Daniel Brands almost did a Lukas Rosol on Rafael Nadal! You surely know who Rosol is. In case you don’t, he stunned Nadal in round two of Wimbledon last year.
But you’ll be forgiven for asking, “Brands, who?!”
Even Bernand Tomic had no clue about Brands until he faced him in the second round of the Australian Open in January. So what did Tomic do? He and his coaching team watched videos of him on YouTube a day before the match. “You just don’t know how the guy plays. You’ve got to know where he serves and what his weaknesses are. With this guy, I don’t know,” Tomic had said.
Watching Nadal play Brands on Monday, you wonder if the king of clay had logged on to Wikipedia to do some reference work, let alone watch his videos on YouTube!
And funnily enough, such ‘one-match wonders from nowhere’ manage to make Nadal sweat. Coincidence? Probably not.
Ever wondered how much “research” the pros do on their relatively unknown opponents? Having done some “research” myself, here’s some food for thought.
Federer, for instance, does his homework on even a rookie. Read this: “He’s played that many matches and won a lot this year... and he’s played a lot of matches on clay, in comparison with me.” And this after beating a 21-year-old qualifier and Grand Slam debutant Pablo Carreno-Busta in the first round on Sunday. Says it all about his preparations.
Murray, apparently, digs deep into the stats of each player. He assesses their recent form, confidence, fitness et al. He’ll then work out a gameplan around that and use his variety to outdo the opponent.
Nadal probably doesn’t like to do any of this. For him, all that matters is ‘his game’. He’ll hit high forehands cross-court all day long, no matter what his opponent is dishing out. No research, nothing!
Nadal would do well do take cue from Tomic or Federer. Else it won’t be long before a Rosol hits him again. Brands almost did!