Rafa Nadal opponents don't feel like they're entering "a phone booth with an angry bobcat"

Tennis analyst Luke Jensen speaks to Off The Ball about Rafa's decline and the sport's match-fixing scandal

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Wednesday 20 January 2016, 21:00 20 Jan 2016

Picture by: Aaron Favila / AP/Press Association Images

There have been a couple of earthquakes in the world of tennis this week.

One is on the court with tremors reverberating around the powers of Rafael Nadal, with question marks over whether he is in decline after a first round exit at this year's Australian Open.

The other tremor of course is the match-fixing scandal which was raised by the BBC and Buzzfeed News.

ESPN tennis analyst Luke Jensen rejoined us on Off The Ball tonight to give his take on both stories.

Starting with Nadal, Jensen feels that the 14-time Grand Slam winner's problem is that opponents no longer fear him in the way they fear Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

"They used to fear Rafael Nadal because it was like going into a phone booth with an angry bobcat. The guy was hungry, mean and nasty. But now his ball doesn't carry the weight or the spin. His endurance isn't the same and guys who go out to play him now have more of a confidence," said Jensen, who also feels "the end is closing in around Nadal's neck" even if he finds form again at his favourite stomping grounds in the clay court season.

He also feels it would not be a good idea for Nadal to reinvent himself and believes he should focus on the French Open.

As for match-fixing in the sport, Jensen believes "tennis is at an historical tipping point" where authorities need to take a hardline approach against transgressors.

"It's clearly a major league problem. I've been watching the reports and I'm with Andy Roddick on this. You can specifically look at guys and the weird set results and some of these elite players dropping to no names. I think we're at the tip of the iceberg," he said, adding that the growth of online betting was the point where things got "explosive".

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