Rafael Nadal gives insight into his tactics to counter Roger Federer’s ‘aggressive game’

Rafael Nadal

We are set for another interesting tactical battle between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer when they meet in the semi-final of the 2019 French Open.

Nadal eased past Kei Nishikori in three sets in the quarter-final while Federer took four sets to see off fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in his last-eight clash with the result leading to a 39th meeting between Fedal.

The Spaniard has certainly been impressive so far at Roland Garros and he is looking forward to “another episode” in the Federer rivalry.

“The way that I have been playing has been very positive,” said Nadal. “I have been playing well, very solid. Winning good matches against tough opponents, like today. I am happy with that.

“Of course, after having Roger in front in the semi-finals is an extra thing. We shared the most important moments of our careers together on court, facing each other. So [it’ll] be another episode, and [I’m] happy for that and excited. It will be [a] special moment, and let’s try to be ready for it.”

Federer is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015 and he has certainly mixed things up, and Nadal knows he can’t afford to give the 20-time Grand Slam winner too much time to play his own game.

“We always try things. Let’s see. Let’s see what’s going on. I really expect that he’s going to play aggressive, changing rhythms, going to the net. That’s my feeling, that he’s going to try to play that way, because he’s playing well and he has the tennis to make that happen,” he said.

“I have to be solid. I have to hit the ball enough strong to not allow him to do the things from good positions. I need to let him play from difficult positions, so from there he’s going to have fewer chances to go to the net or to play his aggressive game.

“If I am able to play good tennis and play well with my forehand and backhand, I hope to put him in trouble. If not, I will be in trouble.”

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