Poll: Who’s More Likely To Finish 2014 No. 1, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic?
by Staff | November 13th, 2013, 7:04 pm
  • 115 Comments

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic finished No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in 2013, but with Djokovic’s recent run what will happen next season? Who’s more likely to finish No. 1 between these two great rivals?

The case for Nadal:
- He leads Djokovic 22-17 in their head-to-head
- He’ll have a full season of play unlike 2013
- He missed the Australian Open AND lost early at Wimbledon and STILL finished No. 1
- Handed closest rival Djokovic two crushing losses at the French and the US Open
- Still the best player by far on clay
- Has a better record against Murray (13-5), who should be back in the fold, than Djokovic’s 11-8 mark against the Scot
- Has dominated his rivals and no one in the Top 40 has a winning record against him
- Motivated by tennis history – catching Federer’s 17 – and keeping Uncle Toni happy

The case for Djokovic:
- Ended 2013 on one of his best streaks
- Beat Nadal convincingly in last two meetings at Beijing and London by same 63, 64 scoreline
- Has dominated Nadal in past (2011)
- Is a year younger than Nadal – closer to prime?
- No real injury concerns unlike Nadal who has those iffy knees
- Still has the French Open motivation and did beat Nadal on clay at Monte Carlo and nearly again at the French
- Didn’t win any of the four outdoor hardcourt Masters in USA/Canada – can that really happen again?
- Motivated by French Open title, return to No. 1 and wedding at end of year


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115 Comments for Poll: Who’s More Likely To Finish 2014 No. 1, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic?

Brent Says:

Novak! Because he has far less points to defend ;)


Buzz Says:

Nadal was rested and fresh in 2013 after so many months off, not so in 2014.


Brit Says:

I predict that Nadal will win 1 slam and finish the year #1 but Djokovic will win 2 slams.


nits Says:

nadal will be able to hold his ranking till june most probably after that it will be difficult for nadal to defend 4000 points


skeezer Says:

“Who’s More Likely To Finish 2014 No. 1, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic?”

What? No vote for Roger Federer?

Ok, Just kidding :(

It will be an interesting summer…I go with Nole if he stays healthy. Rafa had a heckava year this year. Kudos to him.

Complaint note: Can we get some new guys come up the rankings next year and challenge the top 5 at least? Pahhhlllleeease!


Patson Says:

@skeezer

Other than Nole and Rafa, we’ve got Murray , Del potro and the great Roger Federer. Amongst the younglings, we’ve got Raonic, Dimitrov, Tomic may be.

The two guys who have an outside chance of getting the number 1 ranking are Murray and Fed. Younglings aren’t ready. I haven’t included Delpo because I’m not convinced he can hold up for the entire year. Why Fed ? Because he has nothing to defend next year and secondly, if injury strikes to Nole or Rafa, particularly Rafa, and Fed somehow gets his confidence back, he can get the number 1 ranking.

Andy is a non-factor on clay and he doesn’t hold up like Nole throughout the year. So him becoming number 1 requires him to win more on hard-courts, and win atleast 2 slams next year. Entirely possible but inconsistency has been a problem for him.

I’d be surprised if Nole doesn’t recapture the number 1 ranking next year. Secondly, I also see Del potro making it deep into the majors next year. Wouldn’t be surprise if he takes out Rafa/Nole in a slam quarter/semi final next year.


Steve 27 Says:

Who cares this now. Is a long time from now, unless you are jamie, lol.
The most important is the Australian Open. With less than 2 months to go, that’s all that matters now.


Michael Says:

I think it is the Australian Open which would give an inkling as to who will finish No.1. If Rafa goes on to win it, then there is no stopping him despite the challenge to defend a lot of points as the confidence gained through that win would propel Rafa to yet again repeat the magical feat on Clay courts. On the other hand, if Novak goes on to win the Australian Open by beating Rafa in the finals, then that will change the equations and he may carry on that confidence even to the Clay courts. So, it all depends on the way things go at the Australian Open which should be the game changer.


holdserve Says:

Not having to defend points is not by itself an advantage. According to this reasoning, somebody who took the whole year off will be no. 1 next year.
Only somebody who can accumulate more than 11000 points has any chance of holding no. 1 ranking anytime during the next year.
So unless Fed wins a lot next season, he is not going to be no. 1. Fed has 4205 points now.
Let us assume all these points are at year end so he doesn’t have to defend ANY points from Jan 1 to Sept 30. He still needs to win another 7000 points approx to go above 11000.
If he wins 2 slams and 3 Masters, he can get 7000. That is a big ask from anyone. Otherwise he has to win one slam and 5 Masters or
1 slam, 3 masters and 4 500s. Whichever way you look at it, 7000 points is HUGE!!!!!
Can Fed do that?
Between Rafa and Nole, as both already have a huge tally and are running neck and neck, the no. 1 and 2 spots could change hands if Rafa has more points to defend and fails to do it.
If Rafa does well at AO, he can probably not be dethroned before summer hard court assuming he has his usual clay season.
And a lot will depend on Andy who could tilt the scales toward either or be no. 1 himself!!!


Slice Tennis Says:

IMO Rafa and his fans would not worry about the No.1 ranking anymore. Its all about slams from here on. We would be somewhat satisfied with one slam, two slams would be absolutely awesome and nothing like it if he wins the AO.


mat4 Says:

Novak has completely changed his pattern of play against Rafa in the last two matches. Let’s see how Rafa will react.


I Love Tennis Says:

Novak … as others stated, lesser points to defend. And the way Novak played in the last couple of tournaments, he is really good and solid in all aspects of his game.


autoFilter Says:

If we are talking about the actual year end ranking, having points to defend at this stage has no mathematical bearing. By the time 2014′s year end ranking is decided, all of a player’s points will be new points. If we are talking about rankings changing hands at some time in between now and then, then having points to defend plays into it. Otherwise, last season’s performances are essentially meaningless aside from determining seedings (and contributing psychological factors such as pressure to defend, general confidence level, etc).


Giles Says:

IMO Rafa was not too bothered about the #1 ranking when he came back to the tour this year after his long injury lay off. All he wanted initially was to win some tourneys and build his confidence which he achieved. Now comes the crux of the matter. After winning the HC American swing and the USO he realised that the #1 ranking was within his grasp and oh boy he wasn’t going to falter, he achieved it.
Now to 2014. I don’t think he is going to stress too much about retaining #1 but rather concentrate on the Slams
Vamos Rafa!


Giles Says:

Hope Rafa bags the Laureus Award.
Vamos Champ!


Daniel Says:

If Nadal indeed wins AO he will hold last 2 HC Slam in a row. Who would have thought of that.

His north America HC swing was the difference from him and he knows that is a one in a lifetime thing. There were 3 losable matches he won, Fed in Cincy, 7-5 third set, Djoko in Montreal 7-6 third set and I think Gulbis almost beat him in early rounds as well. US Open he got a good draw and only 1 match which was Novak where he delivered even though Djokovic was dominating third set and his lapse there cost him the match. Had he won that set, who knows. This year for Nadal resembles a lot Djoko’s 2011 where he won a bunch of well “lucky” matches. Let’s see if Nadal still wins this matches or if he will lose them.

autoFilter is correct, people needs to stop this defending this bla bla. What matter in the ranking is the year, who wins more points that year will be #1, as Nadal was this year. Djoko defend all his points (AO, US Open RU, changed Wimby and RG result, defend all Slams points from 2012), added Paris, defended all indoor points but even tough it was not enough because Nadal won basically everything else apart from Wimby. Djoko had the same year he had in 2012 probably with almost the same points his problem was that Nadal won more points.


Nina Says:

Novak of course.


TGIT Says:

We’re guessing through a pipe. Nice touch.

Novak will be #1 and Rafa will have a spotty year as too many points means he has to perform well alot. Can you do that two years in a row?


hawkeye Says:

Daniel Says:

His north America HC swing was the difference from him and he knows that is a one in a lifetime thing.

Rafa “knows” this about the same way fedfan knows he will never win another major.

Wishful thinking.


andrea Says:

given nadal’s up and down health/knee issues, who knows the next time he’ll need time off? it will be difficult for him to repeat last year. he came back on the tour last year with several smaller clay court events which he won (‘natch) and then eased into hard courts. his decision not to play the AO last year helped him. why start on the road to recovery on hard courts, in intense heat, with lots of matches?

not only was he rested last year, but he had large blocks of time off. didn’t play miami after IW, didn’t play grass tune up event and lost first round in wimbledon etc.

we’ll need to see how andy comes back after surgery – he could put a dent in the plans.

but, otherwise, the rest of the top 10 guys – including roger – don’t feel strong enough to break thru. sad, but true.


Giles Says:

It is far far too early to put up this thread IMO. Let’s wait till next season starts at least. Nobody has a clue right now, posters are just selecting names out of the air with no clear- cut answer. As I said it is far too early.


hawkeye Says:

Muzza is being left out of the equation the same way Rafa was collectively dismissed last year. Everyone thought 2013 would be the Muzza Nole show.

Such short-sightedness.


WTF Says:

I think Djo will retain his AO, but Rafa will gain points there. He’ll pick up points in Miami also, but have a lot to defend starting at Indian Wells. He won’t successfully hold on to all 5 Masters. I don’t think he will hold on to his USO either. Whoever wins that will probably be #1.


SG1 Says:

For quite a while now, I’ve had this feeling that Novak’s going to turn the tables on Rafa in 2014. I’ll stick with that feeling.

It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out for Federer, DelPo, Wawa and particularly Murray. Will Murray continue progressing or will the surgery set him back?


holdserve Says:

There’s not much difference in points between Rafa and Nole so it is unrealistic to claim Nole has an advantage because he has less points to defend. Besides this is true only from Mar to Sept. Nole has more to defend in Jan-Feb and Oct-Nov.
The vulnerable part of the season for Nole if he fails to defend is in effect Jan-Feb but as he is not no. 1 and he is far ahead of no. 3, he won’t lose his ranking of no. 2.
Rafa is no. 1 by a small margin so if he can do well at AO, he can create a cushion to tide him over May -June should his clay season be not as good as in earlier years.
If he repeats his stellar clay season, then no matter how he fares in Jan, Feb, he would be almost uncertainly unshakeable till at least August.
Fed has zero chance of regaining no. 1 any time during the year unless he wins at least 2 slams and 3 Masters or some combination of events adding up to 7000 points. Even with these points, he only gets into the reckoning, he may not get to no. 1. Rafa with 2 slams and 5 Masters could be assured of no. 1 only after winning 1000 plus points in the fall season.
However, as a Rafa fan I am not bothered about the no. 1 ranking. Rafa must focus on slams.
Nole did not change his pattern of play against Rafa. He played exactly the same but he won because his backhand down the line was working better and Rafa’s serve was not as good as at USO or Canada.
I am confident that Rafa will have his serve and Forehand DTL working fine by AO.
The match will be close. But if Muzz is in good health he may prevent a meeting between the two. Muzz has a better chance against Nole than against Rafa.
As Nole has to fear both Andy and Rafa , Rafa has to fear only Nole, Andy has to fear only Rafa, the conclusion,
If Rafa’s knee is ok, he will win more slams and points if Muzz is in the mix.


courbon Says:

@ SG1: By the way I loved your post with Disraelli quote-It’s one of my favourite sayings.
Regarding Murray there is the two separate questions in my opinion.Firstly, is he back recovered or not.But even if he is completely recovered, how is he going to be against other two? Novak is not the same guy he beated in Wimbledon and he did not play Nadal for a long time.Nobody knows how they will match up.That’s yet to be seen.


Daniel Says:

hawkeye,

C’mon, nitpicking aside, do you really in all honesty thing Nadal could win Canada, Cincy and US Open again in 2014?!?!?!!?
I will be surprised if he wins 1 of this 3 in 2014.


courbon Says:

@ holdserve: I agree with most of your writing apart:
Novak was playing ok BDL but difference between Novak pre USOpen and after that he played all shots with lot’s of confidence.Rafa’s forehand down the line did not work because is very risky shot ( same as Novak’s backhand down the line ) and Novak did not give him much time in returns.
Yes, nadal can improve serve but there is interesting thing: In second set nadal had 80% of first serve and Novak barely 70%.So it was not a that crucial because Novak still got the set.Nadal’s second serve was terrible trought the match and that give Novak lot’s of breathing space.While in China Novak won the match on foundation of excellent serve, in Tour Final his serve was very average (about 67% ).Playing with absolute confidence and speed won him match.And very good game plan.
I agree with you what Nadal needs to improve for AO,but that maybe is not enough..or is it? ( I’m sure Toni knows exactly what he needs to win AO ) We will see…


Ben Pronin Says:

Defending points has nothing to do with this so…

I agree with those saying Nadal probably won’t repeat his North American summer.

But who knows? Djokovic and Nadal can either split the first two slams, or one of them can be holding both. But these are the ONLY two players in the world who could be holding both come Wimbledon. Murray won’t win the French, and assuming he’s healthy, he’s the third favorite behind the top 2 to win the Australian Open. I favor Djokovic this coming year but not by any kind of significant margin.

Then there’s Wimbledon. Murray is the defending champion, but Djokovic has done great there the last 3 years. Nadal has not, but I don’t think anyone can predict how he’ll do there. You have to think that Federer can make it past the second round but I’m not so sure about him holding the trophy again, although I wouldn’t rule him out simply because there really aren’t a lot of guys who can take him out.

So by the US Open the number 1 might already be decided. Or it really will depend on who wins there. And, again assuming things keep going the way they’re going, I’m favoring Djokovic there.

Of course there’s Del Potro and others, but none of these guys are consistent enough to be number 1. Nadal and Djokovic make it deep in every event on every surface barring a few exceptions. No one else can do what they do. Not even Murray.


Humble Rafa Says:

My Magic Knee juice is not available for sale. Only after retirement.

That’s my retirement plan.


Slice Tennis Says:

As a Rafa fan my happiness index reached its highest when he won the USO. What more do I need.
When 2013 began all the talk was about Nole winning FO. But Rafa denied him and went on to capture Nole’s domain (USO).
This was very similar to 2006 to 2008. Every year Fed with his mouth was hyping his chances at FO against Rafa. But it turned out that Rafa with all his humble talks silently toppled Fed at Wimbledon.
I will be extremely happy if Rafa wins just 1 slam (even FO) and NOTHING else in 2014.

It will be great fun if he wins AO though.


Jack Lewis Says:

Yes the jocker was really not doing anything very well at the US open.
Aside from that one year (and he still pretty much vanished at the end of it), he is not a reliable #1.
When he is on top of his game, he is currently the most interesting player to watch, he’s got all the shots, he is not afraid of going at the net. But he is not as consistent as he should be at this stage of his career. The grunting, butt picking, vamos shouting, nervous tick ridden lefty will most probably keep the #1 title. He can keep the ball in play and wait for the guys taking the risks to mess up which they always will on slow and ever slower surfaces.
Heck I’ll go out on a limb and say that the goat might actually win his first and only world’s tour final next year since the new generation coming behind him is extremely weak (end of the golden ear), grand pa federer is too old and novak … well you never know about that one, he could still spoil the party if he actually feels motivated enough.


courbon Says:

@ Slice Tennis: Fun for you-not for me!
But seriously, Rafa has a very good chance winning AO.Pretty much co-favorite with Novak.
It would be bizarre twist of fate if Rafa gets AO and then Novak FO.It’s possible, is all say…


holdserve Says:

Agree with Slice Tennis. If Rafa wins just FO and nothing else in 2014, I would be satisfied.
Although if he won AO he would complete a double career slam, I would rate FO as more important. Clay is Rafa’s domain and the day he starts losing there we know he is getting old.
There has been no one who has owned any surface the way Rafa has owned clay and any loss at RG would be extremely painful for me and no doubt more so for Rafa because of what it would mean.


Patson Says:

@holdserve:

I wouldn’t go to the extreme and say that if Rafa loses to anybody in a French open final, he won’t win another one. Federer lost to Rafa in 2008, won in 2009, and won in 2012 as well. So even if he does lose in a final, it’s not the end of the world. You have to believe in your man. He’s won 8 French opens, and he’s bound to lose at some point. A loss in , say a final even on clay wouldn’t mean the end of world. These are top players we’re talking about. They know how to deal with losses. So cheer up and don’t worry about Rafa losing on clay. The top players always strike back , always.


Patson Says:

^ About Federer, I referred to Wimbledon.


Patson Says:

@courbon

It would be bizarre but entirely possible and shouldn’t be surprising after what happened in AO 2012 final and French open 2013 semi final.

I feel Nole has regained some of the mental edge he needed which will help him alot at the Australian open. I’d be more interested in seeing what tactical adjustments Rafa does in his next match against Nole. I feel Nole would now come more to the net to finish off the points quicker than before. He’s improved his volleying skills and wants to finish off points by coming to the net.


Hawkeye Says:

Jack, fedfan maybe old but his game is older. SHBH players won’t win many (if any) majors in today’s game and this golden era.

Daniel, no I don’t think Rafa will repeat his past summer next year but I didn’t think he’d do it this year either. That’s a lot different than saying he can never do it again.

Just like saying fedfan can never win another major which IMO is still premature.

Probable? No.
Possible? Yes.

Neither Rafa nor fedfan think in such a limited, negative way.


The Great Davy Says:

My retirement plan is to never retire and keep on making R1 and R2 money for as long as I live!


mat4 Says:

@holdserve:

“Nole did not change his pattern of play against Rafa. He played exactly the same but he won because his backhand down the line was working better and Rafa’s serve was not as good as at USO or Canada.”

I really don’t agree. I rewatched both matches they played after the USO, then compared it with sequences from previous matches. THEY HAVE BOTH CHANGED THEIR GAME and adjusted.

I wrote the following on another site:

In 2011, Novak had developed an efficient pattern against Rafa: pressure the BH playing FH CC and wait until Rafa tries to go DTL; most of this shots were shorter, and it allowed Novak to get in the court, attack with a BH CC at an acute angle, and when Rafa managed to get the ball, he would answer with a FH CC and be finished by Novak’s BH DTL.

So Rafa worked on two shots: his BH CC and the FH DTL to break this pattern: he could stand the pressure playing with his BH CC suddenly, and when it didn’t work, the manage to defend his FH side playing DTL. Just watch the end of the epic match at Roland Garros.

So, in the last two matches, Novak changed his own pattern. One, he improved his net game to cut Rafa’s defensive BH slices with volleys. Then, he reworked his BH [DTL] to be able to use it almost IO, and he worked a lot on his own FH DTL. Now, Novak plays almost always in the open side of the court, making Rafa run; he doesn’t jail Rafa in his BH corner, but makes him play the BH on the run, and that’s the moment he attacks. It allows Novak to be less predictive, and, by making Rafa guess where and when Novak will attack, Rafa loses a few tens of second and his timing is not good, especially for difficult shots DTL. It is very important, because Rafa needs to make big cuts for his shots to be deep and powerful enough.

I am very interested in your perception of their games.


mat4 Says:

And a stat: in the USO final, Novak played 36% of his BH DTL, now it was more than 50%.

There a few typos, but my previous post is readable.


mat4 Says:

About the mental factor: I advise you to read Mouratoglou’s take on their recent matches, here:

http://www.eurosport.fr/patrick-mouratoglou_blog198/patrick-mouratoglou_post1980539/blogpostfull.shtml

Juan Jose’s comments are also very, very insightful, on the Changeover.


Bad Knee Rules Says:

From the other forum, what do you think?
———-
Nole had Rafa on the back foot from the return most of the time? Rafa had stated before that he wants to step in more to make points shorter, but amost every time he had to take a step back because of Nole’s return landing on his feet. And Nole is not afraid of Rafa’s FH either, pinning him deep into that corner with the amazing inside out FH’s all the time. Most importantly though, he went out to win and to play his own game, going for the winners from the start and coming into the net, playing all court tennis.
———-


Bad Knee Rules Says:

^^
For mat4.


mat4 Says:

Novak played well, and the surface, with his low bounce, helped him.

When rewatching the match, I saw that he played like Ferrer did, targeting the empty part of the court and taking time from Rafa whenever he could. He didn’t try to pin Rafa on his BH side, but to make him play his shots on the run. When he is well positioned, Rafa plays and excellent CC BH, a very dangerous flat shot at an acute angle, and Novak tried to avoid it.

Then, it seemed to me (time will tell) that Novak is working again on his FH. It is a key shot of his game, and he has to be able to hit it cleanly DTL or Inside-In to win big matches. In Canada, his FH was very shaky. At the USO, it was already better, but not enough. This shot works better now.

The adjustment was important, of course, but perhaps the most important thing was the fact that Rafa was nervous, and that the mental edge seems to be shifting again.

It is not much, of course — Rafa is not Berdych — but he felt a lot of pressure on his serve and made an unusual number of DF: a 3-0 two (and was almost broken a second time), and a key DF at deuce at 4-3. You could feel that he was very tense until the last games, when the warrior in him woke up.

Now, we have to see what will happen on a high bouncing court. Everything could change, especially if Rafa manages to hit cleanly the running FH DTL, a shot that has changed the dynamic in their matches.

But I am certain that Novak will continue to work very hard and try to improve his game. He doesn’t make a full use of his new racquet yet. If he improves, I won’t care if he loses: sometimes, there is someone simply better. But he has to give his best shot.


mat4 Says:

Novak wrong-footed Rafa very often with the return, returning deep on the FH side, when Rafa was already moving to his right.


Giles Says:

The great outdoors will be here shortly and then we shall see. Don’t try and analyse and define Rafa’s game on his worst surface, indoor HC . He struggled throughout the glorified Exo apart from his match against fed. So bring on the sun and fresh air.
Vamos Rafa!


Bad Knee Rules Says:

mat4, what do you think about Fibak?


Bad Knee Rules Says:

Beijing was outdoor!!


Bad Knee Rules Says:

Shanghai was outdoor!!


Giles Says:

Once again, thank you Rafa for a phenomenal 2013 and capping it all off by finishing as World Number One. Who would have thought going back to February? Even the so-called pundits had written him off saying he would never be the same player again, that it would take at least a year before he would even be the semblance of the player he once was Bla, Bla, Bla. Hope they are eating their words now and looking at Rafa in awe!


Giles Says:

WTF was indoor!


mat4 Says:

I don’t know. I remember him as an elegant player (with a beautiful slice), but I remember all old players as elegant and classy, even JMac ;-) Just find some videos on youtube to refresh my memories, although it is sometimes so disappointing: all those players seem so bigger in your memories.

I read that he insisted that Novak should use his FH to kill rallies and shorten points, be bolder and more efficient with that shot.

But then, everybody knows this. The relative weakness of Novak’s FH, his lack of big FH, is the main hole in his game. Since he changed his racquet he also lost that terrible FH CC on the run.

So, perhaps Fibak helped Novak, perhaps he didn’t.


Margot Says:

@mat4
Saw Nole twice at O2. Really impressed how much his volleying has improved. His stop volleys are especially lush. Also, what u don’t get on the TV is how hard he hits the ball, not known for this I know, but was really whacking it in the matches I saw.


Bad Knee Rules Says:

Sorry, what I meant is how much of that more aggressive approach comes from Fibak’s influence?


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

I watched him in Paris in 2009, and yes, that’s something we don’t always notice. He hit in average his shots faster then DelPo in their last match, and it seemed like a big improvement to me.

About the volleying: Federer and Murray are still better than him among the top, but he has improved tremendously in the last three years. I don’t know how Rafa plays at the net (I didn’t watch his matches in double with Lopez).

Finally, about Rafa: I respect him very much, he is without any doubt a great champion, among the very best ever. Yes, of course, on a day he beat Novak I will certainly make a few angry and biased posts, and the day he loses I won’t miss the opportunity to tease rafans, mais c’est de bonne guerre.

About draw fixing: I have no doubt whatsoever that it happens all the time.


Giles Says:

Paris was indoor!


mat4 Says:

@Bad Knee Rules:

Maybe. But Novak has always been very aggressive on fast hard courts. Anyway, if Vajda and Djokovic asked Fibak to helped them, it is, I guess, because they felt he knew how to help them.


mat4 Says:

Interesting analysis. Novak’s ability to change the direction of his BH at will was one of the key elements in this match.

We didn’t mention it enough, but he served well. At deuce, in the last game, he made an ace flying 131 mph, which is the fastest I’ve ever seen from Novak.


Margot Says:

@mat4
Rafa is actually very good at the net and his overhead is second to none. Makes me wonder why he doesn’t come forward a lot more often.
In spite of Andy’s skills, he’s reluctant to as well.


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

Yes, I’ve seen him miss an overhead just once in a hundred matches. But he’s a bit too conservative in approaching the net, although, with the FH he has, there’s no real need to finish points at the net.


mat4 Says:

What’s interesting is that they all play more drop volleys than guided, deep volleys, which is understandable when you think about it.

Edberg’s strategy of volleying first through the centre of the court, then choosing a side, is a thing of forgotten times.


Brando Says:

@Margot: you are right about Rafa’s volleying/ net skills. John McEnroe thinks he’s the best of the big names at the net. Tim Henman and Andrew Castle seconded that during WTF. Both commented on how instinctive his footwork is at the net and how light a touch he has for a player known for his power. Andy’s great at the net also: a complete natural with his touch. Thing is the reason why Rafa and Andy do not go to the net is due to their immense baseline skill. Add to that how these 2 possess the best passing shots then net exchanges are not much of a venture for them or others.


Margot Says:

@Brando
Probably because their own passing shots are so good, they’re all too aware that someone could do it to them!


Ben Pronin Says:

I wouldn’t say Nadal is reluctant to come to net at all. He doesn’t have a natural forward moving game but when he gets a short ball or sees a floater, he runs right up to put it away. Against Djokovic it becomes harder since Djokovic hits it so deep and keeps pushing Nadal back. Djokovic has recently become less reluctant at coming in but he used to be. Murray is inexplicably reluctant. The guy is a natural at net but he almost flat out refuses to move in.

I don’t think Nadal is the best volleyer. It depends on what constitutes great volleys. Nadal is probably best at picking the most opportune times to come in and so you rarely see him miss volleys. I think the guys who play doubles have better volleys, though. Guys like Stepanek, Benneateau, Llodra.


skeezer Says:

^spot on there ben.


skeezer Says:

BDK,
Thanks for the link. Along wity mat4′s posts, some insightfull stuff,

“What is amazing is that the best forehand in the game (Nadal’s) was beat up by the best backhand in the game (Djokovic’s).”


SG1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

Murray is inexplicably reluctant. The guy is a natural at net but he almost flat out refuses to move in.

——–

Murray does have really nice feel around the net but he’s really a baseliner. He kind of hits around the ball on the forehand (not through it). His backhand is awesome but when was the last time you could remember a dominant singles player who hits the two hander and attacks the net. His mechanics just aren’t structured for going forward.


SG1 Says:

Most great net players hit through the ball. Edberg’s forehand being the one notable exception I can think of. Edberg’s success on tour with the forehand he had is testament to how good the rest of his game was. If he would have had a Lendl or Becker type forehand, it would have been good night Irene for pretty much everyone.


Slice Tennis Says:

McEnroe thinks Rafa is the best volleyer in the game.
A couple of nobodies think he is not.
Whom should I believe ?


Slice Tennis Says:

“Yes, of course, on a day he beat Novak I will certainly make a few angry and biased posts, and the day he loses I won’t miss the opportunity to tease rafans, mais c’est de bonne guerre.”

Good that you realize your mistakes atleast now. Hope you don’t blame others in future for your mistakes.
You reap what you sow.


Slice Tennis Says:

Too much is made out of Nole’s win against Rafa in the WTF final.
People should understand some basic facts before hyping up this win.

Every tom, dick and harry can beat Rafa at indoors. Even his favourite punching bag has beaten him 4 times.


Ben Pronin Says:

McEnroe embelishes everything. He throws around “all-time” more than anyone I know, and I don’t even know the guy.

It’s called a discussion about tennis, Slice “Tennis”. Something you clearly don’t know about.

SG1, I agree about Murray, but it’s still a shame that he doesn’t approach more. It would only help him. Djokovic and Nadal are baseliners but they both understand that in order to progress they need to approach the net. But I don’t see Murray dominating so I guess it doesn’t matter.


Kanshiwa Says:

@Slice tennis

In tennis world there is McEnroe and some nobodies. Nothing and no one else matters, period. :D


skeezer Says:

“Every tom, dick and harry can beat Rafa at indoors.”

Absolutely!


skeezer Says:

If you your a decent tennis player, you don’t need Johnny Mac to tell you who are the all time great volleyers of the game. Trust me, Rafa is not one of them. Furthermore, the great techniques of the transition game (attacking)are for the most part gone. That was fun stuff to watch.


skeezer Says:

^That being said, Rafa, the beast master of baseline, for such a power hitter, HAS a great feel and control of the racquet when he is at net, But his the net play is an afterthought in his game, and it shows in his technique.


Okiegal Says:

I think Rafa and Novak are still evenly matched when they play. Rafa, being #1 again will be having that extra pressure added to his matches. Rafa seems to be very nervous at the beginning of his matches. His first serve percentage has got to pick up….especially when playing Novak. Rafa played that last game like I know he can. Picked up his game a little too late. He has had a remarkable year. Winning the US Open put the icing on the cake!! Rafa will work on his Joker problems…You can be sure of that.

As big a deal as some think the year end final is…..I think it should be a 5 setter…like the slams, IMHO.

VAMOS RAFA!!!


Okiegal Says:

BTW, I think I will take stock in what Johnny Mac says or thinks about tennis and the players, rather than listening to all of the tennis wannabes on this forum.


skeezer Says:

Okiegal,
I take it you don’t play tennis, not that it matters in some respect for fans, you have your opinion, its all good. But its well known Mac spreads the love on all the top players.

Off topic, did you see my Warriors hit the game winning shot against your Thunder after Russell thought he hit the game ending 3? Sweet! wish we had Durant though, he is special.


Okiegal Says:

No, Skeezer, didn’t see the game. I usually get into my basketball after is over. I am glad Westbrook is back……He and Durant go together like peaches and cream. I hated we lost Hardin….He is doing good. You are right about Durant…..He is something else. Oklahoma loves the guy. So glad Okla got this team. We love basketball.

No, I don’t play tennis but I am a fan. My dream is to go watch Rafa play some day. It will have to be within driving distance, I refuse to fly. Would love to go to Indian Wells.

The remark I made about tennis wannabes was tacky….I am confident everyone on this site knows more about tennis than I do, but I do listen to the comments of the commentators. I take them at their word. Of course when they spread the love in Rafa’s favor……well that makes me a happy camper!!

We can have our favs and agree to disagree..it’s all good!! Hey, if we all liked the same thing…..boring!! Lol

I will watch your team next time I have a chance and cheer extra hard against them. Tee Hee. All in fun. Okiegal.


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer

Should read after football is over I get into basketball…..


Slice Tennis Says:

This guy is really funny.

I play tennis
I know everything about tennis
No one knows as much as I know
No one other than me have ever played tennis
Everyone should trust me and not any other multislam tennis great
I know everything blah blah blah
You don’t know anything blah blah blah

LOL…he can even rival his idol with his bigmouth.
LMAO

Please continue….entertaining and funny. Its good in the off season.


mat4 Says:

@Slice Tennis:

Instead of ranting, is it so difficult to rewatch a few matches, analyse by yourself when and how Rafa, Fed, Andy, Novak, or Stepanek e.g. foray to the net and how efficient their volleying is? Just compare Murray’s volleying with Rafa’s volleying in double matches (you will note that Rafa plays very often from the baseline in those matches too).

What Ben and Skeezer wrote here about JMac is well known, BTW.


skeezer Says:

Okiegal,
IW is a great venue, went there once. Want to go again next year but have scheduling conflicts. Others here have went and actually some are going this next year. Whats cool is you can get really close to the players when they are practicing. And when there are matches going on you can go in and out and visit other matches with the same ticket. Oh and the weather is awesome! Hope u can go soon.


Giles Says:

“others here have went”?????


Okiegal Says:

Hey, thanks Skeezer for the info. I appreciate that a lot. I would like to gather up a group, share the driving and make a road trip……but I don’t have one friend who likes tennis!! Lol I have been as far as Vegas and that’s it. Watching IW on tv…looks like you can get up close and personal. I have also thought about Cincy, hubby has relatives there. A live tennis match is on my bucket list!!

We had a civil conversation without taking pot shots about each others favs! Amazing…..simply amazing!!!Have a great, Skeezer!!


Polo Says:

“Every tom, dick and harry can beat Rafa at indoors.”

Didn’t Rafa beat everybody on the way to the finals before losing to Novak? Or were you being literal about Tom, Dick and Harry? Nobody had those names at that tournament.


Okiegal Says:

@Mat4

I have been watching one particular match over…the one where Rafa beat Novak at USO. Rafa was putting so much pressure on Novak that nite. I know you are not a fan of Rafa, but analyze that one. How did Rafa make Joker look so bad and then there are matches where it is vice versa. I think tennis is a very fickle sport. Having said that the only difference has to be the type of court being played on. I am not a tennis player…..so I don’t understand a lot of the mechanics of the sport. But do love to watch.


Steve 27 Says:

Rafa is a good hardcourt indoor player but it is not here where he excels.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Belated congrats to Nole and fans Courbon,Patson,Mat4,and abscent fans Jane,Wogboy,Duro etc,he was definetly the superior player and a worthy winner,Rafas had an amazing year and is the worthy number 1,so no disgrace he himself actually had a great week,reading alot of comments from some people and all of a sudden one win or one loss is concidered as a crisis,and the parting of the red sea,a little perspective wouldnt go a miss sometimes though.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Rafas had an amazing year like he did in 2010,and to his credit he still made the final in both of those years on his worst service,and by only losing his matches on both occasions in the final,heck he even beat Nole in one of his RR matches in 2010(shock horror),on both occasions beating four of the top players before losing in the finals.TOP 8 PLAYERS IN THE WORLD,NOT EXACTLY NOBODIES,and people said before the WTF finals hes crap in doors and has no chance anyway,so he lost to Novak on what is Novaks best surface anyway,apparantly he had no chance,so whats the big deal anyway?Rafa lost twice in the final on his two best years on tour in 2010 and 2011 on his worst surface,and Novak in his best year on tour in 2011 lost 2 matches and actually came within a point of been whitewashed on his best surface,so i wouldnt say Rafa losing is as great a shock as Nole losing in 2011,but its strange that there was no mention of this at the time?maybe posters were using way perspective than they are obviously doing now,who knows?im not anti Novak but theres nothing im saying here thats not factually correct,but ill probably get heckled for it anyway?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

^Meant to add the only thing he hasnt done is crack the case,however im confident that he will sooner or later,Novaks fans seem confident that he will win the FO,so i dont see why Rafas fans shouldnt be confident of him winning the WTF at some point,just highlighting a comment that went on between Skeezer and Steve 27 on another thread,although niether senario will actually become relevant untill/unless it happens.^


mat4 Says:

@Alison:

Hi, A. Glad to read, although you make it so difficult not writing spaces.

I have to admit I like better your old nick. I don’t like changes.

Nothing is given: I always expected Connors to finally play against Borg in the FO final, but he lost time and time again (even against Gerulaitis! — btw I watched him in a 4 sets victory against Orantes in 1979), and then Borg retired.

So, will Novak win the FO? Will Rafa win the WTF? Nothing is given.


mat4 Says:

Then, it seems to me that you throw a hasty look at the thread: the sentence “every tim.. or tom…” was first written by Slice Tennis.

Rafa lost, this year, against the no 2, 3, 5 on hardcourts, won three masters and a slam on this surface, so it is not like he doesn’t know how to play on hard.

Finally, I miss jane, Wogboy, and a lot of other posters who made posting here a pleasure. Hope you will stick around, but, please, use the spacebar a bit…


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 thanks nice to see you posting again,im afraid my puctuation skills are not that great lol,ive just been catching up on all the posts as ive been away for the week,and dear me this forum has lived upto its reputation of been disfunctional,the moderators must be having a field day,as regards Rafa as a fan im getting greedy ya know,hes pushing himself wanting more,and now im pushing myself wanting more,i said let him win the WTF and ill be happy with that,now im saying let him win the AO and he will have two career GS and ill be happy with that,then let win the FO to surpass Pete and ill be happy with that,then it,ll be let him get 17 and tie Roger,and then 18 to surpass Roger,and on and on it goes,i always said i was never greedy,but i keep wanting more and more,and now im wanting Andy to get a shed load of GS now too with him been my other favorite,still you get the picture?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 i promise i will use the space bar
But i cant change my monikor,as it befits what i am about in the real world,but i dont mind yo calling me Alison,and i will promise to stick around.


mat4 Says:

Don’t never ask too much from fate: what Rafa or Novak have achieved so far is great, and everything more is a gift. The glass should be half full, not half empty.

You never know: injuries have shorten the careers of so many great players; then, there is luck, then the rise of new stars (although I don’t see anyone new).


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 yeah true,as a Pagan i have always told that to myself anyway,be gratefull for what you have and dont get greedy,my husband always says,take a slce of the cake,you dont need to stuff your face,metaphorcally speaking of course.


mat4 Says:

@Alison:

What’s a Pagan?


hawkeye Says:

When a player make it to two WTF indoor exho finals, to say any tom dick harry can beat him, is demeaning to the few greats that do.

Par for the course. Hilarious!


skeezer Says:

“WTF indoor exho finals”
When an ignoramous continuously calls WTF “exho” it is demeaning and ignorant.

To those who play and qualify, including there God Rafael Nadal, its appreciated. Ask them. 1500 ATP points.
So, inquire, and report back.
Otherwise, STFU.


Giles Says:

It seems certain posters are not abiding by the new rules that are in place.
skeezer using the acronym STFU – his post has not been moderated.
Tennis X ????


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 its probably easier if you look it up,rather than me trying to explain it to you,in a nushell its about spirituality and respecting the elements of nature etc.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa beat 4 of the top 8 players to reach the final,only coming up short against Novak in the final,so its not as if he lost to every Tom,Dick or Harry,BTW congrats to Harry too on Novaks win,anyway it reminded me of a comment made by Dave a year ago i think?when he said that Novak had lost one of his RR matches,and made the final and won it in 2008,im just wondering had Rafa won the WTF yet lost one of his RR matches while doing so,what the comments wouldve been like,he had the easier group,didnt beat a GS champion in doing so till the final blahdy blah?


madmax Says:

Giles Says:
It seems certain posters are not abiding by the new rules that are in place.
skeezer using the acronym STFU – his post has not been moderated.
Tennis X ????

November 17th, 2013 at 3:52 am

Giles, why you always trying to get Skeezer into trouble? The guy does nothing wrong. Offers great discussion, it is you with your one liner whiners.


Giles Says:

When the new rankings come out tomorrow Fed will drop to
#7. Ahh!


Giles Says:

P.S. Now there’s a stat to mull on!! Lol


madmax Says:

Giles Says:
When the new rankings come out tomorrow Fed will drop to
#7. Ahh!

November 17th, 2013 at 6:47 am

Giles, I absolutely agree with you – THAT IT IS A STAT TO MULL OVER!

Because, for more than 10 years, Federer has been in the top ten! It’s another record broken by the mighty fed Giles (and in this golden era oo – how DOES he do it?) and it’s down to you Giles that you pointed it out.

So I want to say a big thank you.


Giles Says:

No problem @madmax. Just so long as you are pleased. But are you, really? Lol


madmax Says:

Giles, I actually am. Whether you believe me is of no relevance, but I wanted to be polite.

Roger has had his time and for that, I am grateful. He will now, forever be, the dark horse. Meaning he may or may not win a tournament. It is Novak’s and Rafa’s rivalry now (with Murray)that enthuses the tennis rif raf, and so it should.

For Fed to be 301 weeks a world number one, as “old” as 31, to achieve 17 slams, to my mind, well, he is just an icon to me.

Now, let’s fast forward. You think your guy gonna be that great at 32? We will just have to wait and see.


madmax Says:

Giles, it could be 302 weeks (I think it is!), but as you seem to follow fed more than any one here, am sure you will verify?


hawkeye Says:

@BadBackRules, Fibak is very intelligent

After Rafa’s U.S. Open title, Fibak remarked, “During the match, the thought that kept coming to my mind was that I was watching a genius. It’s like Chopin who was born to compose music. Nadal was born to win tennis matches.”

Preach it, Fibak, preach it.

http://tinyurl.com/m8yrcbj

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