Current Nadal vs Murray Head to Head stands at 13-6, with their last match having been played in 2011 in Tokyo, where the Brit prevailed in three sets.
With Rafael Nadal (Player Bio) recently recovering from his injury, most tennis fans are looking forward to Nadal’s return to the game. The level of athleticism and aggressive top notch play that Nadal brings to the court is an inspiration to players around the world.
In particular, most tennis fans are also excited about a potential matchup between Nadal and Murray because of the drastic contrast in the two player’s style of play.
Today, we’ll examine some of the points to look for in a potential Nadal and Murray encounter.
Win/Loss Record Between Nadal and Murray
Nadal holds the winning streak in their matchup, currently holding a record of 13 wins, and only 5 losses against Murray (Player Bio). Clearly, if one was to look at the win-loss record alone, it would appear that Nadal is the better player amongst the two. However, each player has their own strengths and weaknesses on the tennis court.
In reality, Andy Murray is currently ranked #3 in the world according to the ATP rankings at the time of writing. This is two spots higher than Nadal’s who holds the #5 ranking on the ATP charts.
Evidently, Nadal has been injured for most of the year which prevented him from achieving a more notable ranking in 2013.
Nadal vs. Murray in 2011 Events
2011 was that last year in which the two opponents faced off in major tournaments. 2011 was a dominant year for Rafael Nadal, and his match record against Murray was no exception. Nadal defeated Murray 4 out of 5 times in each of the events in which they met in 2011.
Nadal defeated Murray in the semi-finals during each of their 2011 matchups, with Tokyo being the exception. The majority of their matches consisted of 3 set matches, all of which were closely contested. He defeated Murray in the semi-finals of the ATP World Masters in Monte Carlo, Rolland Garros, Wimbledon and in the US Open as well.
2010 Performance Between Nadal and Murray
2010 was a fairly competitive year between the two rivals. Each of their matchups resulted in a 2-2 win-loss record against each other for that year, with Nadal defeating Murray in Wimbledon while losing to Murray in the Australian Open.
It is 2010 that marked the beginning of their major rivalry, while Murray was just beginning to hit the spotlight for the top spots in the ATP ranking.
Much can be said about both players and their abilities on the tennis court, but Nadal still has the best overall record in their career matchup.
The Reason Behind Rafael Nadal’s Dominance
More important than the actual scores themselves, is the reason behind Nadal’s dominance against Murray for most of 2011. As mentioned earlier, Nadal’s overall confidence in his game was high for most of 2011. Murray seemed lackluster in most of his appearances in 2011 against Nadal.
I believe 2011 was a strong year for Nadal because of his improved serve motion. In addition, Nadal also began taking shots closer to the baseline to hit on the rise.
Overall, Nadal seemed to place a greater emphasis on developing a strategy based around hitting more aggressive baseline shots. This gave Nadal a serious advantage on the hard court surfaces, where the ball bounces were faster and slicker.
By allowing the ball less time to travel behind the baseline, Nadal was able to take advantage of shorter ball opportunities presented by Murray during their long baseline rallies.
Another major advantage behind Nadal’s game is his overall stronger groundstrokes when compared to Murray. Murray plays a steady counterpunching game, which at times may be considered too passive to do much damage at the top levels of the game.
At the same time, Murray has improved greatly on his ground game and serve after hiring Ivan Lendl as his coach in December 2011.
In addition, Nadal’s famous use of the inside out forehand proved to be a very strategic weapon against Murray’s defensive backhand shot.
It appears in most rallies that Murray’s backhand is simply a “rally” shot, and sometimes it is too vulnerable and is producing too many short balls for Nadal.
Perhaps the redeeming factor for Murray is his patience and his ability to place shots in strategic high percentage spots during the point. With that being said, Murray needs to continue improving his serve so that it continues to keep Nadal’s aggressive groundstrokes at bay.
Final Thoughts on the Future Nadal vs. Murray Matchup
A Nadal and Murray matchup is always an exciting one, due to the contrasting styles of play from both players. As Nadal begins to recover back to full speed, it will be inevitable that the two players will meet up in the near future in major Grand Slam tournaments.
Until then, tennis fans around the world will marvel at the grace and athleticism that these two players bring along with them to the tennis court.
This article was written by Coach Ed of Optimumtennis.net