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View Full Version : Why Nadal is a bad match-up for Fed


Quite Please
08-10-2009, 11:28 AM
I don't know if most of you guys all ready know this, but I found this analesis on why Nadal is such a bad match-up for Fed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mA0IFx6_is&feature=channel

FYB has made a lot of this videos and most of them are very good.

TheRealTruth
08-10-2009, 11:50 AM
I made a thread on this a while back, of how Nadal's game is a bad match up for Federer's, not so much mental toughness but a bad matchup game style wise.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=267646

sureshs
08-10-2009, 11:50 AM
Weak one handed backhand is the main problem

TheRealTruth
08-10-2009, 11:52 AM
[QUOTE]My point was, the win to loss ratio between Nadal and Federer was more a result of the bad matchup than the "inferior" mental toughness on Federer's part that many posters here seem to suggest (which is not true IMO). The reason Federer loses to Nadal more often than not, especially in slams (2-5), was not because Federer was out playing Nadal, left, right and center in every match and only lost because Nadal was mentally tougher. That is simply not true. Mental toughness alone does not steal 5 grand slam trophies from the man who's arguably the greatest ever to play the game. It takes far more than that. The best way to explain it is to look at the bad matchup, not necessarily in order of importance. 1, Left handed forehand (no explaination needed). 2, the extreme top spin forehand with the unconventional swing path. 3, Strong double handed back hand since Nadal is ambidexterity, 4, The extremely solid defense game plus the ability to turn defense into offense. This is the most important IMO. The foundation of Federer's game is based on defense and defense to offense, if one can beat Federer at what he does best, then more often than not, one would win. Few players possess this ability, the ones that do, often had success against Federer (Nadal, Murray, Nalbandian..). 5, Unrivalled mental toughness. These are the reasons why Nadal is a bad matchup for Federer and the winning head to head record in favor of Nadal. Not just mental toughness, which many posters seem to have confused with.

Look at this from another perspective, during the period where Federer dominated the tour for 238 consective weeks, Nadal was the only one who was able to beat Federer in finals (4 in 2006) and maintain a winning H2H against Federer in finals. Now if using mental toughness as the only parameter in determining matchups and match outcomes. Was Nadal mentally stronger than Federer back then? Obviously yes. But what about the against the field? IIRC, Federer won 11 titles, 3 slams, and an 95-5 win-loss ratio. All of which are superior to Nadal's stats during that year. Again, if mental toughness was the only parameter, then Federer was obviously mentally tougher against the field than Nadal was. So even though Nadal had the mental edge (or mentally tougher) over Federer, Federer was actually mentally the toughest overall. A > B, but B > everybody else, and A was not > everybody else. So who is the mentally toughest in the whole grand scheme of things? Of course the above assumption was based on if mental toughness was the only parameter. Which was exactly what many posters here seem to have confused with when it comes to discussions about Nadal and Federer and their head to head ratio.[QUOTE]

TheRealTruth
08-10-2009, 11:55 AM
Weak one handed backhand is the main problem

If that's what you really think then you have a very weak knowledge and understanding of tennis.

Nadalfan89
08-10-2009, 12:02 PM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse.

mandy01
08-10-2009, 12:10 PM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse. Again..Just plain WRONG.Roger's bh is a very good shot.Its the way the balls come to him that makes it hard for him, against Nadal.And there's not much he can do about it either due to to his grip.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-10-2009, 12:12 PM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse.
That was the dumbest thing i have ever read.

CountryHillbilly
08-10-2009, 12:14 PM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse.

It's not terrible. It's one of the best. Only against Nadal it looks weak. Nadal is the only one that can make it look bad.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-10-2009, 12:15 PM
It's not terrible. It's one of the best. Only against Nadal it looks weak. Nadal is the only one that can make it look bad.
Correct

10 char

Sartorius
08-10-2009, 12:16 PM
My point was, the win to loss ratio between Nadal and Federer was more a result of the bad matchup than the "inferior" mental toughness on Federer's part that many posters here seem to suggest (which is not true IMO). The reason Federer loses to Nadal more often than not, especially in slams (2-5), was not because Federer was out playing Nadal, left, right and center in every match and only lost because Nadal was mentally tougher. That is simply not true. Mental toughness alone does not steal 5 grand slam trophies from the man who's arguably the greatest ever to play the game. It takes far more than that. The best way to explain it is to look at the bad matchup, not necessarily in order of importance. 1, Left handed forehand (no explaination needed). 2, the extreme top spin forehand with the unconventional swing path. 3, Strong double handed back hand since Nadal is ambidexterity, 4, The extremely solid defense game plus the ability to turn defense into offense. This is the most important IMO. The foundation of Federer's game is based on defense and defense to offense, if one can beat Federer at what he does best, then more often than not, one would win. Few players possess this ability, the ones that do, often had success against Federer (Nadal, Murray, Nalbandian..). 5, Unrivalled mental toughness. These are the reasons why Nadal is a bad matchup for Federer and the winning head to head record in favor of Nadal. Not just mental toughness, which many posters seem to have confused with.

Look at this from another perspective, during the period where Federer dominated the tour for 238 consective weeks, Nadal was the only one who was able to beat Federer in finals (4 in 2006) and maintain a winning H2H against Federer in finals. Now if using mental toughness as the only parameter in determining matchups and match outcomes. Was Nadal mentally stronger than Federer back then? Obviously yes. But what about the against the field? IIRC, Federer won 11 titles, 3 slams, and an 95-5 win-loss ratio. All of which are superior to Nadal's stats during that year. Again, if mental toughness was the only parameter, then Federer was obviously mentally tougher against the field than Nadal was. So even though Nadal had the mental edge (or mentally tougher) over Federer, Federer was actually mentally the toughest overall. A > B, but B > everybody else, and A was not > everybody else. So who is the mentally toughest in the whole grand scheme of things? Of course the above assumption was based on if mental toughness was the only parameter. Which was exactly what many posters here seem to have confused with when it comes to discussions about Nadal and Federer and their head to head ratio.

Very well said.

Toxicmilk
08-10-2009, 12:16 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxc0bmd4WWg

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-10-2009, 12:18 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxc0bmd4WWg
Agree.

10 char

Polaris
08-10-2009, 12:21 PM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse.
This is funny, especially as it comes from the fellow who recently started a thread lamenting the loss of logical arguments and proliferation of stupid Federer/Nadal arguments on TT - the ludicrous yin to FedFan_2009's equally ludicrous yang. :confused:

VivalaVida
08-10-2009, 12:22 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxc0bmd4WWg
that vid is disrespectful to Rafa's game IMO.

Toxicmilk
08-10-2009, 12:22 PM
that vid is disrespectful to Rafa's game IMO.

It is, but I couldn't help it :oops:

CountryHillbilly
08-10-2009, 12:23 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxc0bmd4WWg

That was only 1 minute. You can make a half-an-hour video from that.

namelessone
08-10-2009, 12:39 PM
that vid is disrespectful to Rafa's game IMO.

Exactly.People fail to realise that Nadal hits the backhand of most of his opponents,not just Federer.Most tennis player favor their FH over their BH.It's no wonder Nadal uses this to his advantage as a lefty.And that's why he has problems with good BH like Nalbandian's and Murray's.

It's like saying why does Fed slice on grass to setup his forehand.It's the same freaking thing,they are picking apart their opponents weaknesses.Why do you think Fed slices to righty's backhand? So he will get a weak backhand reply and then he can turn to crank the forehand.Nadal does the exact same thing except the topspins the crap out of the ball into your BH until he get a weak reply and finishes you off.

Although the lefty FH to righty BH is definitely a strategy I also think it came out of the natural game of a lefty.Most of us are right handed players.I am at most a mediocre player but when I hit forehands I mostly hit cross-court and if my opponents is also a righty we usually enter a FH to FH duel.A down the line shot makes more sense but is also harder to hit so pro's only use it when they are very confident or have no other way out of the point.
When a lefty hits a "safe" cross-court shot it goes to your BH so the perspective on the game is changed a bit.I was watching the best 2 leftys in the game in AO 09' and it almost felt like reverse tennis because I am so used to seeing righty versus righty.

backhand winner
08-10-2009, 12:47 PM
Fed's backhand is very good when handling pace. It is the high looping shots that bother him. Especially if you make him hit them over and over again.

allcourter2008
08-10-2009, 12:53 PM
Exactly.People fail to realise that Nadal hits the backhand of most of his opponents,not just Federer.Most tennis player favor their FH over their BH.It's no wonder Nadal uses this to his advantage as a lefty.And that's why he has problems with good BH like Nalbandian's and Murray's.

It's like saying why does Fed slice on grass to setup his forehand.It's the same freaking thing,they are picking apart their opponents weaknesses.Why do you think Fed slices to righty's backhand? So he will get a weak backhand reply and then he can turn to crank the forehand.Nadal does the exact same thing except the topspins the crap out of the ball into your BH until he get a weak reply and finishes you off.

Although the lefty FH to righty BH is definitely a strategy I also think it came out of the natural game of a lefty.Most of us are right handed players.I am at most a mediocre player but when I hit forehands I mostly hit cross-court and if my opponents is also a righty we usually enter a FH to FH duel.A down the line shot makes more sense but is also harder to hit so pro's only use it when they are very confident or have no other way out of the point.
When a lefty hits a "safe" cross-court shot it goes to your BH so the perspective on the game is changed a bit.I was watching the best 2 leftys in the game in AO 09' and it almost felt like reverse tennis because I am so used to seeing righty versus righty.
It's normal to play to the opponents weaker side, but Nadal does it more than anyone else.

I once saw a statistic from 2007 where Nadal hit 85% of his shots to Federer's backhand side.
There's also a youtube video with Nadal's serve summary, 95% of his shots went to Federer's backhand.

And yet some of those matches were close, this tells you a lot about the match-up.

koopa_troopa
08-10-2009, 01:21 PM
I remember at the FO 2008 final where Federer got killed they showed a stat where all of Nadal's serves were to the same spot. Perhaps Federer has a problem with the simplicity of Nadal's game?

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 01:22 PM
I remember at the FO 2008 final where Federer got killed they showed a stat where all of Nadal's serves were to the same spot. Perhaps Federer has a problem with the simplicity of Nadal's game?


It's more Federer being stubborn and refusing to adjust his game more than anything. In every French Open final Federer stubbornly tried to hit Nadal off the court like he can do to 99.9% of the tour, rather than using his different array of dropshots, net play, and high spinning and looping shots like he did in Madrid.

rocket
08-10-2009, 01:30 PM
My point was, the win to loss ratio between Nadal and Federer was more a result of the bad matchup than the "inferior" mental toughness on Federer's part that many posters here seem to suggest (which is not true IMO).

Watch Hamburg '08 Final again. 1st set 5-1 up, 40-30, to lose 5-7. Fed does get very tentative against Nadal.

Watch Madrid '09 again. Fed started tentative, but then went on the roll & moved Nadal around.

It's all mental.

namelessone
08-10-2009, 01:43 PM
It's normal to play to the opponents weaker side, but Nadal does it more than anyone else.

I once saw a statistic from 2007 where Nadal hit 85% of his shots to Federer's backhand side.
There's also a youtube video with Nadal's serve summary, 95% of his shots went to Federer's backhand.

And yet some of those matches were close, this tells you a lot about the match-up.

Again,how is this wrong? He spotted the weakness and played there most of the time.And as I said in my original post for a lefty targeting the backhand side of righties is a must,it gives you an advantage.

Federer doesn't lose because Nadal hits his backhand just like Nadal doesn't win because of that.In TMC Nadal hit the BH again and got soundly beat.It depends on how well Fed can hide his weakness,just like most players.
Typical Nadal-Federer point goes something like this.Either one serves and when Nadal hits the ball he hits in cross-court to fed's bh.At this point 2-3 things usually happen:

1)fed shanks and gives an unforced error away
2)fed trades BH with Nadal until he can hit a FH in which case two scenarios occur:he hits a perfect shot in the corners which Rafa can't reach or goes to Nadal's forehand but Nadal can go down the line with it or cross-court it again to begin the torture of the BH.
3)Fed actually hits an outright winner with the backhand.

Guess which scenario happens most of the time in backhand exchanges? The first 2,because fed's backhand cannot handle extreme topspin well unlike his compatriot wawrinka who has a terrific backhand.
Picking on your opponent's weaknesses apart makes the difference in tennis and Nadal is a smart guy for doing it.With Fed he serves and plays most of the time on the backhand because he knows how good his FH can be.With Nalbandian in IW he served a lot body serves to Nalbandian and on his FH side because he knew how good Nalbandian BH could be.At this level,if your opponent has a weakness,you expose it.Sure,for us amateurs,it's cool to play more varied and for fun cause we're not professionals but those guys play for prizes and for glory so they take every advantage they can get.

As I have said before Federer,does it too,but because he mixes it up a bit more against lesser oponnents it doesn't seem as repetitive.
The FYB said it perfectly.On grass,for example,Federer leads the point with the forehand.He usually trades a few blows and if he sees he can't get through he will pull the slice out of the bag.He will slice,usually in the corners and on the backhand side,the other guy pulls the ball up and Fed positions himself to hit anywhere on court with the FH.Nadal does almost the same thing but with topspin all the time,not slice.Hit a shot repeatedly until you get a weak reply and the Rafa can hit it anywhere with his lefty FH.

If you are a smart player,you take any advantage you get.As someone said in tennis you are trying to kill the other guy,to always keep him down,and that includes picking on his weaknesses.

sureshs
08-10-2009, 01:45 PM
If that's what you really think then you have a very weak knowledge and understanding of tennis.

Really? Losing to Nadal is what got Fed to improve his BH in the first place

sureshs
08-10-2009, 01:46 PM
Again..Just plain WRONG.Roger's bh is a very good shot.Its the way the balls come to him that makes it hard for him, against Nadal.And there's not much he can do about it either due to to his grip.

LOL my backhand is world class, but what makes it crappy is how the balls come to me and my grip LOL

Cesc Fabregas
08-10-2009, 01:51 PM
It's more Federer being stubborn and refusing to adjust his game more than anything. In every French Open final Federer stubbornly tried to hit Nadal off the court like he can do to 99.9% of the tour, rather than using his different array of dropshots, net play, and high spinning and looping shots like he did in Madrid.

Not really, Nadal is simply a much better clay courter and when he plays his best on clay theres nothing Federer can do.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 01:55 PM
Not really, Nadal is simply a much better clay courter and when he plays his best on clay theres nothing Federer can do.



Actually, indeed Federer is absolutely stubborn every time he plays Nadal specifically at the FO.



Nadal is not such a superior clay court player to a prime Federer that he cannot possibly lose. Federer nearly took him out in Rome in a match he should have won.



However during their FO encounters, Federer rarely ventures to the net, does not hit dropshots, and generally does not play with enough margin for error. He is essentially all but glued onto the baseline, and attempts to beat Nadal from there.




That is not going to happen in a million years. Federer knows it, but stubbornly attempted to do it at every FO encounter. If you don't believe me, just watch all their FO matches. Federer ALAWYS attempts to blow Nadal off the court, yet everyone knows you simply cannot do that to him on clay.

sureshs
08-10-2009, 01:56 PM
Fed did attack Nadal's BH in Madrid this year and won. He is on the right track. But then Nadal was tired and injured, so we can't be sure.

namelessone
08-10-2009, 01:58 PM
It's more Federer being stubborn and refusing to adjust his game more than anything. In every French Open final Federer stubbornly tried to hit Nadal off the court like he can do to 99.9% of the tour, rather than using his different array of dropshots, net play, and high spinning and looping shots like he did in Madrid.

I don't think Fed has been stubborn for 5 freaking years.He knows what he has to do in order to beat Nadal,it's just that it is difficult to execute.Also,it's hard to adjust your game for one guy when that game beats the other ATP players.
In Madrid,Federer barely pulled off a win against a guy who had played 4 hrs the previous day.It was 6-4,6-4.In that match Nadal didn't look good on the break points,he didn't have a good day and played mediocre like in that whole tournament.Nadal had chances to be 2-0 in the first set and was 15-40 at 5-4 for Fed.In the past,he took those chances,now he didn't.
Yeah,played more relaxed and more varied but did you stop to think why? The answer is 0 pressure on his shoulders.He had lost to Nadal in RG,WB and AO,had become an emotional wreck,crying in AO,breaking rackets in Miami.Who has gonna blame him for losing to Nadal on clay in Spain? He played like he had nothing to lose,which he did,and won.

I know many people,especially fed fans,point to madrid as a sort of turning point in tactics but the only new tactic for fed was the dropshot.It's not like the guy hasn't tried inside outs against Nadal before.But it's hard to position yourself when 2/3 of the balls coming go deep to your BH side and ride up on you.When Nadal hits a bit short,like he did in the whole Madrid tournament,Fed,like other players have a shot at the inside out which can be lethal.Or coming to the net.Did you watch FO 08'? Fed did the dummest thing I have ever seen and he did it for 3 sets straight.He would hit corners and rush to the net once in everywhile only to get passed or lobbed by Nadal time and time again.Perhaps that would work on faster courts but not on clay.
The only true plus is the drop-shot,which works well against a Nadal who,with aging knees,will probably run less and less as his career will go on.

From what I have seen these past years,in order for Fed to beat Nadal everything has to click into place.His serve must be off the charts,his FH must'n shank,his BH has to hold out against Nadal's FH and his head mustn't go astray.It kind of explains why Fed has had so many problems with Nadal.I mean,Fed can have an off day with a particular shot against other opponents but with Nadal,that's not gonna fly and that' why I think Fed collapses mentally sometimes.Also,Nadal doesn't give up easily and that weighs heavily on Roger who is used to adversaries collapsing mentally after the first or second set.

Just my 2 cents.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 01:59 PM
Fed did attack Nadal's BH in Madrid this year and won. He is on the right track. But then Nadal was tired and injured, so we can't be sure.



Yes, but he attacked it differently. What Nadal does when the ball gets up high is that he generally loops it back, which gives Federer time. Before, Federer tried to hit right through Nadal's backhand, which would result in a hard counter shot by Nadal.



That was the biggest key that match.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 02:01 PM
I don't think Fed has been stubborn for 5 freaking years.He knows what he has to do in order to beat Nadal,it's just that it is difficult to execute.Also,it's hard to adjust your game for one guy when that game beats the other ATP players.
In Madrid,Federer barely pulled off a win against a guy who had played 4 hrs the previous day.It was 6-4,6-4.In that match Nadal didn't look good on the break points,he didn't have a good day and played mediocre like in that whole tournament.Nadal had chances to be 2-0 in the first set and was 15-40 at 5-4 for Fed.In the past,he took those chances,now he didn't.
Yeah,played more relaxed and more varied but did you stop to think why? The answer is 0 pressure on his shoulders.He had lost to Nadal in RG,WB and AO,had become an emotional wreck,crying in AO,breaking rackets in Miami.Who has gonna blame him for losing to Nadal on clay in Spain? He played like he had nothing to lose,which he did,and won.

I know many people,especially fed fans,point to madrid as a sort of turning point in tactics but the only new tactic for fed was the dropshot.It's not like the guy hasn't tried inside outs against Nadal before.But it's hard to position yourself when 2/3 of the balls coming go deep to your BH side and ride up on you.When Nadal hits a bit short,like he did in the whole Madrid tournament,Fed,like other players have a shot at the inside out which can be lethal.

From what I have seen these past years,in order for Fed to beat Nadal everything has to click into place.His serve must be off the charts,his FH must'n shank,his BH has to hold out against Nadal's FH and his head mustn't go astray.It kind of explains why Fed has had so many problems with Nadal.I mean,Fed can have an off day with a particular shot against other opponents but with Nadal,that's not gonna fly and that' why I think Fed collapses mentally sometimes.Also,Nadal doesn't give up easily and that weighs heavily on Roger who is used to adversaries collapsing mentally after the first or second set.

Just my 2 cents.



No, simply wrong. Federer is possibly the most stubborn player you will ever see to play the game. He in fact rarely adapts to his opponent; he simply walks onto the court and blows them out of the water with his talent most of the time. For years Federer has attempted to go CROSSCOURT into the Nadal forehand. For YEARS. How is that NOT stubborn again?



Against Nadal, that does not work. Federer attempts to do it, and that results in unforced errors.



When you can prevent yourself from being hit off the court against Federer, you already have won half the battle. However, there are very few players that are able to do that.

namelessone
08-10-2009, 02:10 PM
No, simply wrong. Federer is possibly the most stubborn player you will ever see to play the game. He in fact rarely adapts to his opponent; he simply walks onto the court and blows them out of the water with his talent most of the time.



Against Nadal, that does not work. Federer attempts to do it, and that results in unforced errors.



When you can prevent yourself from being hit off the court against Federer, you already have won half the battle. However, there are very few players that are able to do that.

Well I remember a quote from Federer who said that he takes just a few seconds to analyze his opponents after watching them in practice so there is that.But I don't see it as stubordness.It doesn't make sense to change your game just for one guy when you are killing the rest of the ATP.

The drop-shot is the only plus because Fed wouldn't hit it before.He felt it was undignified or something.Fed has hit inside out a lot against Nadal.He hit some incredible I/O FH in AO,even in WB.The problem with this strategy is that it can't be sustained in a 3 out of 5 game and Federer is not the kind of guy to go just with one strategy.This is where he loses a lot of games with Nadal.Nadal sticks with a plan and makes some small changes during the game.

Federer always tries to do more than he has to against Nadal and when he shanks or when he sees his game breaking down,it affect his morale,like all players.It affected him against Nadal more because he is used to kicking everyone's *** on court and he has in front of him a guy that won't go away.That is,in so many few words,Fed's problem with Nadal.He will not go away.

Look,the way Federer was playing in WB 08' and AO 09' tournaments he would have blown most players of the court,except Nadal.The way verdasco was playing he would have beat most players,but not Nadal.Why? It's not that hard to beat Nadal,in theory.Hit flat,hit deep in the corners,move him around a lot,perhaps with a dropshot to move him forward.The problem is doing these things for a long time.Few players can mantain such a cool calm state when they get topspin in the face most of the time and see their usual winners turned back into the court by Nadal.It gets to you.A Nadal in mediocre form was beaten in 4 sets by Soderling out of which 3 were very close.Now imagine a Nadal in tip-top shape and imagine you have to outplay him for a few hours.Obviously it's easier on HC but it is very hard to do on grass and clay.That's a scary thought for most players who just can't hang with Nadal for long enough,even though they have moments when they are outplaying Rafa.

This happens to Federer,but on a smaller level.These guys,Nadal and Federer,rarely give beatdowns to eachother,they have usually pretty balanced matches.I have seen this scenario so many times.Federer plays great,Nadal hangs on and won't let go.Fed gets shaky,Nadal pushes on,takes the initiative and Fed's game collapses in the end,and you can see the frustration on the guys face at the end of the match.To quote Gilbert,"when does this guy give up?"
As NamRanger said hitting through Nadal rarely works,unless you are on HC.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 02:15 PM
Well I remember a quote from Federer who said that he takes just a few seconds to analyze his opponents after watching them in practice so there is that.But I don't see it as stubordness.It doesn't make sense to change your game just for one guy when you are killing the rest of the ATP.

The drop-shot is the only plus because Fed wouldn't hit it before.He felt it was undignified or something.Fed has hit inside out a lot against Nadal.He hit some incredible I/O FH in AO,even in WB.The problem with this strategy is that it can't be sustained in a 3 out of 5 game and Federer is not the kind of guy to go just with one strategy.This is where he loses a lot of games with Nadal.Nadal sticks with a plan and makes some small changes during the game.

Federer always tries to do more than he has to against Nadal and when he shanks or when he sees his game breaking down,it affect his morale,like all players.It affected him more because he is used to kicking everyone's *** on court and he has in front of him a guy that won't go away.


Yes, that is the thing. That is most likely what Federer thinks. However this year at Madrid, obviously Federer did alot of things better. For one, he served way better than he normally does against Nadal on clay. Two, he actually dominated the majority of the rallies. This is VERY rare.




The reason being is that Federer did the same thing that Nadal normally does to him. Federer plays on the fact that Nadal at heart is a percentage tennis player, so he gets the ball up high and with alot of topspin to Nadal's backhand. Nadal then responds by looping the ball back with alot of topspin, and usually towards the backhand, which gets too predictable, and Federer punishes him for doing so.




And yes, his tactics in Madrid were far different than those at the FO. He played with the intent to end points quickly. At the FO, he gets into far too many rallies (which he shouldn't at all).

Conquistador
08-10-2009, 02:19 PM
I remember at the FO 2008 final where Federer got killed they showed a stat where all of Nadal's serves were to the same spot. Perhaps Federer has a problem with the simplicity of Nadal's game?

Nadal is like a bee that is constantly buzzing around Federer's head. Federer knows how good he is, but Nadal is always creating problems for Federer because he always sticks around. Federer knows and respects this--thats why its hard for him to swat at it.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 02:21 PM
Nadal is like a bee that is constantly buzzing around Federer's head. Federer knows how good he is, but Nadal is always creating problems for Federer because he always sticks around. Federer knows and respects this--thats why its hard for him to swat at it.



Which is why it's part mental. Nadal is SO good at what he does, and Federer knows it's coming, but he can't do anything about it. That does eventually get to you.

ttbrowne
08-10-2009, 02:29 PM
Sometimes, though, you're only as good as your last match.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-ZiBsYo3vE

P_Agony
08-10-2009, 02:36 PM
It's more Federer being stubborn and refusing to adjust his game more than anything. In every French Open final Federer stubbornly tried to hit Nadal off the court like he can do to 99.9% of the tour, rather than using his different array of dropshots, net play, and high spinning and looping shots like he did in Madrid.

He did try to go to the net in 2008, and that was the main reason he was totally destroyed. His approach shots sucked, and Nadal passed him easily.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 02:38 PM
He did try to go to the net in 2008, and that was the main reason he was totally destroyed. His approach shots sucked, and Nadal passed him easily.



He also came in on flat approach shots which indeed got him killed.

backhand winner
08-10-2009, 02:54 PM
Sometimes, though, you're only as good as your last match.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-ZiBsYo3vE
Anyone could see that Nadal was struggling moving to his right on that match. Therefore, he had to hit many more backhands than usual and could not get in enough forehand-to-backhand rallys. Federer was much sharper that day and was able to run around his backhand and take over. Nadal's return of serves was pretty weak as well. But there are 19 other matches they played against each other. Nadal has to play close to 100% to beat Fed. If he is not, Fed wins.

P_Agony
08-10-2009, 03:07 PM
Anyone could see that Nadal was struggling moving to his right on that match. Therefore, he had to hit many more backhands than usual and could not get in enough forehand-to-backhand rallys. Federer was much sharper that day and was able to run around his backhand and take over. Nadal's return of serves was pretty weak as well. But there are 19 other matches they played against each other. Nadal has to play close to 100% to beat Fed. If he is not, Fed wins.

It has nothing to do with Federer actully playing smart this time around? Finally he changed his tactics, and did to Nadal what Nadal usually does to him - he killed his backhand with controlled forehands that were aggressive enough yet with enough spin to make them safe.

backhand winner
08-10-2009, 04:16 PM
It has nothing to do with Federer actully playing smart this time around? Finally he changed his tactics, and did to Nadal what Nadal usually does to him - he killed his backhand with controlled forehands that were aggressive enough yet with enough spin to make them safe.
You also gotta consider the speed of the court. Dry conditions and altitude will make the ball go through the air much quicker. Fed's serve and forehand are much more dangerous to Nadal in these type of conditions. RG 2008 was humid, cool, and at sea level. Much more time for Nadal to prepare what Fed was going to do. Nadal usually is the reactor. Thus the court and conditions are important to him. Nadal not being on top of his game and the conditions is what made it more possible for Fed to beat Nadal. It also gave Djokovic his best chance to beat Nadal.

NamRanger
08-10-2009, 04:22 PM
You also gotta consider the speed of the court. Dry conditions and altitude will make the ball go through the air much quicker. Fed's serve and forehand are much more dangerous to Nadal in these type of conditions. RG 2008 was humid, cool, and at sea level. Much more time for Nadal to prepare what Fed was going to do. Nadal usually is the reactor. Thus the court and conditions are important to him. Nadal not being on top of his game and the conditions is what made it more possible for Fed to beat Nadal. It also gave Djokovic his best chance to beat Nadal.



I do agree that the circumstances and conditions did favor Federer that day, but I think what Federer learned that day is if he can get the ball up high and to the Nadal backhand, he can force defensive replies, which open up the court for him.


RG this year though seemed awfully fast, even faster than Madrid.

FedFan_2009
08-10-2009, 04:45 PM
I do agree that the circumstances and conditions did favor Federer that day, but I think what Federer learned that day is if he can get the ball up high and to the Nadal backhand, he can force defensive replies, which open up the court for him.


RG this year though seemed awfully fast, even faster than Madrid.

Yes if Roger is smart he'll continue pounding Nadal's backhand!

lawrence
08-10-2009, 04:58 PM
Not really, Nadal is simply a much better clay courter and when he plays his best on clay theres nothing Federer can do.

Nah, nadal is weak competition, in a weak era
right cesc?

hankash
08-10-2009, 05:25 PM
Because Nadal can generate heavy spin to Federer's backhand like no other play can and on a consistent basis. Anyone hitting those balls, their arm is going to eventually get tired, even if you are Federer.

pmerk34
08-10-2009, 05:36 PM
It's more Federer being stubborn and refusing to adjust his game more than anything. In every French Open final Federer stubbornly tried to hit Nadal off the court like he can do to 99.9% of the tour, rather than using his different array of dropshots, net play, and high spinning and looping shots like he did in Madrid.

LOL. He can't impose his game Nadal like he can everyone else. Nadal's wicked forehand has to much precision and he always blasts it away at Fed backhand

wihamilton
08-10-2009, 05:46 PM
It will be interesting to see how Nadal does in the next month. He's going to be a bit rusty. Also, at this point it's pretty clear what you have to do to beat him -- stay on the baseline / change direction frequently / go for a big shot at your first (reasonable) opportunity. And obviously you have to serve well. Easier said than done. But it's the same basic approach Djokovic, Del Potro, Murray, and Soderling used w/varying degrees of success against Nadal. Federer's strategy is a little bit different.

Aabye
08-10-2009, 05:56 PM
It will be interesting to see how Nadal does in the next month. He's going to be a bit rusty. Also, at this point it's pretty clear what you have to do to beat him -- stay on the baseline / change direction frequently / go for a big shot at your first (reasonable) opportunity. And obviously you have to serve well. Easier said than done. But it's the same basic approach Djokovic, Del Potro, Murray, and Soderling used w/varying degrees of success against Nadal. Federer's strategy is a little bit different.

You know, a lot of people said something similar after Nadal lost at the AO in '08. There was quite a bit of talk about how "everyone is starting to figure out his game" and "this guy will never be #1, because Djokovic will get there before him", etc. While history might not repeat itself here, let me just remind you what happened.

Nadal goes on to win the French, Wimbledon, gets as far as he ever has gone (so far) at the USO, and takes the gold medal in Beijing. I think even Federer might have traded places with the Rafa last year.

GameSampras
08-10-2009, 08:56 PM
Outside the topspin and exploitation of Fed's BH..

Its Nadal mental toughness and never williing to give up on a point or just toss the match away if things do not goes his way.

Its the fight of Nadal.. Something the majority of players lack today.. Not getting down on himself. And not walking onto the court, seeing Fed and admitting defeat at just the sight of Fed as so many others have done over the years.

allcourter2008
08-10-2009, 08:59 PM
Outside the topspin and exploitation of Fed's BH..

Its Nadal mental toughness and never williing to give up on a point or just toss the match away if things do not goes his way.

Its the fight of Nadal.. Something the majority of players lack today.. Not getting down on himself. And not walking onto the court, seeing Fed and admitting defeat at just the sight of Fed as so many others have done over the years.
Hewitt, Roddick and even Safin have never just given up. When they lost easily, they got outplayed.

Nadal's game is a pain in the ***. Federer can't use his slice, which is his bread and butter shot.

GameSampras
08-10-2009, 09:07 PM
Hewitt, Roddick and even Safin have never just given up. When they lost easily, they got outplayed.

Nadal's game is a pain in the ***. Federer can't use his slice, which is his bread and butter shot.

Safin didnt give up?? He gave up 4-5 years ago on his career it seems. .. I agree Roddick isnt a quitter but he certainly isnt a great talent either. Certainly no Nadal.

Hewitt.. Hes tough but just couldnt do much. He didnt have the weapons Nadal has to hurt Fed..

I wasnt really singeling these guys out.. Just overrall in general.. Im sure there have been guys who have stepped on the court with Fed with an overrall losing attitude before the match even started. Thats just the way it is

namelessone
08-10-2009, 09:35 PM
I do agree that the circumstances and conditions did favor Federer that day, but I think what Federer learned that day is if he can get the ball up high and to the Nadal backhand, he can force defensive replies, which open up the court for him.


RG this year though seemed awfully fast, even faster than Madrid.

I disagree.Normally Nadal loves hitting his backhand from up high.He's a pretty tall player and it is on his right hand side,and he is a natural righty.Personally I think Rafa's backhand is one of the best in the game,considering that it was a non-weapon 2-3 years ago.
What happened in Madrid to Nadal's backhand is simptomatic to rafa's game in this clay season.Nadal was very defensive with his backhand this clay season and I didn't understand why.He just gave balls back,he didn't do to many things with them.Sure,he would rip once in everywhile but Nadal had way better backhand in AO,hell,he had better backhands in the mini HC season after AO.

Djokovic almost took advantage of this twice.Federer did in Madrid.Soderling also saw that Nadal was dumping BH into the net.Even the FYB guy remarked how weird it was to see Nadal dump BH into the net,especially considering the fact that Rafa has a high net clearance,even with the BH.And many of these mistakes were on the run,and nadal hits a pretty good BH on the run.

Madrid was fast,and yeah RG was faster.Madrid clay is put over a solid HC base and somehow I think they got the mix wrong although the altitude might have something to do with it.I was watching Madrid in matches where neither Rafa or Fed were involved and sometimes in felt like they were playing on a freaking springboard.Normal shots were bouncing like hell of the surface and spinny ones were going up the neck/head height.Watch the djoker/Nadal where both guys are playing with topspin and see from where they hit the ball.There was that killer fh Nadal hit at 6-5 I think,he hit it above his freaking shoulder.And we are talking about a ball that fell just after the service line.Nadal's shot looked cramped the whole tournament because of the surface.

The proof that RG was way faster this year was in the semifinalists.Except roger,who is a shotmaker,the other 3 guys wore power players,gonzales,soderling and del potro.In normal clay condition you shouldn't be able to rip winners from the baseline because the surface will slow down your shots. This is why in order to win RG you have to do 2 things:
either grind or mix it up with dropshots,lobbing the guy when he comes to net,getting some tight angles on cross-court shots and so on.Basically everything in order to get the guy off the baseline.This is not to say you can't hit a winner outright on clay but usually you have to move the guy a little in order to open up the court.In RG this year guys like Del Potro/Soderling were camping out at the baseline ad hitting flat,just like they would on a HC and making pretty quick winners for a clay court.

Mats Wilander did a very good analysis on the clay this year in RG,especially in the top layer.Normally it rains a bit in Paris in this time or year it is humid,packing the clay together.This year it was dry and windy,the wind blowing a lot of the clay away,that's why it played more like HC than clay.
The organizers should have watered down the court in order to make it play like a traditional clay court.But seeing as WB has changed the grass,AO changed its surface,I don't expect RG to keep its tradition for too long,unless someone points out the fact that their clay court didn't seem to have a lot of clay this year.Compare RG this year to tournaments like MC and Rome and you will see a pretty big difference in the thickness of the clay used and how it affected the speed.

And before any ***** spring into action: no,the faster courts at RG this year didn't affect Nadal's game that much because the bounce was pretty normal unlike the springiness of the Madrid surface.

wihamilton
08-11-2009, 06:34 AM
You know, a lot of people said something similar after Nadal lost at the AO in '08. There was quite a bit of talk about how "everyone is starting to figure out his game" and "this guy will never be #1, because Djokovic will get there before him", etc. While history might not repeat itself here, let me just remind you what happened.

Nadal goes on to win the French, Wimbledon, gets as far as he ever has gone (so far) at the USO, and takes the gold medal in Beijing. I think even Federer might have traded places with the Rafa last year.

If you look at the matches Nadal lost this year, pretty much every player other than Federer had the same approach, which I detailed above. If my memory is correct, Murray was a little bit further behind the baseline when he beat Nadal at the 2008 USO.

Keep in mind that understanding what you need to do to win and being able to do it are two different things. Djokovic's gameplan vs. Nadal during the clay-court season was very solid but his execution fell just barely short.

dropshot winner
08-11-2009, 06:37 AM
If you look at the matches Nadal lost this year, pretty much every player other than Federer had the same approach, which I detailed above. If my memory is correct, Murray was a little bit further behind the baseline when he beat Nadal at the 2008 USO.

Keep in mind that understanding what you need to do to win and being able to do it are two different things. Djokovic's gameplan vs. Nadal during the clay-court season was very solid but his execution fell just barely short.
I disagree, trying to outrally Nadal from the baseline on clay is a very bad idea. Federer made the same mistake time and time again, but it's not a good tactic.

JennyS
08-11-2009, 06:47 AM
I'd rank these as the top 5 reasons:

1. Nadal's left handed forehand/Federer's handed backhand
2. Nadal's top spin
3. so many of the matches being on clay
4. Federer hitting strong forehands that would be winners against anyone else and Nadal gets them all back, eventually forcing Federer into hitting an error.
5. I honestly think between the grunting, his constant towel visits, butt picking, sprinting around before matches: Nadal annoys him!

wihamilton
08-11-2009, 06:50 AM
I disagree, trying to outrally Nadal from the baseline on clay is a very bad idea. Federer made the same mistake time and time again, but it's not a good tactic.

Djokovic et al didn't try to out-rally Nadal. They played aggressive, high-risk tennis -- lots of changes of direction, lots of chance-taking. In Djokovic's case that strategy got him within a point of beating Nadal in Madrid. You're right when you say that trying to grind down Nadal doesn't work -- but that's not what those guys were trying to do.

Aabye
08-11-2009, 06:55 AM
If you look at the matches Nadal lost this year, pretty much every player other than Federer had the same approach, which I detailed above. If my memory is correct, Murray was a little bit further behind the baseline when he beat Nadal at the 2008 USO.

Keep in mind that understanding what you need to do to win and being able to do it are two different things. Djokovic's gameplan vs. Nadal during the clay-court season was very solid but his execution fell just barely short.

And look what it has cost Djokovic. He hasn't done anything since, and has blamed it on the toll that match took out of him.

My point is the understand what you need to do has never been the problem for players playing against Nadal (except maybe in Federer's case), it is execution. Few players can play well enough for long enough to beat Nadal unless Nadal's level dips severely.

JennyS
08-11-2009, 06:57 AM
Anyone else find it interesting that the vast majority of tennis players are right handed, yet so many of the great ones (Laver, Connors, McEnroe, Navratilova, Nadal, Seles etc) were lefties?

dropshot winner
08-11-2009, 07:00 AM
Djokovic et al didn't try to out-rally Nadal. They played aggressive, high-risk tennis -- lots of changes of direction, lots of chance-taking. In Djokovic's case that strategy got him within a point of beating Nadal in Madrid. You're right when you say that trying to grind down Nadal doesn't work -- but that's not what those guys were trying to do.
They played on a fast court and high altitude, Djokovic was probably playing as good as he can and Nadal was not as his best (made over 50 UEs).
So with all the things that were going for him, Djokovic was still not able to pull it off. In the end he just can't match Nadals winner/ue differential.

This strategy will never work in best-of-5 if Nadal's plays at his full level.

wihamilton
08-11-2009, 07:13 AM
And look what it has cost Djokovic. He hasn't done anything since, and has blamed it on the toll that match took out of him.

My point is the understand what you need to do has never been the problem for players playing against Nadal (except maybe in Federer's case), it is execution. Few players can play well enough for long enough to beat Nadal unless Nadal's level dips severely.

I agree that few players have a chance to beat Nadal regardless of their level of execution. Nadal will probably go down as one of the greats (already is the best ever on clay, imo). But I don't agree with the notion that players have known all along what they need to do to beat Nadal. Some of the top players have made clear adjustments -- particularly with regard to court positioning -- this past year.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:18 AM
LOL. He can't impose his game Nadal like he can everyone else. Nadal's wicked forehand has to much precision and he always blasts it away at Fed backhand


Which is exactly my point. Federer for years on end at RG tried to play his natural game and blow Nadal right off the court. And you know that's going to end in failure 99.9% of the time.

pmerk34
08-11-2009, 07:18 AM
I agree that few players have a chance to beat Nadal regardless of their level of execution. Nadal will probably go down as one of the greats (already is the best ever on clay, imo). But I don't agree with the notion that players have known all along what they need to do to beat Nadal. Some of the top players have made clear adjustments -- particularly with regard to court positioning -- this past year.

Verdasco almost beat him at the AO by playing well behind the baseline. This may be the key...

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:21 AM
Verdasco almost beat him at the AO by playing well behind the baseline. This may be the key...



Verdasco is also lefty, knows Nadal's game inside out, and has the power to play from behind the baseline.



Also, he wasn't behind the baseline, he was right on top or inside of it for the majority of the match.

Terr
08-11-2009, 07:22 AM
Federer's backhand is terrible. Calling that a bad matchup is just an excuse.

That is not true. I love Nadal but I really don't think such statements about Federer's skill are true.

The problem isn't really with Fed's backhand, which I would say is one of the most effective on tour. It's more that Nadal puts such incredible topspin on the ball that they bounce too high for Fed's 1hbh. Federer will only just be able to reach the ball and get it over the net, short - leaving Nadal to dictate the point.

Under any other circumstances and in this case, against any other opponent, Federer does not have a problem with his backhand. It's the most precise backhand you'll see in today's game.

wihamilton
08-11-2009, 07:27 AM
Verdasco is also lefty

Also, he wasn't behind the baseline, he was right on top or inside of it for the majority of the match.

Correct sir.

Aabye
08-11-2009, 08:14 AM
I agree that few players have a chance to beat Nadal regardless of their level of execution. Nadal will probably go down as one of the greats (already is the best ever on clay, imo). But I don't agree with the notion that players have known all along what they need to do to beat Nadal. Some of the top players have made clear adjustments -- particularly with regard to court positioning -- this past year.

I just don't see it happening consistently. Occasionally, a player ( la Verdasco this year) just plays lights out, and almost takes him out. But the same could be said of any of the top players.

mandy01
08-11-2009, 08:34 AM
LOL my backhand is world class, but what makes it crappy is how the balls come to me and my grip LOL First off you just proved yet again you dont know a crap about tennis.
Federer deals with short balls better than the kind he receives from Nadal-high and with extreme topspin.The fact that Nadal's lefty gives him an added leverage over Federer. And here I thought that was common knowledge..:roll:And still its not crappy.Its simply hard for it to hold up when pounded upon consistently. ( actually it has been holding up a lot better this year..even in the AO final I thought it held up ok.)
That dosent make Federer's backhand crappy.Of course you wouldn't know.

namelessone
08-11-2009, 08:57 AM
First off you just proved yet again you dont know a crap about tennis.
Federer deals with short balls better than the kind he receives from Nadal-high and with extreme topspin.The fact that Nadal's lefty gives him an added leverage over Federer. And here I thought that was common knowledge..:roll:And still its not crappy.Its simply hard for it to hold up when pounded upon consistently. ( actually it has been holding up a lot better this year..even in the AO final I thought it held up ok.)
That dosent make Federer's backhand crappy.Of course you wouldn't know.

Fed's backhand was tremendous in AO.Haters are blind.It was the best his backhand has held against Nadal in a long,long time.But as his BH went up his serve went down and this cost him the game.He probably could have pulled it off if Nadal wasn't on the other side but he couldn't hold it together that day.