After winning the Australian Open and French Open, Rafael Nadal would need to win Wimbledon to move one step closer to a historic Calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in the men’s singles by Rod Laver in 1969. Novak Djokovic, who held all four titles between 2015 and 2016, poses as the Spaniard’s greatest threat at SW19 this coming fortnight.
Rafael Nadal is not losing sleep over the prospect of a Wimbledon triumph moving him closer to completing a Calendar Grand Slam, his coach Carlos Moya told Eurosport Spain.
After winning the Australian Open and French Open, Nadal is halfway towards a feat that only Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) have achieved in the men’s singles.
Novak Djokovic has held all four majors at the same time, across 2015 and 2016, and was then unable to seal the Calendar Grand Slam last year when losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev.
With Wimbledon starting next week, Djokovic will be looking to deny Nadal his third major of the year, and the latter goes in as the slight underdog given he has not won there for 12 years.
“It is a realistic goal, right now he is the only one that can achieve it this year,” Moya said. “It is the first time in his career that he is in a position to achieve it, but we see it as something far away, it is only halfway.
“At the moment he doesn’t lose sleep, as a team few things keep us up at night and this is not one of them. We have to go little by little, it is not something that we talk about, it is not a primary objective, although we are not going to give up on it.”
Nadal has not played since Roland-Garros, but he is set to play the invitation event at Hurlingham Club this week, offering the Spaniard a chance to get to grips with the London grass ahead of Wimbledon.
“We had a pretty good week of training in Mallorca, although the grass there is a bit different from London, maybe that’s why it’s taking a little bit for him to adapt to the grass in England.
“Right now, the important thing is that he spends time on the court and that his foot is fine, little by little he will pick up the pace, we also hope that the draw will help, especially in the first games.
“At Wimbledon there can always be more surprises. Regardless of the player you get in those first rounds, what is dangerous is the type of opponent you get, you have to be careful with the sluggers. Now he has two important exhibition matches, my confidence in him for Wimbledon remains the highest. He is perfectly suited to grass.”
MOYA ‘TOTALLY AGAINST’ OFF-COURT COACHING
The ATP Tour will join the WTA in trialling off-court coaching, starting the week after Wimbledon finishes.
Moya is not a fan, however, and stressed the purpose of coaching is to prepare a player when likening a tennis match to exams.
“I am not very much in favour of coaching. What makes tennis a special sport is that it is the only sport where you are alone against another without help from anyone,” Moya said.
“In the rest of sports you do have that contact in some way, be it with the presence of your coach, through the radio, with the caddy, whatever.
“That solo battle that the tennis player has, placing the pieces of the puzzle at 180 beats and 20 seconds between points, choosing the correct tactic in each play, is part of the quality of each player.”
Asked what is negative about coaching, Moya replied: “For me, it is essential that the player thinks for himself, the coach’s job is already done. It’s like an exam, the teacher can help you, but once the exam starts you’re on your own.
“The coach’s job has to be done before the game, the player must have controlled all the variants because then things will happen that surely weren’t in the script. In that sense, I am totally against coaching.
“Perhaps it is the first step to later look for a more important change. I would leave everything as it is, the beauty of tennis is the solo battle with your rival, that shows how intelligent you are and how good each one is.
“Maybe you’ll ask me this same question in a year and I’ll answer something else, maybe I’m wrong. But I doubt it, it doesn’t seem like a great idea to me, I still think that the purity of tennis is that one-on-one battle, with the intelligence of each player being a fundamental element.”