Nadal bites the dust

by Jonas Eriksson
Dominic Thiem commits to Babolat racquets and strings

Are we seeing a shift in men’s tennis? Are guys like Thiem, Fritz, Kyrgios etc ushering in a new era?

Questions like this pop into your head after watching Dominic Thiem‘s phenomenal performance against Nadal in Argentina Open, where he beat the Spaniard on his favourite surface 6-4 4-6 7-6 after saving a match point with a thunderous forehand winner.

The kid (22) had nothing to lose, sure, but still, his no holds barred way of dealing with Rafa’s jumping spin provokes some concerns for the current legends of the game and especially Nadal who suffered his second unexpected defeat of the year.

However, it’s too early to write off Nadal just because he’s lost against Verdasco and Thiem. They are too good players with massive firepower on both wings. And the clubbing of Djokovic in Doha is more a sign of how good the world number one is right now than how badly Nadal is playing.

I think most people root for Nadal to come back and to be a threat for the top spots on the ranking list again, but it’s still refreshing to see the young guns of tomorrow play with wild abandon and dare to believe against the top 4-5 players and I think Thiem deserved to win today.

The Austrian showed off some shotmaking reminiscent of Wawrinka in the French Open final last year. A beautiful one-handed backhand firing on all cylinders. It was all too nicely done by Thiem, hopefully he can build on this confidence in the final against Almagro tomorrow and also for the rest of the season.

When it comes to Nadal, I think he needs to keep fighting and if he loses early in Rio Open, possibly time to look into some kind of change. It could be gear, coach, moving closer to the baseline, something. He usually finds a way back, but sometimes that solution can be difficult to find.

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