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View Full Version : Nadal and Federer and "dimensionality"


harryz
03-31-2009, 08:08 PM
All this talk about Nadal being one dimensional on this board seems silly, and leaves me pondering what I have noticed in the past year or two. From my point of view, Nadal started becoming more "dimensional" about two years ago, when he began serving and volleying on occasion on grass and coming in more. He has added an effective backhand defensive slice to stay in points and improved his transition game. His serve is respectable, and has nice direction and variety. And he plays great percentage tennis. Personally, I find his tennis unappealing and aesthetically unattractive, but this is basically irrelevant. The guy pours his heart out in matches, plays every point with conviction regardless of the score and simply never quits or tanks.

Over the same period of time, Federer-- who is aesthetically the most beautiful player to watch for me-- has become far less dimensional, especially against Nadal. He insists on trying to come over most high backhands and doesn't vary his game enough. We don't see him chipping and charging, serving and volleying nearly enough, slicing backhand returns enough (when he does this regularly, he tends to win sets against Nadal) and mixing it up. Seems to me that he should chip balls of varying lengths and hit hard slicesto Nadals's backhand and come in more, forcing Nadal to lift the ball. He should come in more on the serve, as Nadal's return isn't so agressive against him. He might even chip and charge from time to time on Nadal's first serve rather than staying back. Instead, he insists on rallying with Nadal out of stubborness. Yes, he may be the more naturally talented player of the two and he can certainly do it all, but talent is not enough for him against Nadal. Fed needs to regain his old variety and ingenuity on the court-- mixing spins, pace, length and tactics to deny Nadal the rhythm that he thrives upon. If not, he'll become less and less of a multi-dimensional player in the coming months. We're already seeing the effects against Murrray, for one... and when Federer fails to use his options effectively, he goes away and loses confidence, seeming to fade away in final sets. Seems to me that Fed should use the tactics he employs against Roddick when he plays Nadal-- take the pace off, attack, loop the ball, drive it, all with no pattern or clear rhythm given.

My two cents, and I could be WAAAAY off base, of course.... What do you all think?

Fedexeon
03-31-2009, 08:55 PM
Its just pure mental. Nadal is so brutal on the court that Federer is afraid that his slice backhand will give chance to Nadal to attack him even more. But actually its the opposite... When Federer starts slicing his backhand instead of keep hitting that high backhand forcefully, he actually gets more points against Nadal.... Its weird that Federer hasn't figured this out... especially in Wimbledon final 2008, he didn't even use his beautiful slice backhand in the 1st 2 sets, well he lost the sets then he started using it again.. won 2 sets and then stopped using it again in the 5th set.. which was very disappointing. Same with the Australian Open final.

devila
03-31-2009, 09:13 PM
'you don't seem to understand. Fat Roddick was so unflexible, anyone could break his serve ever since 2003. Nadal can keep his balance and low center of gravity with his strong belly muscles. Roddick was at fault because he weighed 207 pounds
since he was 21. Federer looked like a prodigy next to the fat pig.
Karma's a b itch for Fed.

Bottle Rocket
03-31-2009, 09:29 PM
I agree with the original post as far as the Nadal analysis goes, he is definitely better in more areas of the court than he used to be. He can also reliably hit a pretty good backhand slice and I don't remember him relying on his shot as much a few years ago.

I don't necessarily agree with what you said about Federer. I don't think he's lost his "dimensionality" against other players, he's just making a lot more errors trying to play the same game.

Against Nadal, I think he has the right game plan. Other than clay, Federer often has the match in his hands. I have never seen a hard court match where Federer didn't have a ridiculous amount of opportunities. In my opinion, there has never been an issue with his game plan against Nadal. I think he plays him perfectly, his losses to Nadal are 100% mental. It is not so much a mental weakness of Federer as I think it is the mental strength of Nadal.

I think of Federer to "submit" to all comments like this and change his game plan and do what he isn't as comfortable doing would be one of the biggest mistakes he could make in his career at this point. If he does what many want, things like rushing the net, S&V (his issue is breaking serve, not holding serve), and he loses, I think that will take his confidence to an even lower level against Nadal.

Watch Federer play Nadal at the 06 and 07 Master's Cup and then come back here and say Federer can't rally with Nadal.

When Federer starts slicing his backhand instead of keep hitting that high backhand forcefully, he actually gets more points against Nadal.... Its weird that Federer hasn't figured this out...

What is even weirder is that you haven't figured out that Nadal generally takes the point over completely, if the slice isn't good enough, and dominates the point until he wins it.

Fat Roddick was so unflexible, anyone could break his serve ever since 2003.

REALLY?

harryz
03-31-2009, 09:46 PM
(Aristotle--look it up). The next step in the progression is to resort to personal attacks. That's when you know you're argument is untenable. You're on the way there, so it's best to stop while you're behind, to read, to study, and to learn.

So for what it's worth, I DO understand and I DISAGREE.

Furthermore, karma is a grossly misunderstood concept, to wit,

"Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. The effects experienced are also able to be mitigated by actions and are not necessarily fated. That is to say, a particular action now is not binding to some particular, pre-determined future experience or reaction; it is not a simple, one-to-one correspondence of reward or punishment."

According to this explanation (courtesy of Wikipedia), karma has nothing to do with Federer's losses to Nadal and others and his loss of his position as the top player in the game, even if Federer himself referred to "creating a monster" by winning so easily for four or five straight years.

------------------------------------------------------

Roddick is in great shape. He was not fat before his current training regimen and ensuing weight loss. Granted, he did not win any majors or Master level tournaments over the past few years. Yet he has still been a top 10 player for 10 straight years and his serve is still one of the two or three best in the world. His drop has more to do with lack of variety in the rest of his game than with guys being able to make dents in his serve. Federer beats him by returning well AND by taking him out of his rhythm. This is when Fed is at his best, and what he needs to do against Nadal and everyone else to regain his dominance.

harryz
03-31-2009, 09:57 PM
I think that your comments are largely on the money and that Fed's problems are mostly mental. However, this begs the question: how is Nadal getting to Fed? I agree with you: Fed's problem is not holding but breaking serve. What I notice is his failure to control the middle of the court and the area from 6 ft behind the baseline to 6 ft inside it on Nadal's service games. His mentality when returning has become too defensive; when he slices his backhand and changes pace he does better, it seems to me, than when he tries to dictate from the back of the court with topspin backhands and trading groundstrokes.

Federer_pilon
03-31-2009, 10:26 PM
Watch Federer play Nadal at the 06 and 07 Master's Cup and then come back here and say Federer can't rally with Nadal.


The Nadal of 2009 would probably beat the 06-07 Nadal in straight sets.

tahiti
03-31-2009, 11:53 PM
Neither player is one dimensional.
It's perposterous to think Rafa would have a one dimensional game. He would never have gotten to where he has or beaten Fed so many times if he did have. Wrong judgment by Federer at the time.

JediMindTrick
04-01-2009, 06:15 AM
I think that your comments are largely on the money and that Fed's problems are mostly mental. However, this begs the question: how is Nadal getting to Fed? I agree with you: Fed's problem is not holding but breaking serve. What I notice is his failure to control the middle of the court and the area from 6 ft behind the baseline to 6 ft inside it on Nadal's service games. His mentality when returning has become too defensive; when he slices his backhand and changes pace he does better, it seems to me, than when he tries to dictate from the back of the court with topspin backhands and trading groundstrokes.

The weakness of the mental explanation is that Nadal beats everybody, and you can't believe that everybody has a mental block against Nadal. The reason why everybody including Federer lose to Nadal is because Nadal raised his game. Federer fans refuse to admit that Nadal raised his game or if they admit that, then they still insist that the reason why Federer loses to Nadal is different than the reason why everybody else loses to Nadal, when in fact Federer loses to Nadal exactly the same way as everybody, he gets dominated in baseline rallies.

nikdom
04-01-2009, 06:36 AM
harryz

Very nice post! I commend you for your insight, objectiveness and non-inflammatory approach to what is usually an explosive mix here on these boards (combine 1 part Nadal, 2 parts Fed and throw a flaming match in there).

I agree with your basic premise that Nadal has had to improve and Federer has been sort of winging it lately given his talent. While these observations are spot on, I suspect the underlying causes are very different.

With Roger, ironically, his success over the last few years is what has doomed him. You cannot fault a man who has had tremendous success doing things one way to resist changing his approach at the zenith of his career. Unfortunately for him, Rafa, quickly learnt that if did not change his ways (successful in their own way), that he would go down as a clay court specialist.

The difference was and remains, the different points in their career arc. Its easier for someone as young and on the ascendancy like Nadal to make the gutsy changes necessary than someone who is over the hump in tennis years.

All is not lost though for Roger but it does turn on a very important issue - motivation. If he can find the motivation, just like Agassi did in his second coming, to work hard on the next phase of his career, then he will be able to coax out a few more GS victories. He'll need the motivation, the right team and some luck as well. I think the window keeps getting narrower for him but he still looks like he's in a mild case of denial.

All said, I still love Fed, but there is nothing more disappointing to watch than a player of his capability perform at 50%. And all credit to Nadal, whose doggedness, inner strength and focus show through in a game which we may not appreciate aesthetically, but makes for a damn good show anyways!

Josherer
04-01-2009, 06:37 AM
Nadal has developed into a complete player with a fairly good all court game over the last couple of years.

That's why he is able to do so well.

bolo
04-01-2009, 08:14 AM
I agree with the original post as far as the Nadal analysis goes, he is definitely better in more areas of the court than he used to be. He can also reliably hit a pretty good backhand slice and I don't remember him relying on his shot as much a few years ago.

I don't necessarily agree with what you said about Federer. I don't think he's lost his "dimensionality" against other players, he's just making a lot more errors trying to play the same game.

Against Nadal, I think he has the right game plan. Other than clay, Federer often has the match in his hands. I have never seen a hard court match where Federer didn't have a ridiculous amount of opportunities. In my opinion, there has never been an issue with his game plan against Nadal. I think he plays him perfectly, his losses to Nadal are 100% mental. It is not so much a mental weakness of Federer as I think it is the mental strength of Nadal.

I think of Federer to "submit" to all comments like this and change his game plan and do what he isn't as comfortable doing would be one of the biggest mistakes he could make in his career at this point. If he does what many want, things like rushing the net, S&V (his issue is breaking serve, not holding serve), and he loses, I think that will take his confidence to an even lower level against Nadal.

Watch Federer play Nadal at the 06 and 07 Master's Cup and then come back here and say Federer can't rally with Nadal.



What is even weirder is that you haven't figured out that Nadal generally takes the point over completely, if the slice isn't good enough, and dominates the point until he wins it.



REALLY?


I agree the slice only worked in the past Australian but imo that's only because nadal was tired. Nadal's slice also doesn't really work against federer, federer is usually able to step around and use the forehand (wm. 08 and aus. 09).

But it's too easy to say it's mental, the mental comes out of nadal's ability to find federer's backhand. Are we to believe that now murray is also a superior mental player to federer? I doubt that. Unless federer improves that stroke or finds a way to keep that stroke out of play, he is going to keep coming up short (or get worse because nadal is improving).

vtmike
04-01-2009, 08:16 AM
Neither player is one dimensional.
It's perposterous to think Rafa would have a one dimensional game. He would never have gotten to where he has or beaten Fed so many times if he did have. Wrong judgment by Federer at the time.

No he was right & being honest (like uncle Toni a week back) because back then Nadal was one dimensional...

bolo
04-01-2009, 08:19 AM
The weakness of the mental explanation is that Nadal beats everybody, and you can't believe that everybody has a mental block against Nadal. The reason why everybody including Federer lose to Nadal is because Nadal raised his game. Federer fans refuse to admit that Nadal raised his game or if they admit that, then they still insist that the reason why Federer loses to Nadal is different than the reason why everybody else loses to Nadal, when in fact Federer loses to Nadal exactly the same way as everybody, he gets dominated in baseline rallies.

It's the easy wrong explanation. But this is life, figuring out the root cause is half the battle and getting the root cause wrong means you have wasted a lof of time fixing the wrong problem. This is anoher interesting time in the federer/nadal rivalry.

EtePras
04-01-2009, 09:22 AM
The Nadal of 2009 would probably beat the 06-07 Nadal in straight sets.

I can't even begin to imagine how boring that match would be.

Puma
04-01-2009, 09:42 AM
The weakness of the mental explanation is that Nadal beats everybody, and you can't believe that everybody has a mental block against Nadal. The reason why everybody including Federer lose to Nadal is because Nadal raised his game. Federer fans refuse to admit that Nadal raised his game or if they admit that, then they still insist that the reason why Federer loses to Nadal is different than the reason why everybody else loses to Nadal, when in fact Federer loses to Nadal exactly the same way as everybody, he gets dominated in baseline rallies.


B I N G O ! ! !

Nadals dtl forehand is a thing of beauty. Any soft shot, be it a low slice or whatever, can be hit anywhere on the court at any time now by Nadal.

Also, his backhand is unbelievable. I can't believe the commentators are not talking about his backhand being one of if not the best in tennis at the moment.

Watching him play now, it seems, the more times the ball comes over the net the MORE chances his has to take control of the point. And he plays this way with rather few errors.

So, yeah, Nadal has raised his game.

T1000
04-01-2009, 10:15 AM
Fed doesnt believe he can win and nadal does thats why he wins

babbette
04-01-2009, 10:20 AM
Roddick basically summed it up when he said "he's pigeon holed into what he WAS3-4 years ago."

icedevil0289
04-01-2009, 10:40 AM
Roddick basically summed it up when he said "he's pigeon holed into what he WAS3-4 years ago."

When did roddick say that?

bolo
04-01-2009, 10:42 AM
He's changing all the time, but all his improvements go towards keeping him at the same level.

babbette
04-01-2009, 10:57 AM
When did roddick say that?

http://uk.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUKTRE52P6O820090326

icedevil0289
04-01-2009, 11:02 AM
http://uk.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUKTRE52P6O820090326

thanks.
10 char

swedechris
04-01-2009, 12:05 PM
All this talk about Nadal being one dimensional on this board seems silly, and leaves me pondering what I have noticed in the past year or two. From my point of view, Nadal started becoming more "dimensional" about two years ago, when he began serving and volleying on occasion on grass and coming in more. He has added an effective backhand defensive slice to stay in points and improved his transition game. His serve is respectable, and has nice direction and variety. And he plays great percentage tennis. Personally, I find his tennis unappealing and aesthetically unattractive, but this is basically irrelevant. The guy pours his heart out in matches, plays every point with conviction regardless of the score and simply never quits or tanks.

Over the same period of time, Federer-- who is aesthetically the most beautiful player to watch for me-- has become far less dimensional, especially against Nadal. He insists on trying to come over most high backhands and doesn't vary his game enough. We don't see him chipping and charging, serving and volleying nearly enough, slicing backhand returns enough (when he does this regularly, he tends to win sets against Nadal) and mixing it up. Seems to me that he should chip balls of varying lengths and hit hard slicesto Nadals's backhand and come in more, forcing Nadal to lift the ball. He should come in more on the serve, as Nadal's return isn't so agressive against him. He might even chip and charge from time to time on Nadal's first serve rather than staying back. Instead, he insists on rallying with Nadal out of stubborness. Yes, he may be the more naturally talented player of the two and he can certainly do it all, but talent is not enough for him against Nadal. Fed needs to regain his old variety and ingenuity on the court-- mixing spins, pace, length and tactics to deny Nadal the rhythm that he thrives upon. If not, he'll become less and less of a multi-dimensional player in the coming months. We're already seeing the effects against Murrray, for one... and when Federer fails to use his options effectively, he goes away and loses confidence, seeming to fade away in final sets. Seems to me that Fed should use the tactics he employs against Roddick when he plays Nadal-- take the pace off, attack, loop the ball, drive it, all with no pattern or clear rhythm given.

My two cents, and I could be WAAAAY off base, of course.... What do you all think?



You are right on the money. .. good insights into how to unlock the seemingly permanent hold Rafa has on Fed.