Rafael Nadal needs to "fix a couple of things in his game" if he wants to win a Slam in 2017, feels former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. He also believes that this could be Nadal's last year, and with Andy Murray having a couple of years left in him, there was a change of guard imminent in tennis.
Rafael Nadal will make his comeback after a year-end hiatus due to lingering wrist problems at Abu Dhabi in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
On the eve of the tournament, Pat Cash feels that the sport is up for a major upheaval what with so many of the current crop up for retirement soon.
“I think people need to get out there and see some of these players out here this tournament because it may be the last time they get to see Berdych, Tsonga and Nadal play,” Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, told Sport360.
“Murray will be around for a couple of years, but certainly the change in the guard is about to happen, and Murray is probably the last one of the original guard that is there with something to prove.
“It's coming and these young guys will win a bunch of tournaments for sure. They won't be in the same class as this group that's on its way out, but it doesn't matter, they're going to be there,” he added.
Nadal, who has so far shunned the trend, has, like the other members of the Big-Four, finally welcomed a former world No1 to his coaching team - Carlos Moya will join the Spaniard for the upcoming season as part of his team.
But Cash thinks that the 14-time Slam winner's problems are slightly bigger.
He said it a couple of years ago and it was more obvious this year. At some stage when we get older you just lose your concentration, you lose the ability to handle the stress all the time, day-in, day-out, and Rafa is showing signs of that,” said Cash.
Cash also added that apart from confidence, Nadal needs to sort a few technical issues in his game - his forehand and his backhand.
“Carlos is a sharp guy. I just tend to think that some of Rafa's issues are technical and I'm not sure they've picked that up.
“Spaniards typically tend to be quite traditional in tennis coaching, a bit like their tennis academies, hit lots of balls, get lots of confidence, that sort of thing. I'm not sure Carlos is down that path, but
“When he's in good form his depth is unbelievably good and when he's not in
“The problem is the last couple of years he's never really got his confidence back on that depth. That's his number one thing. He needs to be able to push his opponents back and then finish the point off. You can't push them back if the ball is just dropping in the middle of the court. So that's the number one thing for me. And his serve, he needs to fix that up a little bit,” he said.
Pat Cash also believes that Milos Raonic is 'almost there' and that he could win a Slam if he pushes himself a bit more.
“Five per cent or 10 per cent better and he might walk away with a grand slam this year,” Cash said of Raonic.