case too often for my taste."
Published 18 Dec 2020, 17:13 IST
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