With nothing but cement between now and the end of the season, can Roger Federer overcome an 2,085 point deficit and finish 2014 ahead of his rival Rafael Nadal for just the second time this decade on the ATP rankings?
July 21 Race standings:
1 Djokovic, Novak 7,250
2 Nadal, Rafael 6,645
3 Federer, Roger 4,560
Let’s weigh the data.
The case for Federer:
- He’s historically far better on hardcourts than Nadal – Federer has 53 career hardcourt titles to Nadal’s 16.
- Usually plays his best tennis in the fall indoors, at the same time Nadal is burnt out (he leads Nadal 4-1 on indoor hardcourts).
- ATP Finals played indoors in London where he usually does well – Nadal has never won the title.
- Will have extra points to earn from Davis Cup – Spain already lost.
- Nadal has never defended a hardcourt title – he will try defending Canada, Cincinnati and the US Open this summer.
- Has adjusted to the bigger racquet and is working well with Edberg.
- Has won the US Open five times, Nadal twice.
- Already has more Grand Slam wins this year (14) compared to last year (13).
- Good odds he won’t play Tommy Robredo again, and should be seeded high enough to avoid Nadal/Djokovic in quarters.
- More players out there who can beat Nadal (Raonic, Dimitrov, Kyrgios, Wawrinka).
- Is 24-4 this year on hardcourts, Nadal 16-3.
- Is Rafa’s back issue truly behind him?
- Rafa overdue for another knee flare up?
- US Open scheduling often not kind to Nadal.
- There’s no more clay!
The case for Nadal:
- He’s ahead by over 2,000 pts!
- Has made the final at the US Open everytime he’s played this decade winning twice, while Federer hasn’t made reached the final since 2009.
- He 5 years younger than Federer who turns 33 in a few weeks. 33!!
- He should be well-rested after a month off.
- No major knee issues this year.
- Federer overdue for a back flare up like we saw last year.
- Federer hasn’t won a hardcourt summer title in two years (2012 Cincinnati).
- Has 4 titles on the year including Slam compared to Federer’s 2 (Halle, Dubai).
- Has more hardcourt titles since start of last year (5) than Federer (2).
- Has finished ahead of Federer in the rankings 3 of the 4 years this decade, only falling behind Federer in 2012 when he was injured.
- More players out there who can beat Federer (Gulbis, Robredo, Wawrinka).
- Doesn’t have four kids to worry about and a wife.
- 23-10 vs Federer, 9-6 on hardcourts.
Warning: If you don’t want to talk “Fedal”, go somewhere else. In keeping with the cringeworthy spirit of this debate, this is an almost-anything goes thread. Be afraid.
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