Rafael Nadal has improved his game this season and is motivated to finish the season No. 1, according to his co-coach, Carlos Moya.
The former French Open champion began working with Nadal in the offseason, and has seen Nadal return to the Grand Slam winner's circle with two majors this season. He says that with the team aiming to get Nadal to play more offensively, the No. 1 has improved his serving and rediscovered his big forehand.
"Try [to get] Rafa to be more aggressive, not to spend so much time on defense," he told TENNIS.com while speaking with a small group of journalists following Nadal's win at Flushing Meadows. "I think with the second serve, that gives him also more time to attack, and he's more relaxed on the first serve. The forehand is OK again.
"Sometimes this year he's playing amazing tennis, like [on] clay court, Paris—here a couple of matches he played really well. He has not been injured, so that's for me key—nowadays you see the other players, it is tough for them to be healthy. That's something good right now, is have him healthy, trained. When that happens, we know eventually he's going to play well."
But Nadal has also adapted to his opponents, playing more defense against Kevin Anderson in the final of the US Open.
"Try to play every point, try to put a lot of balls in, " said Moya. "Because we believed that he was going to be nervous, Anderson, and he's a tall, heavy guy. [It's] best of five, so that was part of the plan."
Nadal will now aim to keep the No. 1 ranking he recaptured just before the US Open, according to Moya. The Spaniard now has more than an 1,800-point lead over No. 2 Roger Federer, who has also won two majors and two Masters titles this season.
"Of course, who wouldn't be motivated for that?" said Moya. "That was not his main goal at the beginning of the year, but now it became a goal that he can achieve. No more Slams for the rest of the year, so probably keeping No. 1 will be one of them."
Nadal began the season at No. 9 in the rankings.
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