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Becker: Nadal will struggle to repeat 2010 season

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Originally published on: 09/11/10 14:00

Boris Becker believes Rafael Nadal can be the most relaxed of all the eight competitors at the up-coming Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but the six-time Grand Slam champion thinks it will be near-impossible for the Spaniard to repeat his phenomenal season in 2011.

Nadal has won seven titles this year, including three Grand Slams and secured the year-end world No.1 ranking in the process. However, Becker has doubts over whether Nadal can maintain the level he’s set himself.

“[Nadal season has been] one of a kind, I mean it is a season which will be very difficult to repeat,” admitted the charismatic German. “Three Grand Slams is so tough to do, it is very tough to defend all of it. I expect him to do well, I expect him to win the French Open, I expect him to be somewhere between one and two but I don’t expect him to win three Grand Slams.”

Nadal’s success this season is largely due to the way he manages his schedule, according to Becker, who thinks Nadal must maintain such an attitude in order to prolong his career.

“You are not overnight successful, you’re not successful by luck, you’re successful by strategic planning, determination, right attitude and talent and he should learn from this season to do something similar schedule-wise next year,” said Becker.

“It is the secret for a long, successful career. You have to manage your calendar and I think Federer does that better than anybody and Nadal learned this year that you have to manage it. You cannot play every week, you have to take a training period and to prepare for the O2 is another important thing.”

Nadal has done exactly that, giving himself plenty of time to prepare for London, having not competed since October 14th. And while he has been forced to withdraw from the Paris Masters due to tendonitis in his left shoulder, the Spaniard is taking every precaution necessary in order to launch an assault at his first year-end championship title.

The fact that the Spaniard has, in the past, struggled to find his best at this point in the season means that Nadal can go in without the expectation levels he’s used to at major tournaments

“Nadal has no pressure, he can be the most relaxed out of everybody,” added Becker, who won the year-end championships on three occasions.

“I think he’ll do better this year than he did last year. He had a difficult second half of last year, he was injured and he hadn’t been playing well in the fall and lost all three [of his round robin] matches. I think he is much better this year.”

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