October 23, 2021

THE ONLY TENNIS SITE

… you'll ever need

ROLAND GARROS – The image you have in your mind’s eye is of clay maestro Rafael Nadal sliding into every ball.

His step is nothing like that of Roger Federer, who almost seems to dance on top of the terre battue most of the time.

Nadal is a digger – those strong legs almost carving out divots in the dirt with every stroke. No doubt that style took a toll on his legs and knees over the years. 

Clay or hard? Hard to tell

Tennis.Life went out on the Saturday before the French Open began, camera right at court level, to try to get some shots of those epic dirt slides.

Throughout a practice match with Frenchman Lucas Pouille, what was striking was how little Nadal did slide. A few times as he he headed to the forecourt to run after a short ball. But that was about it.

The rest of the time, it was almost as though the nine-time French Open champion was running on a hard court.

It was quite a revelation.

Here’s a look at Nadal’s feet of clay.