Novak Djokovic Goes Into 2016 Tied With Both Roger Federer (22-22) And Rafael Nadal (23-23) In H2H Meetings
by Tom Gainey | November 24th, 2015, 11:28 am
  • 58 Comments

Following wins over both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals last week, Novak Djokovic has leveled his head-to-head with both rivals as he enters 2016.

Djokovic has never led either player, but now stands 22-22 with Federer and 23-23 with Nadal after beating Federer 5 of 8 times this year and Rafa four times all in straight sets.

“They’re different rivalries,” Djokovic said of playing the two legends. “It’s hard to really compare. In terms of matches played, maybe the most exciting matches that I’ve played maybe the Nadal rivalry would be the one I would pick. Again, two different rivalries because two different players.

“Those two rivalries made me a better player, the player I am today, no doubt. Made me understand what I need to do both on and off the court to be able to be in this position now.”

He’s also 21-9 over No. 2 Andy Murray, 19-4 against No. 4 Stan Wawrinka and 21-2 over Tomas Berdych. So he has 19 or more wins vs everyone in the Top 6!


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58 Comments for Novak Djokovic Goes Into 2016 Tied With Both Roger Federer (22-22) And Rafael Nadal (23-23) In H2H Meetings

SG1 Says:

It’s a tribute to these three great players that all of them have a triple digit slam count given that they’ve had to compete with each for those slams for the past 8 or 9 years. Quite remarkable. Definitely the best 1,2 3 ranking combination that I’ve seen.

Mac, Connors and Borg followed by Mac, Connors and Lendl.


SG1 Says:

Wonder if Sampras, Agassi and Becker were ever 1,2 and 3?


SG1 Says:

And I know that Rafa is not part of the top 3 this year but has been of the last decade.


SG1 Says:

Berdych really is an enigma isn’t he? So much ball striking ability and yet he just doesn’t know how to use it against the better players. Even Lendl, a fellow Czech, shied away from coaching him.


SG1 Says:

You have to be a great mover out there today. It’s not enough to hit the ball cleanly and with power. Today’s tennis is all about transitioning back and forth between offense and defense and if you can’t move well enough, you can’t put yourself in position to get on the attack. Not an accident that the best 4 players in world for the last decade also are the best at moving around the court.


James Says:

Djoke will end up as the H2H GOAT for sure. wonder what Nadal fans say now, since Nadal’s H2H against Fed was touted constantly as a reason for Nadal to be GOAT.

What Djoke has going for him in these rivalries is age. He doesn’t have to contend with 10+ slam players 5-6 years younger. There’s nobody younger on the horizon who has won even a single slam yet, and Djoke is already 28. Fed didn’t have that luxury – Nadal was on his tail right from when Fed was 24, and then Djoke showed up a couple of years later. Nadal was in full force on all surfaces by the time Fed turned 27, and Djoke was in full force by the time Fed turned 29. Since then, Fed has barely won anything significant. Djoke won’t have that problem.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’ve been arguing against the mental aspect of the game all year but Berdych is a true choke artist. His movement is his biggest issue. He doesn’t move nearly as well as the top 4-5 guys and they often expose him. But what about when they are having an off day and he’s playing well? Still can’t win.

The most recent example is his match against Djokovic in Paris. For 2 whole sets he’s right there with Novak, really taking it to him. But when he has a makeable forehand to go up in the tie-breaker? The same exact forehand he’s been crushing all day? Miss by a mile. Every. Single. Time.

Ball striking be damned, dude’s just the biggest choke master.


jalep Says:

Seems Berdych was a better mover and more confident years ago. Berdych remains a consistent presence in top ten but he’s stalled out there; not a bad place to be, but I don’t see him winning any GS, maybe a Masters if he’s lucky? nah… He goes deep enough when it matters and wins a 500 here and there…also a 250.

Congratulations to Nole for evening up the h2h’s with Fedal – bravo!


Chrisford1 Says:

The two rivalries Djokovic has with his two true peers are the 2 most played rivalries in the Open Era. And they are knotted up in tie, finally. It is wildly improbable that such ties happen in athletics after 46 and 44 encounters. I think Evert-Navratilova may have been a dead heat for a brief period of time when they had played a similar number of clashes, but 2 at once? That’s crazy!

In a sense that makes the end of 2015 an inflection point in tennis history. Many including me argue that the torch of being the dominant player passed to Nole in 2011. But some could say they held back until Nole equaled Roger and Rafa in H2H and then forged ahead.
It’s still crazy. Tied with Fed the 1st time in his career by winning Wimbledon then back and forth the rest of the year, with Djoker retieing him twice. At the USO, then at the last ATP game to be played in 2015. And drawing even with Rafa for the 1st time in the last week of 2015.

Sport can always surprise even the preponderance of experts and bookies, let alone the fans who root for faves – but I think few believe that Nole will fail to get a lasting positive H2H over his 2 biggest foes in 2016.

One of the most remarkable things about Rafa is he has a winning edge over the field of active players he has played 5 or more matches with – until last week. Over his career, he only had the outlier of Davydenko. Now Nole is following in his footsteps of H2H dominance over the field, with only the outlier of Andy Roddick 5-4 over him in matches. Which Roddick relishes and jokes about – saying the main reason he retired was so SOMEBODY would have a winning record against Nole in his career.


Chrisford1 Says:

James – Good post with the exception of you curiously saying Fed never had it easy. Because Rafa was around late in the Weak Era of 2002-2007.

True, but Nadal was only competitive on clay until 2007, when by will and by raw talent, made himself into a fearsome hardcourt and grass player. 2008 marks the end of the Weak Era with Djokovic arriving as a dangerous foe, Andy Murray beginning to win Masters 1000s and going deep in Slams, and Rafa becoming Fed’s 1st true nemesis.


jalep Says:

That remains your story and you’ll keep pounding on it. It’s as subjective as Goat. Not everyone is going to agree with you; but you’ll have those that will. I don’t. Your timeline is what is simply an opinion. Degree of difficulty will ever be arguable. Reputations of current players are still in progress. Format changes through it off. It’s nonsense.

You never tire of this sermon. Not a week goes by that you don’t start preaching! sheesh.


jalep Says:

My post was to CF1 of course. The problem I have with you repeating your opinion and views over and over is that you insist it’s a factual story based on objective data……that is impossible! you could at least have decency to qualify your version of history with “in my opinion.”


Chrisford1 Says:

Jalep, you characterize a response to “the weak era wasn’t weak” as a sermon. But both sides of “the Weak Era Argument padding Rogers stats” are either both guilty of sermonizing, or they are not. Was James sermonizing when he raised it in this thread?

Or are you the actual one guilty of sermonizing by preaching one side is wrong and they should all just shut up because you land on the other side? Week in and week out??


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal won his first slam in 2005 and kept adding in each subsequent year. I don’t see why that’s looked at as “he was only good on clay” until 07. Does clay not count?

Also, if the strong era started in 2008, then how do we explain Roddick reaching the Wimbledon final in 09?


jalep Says:

You are guilty this time and so many times that you know how it irritates me. You state your story as a fact telling James what he wrote was good except…correcting him.

It’s your opinion. If you could agree to be realistic enough to remember that it’s not historical facts – it’s your opinion. Write “imo…………….”. Otherwise you sound like your preaching the word of god from a pulpit. And posters here must BELIEVE. Ugh.


jane Says:

awesome job by novak to catch up to these two, in so many ways, not only h2h. i love how he didn’t let their big leads and huge shadows deter him, but instead he let that make him better, to inspire him to work harder, climb higher, and shine brighter in this sport that he so clearly loves. idemo nole!!


J-Kath Says:

Jane – Verri much like the phrase “Huge Shadows” – I’ve already given my extremely strong gut feeling for 2016 re. Novak so won’t bore U or others by repeating.


Chrisford1 Says:

Sorry Jalep, at the risk of “correcting you”, the argument is being framed in objective facts. Like the Weak Era includes 75 straight weeks of domination as #1 of that Hall of Famer Leyton Hewitt. The ELOs of players in COMPETITION with Courier, Sampras, Agassi then in the Hewitt Era, then the Fed as God Era, and of course the Era of the Big 4. And add the obvious fact that any follower of sport will tell you the level of competition is never constant, the level of quality of players collectively varies. Tennis is no different.

Ben – The fact that Roddick reached a Slam Final, heck, Berdych made a Slam Final as did Ferrer – in no way undermines the 2008 on era was stronger than the era that preceded it. Look at who was in the Finals, not just Slams, but Masters 1000, 500 events of the 2002-07 Era vs 2008 on. It is obvious which is the higher level of players on average.

Also, part of the reason this is important is past the endless GOATHOOD debate. And that is assessing the career of Weak Era 2nd tier talent vs the 2nd tier of 2008 on, plus the bad timing of Andy coming up when he had to face not one, but typically two of the 3 highest rated players and beat them in order to win anything. Jo Tsonga is a fine player. He has two Masters titles, that’s it.
Look at who Fed faced in his 5 years 2003-07. Look who Andy has faced since 2008. Who had the tougher road?
As for Rafa making 2005-07 a strong era on his own, facing Fed? Not really. Rafa was happy to play in clay and leave the other surfaces for Fed and the field to fight over trophies on.

Why has Stan only won 1 Masters and 2 Slams? LOok at who he had to face.
Why is Delpo a non-Masters 1000 winner and had only one Slam? Look at who he had to face.
Why did Leyton Hewitt get 2 Slams and 75 straight weeks as #1? Look who he had to face.

Be fair to Tsonga, Murray, Delpo and accept they faced a higher level of competition than people consigned to 2nd tier in other times in the Open Era.


jalep Says:

Nice try CF1, but no…your “objective” data is not proven fact. It’s your opinion. That’s what blogs are for – speculation, voicing opinion but when you present you theory as historical fact ELO doesn’t prove anything, your timeline is only designed to fit your subjective opinion and degree of difficulty presented on Second Serb is ridiculous.

Weak seasons, fluctuations in competition
absolutely but that’s not what you are promoting with you timeline and you know it!

Speculate all you want – try to fit it to your specific bias but it isn’t fact or the truth. It’s your preferred story – how you love to tell the history of tennis according to CF1.


Daniel Says:

For Novak Fans, a cool locker room video after his victory in London.
https://www.facebook.com/djokovic.official/videos/1033800073339510/


Daniel Says:

Djoko now wins 2 out of 3 matches againsr both Fed and Nadal after 2011. And this number can be even better for him. Agaisnt Nadal for example he is 4-0 last 4 times and 8-1 last 9 times. Don’t see the trend chamging any time soon. Fed only have chances in a few fast courts now and Nadal beating him again remains to be seen.

Next seaason we’ll know for sure if Novak is to shatter most tennis records for good.


jalep Says:

Oh yes. The Zinger here is that you base you story presuming what the current competition will look like in a decade from now. And your memory for the previous competition is conveniently bias by you motives. Further weakening this dogma of yours is the fact that formats are not even comparable now to then – so that degree of difficulty now and back then isn’t equal – the format BO5 masters makes early 2000′s more difficult if anything. Big difference.

But it’s objective opinion – you own it. But don’t try to promote it constantly as fact — it’s your story. cheers for your story! LOL


jalep Says:

Your subjective opinion that this story is objective.

meant to say.


jalep Says:

And Goathood debate is even more ridiculous. It’s something to talk about in sports bars. Pick your favorite GOAT and stand by him no matter what.

Not going to convince any Rafa fan that Nole or Roger is GOAT – no way, no how. Good luck with that!


jane Says:

daniel i thought it was cute how novak and his team did that video at the end, and i liked that jelena was telling him which angle is more flattering, ha ha. it seemed like a fun locker room to hang out it. :)


Chrisford1 Says:

MY my, sure spun her up. To paraphrase to an old American movie:
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn if you are irritated, offended, apoplectic or whatever.”


Wog Boy Says:

Daniel thanks,
It was good to see them in a different light, and their friendly relationship, I just love Vajda, that man just looks like a big teddy bear with a huge heart.


skeezer Says:

H2H is all about rivalries, not GOAThood. 2 completely different set of criteria. You play the field, not one player.
It is amazing that Nole now has a very competitive H2H against his rivals in this era. Still, what would it be like to play a 28 yr old Fed vs a 28 yr old Novak? All conjecture and a bunch of what ifs. What matters is what you do with what you got, that’s it. and Fed got 17 despite a Nole, Rafa, etc. He got that with the hand that was dealt. Nole has how many Slams so far? It is what it is.


jane Says:

^ 10 skeezer, 10!! woo hoo. :D


Wog Boy Says:

^^
:))


Chrisford1 Says:

Thing is, when they play the field, and some players have winning H2Hs over just about everyone (like Rafa and Nole), it is a significant mark. One of many marks, evaluation criteria to use, on top of the “Slam Count”.
Borg & Rafa have the highest winning percent on all surfaces at 82.74%, Djokovic is 3rd at 82.45%, Federer is in 6th place with a 81.65% winning average.
If Skeezer had Federer losing to Nadal due to a bad matchup, but Nadal had stunk against the field, Skeezer would have a point. But besides Fed, Nadal is murder on everyone else in the field except Nole. Only Nole has faced up and then given Rafa fits.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe at present, with the Nadal Djoker H2H tie, the Field (i.e. no one active they played more than a handful of times) has a positive H2H with either player. That will certainly be mentioned as something very special both Djokovic and Nadal did for a period of time in their careers. Possible for one of them to finish the careers like that


Sean Randall Says:

Chrisford1, highly unlikely either Djokovic or Nadal finish their careers with without having losing records against anyone.

Unless they retire at the top – slim chance – once they start fading they’ll start losing more and more.

There’s no shame in that, happens to everyone.

But Novak’s going to be ahead in his head-to-head with the other Big 4 that’s for sure. That is unless Federer and Rafa announce their retirement from the spot before 2016. Wouldn’t that be interesting!


skeezer Says:

“But Nadal stunk aganst the field…”
Ok, as an example;
In his last four appearances at Wimbledon Nadal has exited early against an unheralded, unaccomplished and, most importantly, unafraid opponent ranked 100th or worse.

See you can skew stats all you want aka elina. The record books don’t “add” stuff. Its Slams, years @ #1… Etc. You know the big meaningful numbers. When you look at that, you realize H2H is minimal, the game is not a boxing match. You play through the draw and win the title(s). Period.


skeezer Says:

So if Novak, or Fed or Rafa for that matter had 5 Slams but had a winning H2H against their main rivals, they would be GOAT against someone who has 17 Slam titles? Tell me how that works.
Where is Davy when ya need em?


Chrisford1 Says:

Sean – got carried away with a hypothetical. Agree, no way will any of the 3 retire to preserve some H2H. And no way will any of them end it until they are losing a lot more and ready to retire.
But Nadal, and now likely soon Djoker having a reasonably long period of having a positive H2H against everyone in the ATP they played 5 matches or more active in that period? That would be very special.


Daniel Says:

Alao the number of matches played count as well. Fed has this stats with more than 1200 professional matches played. Let’s see what the other 2 will be once they reachbclose to that mark.

Nadal has a 20 loss season, something Federer was not even close to get. What if from now on his next 3-4 years arr similar like 2015, with 40-50+ wins but 20 losses per year?! I bet his percentage will be diminished


elina Says:

It’s funny how 14 slams (within three of the ex-GOAT), plus so many other achievements gets turned into a hypothetical five slams.

Straw man argument at it’s very finest.

Similar to James comment that would equate a 23-23 record to a more than 2:1 advantage. Call on those Rafans for their opinion when Djokovic gets to 46-23 and I’m pretty sure, many of them will agree with you.

Side note: cf1′s opinion is on solid ground.


skeezer Says:

^Straw girl argument at its best. Funny – er. Too many titles of ONE Slam. Too many losses to qualifiers, 100+ ranked players and early round exits. The way things are going with Nole he will slip down the greatest talk even further.


James Says:

If Fed had retired after winning the 2012 Wimbledon (similar age as Sampras retiring after winning 2002 USO) – he would have retired with a positive H2H against Djoke, and If I have my numbers correct, 10-18 against Nadal (with a positive H2H outside of clay). The more Fed plays into his grandfatherly age against a 6 years younger Djoke, its natural that he will have a negative H2H against him.

Lendl is 21-15 on Mcenroe and 22-13 on Connors. Was he a superior player to both? Hard to say. He did have an age advantage against both, especially connors who continued to play late into his 30s. So its natural to have this type of H2H even amongst equals. Mcenroe was 20-14 on Connors too.

one or two years difference is not that much – but 5-6 is significant, and it matters a heck of a lot when the older player crosses 30 while the other is 24/25. Not recognizing this is nonsensical.


elina Says:

Regardless, your choice of “five” was what they call in poker, quite a tell.

Said it all really.

James, you ignore the other side of that argument when Roger was 26-28 and Novak was just 21-23. Your argument works both ways. A similar poker tell.

Not recognizing that is nonsensical.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer is the GOAT. H2H is not a criteria, it’s trivial. Krajicek had a winning record over Sampras. Davydenko had a winning record over Nadal. Roddick had a winning record over Djokovic.

OK, those are irrelevant. Let’s take Edberg and Becker. Becker was 25-10 over Edberg. That’s a huge discrepancy. But they both won 6 slams and Edberg had 2 year end number 1 finishes to Becker’s 0. He also had 72 weeks at number 1 to Becker’s 12. The total titles is close with Becker edging Edberg out 49 to 42. So who’s the better overall player and what do you use to determine that?

Tennis isn’t boxing. I get why Nadal fans and some crazy Djokovic fans try to emphasize H2H importance and downplay weeks/years at number 1, but it’s BS. The rankings exist for the very reason that they tell us who the BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD IS. You don’t get the number 1 ranking just by beating the world number 1. Upsets happen. But it also doesn’t mean you’re better. I’m not gonna bother dissecting Federer’s rivalry against 2 guys who are 5 and 6 years younger than him. But neither h2h detracts from his GOAThood. Federer has the most slams, most weeks at number 1, most consecutive weeks at number 1, second most year end finishes at number 1, and like 90% of all other ATP records. He is the GOAT. He’s been riding the gravy train since 2009.


mat4 Says:

One can’t really compare the 22(23)-22 with the 23-23.

The stories behind are different, the evolution of the score too.

First, Fed is much older. Despite this, from 2007-2011, from Novak first victory until Fed got 30, the H2H was 10-9 for Fed. They both had ups and downs in that period, but they somehow missed each other most of the time when they were in crisis.

I have always seen that rivalry as a balanced one, and it will remained such in my mind; Novak has a few more victories nowadays, but Fed started with a 4-0 against a young Novak. Anyway,

Against Rafa, there’s no meaningful difference in age, and there’s also no excuses but Rafa’s “bad form” right now. Novak was in dire straits in 2009 and 2010, but no one cares. So, Novak’s utter domination since 2011 overall, and especially since 2014, is a merited one.

Anyway, there has been a lot of explanations for Rafa’s “mental injury”, but it’s interesting to note that his lack of self-belief started when Novak improved in 2014 and started beating him day in, day out. Just like Sampras broke Courier’s fighting spirit, Novak broke Rafa.

And, if Novak’s continues to work on his serve and his attacking game, let’s be honnest — Rafa won’t come back. The semi of the WTF was such a clear sign of this: after he beat Stan and Andy, he was steamrolled ominously in the semi. Without answers, without solutions except his usual gamesmanship when serving, he just waited the beat down to finish.


Ben Pronin Says:

Mat4, you don’t think that if Nadal can hit his forehand DTL consistently he’ll be competitive with Novak again?


elina Says:

Ben, for a Novak fan, you are to be commended for your passionate defence of Roger as GOAT.

It is a defensible opinion.

Nadal’s “mental injury” had everything to do with his multiple “physical injuries” such as his “back problem” against “Stan”, his “wrist injury” that took him out of the summer of 2014 and his so-called “appendectomy”.

Unlike Roger’s back problem (no-quotations).

If that was the case, then Rafa’s “mental injury” would have happened after 2012 AO when Novak had beaten him seven times in a row.

No, nothing Nadal likes more than a challenge.


mat4 Says:

No, Ben. Novak plays with more lateral spin today, both on the BH and the FH side, among other things that give him the edge in the rallies. Rafa has to improve his serve to beat Novak again — the way he did in 2010. A revamped serve could change everything, since Novak wins his matches on the serve/return combo. But to do this, he would have to change his coach.

But one cannot notice that Rafa has finally started choking against Novak. How many times was he broken at 5-4, 5-3… serving to stay in the set?


mat4 Says:

Dear Elina,

The only injury we didn’t learn about after a Rafa loss was the appendectomy. He had knee problems after losing against Darcis, suddenly wrist problems after being beaten by Browne, back problems when he lost to Stan, and finally a “mental injury” when Fabio Fognini started to beat him. Indeed, you have to be mentally injured to lose to Fabio from 2-0 and a break.


James Says:

Elina, this is tennis not poker we are talking about.

Different players peak at different ages. But they all decline past 29 or 30.

Look at Becker. Won wimbledon at 17, probably peaked in 1989 at 21. Nadal won the first slam at almost 19, had pretty much hit his stride by the time he was 22. Djokovic – first slam was 21, by 24 had hit his stride in 2011.

So the fact that a 28 year old Fed played a 23 year old Nadal in 2009 doesn’t mean age disadvantage for Fed is nonsensical.

At the age of question of competition – Safin upto 2005 was as potent a player as any, he just goofed off after that. Roddick on grass was no walkover. Hewitt in his earlier years was tough – remember how he beat Sampras in 2000 (or was it 2001)? These are all slam winners who have been No. 1 – something even Murray can’t claim to be.

To be absolutely fair – I think Nadal has had the toughest ride. Right from the beginning, he faced a legend at his peak, and continues to do so even in his waning years.


skeezer Says:

Rafa has used the injury excuse card more in his career than any other player on tour. In losses AND wins.
If you’ve decided you’re healthy enough to enter a tournament, you’re playing to win. Otherwise why play? For show? To lose?


mat4 Says:

James wrote:

“To be absolutely fair – I think Nadal has had the toughest ride. Right from the beginning, he faced a legend at his peak, and continues to do so even in his waning years.”

I mostly agree.


Ben Pronin Says:

Elina, I don’t know that I ever said anything about Nadal’s mental injury. I don’t know what that means since I’ve never heard the phrase before this year.

I’m still pretty curious about Nadal’s wrist injury. It was bad enough to miss the entire NA swing but it came and went so suddenly. It was in his right hand, too, IIRC. What happened there?

It’s interesting that Nadal being “too young” is used as a detriment to Federer always struggling against him from the beginning. Nadal became an all-surface force in 08 and forward. But it was before 08, from 05-07, that Nadal set the longest streak on a single surface. So it’s not like he was sucking it up, he was very much incredible from the get-go.

Mat4, I don’t know. Regardless of the spins Djokovic is hitting with, I think if/when a player smacks a ball DTL to his forehand he struggles.


mat4 Says:

“Regardless of the spins Djokovic is hitting with, I think if/when a player smacks a ball DTL to his forehand he struggles.”

I agree with this.


elina Says:

mat4, not just against Novak, but against many others this year including Fognini who you already mentioned. His problem all year was mental. I don’t believe it had much bearing on Nole’s results.

James, I didn’t say Fedal, I said Fedole. Two-way street – walking one-side of the age thing is a classic tell – and, yes, there are tennis tells – do you play?

Sorry, Ben, I was referring to what ever his name is, by that point.

However, I don’t think that three months for a wrist problem is going away so suddenly necessarily. Roger’s back recovery was significantly more sudden after WTF. It depends on the extent of both injuries. Nadal’s wrist problem was not Del Potro’s and Roger’s back spasm was not Agassi’s disc degeneration.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer got to an early lead on Djokovic when Novak was young and now he’s caught up as Federer has aged. Seems like a pretty normal course. Plus Federer has plenty of wins over Novak even now. I’m pretty sure that 4 in a row is the longest win streak either guy has had against the other.

Maybe the wrist issue wasn’t so sudden, but we just never heard much about it afterwards. It was like “my wrist hurts, I’m not playing” and then “my wrist is fine, I’m playing”.

Federer has had back issues as far back as 2003. Everyone’s different.

What was the mental problem?


Chrisford1 Says:

Which of the Big 4 had it toughest in terms of strength of competition? Murray, obviously. Sometimes he had events where he had to get through all 3 higher ranked players to win the tournament.
I’d argue next was Nole …because he and everyone knew he was a special talent and he had to face the two touted as the #1 and #2 players of the Open Era, in the eyes of Fed and Rafa fans, in order to win anything. And 2006-2010, one took most the grass and hardcourt titles while the other had his Clay Bastion. His ascent over the two legit Legends in 2011, when both were in their prime, is IMO one of the great individual feats in all of sports, not just tennis.
Nadal of course never played in a weak era. His whole career meant success was predicated on confronting and beating 1, 2 even 3 other great players. But he didn’t have the level of competition Nole and Andy lived with, because he owned clay for so long until Djokovic got good enough to begin beating Rafa on clay.
Federer had 5 easy years where he padded his stats and won 12 of his 17 Majors…but the 2nd half, Rafa and Nole got good enough on all surfaces to show Fed was mortal after all. Still, it may be tougher to be a great champion in a time of less competition because only Federer could motivate himself to raise the bar and set the standard. (Djokovic had both Rafa and Fed teaching him how it needed to be done, what footsteps to follow)


Purcell Says:

Can’t believe you’re still banging on about ‘wee Kiera’. Stick to your Novak love please.


Dave Says:

The age thing sure gets tossed around a lot. I can’t wait until Novak turns 30 and everything he does will be some extraordinary accomplishment just because he is now in his 30′s but playing just as good as in his so called prime. If a person is playing just as good as before and moving as fast as before, it doesn’t matter what age he is. They talked about Federer training differently and using more explosive movements in practice for better movement on the court. The commentators were saying they had never seen Federer moving around the court so fast before. I totally agree. Federer says himself this is the best he has ever played. He loses to Novak in the big matches because of a not being mentally as strong. Some of the comments at times have made it seem like everything Federer does in his 30′s in untouchable and beyond belief. And that there is no way Novak will do what Federer has done in his 30′s. What happens when he starts accomplishing way more than Federer in his 30′s just because he peaked later in his career? No human being is untouchable and neither are his records. What Federer has done in his 30′s though I do respect it and he has accomplished a lot is absolutely in no way untouchable.


Ronny Says:

Daniel, Federer has lost 20+ matches 3 times in his professional career- in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

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