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BBC pundits on Rafael Nadal's win over Tomas Berdych

Rafael Nadal

The matador Nadal tames Berdych

Boris Becker
By Boris Becker
Three-time Wimbledon champion

I've seen Rafa Nadal play better this week but whenever he needed to raise his game, at the end of each set, he did, he went up a gear.

Maybe Berdych was overwhelmed at being in a Grand Slam final but he's got the game and the power, which you can't learn, and it's just a case now of putting himself into semis and finals and earning the experience.

We've been expecting him to break through for a couple of years but [fellow Czech and eight-time Grand Slam winner] Ivan Lendl also came through late and he went on winning for a good few years.

We shouldn't forget how good Rafa is - he's got the best footwork and that extreme forehand grip and if you're a fraction too late on it it's impossible to get it back, it really is an impressive shot.

He's won the French and Wimbledon twice now in the same year and that speaks volumes, that's an almost impossible thing to do.

If he's physically able he can dominate tennis as Roger Federer has done these last few years.

John Lloyd
By John Lloyd
Former GB Davis Cup captain

You felt Tomas Berdych had to win the first set but he was a bit nervous when he came out and Rafa Nadal's standard was so high from the beginning. Rafa just didn't let him in, Berdych's weapons were neutralised.

Rafa plays the big points well, that's what champions do - when they're break point down, their first serves go in, and he does it over and over again, that's why he's so great.

When anyone's up against Nadal, they look across the net and know everything has to be almost perfect, so they go out of their zone and try a bit too much. You want to play the way you usually play, but end up looking at who you're playing.

It was the same with Andy Murray in the semi-final, as soon as he lost the second set you thought 'he can't realistically win three in a row against Rafa', because Rafa's standard never drops, it's the same pressure over and over again.

Berdych seems to have got the mental aspect right because he also reached the semi-final of the French Open this year, but to win a Grand Slam he has to improve a few things, such as when to come forward.

As for Rafa, he's a crossover star - whether you like tennis or not you love this man. The look, the way he interviews, the brand of tennis, the fire and passion on court. When is he ever going to wind down? He looks like he could go on forever

Winning Wimbledon after the French Open is amazing because that is the toughest four weeks in tennis - winning two Grand Slams in the space of four weeks on surfaces as different as clay and grass is unbelievable.

He could now go on to beat Roger Federer's number of Grand Slam victories (Nadal now has eight, Federer has 16) - he's that good, absolutely. Although, while Roger Federer's domination may be over, we can't count him out of future Grand Slams.

But Rafa's got to plan it right and it will be interesting to see what tournaments he plays before the US Open - winning that will be a huge ambition, but even when he wins easy, that style of play takes it out of your body.

Greg Rusedski
By Greg Rusedski
Former world number four

Once Rafa Nadal got the initiative it was one-way traffic - Berdych created a few break points but couldn't convert them.

Rafa is just so determined and focused. In the first round Rafa played great but all of a sudden he struggled, needing five sets in the second and third rounds and we were thinking we might get a Brit in the final. But Rafa was sensational from the semi-finals on.

Berdych was not the same player as we saw against Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic in the semis, but the combination of Nadal's 'leftie' serve and his brutal hitting is very difficult.

If you want to compete you have to get the mix right, not just hit from the back of the court. Berdych has to add that dimension, he always had problems leaving the baseline.

Five years ago we talked about him being a top-five player and challenging for Grand Slams, so it's taken a while, and I'd like to see him improve his movement forward and learning when to come in.

Rafa's a great ambassador for the game, he says all the right things and him and Roger are the best thing to have happened to men's tennis. Rafa knows what to say, how to behave and how to react with fans.

And Rafa can win the French Open and Wimbledon one after the other because he can adjust and has the strongest mind - when people were writing him off because of injuries, he came back better.

Unfortunately for all you Federer fans out there, this guy's going to be number one for a long time.

Rafa's organising his schedule better and if he stays healthy - which is a big question, your body starts breaking down when you reach 26 - Federer's number of Grand Slam victories will be in jeopardy.



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see also
Nadal wins second Wimbledon title
04 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon men's final as it happened
04 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon - day 13 photos
04 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Nadal ends Murray's hopes in semi
02 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Berdych reaches Wimbledon final
02 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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