Can You Win Wimbledon by Hardly Making Any Aces?

susanna hofmannContributor IJuly 13, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04:  Rafael Nadal of Spain with the winners trophy at the Wimbledon Championships 2010 Winners Ball at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel on July 4, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Since Rafael Nadal has won Wimbledon, I have been hearing and reading so many comments. Some people say Nadal is a one-dimensional player; others say he will beat Roger Federer’s record of 16 Grand Slams.

So much has been said, but to me, the most important event of this 2010 Wimbledon was the realization that you can still win Wimbledon by hardly making any aces.

In a tennis era dominated by big servers such as John Isner, Andy Roddick, and Robin Soderling, a player like Rafael Nadal was capable of winning such a difficult tournament by playing most points from baseline with an incredible left-handed forehand, some great passings, and his unique “banana” shots.

So many tennis experts have been saying that grass is not what it used to be, that it's slower than when Bjorn Borg or John McEnroe used to play. But we also have to take into consideration that those players were using wooden rackets, so making aces was more an occasional event rather than a consistent aspect of their game.

Therefore, Rafael Nadal was certainly playing on a dry court but still a faster court than clay, and he still managed to win a difficult tournament such as Wimbledon.

Andy Murray has also highlighted, in his post-match interview after losing the semifinal to Rafael Nadal, that Nadal’s serve is harder to return than what people think, even if he does not make many aces. This is quite a strong statement, considering Murray has always been considered a very good player when it comes to returning his opponents’ serves.

The truth of the matter is, even though Rafael Nadal does not have the best serve, his serve has definitely improved since 2008.

Regardless of whether you are a fan of Nadal or not, Rafael Nadal can certainly be seen by players who faced injuries or went through moments when their confidence was low, as an example of a great tennis player.

A player who, despite a big injury, managed to come back stronger than before by working harder and harder to improve every aspect of his game, including his so-called weak serve.


Susanna Hofmann