Rafael Nadal has admitted that conditions are stopping him from generating his usual level of spin at Roland Garros this year.
Nadal’s 12 titles at Roland Garros have been underpinned by an ability to put a huge amount of top spin on his forehands.
However, Hawk-Eye data says his forehands were bouncing 3.5 inches lower in his quarterfinal against Jannik Sinner compared to last year, and Nadal says he has noticed it too.
“The conditions were a bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard,” Nadal said after his 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 win.
“It was demanding for me to hit the way I wanted, as you can’t get too much spin with these balls during cold weather.
Nadal also reserved praise for teenage star Sinner, who took the match to the Spaniard early on and was happy to slog it out toe-to-toe.
“Sinner is a talented youngster; he plays with a lot of power, delivering great shots,” he said. “It was a challenging battle for two sets, especially in the closing stages of the first, when I got lucky to pull that break back at 5-6.
“It wasn’t easy to move Jannik away from the comfort zone.
“I did a much better job in set number three, playing with more aggression and feeling thrilled about reaching another semi-final in Paris; this is the most beautiful place to play tennis for me.
“Now I have two days to practice, rest a bit and recover and try to be ready for the semi-final against Diego [Schwartzman].”
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