"I like another type of sport more" - Rafael Nadal on why he doesn't prefer today's style of tennis

Rolex Paris Masters - Day Three
Rafael Nadal in action at the 2022 ATP Finals in Turin.

Rafael Nadal rues the lack of tactical flexibility in tennis despite being widely regarded as one of the best players in the sport.

The 36-year-old is a record 22-time Grand Slam winner and has not left the ATP singles top ten since 2005. The legendary left-hander is still going strong despite being on the wrong side of 30, emulating Roger Federer as the only player to win two Grand Slam titles in a year after turning 35.

The Spaniard is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for an exhibition tour with Casper Ruud. Speaking about his early years on tour, the World No. 2 observed how the game has evolved from patient transition play to first-strike tennis. He said (as quoted by Marca):

"Before, the points were prepared waiting for the right ball to attack, not all the balls were attacked, the right ball was expected. Today there are no transition balls or point preparation. Each ball that is hit is with the objective of winning the period."

While reflecting that things have gone well for him, Nadal added that he likes other sports more than tennis because of more tactical options available.

"It has gone well for me, nothing should be changed for me, but emotionally speaking I like another type of sport more, which allows you more options and implement a tactic," he said.

Nadal will pair up with Argentine legend Gabriela Sabatini to play a doubles match against Ruud and Gisela Dulko later on Wednesday.

"I would like to see more diverse styles of games" - Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals - Day Five
Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals - Day Five

Rafael Nadal reckons the homogenization of surfaces has led to similar playing conditions, reducing diversity and leading to players with similar playing styles. However, he added that claycourts still provide players to 'think' and construct points. Nadal said:

"I would like to see tennis that offers more opportunities, more diverse styles of games. Today, because of the way it is played, the way the courts are made, the balls, most people play a very similar style because the the speed at which you play and the conditions give you very little room to put a different tactic into practice. On the clay court there is a little more time, it gives you the opportunity to think."

The former World No. 1 is coming off a group-stage exit at the ATP Finals in Turin last week. Nevertheless, the Spaniard had a decent 39-8 campaign, winning four titles and beating Ruud in his last match of the season to close 2022 as the World No. 2.

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Edited by Anirudh
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