Abu Dhabi: Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, believes Rafael Nadal’s recent struggles are due to technical flaws in his “complex” swing and that he would be willing to help the Spaniard if asked.
A recent resurgence has seen Nadal climb to number five in the world rankings, but he has failed to win a grand slam this year to add to his tally of 14 for the first time since 2004 and is viewed as a declining force in the game.
Nadal has eschewed the successful route taken by rivals such as Roger Federer and Djokovic in hiring a past tennis master as coach and remains under the tutelage of his uncle Toni.
Cash agrees hiring a so-called ‘super-coach’ may not be necessary, but believes Toni, Nadal’s lifelong mentor, should not be “arrogant” and ignore others’ wisdom.
Speaking at Yas Mall here after the draw for next month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship in the capital, the Australian said on Saturday: “I would say there are a lot of good Spanish coaches out there and it would be very arrogant for Uncle Toni to think he knows everything. He’s very open-minded and I’d be very surprised if he’s not listening to what some coaches have to say.”
The 50-year-old, who is the ambassador for the Mubadala event which takes place between December 31 and January 2, added: “He probably needs to listen to others. Would I help? Yeah, I know what’s wrong.
“But nobody has asked me. But I’m a real stickler with technique. I’ve broken it [his technique] down and I know what he does. But I’m not going to tell you or anybody else.”
Cash, who said Nadal’s woes were one of the most hotly debated topics among his fellow players on the tennis legends’ circuit, revealing some former players believe a lack of confidence is to blame, added: “I see it as a technical issue. With a complex swing, if it’s slightly off, he’s got to develop consistency. The easiest way to develop consistency is hitting a lot of balls.
“Rafa’s biggest issue is that there are so many movements that are going on in his groundstrokes.”
Given such issues, Cash doubts whether the 29-year-old can win multiple grand slams next year as he did in his pomp, and pointed out that he is entering the twilight of his career.
The Australian said: “He could well win one and be right up there with the others. He’s going to have build on the confidence that he’s getting at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s make or break for him, but he’s getting to the end of his career and he’s put his body through absolutely everything.”