This is a great question. I like Ballet Nutcracker it’s the most wonderful time of the year shirt , but I do not think it fully addresses Rafa’s mastery of this surface. There has never been another player who so thoroughly dominates a surface…any surface, like Nadal does clay. It is truly amazing because clay seems to be a great equalizer, to me. It neutralizes a lot of player’s natural abilities – shots bounce higher and slower than they do on other surfaces. It does reward Nadal’s style of play, which is to grind out points. Rafa is better at that than most players. But I do not know that this explains his total dominance. I think there are a number of reasons and some combinations probably explain some of the dominance. I am not sure anything totally explains it. First, Rafa is truly one of the most skilled players on the tour.
People forget that he has Ballet Nutcracker it’s the most wonderful time of the year shirt grand slam tournaments on ALL surfaces. Only a handful of people have done that. So he has elite-level skills, period. Next, he is very tactically oriented. He comes up with strategies that to some people seem very odd. He tends to stand WAY back when returning serve on clay, for example. Other players do not do this. It works for him and it causes other players to adjust what they want to do. The first time he won Wimbledon, he was coming off of a win at RG. The two surfaces are somewhat opposite and the time between tournaments is only a few short weeks. Nadal went from standing WAY back on clay, to moving WAY up, on the grass. This took time away from his opponents to react and respond to his shots. (Of course, it also took time away from Rafa to prepare and hit his shots. It speaks to his talent that he was able to make this work).