I beat Nadal at French Open and then beat him again on a grass court. Then, there was a game update. Maybe nothing about his level of play changed. I don't remember. This was the update where the inverted topspin was corrected (there had been too much topspin on surfaces such as grass and not enough on clay). Well, I made it in the Singles Draw UK Open to the point of having to play Nadal (the Last 16). That is when my anguish started. So, I probably shouldn't do it, but I have been reloading lost matches sometimes so that I can play them again and try to win. Well, I probably did this 20 - 30 times with this battle. It was unbelievable how good he was. I started to think that maybe it was just impossible -- that no matter how well I played, he was just going to win. I thought of the cheat code for winning every point (which I have never tried), as this is how Nadal was playing.
Anyway, I did finally beat him
. Since this is a post about tips, I will share what I did. I realized that I could not win the rallies. Or, I could rarely win the rallies. I was lucky to get 1 out of maybe 40 - 50 shots that I could step into and possibly hit a winner accelerated shot. It was very frustrating. Usually, anytime I tried to hit a winner, he returned it. I am still not sure why I hit the winners that I did; maybe I was able to get a little closer to the net. It did not matter, though, because he gave me little opportunity to learn from that and have another chance, although I did have one game where I hit three forehand winners in a row. I then tried to duplicate this tactic (stepping in to where I had been for those winners) in the next game, but that did not work out.
What I did to win is to not let him have the shots that he wanted. He seemed to thrive on my hard hits, so I quit trying that except for the rare times when I was very sure that I could hit a fast winner; so, I did get a few points from these. I did try to volley some, but that didn't go very well as he passed me so often. Also, when I would get to the net, if we did have an exchange where I volleyed, I just could not find a way to hit a winner from the net with him staying on the baseline (normally). I was too afraid that I would hit the ball out, and if I tried a short ball, he just stepped up and nailed it. There were some times when he would step up and I could pass him, but that wasn't often, so I gave up that tactic (it took probably 15 matches (reloads) or more to realize this).
He hits with so much top spin, that he gets me running everywhere, and then he hits a hard, fast winner, or he deftly hits a great drop shot that I can usually not get to. So, I took this away from him by using the slice. I had to be careful, but when he would finally return a flatter ball because of my slice, I would keep going like this until I could get into position for a drop shot to the place that I wanted it (a little to the side of center) (with me staying at the baseline). This would bring him in, and then I had my chance to pass him. Sometimes this failed, and he nailed the ball so hard that it almost broke my will, but I kept on, as this was the only chance that I had. This is similar to the tactic that I used before, with Ferrer and Nadal in previous matches, but it was much more difficult this time. The result was 7/6 (where I had been down 0-4 until I started using this tactic), 1/6 (he is so good that I just couldn't do better in this set), 6/4. Even with this tactic, I barely won. Maybe this will help someone else.