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Top-tier coach reveals Rafael Nadal’s struggles on an indoor court



Out of Rafael Nadal’s 88 ATP titles, only two have come on an indoor court, including one on clay. The only indoor hard crown in Nadal’s collection comes in Madrid 2005 after that epic five-setter victory over Ivan Ljubicic in the title match.

In the following 16 years, Nadal would compete for the trophy at the ATP Finals, Paris and Basel, losing all those encounters and constantly struggling with a roof above his head. The Spaniard did not play indoor matches in 2021 due to injuries, finishing his season earlier and preparing for a fresh start in 2022.

Last year, Rafa was the semi-finalist at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, failing to take an extra step at both events and fight for the trophy. The famous coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes Nadal is a much better indoor player than before, although it’s still not enough to beat the best players on this surface

Rafael Nadal

The French coach explained that Nadal’s main struggle on an indoor hard court comes from the low bounce that prevents him from creating that lethal spin and keeping the points on his racquet. In the last couple of years, Nadal has been more aggressive, winning more free points from his initial shot and attacking early to gain control in the rallies.

Still, he is yet to lift another indoor hard title, losing in the semi-final of the Paris Masters to Alexander Zverev and wasting a massive chance in London against Daniil Medvedev. In Paris, Alexander Zverev defeated Nadal 6-4, 7-5, serving well and delivering three breaks to prevent the Spaniard from reaching the first title clash in Bercy since 2007!


The German fired 37 winners and 18 unforced errors, delivering 20 direct points more than the Spaniard and staying focused in the second set’s closing stages to seal the deal.

Rafael Nadal has won only one indoor hard title in a career, 16 years ago in Madrid.

Rafa advanced into the last four at the ATP Finals and forged a 6-3, 5-4 advantage against Daniil Medvedev.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Serving for the victory, the Spaniard got broken in the worst moment and lost momentum, allowing the Russian to take charge and deliver a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 triumph in two hours and 35 minutes. “What makes Rafa so different and so challenging to beat on other surfaces? He does not have that advantage on an indoor hard court because the bounce is low; it’s even much lower than on an outdoor hard court.

There is a reason for that low bounce. The surface is called hard court, but it’s not the same on indoor and outdoor courts. In general, the indoor surface is wood with a kind of carpet over it, which is also a synthetic resin.

There is a space between the two, and the bounce is much lower because of it. He is an outstanding competitor now on an indoor hard surface, but some guys are still better than him,” Patrick Mouratoglou said.