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View Full Version : Comparing Federer vs Nadal and Borg vs McEnroe


deme08
06-12-2008, 09:25 AM
Some interesting stats and similarities between the Federer/Nadal rivalry and Borg/McEnroe rivalry.

Nadal is 5 years younger than Federer and McEnroe is younger than Borg by 3 years.

Federer and Nadal both listed as 6'1". Federer - right handed. Nadal - left handed.

Borg and McEnroe both listed as 5'11". Borg - right handed. McEnroe - left handed.

McEnroe came into the scene when Borg was already a legend on tour. Same scenario with Nadal winning his first slam title in 05, second year into Federer's domination.

One of Borg's biggest obstacles of winning the US Open was McEnroe, lost two straight finals to the American in 80' and 81'. Nadal has been Federer's only roadblock in winning the French Open for 3 straight finals.


1980 US Open final Borg lost to McEnroe in 5 sets. 7-6 6-1 6-7 5-7 6-4.

2007 Roland Garros Federer lost to Nadal in 4 sets. 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4.

1980 Wimbledon Borg was pushed by McEnroe to 5 sets but eventually prevailled Grass F Borg 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6.

2007 Wimbledon Federer beat Nadal in a close 5 set final. Grass F Federer 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(3) 2-6 6-2

1981 US Open final, Borg's 4th attempt at securing the USO title was once again unsuccessful by name of John McEnroe. And the score indicated a much more convincing defeat. NY, U.S.A. Hard F McEnroe 4-6 6-2 6-4 6-3.

2008 Roland Garros final, Federer's 4th bite at the French cherry ended in the least competitive score by Federer in as many attempts. Clay F Nadal 6-1 6-3 6-0

1981 Wimbledon final. McEnroe finally conquered Borg after a close loss the previous year. England Grass F McEnroe 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4

2008 Wimbledon - ? History favors a Nadal win in 4 sets. (However, hasn't Federer been rewriting history all these years?)

At age 26 and with 11 slam titles, Borg retired after losing the 1981 US Open final to McEnroe. Many say, his retirement to a degree was due to the rise of John McEnroe. McEnroe went on to win 2 more Wimbledon titles.

At age 26 and 12 slam titles, Federer admitts he has a "Nadal Complex".



Disclaimer: I'm a Federer fan and I hope history doesn't repeat itself.

cknobman
06-12-2008, 10:18 AM
Hmmm, very interesting indeed and a great post. Thanks.

As a Federer fan I hope history dosnt repeat itself but if it did Nadal is worthy of it and a good sportsman so it wouldnt be that bad.

Now if Djokovic won it......that would be another story.

nikdom
06-12-2008, 10:41 AM
So who is Djokovic in your analogy, Ivan Lendl?

MichaelNadal
06-12-2008, 10:49 AM
That was a pretty cool point there. Nice post

Rhino
06-12-2008, 11:16 AM
Interesting post, thanks deme. People always say "if Borg hadn't have quit, he would've won so many more slams, etc". So let's see what happens when Federer doesn't quit.


2008 Wimbledon - ? History favors a Nadal win in 4 sets.

Not sure about this, I would say history favors the guy who's won 56 matches on grass in a row including 5 Wimbledon titles, not the guy who's never won it and loses sets on grass to Nishikori!

deme08
06-12-2008, 11:33 AM
Interesting post, thanks deme. People always say "if Borg hadn't have quit, he would've won so many more slams, etc". So let's see what happens when Federer doesn't quit.!

Exactly let's see what happens! Perhaps a greater Borg in the making!


I would say history favors the guy who's won 56 matches on grass in a row including 5 Wimbledon titles, not the guy who's never won it and loses sets on grass to Nishikori

I agree and I hope the guy who's won 5 Wimbledon titles continues the winning streak! Although Nishikori does have some talent if you watched the match:)

Rhino
06-12-2008, 11:39 AM
Nishikori does have some talent if you watched the match:)

Agreed, I love that 'flying forehand'. He wasn't intimidated by Nadal and appears to be the real deal.

deme08
06-12-2008, 11:40 AM
Hmmm, very interesting indeed and a great post. Thanks.

As a Federer fan I hope history dosnt repeat itself but if it did Nadal is worthy of it and a good sportsman so it wouldnt be that bad.

Now if Djokovic won it......that would be another story.

I think Nadal fully deserves it to win it at least once in his career (if not this year), he has worked very hard to reach two finals.

deme08
06-12-2008, 01:43 PM
So who is Djokovic in your analogy, Ivan Lendl?

It is premature to include Djokovic in the equation, yes he is the world #3 and one time slam winner but to put him side to side with Lendl? It is too early to tell, lets revisit this 2 years from now. Federer and Nadal however have won 12 and 4 slams, respectively. They have earned the prestige to be compared with the greats. Not Djokovic, not yet anyway.

dh003i
06-12-2008, 04:08 PM
So who is Djokovic in your analogy, Ivan Lendl?

Djokovic's a much lesser version of Ivan Lendl. At best he'll have half as many slams as Lendl when he retires.

GasquetGOAT
06-13-2008, 12:32 PM
Great post. Interesting read! Like many said federer still the favorite to win wimby.

deme08
06-16-2008, 06:09 AM
Djokovic's a much lesser version of Ivan Lendl. At best he'll have half as many slams as Lendl when he retires.

We will be at a better situation to judge that after the US Open. If Djokovic doesn't win another slam or reach another final this year then yes he might not be able to become half as successful as Ivan Lendl, the guy who has the most Grand Slam singles finals (19) in tennis history.

pmerk34
06-16-2008, 06:36 AM
We will be at a better situation to judge that after the US Open. If Djokovic doesn't win another slam or reach another final this year then yes he might not be able to become half as successful as Ivan Lendl, the guy who has the most Grand Slam singles finals (19) in tennis history.

Yes and look at the names of the players in the GS finals he lost: Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Cash, Wilander.

Three colossal greats, two greats and one very good player.

FedForGOAT
06-16-2008, 02:38 PM
Well, people have been making allusions, saying this is a repeat of Borg/Mac, saying Fed will burn out like Borg, etc. I admit this seems ominous as a Fed fan, but if Federer is really to be GOAT, he must succeed where others have failed. If Borg would have managed to go on, he might have been an even bigger GOAT candidate than he is today. In the end, I think (and hope)Federer has what it takes to go on and pass 14 GS.

veroniquem
06-16-2008, 03:06 PM
Well, people have been making allusions, saying this is a repeat of Borg/Mac, saying Fed will burn out like Borg, etc. I admit this seems ominous as a Fed fan, but if Federer is really to be GOAT, he must succeed where others have failed. If Borg would have managed to go on, he might have been an even bigger GOAT candidate than he is today. In the end, I think (and hope)Federer has what it takes to go on and pass 14 GS.
If what it takes is fighting spirit, then there's a big question mark. RG final showed such a lack of it that even Toni Nadal was surprised. How can one not show any fighting spirit in the final of the only slam one hasn't won yet? Sure Nadal was playing great but that doesn't justify such a scoreline. It looked like Fed's heart wasn't into it and maybe there's another explanation but to me it was one of the most puzzling lack of fighting spirit that I've seen in an all time great (even taking into account the quality of Nadal's play).

anointedone
06-16-2008, 03:08 PM
If what it takes is fighting spirit, then there's a big question mark. RG final showed such a lack of it that even Toni Nadal was surprised. How can one not show any fighting spirit in the final of the only slam one hasn't won yet? Sure Nadal was playing great but that doesn't justify such a scoreline. It looked like Fed's heart wasn't into it and maybe there's another explanation but to me it was one of the most puzzling lack of fighting spirit that I've seen in an all time great (even taking into account the quality of Nadal's play).

I agree. Federer looked like he gave up halfway through the first set. Even an apparently burnt out Borg played his heart out in the 81 U.S Open final vs McEnroe when there was this underlying sense he was never going to win it. There are definitely distressing signs for Federer based on his overall year, and his general attitude in a match like that.

veroniquem
06-16-2008, 03:21 PM
I agree. Federer looked like he gave up halfway through the first set. Even an apparently burnt out Borg played his heart out in the 81 U.S Open final vs McEnroe when there was this underlying sense he was never going to win it. There are definitely distressing signs for Federer based on his overall year, and his general attitude in a match like that.
This year Federer seems most comfortable in tournaments like Halle and Estoril with modest competition in which he can reproduce the feeling of absolute and utter domination he had in the past over the whole field. In Halle for instance he's the one who drew the journalists' attention to the fact he hadn't lost his serve the whole tournament. I think Fed loves the sensation of being head and shoulders above everyone else and he resents having to put up a struggle which obviously in the future he's gonna have to do if he wants to remain competitive with the younger best talents. But I still wonder if he really wants to.

anointedone
06-16-2008, 03:29 PM
This year Federer seems most comfortable in tournaments like Halle and Estoril with modest competition in which he can reproduce the feeling of absolute and utter domination he had in the past over the whole field. In Halle for instance he's the one who drew the journalists' attention to the fact he hadn't lost his serve the whole tournament. I think Fed loves the sensation of being head and shoulders above everyone else and he resents having to put up a struggle which obviously in the future he's gonna have to do if he wants to remain competitive with the younger best talents. But I still wonder if he really wants to.

Excellent point. If he wants to remain #1 and win multiple slams with competition from such strong and worth opposition and Nadal and Djokovic he is going to have lose the tiara as Mary Carillo would put it. He is going to have to really be willing to struggle and battle with every ounce of energy and effort he can muster, and show some blood on court so to speak.

zagor
06-16-2008, 04:19 PM
So Federer is not a fighter and didn't have to work hard for his wins? Ridiculous,he completely turned around HTH records with Nalbandian and Hewitt(the guys who completely owned him before) and handled a completely on fire Roddick in Wimbledon 2004.And what about Wimbledon last year when he fought hard against Nadal who was playing out of his mind? If Fed resented the fact that he had to dug dip and fight he never would have won that match(or many others like Miami final 2005).Sure Fed loves the sensation of being head and shoulders above other players so do other players including Nadal(or do you think he enjoys getting crushed by Tsonga at AO more than when he spanks people on clay?).Fed dominated the game for 4 years the way no player did in history for such a long period,he'll be turning 27 this year and it's normal if he feels burnout a little after all those years of chasing records(I won't mention mono as a reason as I will instantly get bashed and ridiculed and I'm not really up for an argument at the moment).When Nadal reaches 27 we'll see what results will he produce then and how will he fight off young guns who will be challenging him then.

veroniquem
06-16-2008, 04:43 PM
I was making a judgement about Federer this year, not in previous years. Maybe it's mono maybe it's burn out. I really don't know what it is exactly or if it is a combination of things but I'm starting to wonder how much fight he has left in him. Do you agree that everybody was gobsmacked at his performance at the French? Not his loss, but the way it happened? And I didn't say "he has no more fight", I said "I wonder if". maybe I'm wrong and he's gonna totally dominate the rest of the year and show us what a great fighter he is. That is a distinct possibility but it's not the impression I have right now.

deme08
06-19-2008, 02:07 PM
If what it takes is fighting spirit, then there's a big question mark. RG final showed such a lack of it that even Toni Nadal was surprised. How can one not show any fighting spirit in the final of the only slam one hasn't won yet? Sure Nadal was playing great but that doesn't justify such a scoreline. It looked like Fed's heart wasn't into it and maybe there's another explanation but to me it was one of the most puzzling lack of fighting spirit that I've seen in an all time great (even taking into account the quality of Nadal's play).

Sure he lacked fighting spirit bar parts of the second set, maybe his aim was only to reach the final all along. He may not have admitted it to the press (said he has 50% chance) but he never truly believed it. You never know with an opponent like Nadal. I'm even suspecting Djokovic to develop a similar "Nadal complex" later in his career if not already, as proven by blowing his leads in both sets at Queens. Also, maybe Toni Nadal has underestimated of how good his nephew really is and going to be! Anything can happen in tennis, surely no one in 2003 expected Federer to dominate the way he did for the next 4 years.

deme08
07-06-2008, 02:55 PM
Some interesting stats and similarities between the Federer/Nadal rivalry and Borg/McEnroe rivalry.

Nadal is 5 years younger than Federer and McEnroe is younger than Borg by 3 years.

Federer and Nadal both listed as 6'1". Federer - right handed. Nadal - left handed.

Borg and McEnroe both listed as 5'11". Borg - right handed. McEnroe - left handed.

McEnroe came into the scene when Borg was already a legend on tour. Same scenario with Nadal winning his first slam title in 05, second year into Federer's domination.

One of Borg's biggest obstacles of winning the US Open was McEnroe, lost two straight finals to the American in 80' and 81'. Nadal has been Federer's only roadblock in winning the French Open for 3 straight finals.


1980 US Open final Borg lost to McEnroe in 5 sets. 7-6 6-1 6-7 5-7 6-4.

2007 Roland Garros Federer lost to Nadal in 4 sets. 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4.

1980 Wimbledon Borg was pushed by McEnroe to 5 sets but eventually prevailled Grass F Borg 1-6 7-5 6-3 6-7 8-6.

2007 Wimbledon Federer beat Nadal in a close 5 set final. Grass F Federer 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(3) 2-6 6-2

1981 US Open final, Borg's 4th attempt at securing the USO title was once again unsuccessful by name of John McEnroe. And the score indicated a much more convincing defeat. NY, U.S.A. Hard F McEnroe 4-6 6-2 6-4 6-3.

2008 Roland Garros final, Federer's 4th bite at the French cherry ended in the least competitive score by Federer in as many attempts. Clay F Nadal 6-1 6-3 6-0

1981 Wimbledon final. McEnroe finally conquered Borg after a close loss the previous year. England Grass F McEnroe 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-4

2008 Wimbledon - Nadal finally defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7

At age 26 and with 11 slam titles, Borg retired after losing the 1981 US Open final to McEnroe. Many say, his retirement to a degree was due to the rise of John McEnroe. McEnroe went on to win 2 more Wimbledon titles.

At age 26 and 12 slam titles, Federer admitts he has a "Nadal Complex".



Disclaimer: I'm a Federer fan and I hope history doesn't repeat itself.

Unfortunately history had to repeat itself. Looks like Federer's "Nadal Complex" continues. Will he ever break it?

matchmaker
07-06-2008, 03:06 PM
Federer does give the impression he doesn't fight, but maybe that is just his body language like the other iceman Borg. It seems as though either he wins easily either he somehow seems to be absent from the match. Today was different but then again they were playing on grass, where it is much easier to keep serve and give the impression of playing a close match. That being said today it was really a close match and Federer did fight for his life. I think winning so much gives you an aura of invincibility and you might think: destiny is on my side and I will be able to wriggle out of any situation. But then you allow many uncomfortable situations to occur and at one occasion you end up losing them. People often talk about big points but every point is big and if you dominate straight out you don't have to play big points under pressure. That is what Roger doesn't seem to be able to do anymore.

matchmaker
07-06-2008, 03:09 PM
One can wonder if it is an excess of anxiety to win or conversely an absence of it that becomes a problem for people like Borg and Federer.
Maybe they get too used to be in finals and lack that extra push of adrenaline that may, one the one hand side, make you commit some nervous errors, but, on the other hand side, give you the fire to fight for victory.

jane-hawkEye
07-06-2008, 03:23 PM
nobody believed evert could beat Navratilova again in 85, she lost 4 slams finals in 83-84 and didn'y win a match against Navratilova for two years. then she won a classic final FO 85, a victory nobody expected anymore and she was she was 30+. she had a Martina complex. she did pilates, worked hard and won fantastic match when everybody said she was over, Navratilova was unbeattable. She only won 4 games the previous FO Final againsy Navratilova.

More hop, Agassi lost two RG final in 90-91 then won, defeating defending champ Moya on the road to the final. He was 29 and won the french. then, he won few more majors and was #1 again.

So, I'm huge Fed fan but want to congratulate Rafa. amazing match. I think, the back-to-back losses are the "best" thing wich coul happen to Roger. don't believe He will give up like Borg did. Borg's game was tough for his body he won he was very young. On the contrary I think Rafa is the best insurance we'll see Roger for years. It's a big motivation for Fed, the motivation he needed. he's only 26-27. I think he'll win USO and AO. And I believe he can win RG next year or the following. He knows now that he has no option but to change his tactic and be very agressive. best way to beat nadal. Don't think Rafa, who had so many injuries can keep this level 2 more years. We'll see.

Congrats Rafa. Go Roger !

jane-hawkEye
07-06-2008, 03:29 PM
nobody believed evert could beat Navratilova again in 85, she lost 4 slams finals in 83-84 and didn't win a match against Navratilova for two years. then she won a classic final FO 85, a victory nobody was expected anymore and she was she was 30+. Chris had a Martina complex. She did pilates, worked harder and won fantastic match when everybody said she was over, Navratilova was unbeatable at this time. Evert only won 4 games the previous FO Final against Navratilova.

More hope: Agassi lost two RG final in 90-91 then won, defeating defending champ Moya on the road to the final. He was 29 when won the french. then, he won few more majors and was #1 again.

So, I'm huge Fed fan but want to congratulate Rafa. amazing match. and I think, the back-to-back losses are the "best" thing wich could happen to Roger. don't believe Fed will give up like Borg did. Borg's game was tough for his body and he won when first slam he was very young. not fed. it's not over. On the contrary I think Rafa is the best insurance we'll see Roger for years. It's a big motivation for Fed, the motivation he needed. he's only 26-27. I think he'll win USO and AO. And I believe he can win RG next year or the following. He knows now that he has no option but to change his tactic and be much more agressive. best way to beat nadal. Don't think Rafa, who had so many injuries can keep this level 2 more years. We'll see.

Congrats Rafa. Go Roger !

deme08
07-06-2008, 03:50 PM
nobody believed evert could beat Navratilova again in 85, she lost 4 slams finals in 83-84 and didn't win a match against Navratilova for two years. then she won a classic final FO 85, a victory nobody was expected anymore and she was she was 30+. Chris had a Martina complex. She did pilates, worked harder and won fantastic match when everybody said she was over, Navratilova was unbeatable at this time. Evert only won 4 games the previous FO Final against Navratilova.

More hope: Agassi lost two RG final in 90-91 then won, defeating defending champ Moya on the road to the final. He was 29 when won the french. then, he won few more majors and was #1 again.

So, I'm huge Fed fan but want to congratulate Rafa. amazing match. and I think, the back-to-back losses are the "best" thing wich could happen to Roger. don't believe Fed will give up like Borg did. Borg's game was tough for his body and he won when first slam he was very young. not fed. it's not over. On the contrary I think Rafa is the best insurance we'll see Roger for years. It's a big motivation for Fed, the motivation he needed. he's only 26-27. I think he'll win USO and AO. And I believe he can win RG next year or the following. He knows now that he has no option but to change his tactic and be much more agressive. best way to beat nadal. Don't think Rafa, who had so many injuries can keep this level 2 more years. We'll see.

Congrats Rafa. Go Roger !


Thanks for the great post. I hope you are right. And I hope Federer can win at least another 3 slams before he retires.

friedalo1
07-06-2008, 03:56 PM
Federer doest volley enough to be campare to Sampras or Mcenroe.
federer plays more like Lendle, that come to the net sometimes. If he serve and volley, He would beat Nadal a lot easier.

deme08
07-06-2008, 04:02 PM
Federer doest volley enough to be campare to Sampras or Mcenroe.
federer plays more like Lendle, that come to the net sometimes. If he serve and volley, He would beat Nadal a lot easier.

I don't agree he plays more like Lendl but I do think he needs to volley more. Maybe he should start playing more doubles to help with his volley confidence.

TTAce
07-06-2008, 04:04 PM
Federer doest volley enough to be campare to Sampras or Mcenroe.
federer plays more like Lendle, that come to the net sometimes. If he serve and volley, He would beat Nadal a lot easier.

In fact, that is quite true!!!

counter_puncher
07-06-2008, 04:53 PM
"History never repeats..."

yeah right.

fridrix
07-06-2008, 05:09 PM
I was struck by how beefy are these champions of today. Back in the day, even fitness oriented Lendl was more on the lean side; Vilas is the one old school exception I can think of off the top of my head. But both these guys today are huge. It's perhaps the latest stage in tennis evolution.

TennisandMusic
07-06-2008, 05:23 PM
I was struck by how beefy are these champions of today. Back in the day, even fitness oriented Lendl was more on the lean side; Vilas is the one old school exception I can think of off the top of my head. But both these guys today are huge. It's perhaps the latest stage in tennis evolution.

Who is huge? Nadal isn't even huge, he has some muscles yeah but he's still pretty lean. Federer is a twig. Who is huge? I just don't see it.