He was asked whether he thinks that might be the case for the rest of his career.
“Hopefully not,” the 27-year-old Nadal said. “Hopefully not.”
Hard courts could exacerbate the matter because of the pounding legs take on the unforgiving surface. Nadal himself maintains that there should be more tournaments played on other kinds of courts.
Yet he’s been successful everywhere, winning the Australian Open and U.S. Open once each, along with Wimbledon twice, to go along with his record eight championships on the slower red clay of the French Open. Nadal is 15-0 on hard courts in 2013, with his current run of victories built en route to titles at Montreal and Cincinnati.
“He’s on a great streak right now. He’s playing fantastic tennis. He’s playing as well as anyone in the world right now,” said the 21-year-old Harrison, who will be making his Arthur Ashe Stadium debut against the tournament’s 2010 champion. “So I’m going to have to bring a really high level out.”
Nadal’s rivals at the top of the game have taken note, too, of course.
Summed up defending champion Andy Murray: “He’s going to be very difficult to beat here.”
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who won the 2011 U.S. Open, said: “Nadal is definitely back, and he’s playing maybe the best tennis that he ever has played on hard courts. ... He seems like he changed a little bit the game. He stepped in a little bit more. He knows that now he has to be a bit more aggressive than he usually is because of, I guess, his knees and everything and because hard court is not clay. It’s not his favorite surface; it’s faster. I’m sure he worked on that.”
Nadal agreed with that assessment: He is making an effort to hit balls earlier than he used to. He is trying to be more aggressive.