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By Rob Peterson
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There have been numerous questions about Rafael Nadal being a left-handed tennis player and turning right handed for just about anything and everything else. Nadal has been trained and coached by his Uncle Toni Nadal from the very beginning of his career. Toni mentioned in an interview once as to how Nadal used both of his hands to play his strokes when he started playing tennis which is a rarity in the tennis world. Being ambidextrous does shorten you reach to a hige extent and as a result, is discouraged by all top level coaches. Usually the profesionals on the circuit have a single handed game for both their strokes or in most cases, a single handed forehand and a double handed backhand. So both Toni and Rafa came up with a conclusion that Nadal would play tennis with his left hand for the rest of his professional career.
Rafa has come a long way since and is known for his much hyped and efficient forehand with the over head-whip he takes as a follow through to get more pace and unique placements at times. Another benefit of being a left hander is with an advantage in service placements. Nadal is better known for his marvellous ground strokes than his serve. But the fact remains that he can generate great angles with his left-handed serve and outwit his opponents at almost any given time. Moreover, Toni's take on Nadal's serve is a little different. "It is something that we have improved, but I think it would get better if he were right-handed," said Toni Nadal when asked about Nadal's serve earlier this year.
There have also been rounds of discussions about a hypothetical situation of Nadal being a becoming a right handed player. Whether Nadal's head-to-head with top players would have been different, had he been a right handed player is curiousity in many enthusiasts and critics' minds. For instance, Nadal's rivalry with Federer - Nadal leads with a total of 14 matches won as compared to Federer's 7 victories over him. The top spin cross court forehands would be a nightmare for any legendary tennis player out there with a single-handed backhand. Moreover, the inside out disguised shot making clubbed with the left-handed angled serve has always proved to be a lethal part of Nadal's game.
But again it can be argued that many other professional tennis players on the circuit dont share a similar track recond against the Swiss-Legend. Players like Verdasco and Niemenen have never been even close to Nadal's levels of performances when it comes to playing against Federer. Moreover, Nadal seems to be having all the required attributes to get past Federer every time he meets him at Roland Garros.
Whether right-handed or left-handed, Nadal will always be remembered as one of the best performers on court in the history of the game. with the character and the tenacity that Nadal brings to the court, he has the capability to re-write history books in whichever way he wants. Moreover, age is also by his side. The only concern is the level of fitness as pushing oneself to limits doesn't always just fetch victories, a lot of uninvited injuries also knock the door and across the globe just hope for this mighty-Mallorcan's good health so that wonders happen on the tennis courts worldwide.
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