A New Beginning But Same Old Story: Nadal Up, Federer Down
by Sean Randall | January 7th, 2014, 1:36 pm
  • 84 Comments

One week into the new season and not much has changed from last year when we saw Rafael Nadal rebound from crippling knee injury to paint one of his best seasons while his fellow GOAT running mate Roger Federer was left reeling from a string a poor losses and an ailing back.

This past week as we officially opened 2014, that trend continued. Nadal, not at his dominant best, still toughed out a bunch of three setters including one in the finale over my man Gael Monfils to capture Doha.

It’s a great start for Rafa who I thought faded a little toward the end of last year. Sure, he didn’t beat any big threats at the event – both David Ferrer and Andy Murray both lost early – but an outdoor title on hardcourts (of any kind for the Spaniard) has to help Rafa’s confidence heading to Australia.

“Beginnings of the season are important always because seems like every time you start another season, seems like you start from zero again. Every victory is important, and title today means a lot to me. First time in my career that I am able to start the season with a victory. That’s always important. And playing much better tennis at the end of the tournament than what I did at the beginning.”

Does the early title move Nadal ahead of Novak Djokovic as the favorite for Melbourne? No, not for me. But it does give Rafa an indication of where his game is at and what he needs to do better. And even though he didn’t play his best, he still won. So with Uncle Toni surely on his backside, Rafa has plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles ahead of Australia.

While Nadal was adding to his trophy case, Federer failed to follow the script of opening week top seeded triumphs (Serena and Wawrinka the others). Playing in Brisbane for the first time, Federer and his new racquet and healed back started promisingly with two early crushing wins but then he struggled against Jeremy Chardy in the semis before completely falling apart against Lleyton Hewitt in the final.

Give credit to Hewitt, who’s been left for dead more times than Jason from those slasher films. But like the aforementioned mask-wearing villain, Hewitt seems to just find a way to rise up to the occasion. The 32-year-old beat Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open and now he takes down Federer.

For someone so undersized, slow afoot these days and short on power, Hewitt’s fighting instincts and heart are hard to beat. With a good draw I think Lleyton can and likely will make some noise (not just “c’mon”) in Melbourne.

Turning to Federer, that’s a match he’s got to win. If he can’t beat Lleyton how is he going to beat a Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, etc. at the Australian Open? Can he really put three good sets together to beat a Top 10 player there?

“I definitely needed a little bit more confidence to play well and hopefully win the tournament and so forth,” Federer said speaking about Melbourne. “But I’m not thinking too far ahead. I’m not thinking short‑term. I’m definitely going there to hopefully be there for a long time and putting myself in a good position.”

Roger might indeed be there, but the reality of it is there’s little to indicate he can beat the top guys on an outdoor court. Maybe Stefan Edberg can help, otherwise losing a 6-1 set to Hewitt doesn’t portend good things to come, short term or long.

As for the other two big names playing last week, Ferrer and Murray, it wasn’t a particularly memorable showing for either but at least Murray has an excuse since he was playing his first tournament since the US Open. So with a good early draw in Australia I think he’ll be fine, though, as Federer hinted, the test will come when he has to play a long 5-set match.

Unfortunately for David I think this is the start of the decline. The one everyone has been predicting for a while now is finally here for the Spaniard and by this time next week he might already be on a plane back home.

So to wrao, week one’s concluded and already Nadal has a title and a Swiss has one as well. Well, just not that Swiss.


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84 Comments for A New Beginning But Same Old Story: Nadal Up, Federer Down

Brando Says:

Perfectly normal to happen regardless of whoever you support. Fact is: both are all time legends that possibly will end up as the top 2 of all time when all is said or done. But one is 32- normal for him to start declining now. Other is 27- normal for him to do well right now. Ultimately: nothing unusual or surprising at all. Just the normal cycle of time kicking in. Final note: Fed @ age 32 reaching a final and losing in 3 tight sets is hardly panic station time. Perspective people: all that I’m saying!


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I dont mean this direspectfully to Roger,but im just wondering why is it that Serena is almost the same age as Roger,yet Serena is almost unbeatable and in the form of her life and ranked number one,and Roger sadly has gone the opposite way?i just find it stange to be honest,especially given that Serena has suffered many more injuries than Roger,and IMO her game looks nowhere near as effortless as Rogers hmm.


Colin Says:

“Losing in 3 tight sets”, Brando? 1-6 is tight?


Brando Says:

@Colin:

Yeah as soon as I typed that and saw it posted I thought: oh, the first set. Despite that though, it still went to the distance, the full 3 sets and the last 2 were competitive.

I think with Fed folks need to look at his age, his recent form/ season, the level of competition at the top in the men’s game and then take things from there.

He’s 32. You cannot, fairly, expect him to match, surpass and compete on a equal footing with players in the 26/27 age bracket.

Those guys are in the prime of their careers whereas Fed is heading towards the end of his career. Hence comparing results/ performances regardless of whether they are famed rivals is rather unfair, unjust and I think:

Pointless task really.

Put simply:

Tennis is a young man’s game. A brilliant player age 26/27 should (and does 90% of the time) outperform a legend whose age 32. Why?

Since he has that priceless advantage of youth on his side.

Fed?

For a 32 year old player who had a somewhat dismal 2013, his first week has been a great success in my book. Regardless of what x,y and z have done.


van orten Says:

yeah right mr. randall. rafa plays his best then he wins on quick court 6:0 6:0 against anyone…but he played so so and won the tournament..god how cruel the critics will be when rafa begins fading… they ll say retire already get a knee prothesis etc…

as for fed I hope u eat ur words only one more time . even then people will find excuses. so lets hope for a bad playing rafa and rest of the pack. I will not mind anyways…hope fed can do it one more time


Humble Rafa Says:

Oh please..I didn’t even play my best.

After practice, I have moved up to around 33% now. Long way to go. Don’t get carried away.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Van Orton Rafas fans are always reminded that hes a crap player everywhere else other than clay,is in a decline after every loss,wont be playing when hes Federers age blahdy blah,so i think its fair to say he has to stomach his own fair share of negativity too,yet he still loves to prove people wrong,as thats what great champions do,and Feds a great champion and hell bent on proving everyone wrong,my two cents.


Brando Says:

@Humble Rafa:

LMFAO- you absolute legend!

Keep bringing the humility to this place. Cannot have arrogance reign supreme no?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Well thats it now Sean Randall has done it,there is no way Nole will win the AO this year,remember people the curse,the curse,the dreaded Sean Randall curse.


Sean Randall Says:

TXHC, jinx? Curse? Let’s look at my recent picks:

ATP Final (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-11-10/14173.php)
My Pick: Djokovic d Nadal in 2
CORRECT

ATP Semifinals (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-11-09/14157.php)
My Picks:
Nadal d Federer in 3
WRONG (2 sets)
Djokovic d Del Potro in 2
CORRECT

PARIS Final (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-11-02/14074.php)
My Pick: Djokovic d Ferrer in 2
CORRECT

SHANGHAI Final (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-10-12/13913.php)
My Pick: Djokovic d Del Potro in 3
CORRECT

SHANGHAI Semifinals
My Picks:
Djokovic d Tsonga in 2
CORRECT
Del Potro d Nadal in 3
WRONG (2 sets)

US OPEN Final (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-09-08/13606.php)
My Pick: Nadal d Djokovic in 4
CORRECT

US Open Semifinals (http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-09-06/13597.php)
My Picks:
Djokovic d Wawrinka in 5
CORRECT
Nadal d Gasquet in 3
CORRECT

Not to toot my own horn but I dare you to find anyone with a better record picking those matches.


courbon Says:

Dear, Hippy Chic-you just got egg in your face!(-:
That jinx is just a myth-the guy is bloody Nostradamus!


Bad Knee Rules Says:

Merry Christmas Novak

http://youtu.be/AujFbVM7w68


Rafa Better than Roger Says:

Yeah, karma’s a bithch now. Whereas 6 years ago when roger fans were exulting ad infinitum how roger has been beating ‘babies’ like djok murray et al, (except Nadal), which is just a function of age, now roger is being beaten regularly now.

This is so surprising? is it? It is nothing but the symmetry of aging, not because Roger was that goat of a player. Proof? Never at any given time from 2005 to 2013 that Roger had a positive head to head stat with Nadal. In fact, it is dismal 10-22. It is the biggest joke there is!!! And his fans dare even to append GOat? Just sad.

Greatest means you basically beat everyone esp top players. Who has that distinction? …… RaFa!!!

It is Nadal’s unequalled golden career Slam – Quality – over roger’s quantity which will be summarily toppled by Nadal pretty soon.

It is almost a given that unless Roger retires he will be out of the top ten by year’s end.

It is plain hubris — that he is federer — to even hope roger is relevant anymore in Slams.

Too much?
Vamos, Rafa


Rafa Better than Roger Says:

It is plain stupidity to invoke, let us see when Rafa turns 32?

What a juvenile, worthy of yeah yeah go sit in the corner.

It is like — yeah yeah everybody will die eventually. But the reality is some you are older will inevitably and most likely die sooner!

Just lame arguments because Roger cannot even win against older players in Hewitt, Haas or Robredo.

So much idolatry without reality is an exercise in futility. Proof ? Roger and his fans crying in 09 Oz Open.

Had Rafa not injured in 09 and 12, roger would be not have a career slam at all. Or a french open title. Think about it.


SG1 Says:

TXHC,

Serena is the biggest hitter in the women’s game and her periodic sabbaticals have kept her fresh. Only her big sister (and Justin Henin) had comparable power, If anything she probably hits the ball bigger today than ever.

Roger is no longer among the biggest hitters in the game (though he is still the flashiest player on tour). He’s giving up too much court to guys like Berdych, Del Po, Nadal, Wawrinka and others.
The men’s game is much deeper than the woman’s game these days and Federer’s lost step and loss of punch get exposed earlier in tournaments.


Queen Says:

Rafa better than Roger, oh no…u opened a can of worms. U will be eaten alive for this kind of statements. I like ur thinking though. Vamos!!


Okiegal Says:

Me too, Queen.


skeezer Says:

“Had Rafa not injured in 09 and 12, roger would be not have a career slam at all. Or a french open title. Think about it.”

I did. For a nano sec. But then there was nothing to think about.

The “if” argument is a typical skewed vamoshead think a bot.

As of now Fed has 17 slams, that is not an “if” or “Had……”.
Think about it.
When Rafa’s either exceeded that or ends his career with simular records then you can evaluate his status. Your carreer in its totality is not based on one opponet , but the field of players and tournaments. You are always really playing to win titles, not players. They are just in the way of a players ultimate goal. Slams.

“Greatest means you basically beat everyone esp top players.”
Nope. Who says? Try again. The vamoshead logic is getting funnier.


Rafa Better than Roger Says:

Only irrational thinking appeals to fanatical rogerling b**tkissers.

Bring it on


skeezer Says:

^ooooo I’m soooo scared. ROFL!

“b**pickers.”


rafaeli Says:

Sean Randall:

“It’s a great start for Rafa who I thought faded a little toward the end of last year. Sure, he didn’t beat any big threats at the event – both David Ferrer and Andy Murray both lost early..”

I hope you will always qualify Murray’s Wimbledon win in the same way, since Nadal and Federer lost early last year.

Just saying.


rafaeli Says:

Rafa and Nole have only played each other once at the AO and it was close:-

2012 – F Novak Djokovic (SRB) 1 L 7-5, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(5), 5-7

Rafa is 2:1 up against Nole at the othe h/c slam, the USO, so what makes Djoker a bigger favourite than Rafa to win the AO?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Sean it was just a joke people used to say the Sean Randall curse ad nauseum,i was never one of those people as i never believed in it anyway,as i dont and i never have believed such a thing exisists,you make your own luck in this world,your predicitions are way more accurate than the ones Jamie posts.


tennisfan Says:

Nole is a bigger favourite at the AO than Rafa coz he has won AO 4 times compared to Rafa winning it just once.
USO is a very different surface than AO, although I guess that AO surface suits Rafa better.


madmax Says:

Sean, interesting picks, however can you also post the ones that HC alludes to? She did have a point. You did curse a lot of players that you thought would win, may be not recently.

Federer made a decision prior to Brisbane which may have shocked a few people (including you Sean). He decided to play both doubles and singles and reached the finals of both. He spent many hours on the court prior to the final and this was his decision.

Leyton, unbelievably for some, beat Fed in the final. Not so unbelievable when you think he also beat Delpo and took, was it Novak to five sets?. he is a dark horse in any tournament.

Exceptionally happy that Federer worked hard and played hard on the court. He has trained hard and now, yes, it will be hard work for him, (and for me to watch him), in the early stages of the AO.

But if he believes in his game, then who I am to argue. Just wish that sports psyche would rock up, as I think they would make all the difference in the clutch moments and restore Roger’s confidence. That is the thing he lacks in his game.

His movement, is better than ever. I can’t see that he has lost half a step, having watching re-runs of his matches, he moves around the court with fluidity still, and now with the power behind a bigger racquet, I am telling you, it is all in the head, and that is his biggest enemy.


rafaeli Says:

I put an asterisk against Nole’s 4 AO wins giving him any kind of advantage:

1. He won it in 2008 and didn’t win it again for 3 years. He didn’t even make the final. So he is not that dominant on the surface.

2. In 2011, Rafa got injured in the Qtrs. against Ferrer and lost to him, so Nole virtually got a free pass.

3. He beat Rafa in a close fought final in 2012.

4. Rafa didn’t play in 2013. Things may have been different if he had played.

I don’t see that much to pick between them to be honest. Nole has always been Rafa’s biggest rival even prior to 2011, and which ever one is playing better on the day will win. Generally, if they are both playing their ‘A’ game I will give the nudge to Rafa.


van orten Says:

it is only about the big ( break) points where fed has to deliver now. then he is still capable of many good things this year.


Polo Says:

Asterisk are for losers.


Polo Says:

Asterisks are for losers.


Alexandra Says:

Djokovic is still the favourite for me, given his record at the AO. But Rafa isn’t far away either. It will probably be the same players you can count on. Plus, best-of-5 is always a bit different. Roger hasn’t shown yet that he will play better this year. Of course it was only 1 tournament so far, so there is still time. I still believe he will have better chances in Wimbledon or US Open.


hawkeye Says:

Well said RBTR.

Only two active players with winning h2h vs Rafa and only by ONE match each? 0-1, 5-6.

You cannot be serious!

Greatness is how well you dominate your rivals and no one has dominated the opposition like Nadal.


madmax Says:

Not quite hawkeye.

This is what Nadal has been quoted as saying (which may or may not be true, but there is a link attached, so who knows? :

Nadal believes previous tennis eras cannot match the excitement generated by the current stars of the sport

“Sampras v Ivanisevic match, or one between those kind of players, is not enjoyable, It’s not really tennis, it is a few swings of the racquet.

For me, in the past it was just serve, serve, serve.”

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Ten…-Day-Five.aspx

But picking up on your, once again, point: “How can you be considered the greatest player ever if you were arguably not even the best player of your own era?” . Read on.

A pretty fair analysis from Michael Steinberger:

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/why-roger-federer-is-the-greatest-of-all-time

None of the other players who figure prominently in the GOAT discussion — Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Don Budge — had to contend with a foe like Nadal, who is now third behind Federer and Sampras among men’s all-time grand-slam winners. Fifteen of Nadal’s 31 matches against Federer were on clay, Nadal’s best surface, and the Nadal won 13 of those. The usual tactic, at this point in any GOAT discussion, is to take clay out of the equation.

But let’s not. Let’s instead acknowledge Nadal for the clay-court colossus that he is. Let’s also acknowledge what Federer has achieved on clay, even though it is his weakest surface. He has reached the final of the French Open five times, winning it once, has won 10 clay-court tournaments in total, has lost to Nadal in the finals of 11 others (including four times at the French) and has established himself as not only the second-best clay-court player of his generation but as one of the best of the modern era. If Nadal didn’t exist, it is possible we would be talking about Federer as the greatest clay courter of all time.

Meanwhile, despite his struggles with Nadal, Federer claimed 17 majors, spent over 300 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player, won six year-end championships and reached the semifinals of 23 straight grand-slam events and the quarterfinals 36 consecutive times — a display of consistency and durability the likes of which the sport has perhaps never seen. Federer has done all this at a time when the competition is deeper than it has ever been…

The fact that Federer, in addition to all the winning, has been able to conjure such ethereal tennis while matching the firepower of his rivals and at a time when so many things — the rackets, the strings, the courts, the size, strength and speed of the players — conspire against the expression of beauty in tennis, is testament to his greatness.

The benchmark GOAT rightly applies to highest level of consistency which is measured by winners of Grand Slams, Masters Cup which tests you against the best 8 players of the world time and again, No. 1 ranking weeks , Number of Titles and matches played.

Nadal fans seem to relish one fact of Head to Head wins over Federer. Leander Paes beat Pete Sampras in the only match giving him 1-0 over Pete. Does him make a better player than Sampras? Absurd logic.

Nadal is yet to win a year-end final which I feel is a gritty test of your skills since you are playing the best 8. On the other end, Federer has won it 6 times not to mention the final appearances.

Our conversation would open again when Nadal crosses the magical figure of 17. Till then End of Discussion.


James Says:

“Only two active players with winning h2h vs Rafa and only by ONE match each? 0-1, 5-6.”

@Hawkeye, Davydenko and who? Not Rosol, and not Darcis either. Rafa’s beaten Darcis before and defeated Rosol in Doha.


madmax Says:

Comment section:http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/why-roger-federer-is-the-greatest-of-all-time/

The thing is hawkeye, it’s an interesting debate. No one can argue with that. But you too, have to consider what is out there and not just rely on one aspect of the game.

It’s wrong to argue “How can you be considered the greatest player ever if you were arguably not even the best player of your own era?” Federer is the best player in both the Nadal era (since 2005 French Open) and his own Federer era (since 2003 Wimbledon). Nadal’s winning record against Roger should not be a primary factor in the GOAT debate.

Federer is not obsessed with GOAT. Otherwise, he would not have been ATP Player Council president since 2008.

Rafa’s coach Toni Nadal seems obsessed with GOAT: “It is not too far way. It is getting very, very close for Rafa to be level with Roger or more.”

http://tinyurl.com/pwww32q

But Nadal won his 13 slams at a slower pace than Federer did. Since his first slam, Nadal needed 35 slam tournaments to reach his 13th slam; Federer did it in the record pace of 22 slam tournaments. In the last 40 years, only 10 players played more than 980 career matches.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Rafaeli i agree with some of your post,except you cant say Nole lost because he didnt face Rafa,as Rafa wasnt good enough/fit enough to make that final and Nole was,however last year he got quite lucky against Wawrinka i believe over 5 sets,wasnt Wawa almost at match point when an iffy line call was called out,that Stan shouldve challenged which was in fact in? and also the final in 2012 granted was close though,as was his final last year against Murray,no astericks though as you make your own luck in this world.


madmax Says:

Alexandra, I agree with you. Djokovic has to be the favourite, but I think Murray too, is still in with a chance. I think his mentality will be different for the AO. Don’t know why I think that, but I do.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Madmax just read your above post,and i agree with everything you say,just one question though in the last sentence of your post you said,our conversation would open up again when Nadal crosses the magical figure of 17,till then end of discussion,i just found it interesting that you said when rather than if,was that a mistake in your post?or do you actually think Rafa will probably overtake Roger and win more GS eventually,just curious?


SG1 Says:

It’s wrong to argue “How can you be considered the greatest player ever if you were arguably not even the best player of your own era?”

————————–

This point isn’t just made by people on this forum. There are some playing pros (and ex-pros)who feel the same way. Federer was unquestionably the dominant player from 2004 through 2006. However, you could see him starting to fade in 2008. Rafa has been on the scene since 2005 and over 8 years later is still relevant at the very top of the men’s game. This despite numerous knee problems. Granted he doesn’t have 17 slams. Granted he hasn’t won 980 matches.

There’s a famous saying in sport that I happen to agree with which says, “To be the man, you have to the beat the man.”. Rafa has done this and then some. And not just on clay but on grass and hard courts as well. While I agree that Federer is still the GOAT, I don’t think that Rafa is far behind and I definitely don’t believe that he needs 17 slams to be the GOAT. His record against the top 20 players year in and year out is remarkable. And I believe that only the early 80′s had an era deeper than the one Rafa plays in now.


Okiegal Says:

Hawkeye says…..”Paes beat Sampras in the only match giving him 1-0 over Pete. Does that make him a better than Sampras? Absurd logic.”

Rafa 19 Fed 10…..no logic here……reality….end of story!!


Okiegal Says:

Sorry Hawkeye, that quote should have been Madmax…please forgive me…..I know you are a fan of Rafa……just got my monikers screwed up….please don’t hold it against me!! Lol


Okiegal Says:

@madmax

My post at 12:47 pm should have said Madmax said instead of Hawkeye….my fingers messed up…again!


courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Nice post at 11:57.Every player is sometimes on good or bad side of the luck-by the end it equalises over the period of their carer.
I’m very curious to see the draw for AO-who ever gets Delpotro it will be disadvantaged.On the other side it can be completely opposite-in ATP finals, Novak had very hard group and still won it.Had easier draw at Wimbledon then Murray ( but Nadal and Federer out early ) but lost in final ( again Delpotro factor ).So, maybe having Delpo in Novaks side should not worried me-it all depends what kind of form Novak and Rafa are having on the day ( and others…).
P.S. You should not take a piss out of Sean ‘Nostradamus’ Randall next time..(-:


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon thankyou,i always think IMO when a poster uses ifs,buts,would haves,could haves,and should haves then they have lost the argument straight away,sure everyone gets lucky with draws,and wins sometimes,but what matters are the end results,anyway i will be interested too to see who has Delpo and Murray in their half of the draw,as the permatitions of the matches could be interesting assuming they all get that far,i dont know if they are at a disadvantage it would all depend on Delpos fitness IMO and form,hes a great player when hes on,but tended to blow hot and cold at the GS last year,and hasnt made a final since he won the USO in 2009,so time will tell,about the Sean Randall jinx/curse whatever i never believed it anyway,i was just joking,sorry it took a while to get back to you as im cooking tea hubbys favorite chili con carne.


courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Enjoy your meal, say Hi to hubby and I’ll speak to you tomorrow.


Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon thanks i already am,not to blow my own trumpet but i make a wicked chili,just watching Man City v WHU in the cup,footballs my other passion behind tennis,i said hi to hubby from you,i cannot wait for the draw tomorrow either soooo excited.


madmax Says:

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:
Madmax just read your above post,and i agree with everything you say,just one question though in the last sentence of your post you said,our conversation would open up again when Nadal crosses the magical figure of 17,till then end of discussion,i just found it interesting that you said when rather than if,was that a mistake in your post?or do you actually think Rafa will probably overtake Roger and win more GS eventually,just curious?

January 8th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Well spotted alison…I meant to say “if OR when”.

SG1 Says:
It’s wrong to argue “How can you be considered the greatest player ever if you were arguably not even the best player of your own era?”

————————–

This point isn’t just made by people on this forum. There are some playing pros (and ex-pros)who feel the same way. Federer was unquestionably the dominant player from 2004 through 2006. However, you could see him starting to fade in 2008. Rafa has been on the scene since 2005 and over 8 years later is still relevant at the very top of the men’s game. This despite numerous knee problems. Granted he doesn’t have 17 slams. Granted he hasn’t won 980 matches.

There’s a famous saying in sport that I happen to agree with which says, “To be the man, you have to the beat the man.”. Rafa has done this and then some. And not just on clay but on grass and hard courts as well. While I agree that Federer is still the GOAT, I don’t think that Rafa is far behind and I definitely don’t believe that he needs 17 slams to be the GOAT. His record against the top 20 players year in and year out is remarkable. And I believe that only the early 80′s had an era deeper than the one Rafa plays in now.

January 8th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

SG1. How can the 80′s be a deeper era than the one we have now?


madmax Says:

Repeat SG1:

Nadal won his 13 slams at a slower pace than Federer did. Since his first slam, Nadal needed 35 slam tournaments to reach his 13th slam; Federer did it in the record pace of 22 slam tournaments. In the last 40 years, only 10 players played more than 980 career matches.

The era is stronger today than ever before.


Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks for the reply Madmax.


madmax Says:

Okiegal Says:
@madmax

My post at 12:47 pm should have said Madmax said instead of Hawkeye….my fingers messed up…again!

January 8th, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Oki,

Not a problem. Am sure Hawkeye will see the funny side, or :( may be not?


Okiegal Says:

@madmax

I hope he’s got a good sense of humor because making the mistake of insinuating a Rafa fan is a Fed fan could possibly be the unforgivable sin!! Lol


skeezer Says:

@madmax
Great points you brought up @ 11:46. And talking points not just coming from a Fed fan.
This will be an interesting year for the Rafa vs Fed debate. If Rafa can pile up some more Slams(outside of Clay), the debate will be narrowed, no question. But if he doesn’t, his window is closing fast. Now this is assuming of course Fed doesn’t win any more Slams. As far as that goes, imo his best shot is still at Wimby. There is the only place he could survive some tough 5 setters and still win the title.


Okiegal Says:

Don’t think for one minute that Rafa doesn’t have that magical number of 17 in his sights. He will try his best to achieve this goal. I’m sure he would like to put the GOAT issue to rest……and I’m ready for that to happen too!


SG1 Says:

Great players of the early 80′s:

McEnroe
Connors
Lendl
Borg
Wilander
Gerulaitis
Vilas

I don’t think that even now, there are that many players of that caliber all playing at the same time. There’s a reason Lendl only won eight slams.


SG1 Says:

Why does winning slams at a faster pace necessarily mean that Fed is better than Rafa? Maybe Rafa is playing in a tougher era? From 2003 to 2005, Federer wasn’t exactly facing the depth of competition that’s existed over the past 3 to 4 years. Rafa has flourished despite the depth of present day competition. Federer not so much.


Anna Says:

Madmax – You are not dumb enough to believe there is no statistical difference between a h2h of 1-0, and a h2h of 21-10. 21-10 is most significant, 1-0 is isn’t significant at all. If your going to talk h2h, then you need to understand the value/importance of the numbers.


skeezer Says:

SG1,
I agree faster pace yada yada whatevers. Each player can only deal with the playing cards they have to play with. They cannot choose who they play to determine there benchmark in the game. The draw determines that. Sometimes they’ll play and lose to Rosols. Sometimes they’ll play a top player. How did they do against all the tour players to eventually win the Slams?
There fitness and health IS a determining factor. Did they burnout there bodies to win a streak of Slams, only to “check out” to other Slams due to burnout/injuries? Credit needs to be given to players that manage that throughout there careers.


moam Says:

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Federer is down. His Brisbane loss to Hewitt could actually be good for him in that he knows about where his game is and what he needs to work on.
Fed has been in a bit of a slump but he’s been there before. I think he breaks free and wins a slam this season.
http://martinstake128.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/the-slump/


Michael Says:

Rafa is still in his prime, while Roger is past his prime. So, it would not be proper to compare them today. What remains to be seen is only how Rafa fares when he is 30 and above ?


Daniel Says:

Federer had 5 years winning multiple Slams, so far Nadal had 3.
Federe was still at the top of mens teenis in 2009 after winning first Slam in 2003,7 years away and 6 years away from first time he was #1. And he also was #1 in 2012, 9 years apart.
Nadal is #1 now 6 years after he first was #1 in 2008, lets’ see how long he will maintain and even if he loses if he will be able to get it back again.

So far Federer wins in every major parameter we analyse (consistency, majors, fast pace, years having multiple majors, #1 weeks, year end #1, WTF titles, consecutive records, etc…). Nadal wins in 3 disitcin records: HxH, Masters titles (which witht the shift from finals reduce from 5 to 3 sets making it harder to compare – no one would win Canada and Cincy having to play 5 sets finals), and 1 consecutive record: 9 years in a row winning Slams.

Basically this year is a do or die for Rafa.
If he wins 2 or more Slams, the GOAT will be within grasp, if he wins only 1 (French) very hard to see him wining 3 more to equal and even though we’ll have a tough debate. He actually should reach 18 in other to compensate for some of the consistency and consecutive record he will not match and if he gets there he may not surpass the #1 record (total weeks and consecutive), but will have a more decent – all time 3rd or 4th) to legitimize his quest.

The “big’ picture is deeper than we thought.
And of course it will all depend on Fed himself. 1 Slam that he wins in the next 2 years – 8 Slams played (his final shots) and he force Nadal to reach 18 or 19. And by the time French Open ends Nadal will be 28 already, some age when Federer start declining.

But this AO sure brings a lot of excitement for the GOAT debate, Nadal is #1 winner of last HC Slam, beating his main rival and if he wins this AO< he will have 14, two career Slams and a potential RG for 15 making a duo AO-RG long time not seen which will even boost his possibility for a Grand Slam year who would put any rest to doubt, of course, long shot, but winning AO will definitely help his case.
But,… a certain Djokovic is once again to prove his value and act as a joker in this game of thrones!


madmax Says:

Anna Says:
Madmax – You are not dumb enough to believe there is no statistical difference between a h2h of 1-0, and a h2h of 21-10. 21-10 is most significant, 1-0 is isn’t significant at all. If your going to talk h2h, then you need to understand the value/importance of the numbers.

January 8th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Anna,

I suggeset you re-read my post of January 8th, 2014 at 11:46 am, which argues your point. Otherwise, i am repeating myself and I am sure no one wants to hear that one again.

If you can’t be bothered to read it, then I can’t be bothered to argue with you – again.

It’s always h2h with you. Come up with something different please.


hawkeye Says:

Okiegal. To be a fan of Federer is no offence so none taken


hawkeye Says:

Michael Says:
Rafa is still in his prime, while Roger is past his prime. So, it would not be proper to compare them today.

Compare them at any time of the history. Rafa has always had the better h2h and Rafa has the same number of majors as Fed did at Rafa’s current age.


madmax Says:

ummm, hawkeye? Your point?

Yeah, SAME number of slams at the SAME age – 27. That’s 13 a piece. Read how long it took fed to get there, then Rafa. Re-read my earlier post and try and argue a few more of those points -that’s, of course, if you can. :)


madmax Says:

I hope when I wake up in the morning, some crazy head will have stayed up all night and worked out the draw and will post there fair and *unbiased* thoughts and feelings here! It will be the first thing I read when I wake up.

I think I only need to stay up another 3 hours, and find out for myself, but my eyes have had enough now.

Thanks in advance to the hero who does this first!


Syam Lee Says:

Sean claimed and proved he was correct in his predictions, all but one, but all those were predictions made on the eve of those matches, on a match by match basis, choosing a winner and a loser. As for pre-tourney favourites predictions, i am afraid Sean is not so spot-on. Nadal won US Open 2013 when Sean picked someone else, right?


Daniel Says:

If we break it by Slams, how can Nadal be GOAT when he is only the best in 1 Slam, RG?!

AO – Fed, Agassi and Djokovic are joint in Open Era with 4 titles

RG – Nadal with 8 titles

Wimby – Fed and Sampras are joint with 7 titesl but Fed

US Open – Fed are tied with Sampras and Connors with 5 titles

Federer name appear in 3 Slams as leader while Nadal only 1.

No matter how many French he wins he will never (almost 100% sure) have a balanced major count. he is not going to get to 4 AO or 5 US Open.
He needs to win more of the other majors to help his case. Winning US Open last year was definitely a plus and what re ignite all the GOAT debate.


skeezer Says:

Daniel,
Great write up on the Slams. Vamosheads can’t see clearly through the b&b of Nadal.


hawkeye Says:

Daniel. Good question!

Maybe you should ask Murray and Nole why they feel that way.

Peace out.


Hippy Chic Says:

I will never belittle Roger or Novaks achievements to make me feel better about Rafas,but i think its only fair that i am allowed to defend Rafa achievements,otherwise whats the point in been here,and i did/do get p*ssed when he doesnt get credit for his achievements,with posts like 1 dimensional,overated year,limited game etc,when actually he has multiple GS now on all surfaces,still who am i to let the facts get in the way of peoples emotional personal bias for/against a player anyway.


SG1 Says:

Daniel,

I don’t believe Rafa is the GOAT quite yet. This being said, if we wins a couple more slams (regardless of which ones they are), he’s earned his way into the discussion. Rafa is a living legend (just like Federer).

As for him only being the best on one surface, that’s just splitting hairs. IMO, Rafa is better on clay than Roger is (or anyone else has been) on any surface. Rafa is better on clay than Sampras was on grass. Rafa is better on clay than Federer is/was on grass. This isn’t any kind of domination that can or should be discounted.

And Rafa has piled up his slam count consistently beating the likes of Federer and Djokovic regardless of surface. I agree with TXHC. If people want to promote their guy as the GOAT, so be it. However, promoting one person by belittling someone else’s achievements isn’t a good way to convince anyone and it reveals bias.


Brando Says:

Huge Rafa fan but:

All this GOAT comparison is, put simply, stupid IMO. Tennis is simple: Slams first, all the rest later. Fed has 17 right now, Rafa 13. A quite obvious difference.

Until Rafa gets 17- or 16 at the least then talk of a comparison is quite foolish and rather unfair on Rafa.


Hippy Chic Says:

SG1 Thankyou :))..


Slice Tennis Says:

Fed fanatics are trying their best to manufacture favourable numbers to hype up Federer. I have any seen credible tennis expert or past great dig such numbers out.

But what I have seen is many past greats and experts have mentioned that Rafa’s H2H and his dominance over the stronger field counts a lot in the GOAT debate.


Slice Tennis Says:

Rafa has got a winning record against everyone that he has played in his generation. He’s won the Davis Cup, he’s won the Olympics.

The same cannot be said about Federer. I think he is trying desperately to change this by changing the racquet, coach, etc.


hawkeye Says:

SG1, (in addition to me, which is fine, I get that alot) are you calling Muzzole stupid as well?


hawkeye Says:

Sorry, I meant Brando, not SG1.


Slice Tennis Says:

Daniel,
I have a couple of questions to you.
If Federer is so good..
1. Why most of his slams and other records are concentrated only between 2004-2007 and not much outside of that window.
2. Why did he win only 1 slam on clay when he can win 16 outside ?


skeezer Says:

“Fed fanatics are trying their best to manufacture favourable numbers to hype up Federer. ”
You mean like 8 Slams only in Clay? ROFL!


Michael Says:

Hawkeye,

Well I agree that in H2H, Rafa has embarrassed Roger. How so much, Roger fans tried to hide it, it is likely to play out and prick. We have to admit the obvious. What I meant was that there is no point in comparing Rafa and Roger today. The comparisons have to be made when they end their respective careers when we get an exact picture about their achievements based on which we can frame our assessment.


Slice Tennis Says:

Great post Michael. Good too see such positive change in you guys.
Only a very few hopeless miscreants are left now.


Slice Tennis Says:

“Greatest means you basically beat everyone esp top players.”
Nope. Who says? Try again.

Really ?
Ok let me try again.

Greatness means looking majestic while beating a bunch of nobodies and become a pu$$y while facing great champions.
Happy ?


ID Fan Says:

Daniel : Great points.
If you consider weeks at NO.1 and World Tour finals Nadal’s record pales even further when compared to Roger.
Another thing people miss is that Ken Rosewall has more slam when Rod Laver. Laver is great not because he won more slams but because he was the greatest icon of his era. I think it is quiet clear who is the greatest icon of this era.


skeezer Says:

Greatest means beating EVERYONE in there path to accrue the greatest accumulative records in Tennis.
Got it?


Slice Tennis Says:

Everyone ?
22-10 ?
LMAO

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