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View Full Version : Nadal on clay vs. Federer on hard


tudwell
05-27-2010, 08:57 AM
This isn't a "Who's better?" thread or anything like that. I just thought it was an interesting analysis - and it really demonstrates how dominant Federer was on hardcourt, considering the smaller amount of attention he gets for it.

Nadal on clay:

From the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters until the 2010 Madrid Masters, Nadal put up the following numbers on clay:

Titles: 25 (out of 29 that he participated in)
Slams: 4 (out of 5 that he participated in)
Masters: 13 (out of 16 that he participated in)
Win-loss: 156-4 (97.5%)
Slam win-loss: 31-1 (96.9%)
Masters win-loss: 77-3 (96.2%)
Longest streak: 81

Federer on hard:

From the 2003 Tennis Masters Cup until the 2007 tournament in Dubai, Federer put up the following numbers on hardcourt:

Titles: 27 (out of 34 that he participated in)
Slams: 6 (out of 7 that he participated in)
Masters: 9 (out of 12 that he participated in)
Win-loss: 172-7 (96.1%)
Slam win-loss: 46-1 (97.9%)
Masters win-loss: 55-3 (94.8%)
Longest streak: 56



It's evident that most of Nadal's numbers are slightly better. Some interesting parallels: Both had just one loss in a slam and three losses in Masters events during these time periods. It's also slightly unfair to Nadal to make this comparison now because if he wins Roland Garros, then he'll have increased the numbers in many areas.

The point, however, is that I don't think people realize how dominant Federer was on hardcourt. He can lose to almost anyone these days, it seems, but in 05-06, he only lost once in a blue moon.

BigServer1
05-27-2010, 10:10 AM
I like this thread...It's pretty crazy how dominant these two have been on their respective surfaces.

Federer also from 2003-2007 didn't lose on grass either, meaning that off clay he lost ONCE in Slams from Wimby 03- USO 2007. Ridiculous.

jigar
05-27-2010, 11:37 AM
I think Fed faced better HC players in the era compare to Rafa with Clay courters.

frisco
05-27-2010, 12:04 PM
Federer is very amazing.

Hitman
05-27-2010, 12:08 PM
Astronomical figures!

namelessone
05-27-2010, 12:09 PM
I think Fed faced better HC players in the era compare to Rafa with Clay courters.

Who are these wonderful HC players that Fed dealt with in 04-07' for example? Roddick(who is his pigeon)? Davydenko? Old man Agassi? Hewitt? Nalbandian who showed up once in a blue moon? Ditto for Safin.

Also,one has to consider that HC has many more high profile tourneys than clay so it is easier for some other guys to get scraps from Fed's table,thus making them seem better HC'ers than they are(for some of them,not all of them). Clay basically has three masters + maybe Barca + RG. The rest of the clay tourneys aren't that frequented by the top10. HC has 6 masters + TMC + 2 slams(USO and AO). If you look at Fed's numbers in that period he is almost as dominant as Rafa was on clay. The guy was 92-5 in 2006 for christ's sake.

If you wanna win something big on clay,you HAVE to go through Nadal in the end. Usually it is the same with Fed on HC but seeing as there are a lot of big HC tourneys,Fed can't be expected to make SF or finals in all of them(this is true especially when he got older and started semi-tanking masters events,focusing on slams),so the other guys can get scraps,even high profile scraps.

Rafa is tremendus on clay but one of the reasons he can dominate is because clay has relatively few high profile events when compared with HC. It would be much more difficult for him to dominate if there were 2 slams on clay and 6 masters on clay. No matter how good you on a surface once these tournaments are spread around so much,you will inevitably lose or prioritize some in front of others. With so many clay events and with some Rafa losses,other guys would win some clay events and give the impression of a deep clay field,just like it is with HC nowadays.

A correct comparison of depth could only happen if he had a relatively balanced nr of HC,clay and grass events.

Cyan
05-27-2010, 03:39 PM
The point, however, is that I don't think people realize how dominant Federer was on hardcourt. He can lose to almost anyone these days, it seems, but in 05-06, he only lost once in a blue moon.

Oh, yes we do realize it.

ChanceEncounter
05-27-2010, 04:15 PM
Who are these wonderful HC players that Fed dealt with in 04-07' for example? Roddick(who is his pigeon)? Davydenko? Old man Agassi? Hewitt? Nalbandian who showed up once in a blue moon? Ditto for Safin.

Also,one has to consider that HC has many more high profile tourneys than clay so it is easier for some other guys to get scraps from Fed's table,thus making them seem better HC'ers than they are(for some of them,not all of them). Clay basically has three masters + maybe Barca + RG. The rest of the clay tourneys aren't that frequented by the top10. HC has 6 masters + TMC + 2 slams(USO and AO). If you look at Fed's numbers in that period he is almost as dominant as Rafa was on clay. The guy was 92-5 in 2006 for christ's sake.

If you wanna win something big on clay,you HAVE to go through Nadal in the end. Usually it is the same with Fed on HC but seeing as there are a lot of big HC tourneys,Fed can't be expected to make SF or finals in all of them(this is true especially when he got older and started semi-tanking masters events,focusing on slams),so the other guys can get scraps,even high profile scraps.

Rafa is tremendus on clay but one of the reasons he can dominate is because clay has relatively few high profile events when compared with HC. It would be much more difficult for him to dominate if there were 2 slams on clay and 6 masters on clay. No matter how good you on a surface once these tournaments are spread around so much,you will inevitably lose or prioritize some in front of others. With so many clay events and with some Rafa losses,other guys would win some clay events and give the impression of a deep clay field,just like it is with HC nowadays.

A correct comparison of depth could only happen if he had a relatively balanced nr of HC,clay and grass events.
If you're really trying to argue that the overall depth of the hard court events is greater than the overall depth of the clay courts, you really are hopeless.

There's a reason why Nadal and Federer are generally heads and shoulders above everyone else on clay. Because there's a decided lack of depth there. You could easily argue that outside of Federer, Nadal, and maybe Djokovic (who's best surface is hard courts), none of the rest of the top 10 really counts clay as their best surface.

That's been the same way for years. The elite level competition have always thrived on hard courts.

whoopinstick
05-27-2010, 05:01 PM
Federer is a better player all around

Mustard
05-27-2010, 05:03 PM
Rafa's numbers are better.

frisco
05-27-2010, 05:11 PM
Federer is a better player all around

Federer is a better player period.

Tennis_Monk
05-27-2010, 09:07 PM
Federer is a better player period.

what is period?

namelessone
05-27-2010, 10:38 PM
That's been the same way for years. The elite level competition have always thrived on hard courts.

Really,always thrived? Even when there were no HC to begin with? And even if that was the case,ever stop to think why?

In the past players were really good on grass(60's-80's for example). Wanna know why? Cause grass was a very common surface,at one time three out of four slams were on grass. Nowadays HC has taken the place of grass. Take all the major events in tennis today and you will see that like 65-70% are on HC.

Having more targets(tourneys) means more winners and therefore better depth in time. Clay has maybe four-five big events a year. Grass has two,well actually just one if you think about it. It's kinda hard to build a career or high rank from clay events or grass ones. If you wanna get some big numbers you gotta excel on HC today(efven Rafa,who is tremendous on clay,is still very solid on HC,reaching numerous SF for example).

People argue that there was better claycourt depth in the past but again,it has to do with context. Vilas,the nr.2 claycourter at the time after Borg,played in one year 10 clay events outside of RG. That's simply crazy and something you could not do today. Other guys from that time played many mickey mouse clay events and got some good numbers on this surface. But most of them still had bad clay h2h with Borg,the nr.1 guy. This was at a time when the tour wasn't so rigidally structured so the players went where they wanted and they usually went for the money of course and on their best surfaces,building some great numbers. Players today don't have the luxury to pick whatever tourneys they want. The top guys have to play the slams and 8 our of 9 masters,barring injury of course. That's already 12 fixed tourneys if you are healthy and most on HC.

Take a guy like Orantes,who was a competent CC'er but was no Borg. The guy won 30 clay titles,including a USO when it was played on clay. Borg also won 30 clay titles but of different magnitude. Nadal has 28 while playing in an era with few high level CC events. If Nadal had lived in the less rigidly structured late 70's-80's he could have just went to clay events and skipped the other ones,he wouldn't have been penalized like today.

In short guys today can't get real good on natural surfaces because they barely account for a third of tennis. Both Nadal and Fed are freaks because of their performances on clay and grass,they shouldn't be this good with so few tourneys to play in on a year to year basis. If I were a tennis player today,it's only natural that I would build a HC game because natural surfaces only have about 5-6 major tourneys a year,whereas HC will be have at least 10 and that's only counting the big ones. You will feel clay/grass under your feet for about 3 months but HC for about 7 and a half.

So I still stand by my last statement: in order to have a correct assessment on depth,you need to to have some balanced out surfaces. If clay had 2 slams,6 masters and TMC I'm pretty sure that most players games would go in that direction as well.

P_Agony
05-27-2010, 11:08 PM
Who are these wonderful HC players that Fed dealt with in 04-07' for example? Roddick(who is his pigeon)? Davydenko? Old man Agassi? Hewitt? Nalbandian who showed up once in a blue moon? Ditto for Safin.

Also,one has to consider that HC has many more high profile tourneys than clay so it is easier for some other guys to get scraps from Fed's table,thus making them seem better HC'ers than they are(for some of them,not all of them). Clay basically has three masters + maybe Barca + RG. The rest of the clay tourneys aren't that frequented by the top10. HC has 6 masters + TMC + 2 slams(USO and AO). If you look at Fed's numbers in that period he is almost as dominant as Rafa was on clay. The guy was 92-5 in 2006 for christ's sake.

If you wanna win something big on clay,you HAVE to go through Nadal in the end. Usually it is the same with Fed on HC but seeing as there are a lot of big HC tourneys,Fed can't be expected to make SF or finals in all of them(this is true especially when he got older and started semi-tanking masters events,focusing on slams),so the other guys can get scraps,even high profile scraps.

Rafa is tremendus on clay but one of the reasons he can dominate is because clay has relatively few high profile events when compared with HC. It would be much more difficult for him to dominate if there were 2 slams on clay and 6 masters on clay. No matter how good you on a surface once these tournaments are spread around so much,you will inevitably lose or prioritize some in front of others. With so many clay events and with some Rafa losses,other guys would win some clay events and give the impression of a deep clay field,just like it is with HC nowadays.

A correct comparison of depth could only happen if he had a relatively balanced nr of HC,clay and grass events.

Fed, IMO, had to deal with the toughest HC field. Roddick, Davydenko, Blake, Hewit, Safin, Nalby, and even old man Aggasi - all are incredible hard courters. The fact Federer beats them all doesn't make them weak players.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 12:13 AM
Fed, IMO, had to deal with the toughest HC field. Roddick, Davydenko, Blake, Hewit, Safin, Nalby, and even old man Aggasi - all are incredible hard courters. The fact Federer beats them all doesn't make them weak players.

And I didn't say that they were bad,just stating that HC having way more tourneys build these players up as they had more chances to actually win something.

Picture this scenario:

Say HC has 4-5 big tourneys a year and Fed enters,along with these players. Who would win,like 90% of the time? Federer. How would these guys look? Bad,a weak field as they say. This is what happens to Nadal and the claycourt field. There aren't many big clay events and the tour is way more standardized in the past and since clay/grass make up one third of the tour it is only natural for players to go for the HC game. Most big careers today are made on HC,not clay and grass. Having clay/grass skills is somewhat of a bonus but since HC is played 7 months and a half months in the year it is no wonder that we don't really have profficient claycourters or grasscourters. Like I said,Nadal and Fed are freak on clay and grass and in this day and age they shouldn't be since they hardly get to play on these surfaces(especially fed with grass)

Oh,and I have some objections about some of the guys you put up there. Nalby and Safin had very short peaks and were riddled by injuries afterwards whereas Fed has been the epitomy of consistency and healtyness. Davydenko hasn't even made a slam final and his best years were 2008 and 2009,when Fed was slumping(or what fed calls slumping),winning some big titles,but usually outside of GS events and to guys who were just coming up on HC. He is a very consistent player though,he is the king of the 250's,winning 15 such events in his career.

Roddick,who gets a lot of crap,I respect. He has re-built his game and even though he is fed's pigeon, he tries, though it has been mostly in vain. At least roddick has made numerous GS SF along the years,only to be stopped by Fed unlike some of the inconsistent guys up there who fell to other guys earlier on.

Hewitt,Blake? Blake had one good year on tour,2006,when he reached the fourth position but fizzled out. And I don't have to tell what kind of injuries James has had over the years. Hewitt hasn't been a threat to Fed since 2004. His peak was just before Fed got started. Hewitt is a admirable veteran who still fights to this day but even since 2005 he was having major health problems and hasn't exactly made his mark on tennis since then. The last year in which he won more than one title was in 2004.

I suppose all of these players have/had good HC skills but most of them peaked earlier then Fed or for a very short time in Fed's time. With the exception of Roddick and Davydenko,most were injured/inconstent even when they didn't meet Fed so it's only natural that they couldn't pose much of a threat. The only guys with great HC games that matched up badly with Fed,Safin and Nalbandian had very short careers at the very top.

dropshot winner
05-28-2010, 12:20 AM
When talking about depth it doesn't matter why the field lacks more good clay court players. There's basically no one after Federer and Nadal, and it has been that way for a few years. Djokovic can only win a clay tournament if both Federer and Nadal are out, the likes of Ferrer play for 3rd best.

And saying that Hewitt wasn't a threat to Federer from 2004 is a weak argument. Federer stopped him time and time again, sometimes in very close matches. Those matches weren't gifts, had Federer not played very well when it mattered he wouldn't have won them all.

The depth on hardcourt has been great for a while now. Everyone can play on it, so there's always a few in-form players that are very difficult to beat.
Be that Blake in 2006, Ljubicic in 05/06, Safin 04/05, Djokovic 07/08, Murray 08/09/10, Del Potro 08/09, Nalbandian when he cared, Agassi 03/04, Roddick, Hewitt 04/05, Söderling since last year. I could go on and on.

There's a reason Nadal has never lost against Djokovic on clay but lost like 12 sets or so in row at the masters level on hardcourt.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 12:52 AM
When talking about depth it doesn't matter why the field lacks more good clay court players. There's basically no one after Federer and Nadal, and it has been that way for a few years. Djokovic can only win a clay tournament if both Federer and Nadal are out, the likes of Ferrer play for 3rd best.

There's a reason Nadal has never lost against Djokovic on clay but lost like 12 sets or so in row at the masters level on hardcourt.

Wait,what !? It doesn't matter why? Sure it matters. What happened to grass will probably happen to clay as well.

You cannot build good claycourters/grasscourters because the players don't really see these surfaces that much. Nadal's figures on clay and Fed's on grass are an anomaly. Like I said, HC has at least double the amount of major tourneys as opposed to natural surfaces.

Answer this:

1)would you see many good HC'ers if HC had 5 major tourneys a year? Not likely especially if one guy dominates this surface.

2)would you not see more good CC'er/grasscourters if they had the amount of tourneys HC has? I think you would.

The reason Nadal lost so many consecutive sets on HC is because 2009 was a very rough year for him. And Rafa was not a factor on HC before 2008 just like he wasn't one on grass before 2006. While playing the wrong type of game for HC he has more big HC achievements than guys like davydenko,murray or roddick,the guy won 1 slam,5 masters and Olympic Gold on hardcourt. And he did all this with a ****** serve,a good serve being the first thing you need on a hardcourt.

Sorry for repeating myself but the only correct way to judge is if surfaces are somewhat similarly spread out. Today,if you suck on HC,you are screwed for the most part cause Nadal took over the clay season and Fed over the grass season.

piece
05-28-2010, 01:17 AM
So I still stand by my last statement: in order to have a correct assessment on depth,you need to to have some balanced out surfaces. If clay had 2 slams,6 masters and TMC I'm pretty sure that most players games would go in that direction as well.

Agree with most of what you've said, except this last part^ where you've contradicted yourself. You say that players games are better on hardcourt because hardcourt makes up the majority of the tour. The majority of players being better on one surface is exactly what it means for there to be deeper competition on that surface. So it doesn't matter that if in some hypothetical world where there were more clay tournaments, players would adapt and clay might have the deepest field, because the point that you have tacitly admitted remains - the hard court field actually is deeper.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 01:37 AM
Agree with most of what you've said, except this last part^ where you've contradicted yourself. You say that players games are better on hardcourt because hardcourt makes up the majority of the tour. The majority of players being better on one surface is exactly what it means for there to be deeper competition on that surface. So it doesn't matter that if in some hypothetical world where there were more clay tournaments, players would adapt and clay might have the deepest field, because the point that you have tacitly admitted remains - the hard court field actually is deeper.

I did not disagree that the field is deeper on HC nowadays,I just said why: more slams,more masters,more 500,more 250 events are played on HC than anything else. Some people that claim that HC has intrinsical way of making better players which I disagree. Clay and grass field wouldn't look particularly deep even without Fedal claiming them. If players alternatively won in the april-june period on clay and grass people would say that there is some parity but still wouldn't think much of the depth on these surfaces because they make up just one third of the tour. There are no claycourt or grasscourt specialists anymore,who fine tune their games for one surface. Players play the same nowadays everywhere,maybe with some fine adjustments but you won't see stuff like borg who played baseline at RG and S&V at WB.

If you cut HC tourneys by a quarter you would see a drop in the depth of the field on HC and a probable increase in depth on clay and maybe even grass. With a more evened out nr. of tourneys for each surface,players may start thinking about building some clay game and even grass game(I mean just look how pathetic volleying is in the top10).
If I were a junior nowadays,I wouldn't focus on clay or grass,I would focus on HC. Why not develop my game for HC since I will be playing 70% of the time there? Because of the nr. of HC tourneys each year,young players look to success on HC as a solid base and on natural surfaces as maybe a bonus.

dropshot winner
05-28-2010, 01:40 AM
Wait,what !? It doesn't matter why? Sure it matters. What happened to grass will probably happen to clay as well.

You cannot build good claycourters/grasscourters because the players don't really see these surfaces that much. Nadal's figures on clay and Fed's on grass are an anomaly. Like I said, HC has at least double the amount of major tourneys as opposed to natural surfaces.

Answer this:

1)would you see many good HC'ers if HC had 5 major tourneys a year? Not likely especially if one guy dominates this surface.

2)would you not see more good CC'er/grasscourters if they had the amount of tourneys HC has? I think you would.

The reason Nadal lost so many consecutive sets on HC is because 2009 was a very rough year for him. And Rafa was not a factor on HC before 2008 just like he wasn't one on grass before 2006. While playing the wrong type of game for HC he has more big HC achievements than guys like davydenko,murray or roddick,the guy won 1 slam,5 masters and Olympic Gold on hardcourt. And he did all this with a ****** serve,a good serve being the first thing you need on a hardcourt.

Sorry for repeating myself but the only correct way to judge is if surfaces are somewhat similarly spread out. Today,if you suck on HC,you are screwed for the most part cause Nadal took over the clay season and Fed over the grass season.
The field is what it is. We can talk all day long but point remains that more players can win any given tournament on hardcourt than clay/grass, the depth is greater and this makes Federer's numbers even more insane, he dominated pretty much all players on their best surface for a few years.

I don't see how it matters that we'd have more clay court specialist if we lived in some world where only clay tournaments existed. How is that relevant to Federer's and Nadal's numbers in the real world?

Nadal got destroyed once by Djokovic during his best ever stretch in 2008, there's no need to put an asterix besides ever single one of his losses on hardcourt. And by no means is he severly handicapped by his game on the average hardcourt, he'd be if he played on Cincinatti-style (or faster) hardcourt all year long, but that's not the case. The surface speed of Miami, Indian Wells, AO and Montreal are slow to medium and are very spin friendly. Besides he had like 6-8 years to adapt his game. Which he did brilliantly, improving serve, forehand, backhand, slice, netgame and so on.

Federer doesn't have a good backhand for clay either, that doesn't mean his severly handicapped. Just like Nadal he learned to adjust his game.

davey25
05-28-2010, 01:47 AM
Hard courts produces by far the deepest and most competitive fields for the men of the current generation. It is incredibly stuipd to even debate this. It is little wonder this is the case with the 70% of the tour events now played on hard courts, with coaches like Bolleteiri having taken over and teaching the baseline bashing game everyone is brought up and taught today, and with the equipment being used today. Yes Nadal and Federer dominate on clay and grass because they are great on those surfaces. However if you removed Federer and Nadal, or even one of them, you would get a really lame field on those surfaces amongst the current crop. I have said that many times. Even as it is today you cant pick who might be the other semifinalist or quarterfinalists at the French or Wimbledon other than Federer or Nadal easily since there is hardly anyone that sets establishes as a decent contender on the surface even behind those two. Based on the results of the last 4-5 years though I guess you would have Puerta, Soderling, and Ljubicic winning French Open titles and 35 year old Bjorkman, Baghdatis, and maybe Berdych winning Wimbledon titles. That alone is cringeworthy. Lets go over the top players this decade and what their best surface is:

Federer- grass or hard courts
Nadal- clay
Roddick- grass or hard courts
Djokovic- hard courts by far
Murray- hard courts by far
Hewitt- hard courts
Nalbandian- hard courts
Safin- hard courts
Davydenko- hard courts
Ferrero- clay
Gonzalez- hard courts
older Agassi- hard courts
Del Potro- hard courts
Ljubicic- hard courts

Feel free to add in some names you think are relevant I am forgetting, I doubt it would change the obvious picture much.

Personally I dont think the current generation produces a great field on any surface, but that is another can of worms altogether and I dont want to go too far into that here. There is no doubt amongst the current field the field on hard courts is by far deeper and more competitive than it is on either clay or grass. I challenge anyone to come up with a remotely good argument otherwise.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 01:53 AM
The field is what it is. We can talk all day long but point remains that more players can win any given tournament on hardcourt than clay/grass, the depth is greater and this makes Federer's numbers even more insane, he dominated pretty much all players on their best surface for a few years.


This is dancing around the issue. I never claimed HC did not have greater depth today,I just explained why. Put Fed,DelPo,Novak,Davy,Hewitt,Safin,other guys who are known to be great HC'ers today at a young age to play on maybe 5-6 big HC tourneys a year(and maybe against proven HC'ers) and see how good they will become on HC. I think not very good. But I think they will develop their games for other surfaces if that surface happens to be two thirds of the tour,be it clay or grass in this scenario.

These guys today became good on HC because they had more chances to become good. Sorry to sound like a broken record but Nadal would not dominate if you had 2 clay slams and 6 clay masters. I'm pretty sure in that time some other players would pick up some clay skills and challenge him(with varying success),kinda like those guys did with Fed and others.

Fed dominated HC like crazy in the 04-07' period and won like 80% of the time the tourneys he entered(or it felt like it:)). But he left some crumbs(too many HC tourneys,can't win'em all) around which the other guys got and built up their games,thus giving the illussion of depth. Where it mattered there it was still fed and a couple of guys,you could count them on one hand.

In the 05-09' period Rafa also won like crazy,something like 90% but did not leave any crumbs because he only had 4-5 big clay tourneys to win each year unlike Fed who had at least double that nr on HC.

There is no reason for players today to improve on clay and grass and that's just sad IMO.

piece
05-28-2010, 01:55 AM
I did not disagree that the field is deeper on HC nowadays,I just said why: more slams,more masters,more 500,more 250 events are played on HC than anything else. Some people that claim that HC has intrinsical way of making better players which I disagree. Clay and grass field wouldn't look particularly deep even without Fedal claiming them. If players alternatively won in the april-june period on clay and grass people would say that there is some parity but still wouldn't think much of the depth on these surfaces because they make up just one third of the tour. There are no claycourt or grasscourt specialists anymore,who fine tune their games for one surface. Players play the same nowadays everywhere,maybe with some fine adjustments but you won't see stuff like borg who played baseline at RG and S&V at WB.

If you cut HC tourneys by a quarter you would see a drop in the depth of the field on HC and a probable increase in depth on clay and maybe even grass. With a more evened out nr. of tourneys for each surface,players may start thinking about building some clay game and even grass game(I mean just look how pathetic volleying is in the top10).
If I were a junior nowadays,I wouldn't focus on clay or grass,I would focus on HC. Why not develop my game for HC since I will be playing 70% of the time there? Because of the nr. of HC tourneys each year,young players look to success on HC as a solid base and on natural surfaces as maybe a bonus.

Must've missunderstood you. But to be fair you did say that we can't accurately measure surface-depth unless there is surface parity. Which implied to me that you thought claims that HC has a deeper field were unjustified

dropshot winner
05-28-2010, 01:59 AM
This is dancing around the issue. I never claimed HC did not have greater depth today,I just explained why. Put Fed,DelPo,Novak,Davy,Hewitt,Safin,other guys who are known to be great HC'ers today at a young age to play on maybe 5-6 big HC tourneys a year(and maybe against proven HC'ers) and see how good they will become on HC. I think not very good. But I think they will develop their games for other surfaces if that surface happens to be two thirds of the tour,be it clay or grass in this scenario.

These guys today became good on HC because they had more chances to become good. Sorry to sound like a broken record but Nadal would not dominate if you had 2 clay slams and 6 clay masters. I'm pretty sure in that time some other players would pick up some clay skills and challenge him(with varying success),kinda like those guys did with Fed and others.

Fed dominated HC like crazy in the 04-07' period and won like 80% of the time the tourneys he entered(or it felt like it:)). But he left some crumbs(too many HC tourneys,can't win'em all) around which the other guys got and built up their games,thus giving the illussion of depth. Where it mattered there it was still fed and a couple of guys,you could count them on one hand.

In the 05-09' period Rafa also won like crazy,something like 90% but did not leave any crumbs because he only had 4-5 clay tourneys to win each year unlike Fed who had at least double that nr on HC.

There is no reason for players today to improve on clay and grass and that's just sad IMO.
How so? I don't think it's the issue/topic of this thread at all.

Obviously a player that plays most the time on clay will be a better clay courter than a player that plays most of the time on hardcourt. That's simple logic.

But this thread isn't about how good the clay-field would be if we had way more clay tournaments, it's about Federer/Nadal's numbers on hardcourt/clay.

davey25
05-28-2010, 01:59 AM
And I didn't say that they were bad,just stating that HC having way more tourneys build these players up as they had more chances to actually win something.

Picture this scenario:

Say HC has 4-5 big tourneys a year and Fed enters,along with these players. Who would win,like 90% of the time? Federer. How would these guys look? Bad,a weak field as they say. This is what happens to Nadal and the claycourt field. There aren't many big clay events and the tour is way more standardized in the past and since clay/grass make up one third of the tour it is only natural for players to go for the HC game. Most big careers today are made on HC,not clay and grass. Having clay/grass skills is somewhat of a bonus but since HC is played 7 months and a half months in the year it is no wonder that we don't really have profficient claycourters or grasscourters. Like I said,Nadal and Fed are freak on clay and grass and in this day and age they shouldn't be since they hardly get to play on these surfaces(especially fed with grass)

Oh,and I have some objections about some of the guys you put up there. Nalby and Safin had very short peaks and were riddled by injuries afterwards whereas Fed has been the epitomy of consistency and healtyness. Davydenko hasn't even made a slam final and his best years were 2008 and 2009,when Fed was slumping(or what fed calls slumping),winning some big titles,but usually outside of GS events and to guys who were just coming up on HC. He is a very consistent player though,he is the king of the 250's,winning 15 such events in his career.

Roddick,who gets a lot of crap,I respect. He has re-built his game and even though he is fed's pigeon, he tries, though it has been mostly in vain. At least roddick has made numerous GS SF along the years,only to be stopped by Fed unlike some of the inconsistent guys up there who fell to other guys earlier on.

Hewitt,Blake? Blake had one good year on tour,2006,when he reached the fourth position but fizzled out. And I don't have to tell what kind of injuries James has had over the years. Hewitt hasn't been a threat to Fed since 2004. His peak was just before Fed got started. Hewitt is a admirable veteran who still fights to this day but even since 2005 he was having major health problems and hasn't exactly made his mark on tennis since then. The last year in which he won more than one title was in 2004.

I suppose all of these players have/had good HC skills but most of them peaked earlier then Fed or for a very short time in Fed's time. With the exception of Roddick and Davydenko,most were injured/inconstent even when they didn't meet Fed so it's only natural that they couldn't pose much of a threat. The only guys with great HC games that matched up badly with Fed,Safin and Nalbandian had very short careers at the very top.

Nalbandian had consistently quite good results all the way through 2003-2006, in addition to some of his noteable successes in 2002 and 2007. He is potrayed as always having been much more inconsistent than he really was since his talent/potential was vastly overrated by some, and as such he is treated as having been much more of a dissapointment and inconsistent performer than he truly was. The guy was a very good and fairly consistent performer for a number of years, who was just overrated by a base of people who had unrealistic expectations and which creates a false and somewhat unfair slant of his career. I am not sure if your last sentence was a miswording of sorts or not but prime Federer has overall owned Nalbandian as well even when Nalbandian was playing well. Nalbandian once led 5-0 head to head and now trails 10-8 but he remained a top 5-8 player and was posting good slam and other tournament results while beginning to regularly lose to Federer.

Safin is of course an insanely talented nut but was still a fairly consistent top 5 player from 2000-mid 2005 until his major injury in mid 2005 which all but ended his time at the top. Again I am not sure what you meant by your last sentence but Federer owns Safin as well, not just "prime" Federer as with Nalbandian, but any Federer. Career head to head is 9-2 in Federer's favor I believe, and even in the early 2000s when Safin was at his peak he was losing badly a couple times to a pre prime Federer.

Hewitt was definitely in his prime in 2004 and 2005. He was playing as well or better than ever those 2 years. He lost to the eventual champion of all 7 slams he played, and 5 of those were Federer. He was never that consistent a threat to win every slam (apart from his complete inability to beat Federer who is a bad matchup for him) even in his #1 days from mid 2001-mid 2003.

I agree with your accessment on Roddick and Davydenko. Either way even they are clearly more consistent threats on hard courts than anyone outside Nadal and Federer is on either clay or grass.

I agree with your accessment on Blake. He is basically Robredo on clay translated to hard courts, just alot more exciting to watch.

Also soon after guys like Safin, Hewitt, Nalbandian were injured/fading away they were replaced by guys like Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro as major threats on the surface. There was really only a blip for a year or two there wasnt hardly anyone and you had guys like Blake and Ljubicic circulating near the top but it didnt last long.

piece
05-28-2010, 02:07 AM
Federer on hard:

From the 2003 Tennis Masters Cup until the 2007 tournament in Dubai, Federer put up the following numbers on hardcourt:

Titles: 27 (out of 34 that he participated in)
Slams: 6 (out of 7 that he participated in)
Masters: 9 (out of 12 that he participated in)
Win-loss: 172-7 (96.1%)
Slam win-loss: 46-1 (97.9%)
Masters win-loss: 55-3 (94.8%)
Longest streak: 56


The point, however, is that I don't think people realize how dominant Federer was on hardcourt. He can lose to almost anyone these days, it seems, but in 05-06, he only lost once in a blue moon.



I like this thread...It's pretty crazy how dominant these two have been on their respective surfaces.

Federer also from 2003-2007 didn't lose on grass either, meaning that off clay he lost ONCE in Slams from Wimby 03- USO 2007. Ridiculous.


I wish stuff like this got more air time in the GOAT debate. prime federer's hard court record is beyond ridiculous. Especially considering it's the most upset prone surface of all. Anyone having a hot day can really excel on hardcourts.

davey25
05-28-2010, 02:07 AM
Competition discussion aside my answer to this thread topic is definitely Nadal on clay. Even more lopsided and complete dominance over the field on clay than what Federer has ever had on hard courts, and his dominance on that surface starting at a very young age. And the painfully shallow and overall very poor clay court field of today aside Nadal's complete dominance of Federer and the 08-09 Djokovic on clay is extraordinary, as that is still quite tough competition on clay.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 02:25 AM
Must've missunderstood you. But to be fair you did say that we can't accurately measure surface-depth unless there is surface parity. Which implied to me that you thought claims that HC has a deeper field were unjustified

Ok,then I will conclude my thoughts:

HC has a deeper field today because it has two thirds of the major tourneys on tour and even numerically it is still nr.1 by far. In this case it is only natural for more and more players to develop HC games.

The surface parity comment was regarding justness in evaluating depth on a particular surface. How can one compare depths between surfaces when the ATP Tour is 65 % HC, 30 % clay and 5% grass? In all possible scenarios(weak era,strong era bla bla) HC depth will come out on top,anything else would be an anomaly. Nadal on clay and Fed on grass are anomalyes IMO since both grew up and peaked in an era where success on HC was first and foremost(at 16 Nadal's fav surface wasn't clay for example) yet both have had tremendous success on these surfaces while being very good on HC as well(fed way better of course).

The thing is,today players can't pad their numbers like in the past by playing smaller events,the tour is a way more rigidly organized thing than in the past. If you look at Borg's era on clay when he faced supposedly terrific claycourters(for some of them it was true),many of them played A LOT on clay during the year and gathered win after win. Guys like Orantes won 30 clay titles in his career and was,get this,runner up in another 30 clay finals. Vilas played in one year about 10 clay tourneys outside of RG. You can't really do that today. But when they met Borg(the premier CC'er) they usually lost. Borg,who won 30 clay titles(rafa has 28 for example) and was runner up in another 7 finals,sometimes skipped clay events,even big ones,he didn't pad his numbers like some other CC'ers in his era and eventually went to win on other surfaces as well while some of those guys remained great only on clay.

It's all about the context when measuring depth.

frisco
05-28-2010, 06:13 AM
IF there were more clay tournaments Nadal would not have dominated more since he would have burned out even faster.

Anaconda
05-28-2010, 06:28 AM
Who are these wonderful HC players that Fed dealt with in 04-07' for example? Roddick(who is his pigeon)? Davydenko? Old man Agassi? Hewitt? Nalbandian who showed up once in a blue moon? Ditto for Safin.

Also,one has to consider that HC has many more high profile tourneys than clay so it is easier for some other guys to get scraps from Fed's table,thus making them seem better HC'ers than they are(for some of them,not all of them). Clay basically has three masters + maybe Barca + RG. The rest of the clay tourneys aren't that frequented by the top10. HC has 6 masters + TMC + 2 slams(USO and AO). If you look at Fed's numbers in that period he is almost as dominant as Rafa was on clay. The guy was 92-5 in 2006 for christ's sake.

If you wanna win something big on clay,you HAVE to go through Nadal in the end. Usually it is the same with Fed on HC but seeing as there are a lot of big HC tourneys,Fed can't be expected to make SF or finals in all of them(this is true especially when he got older and started semi-tanking masters events,focusing on slams),so the other guys can get scraps,even high profile scraps.

Rafa is tremendus on clay but one of the reasons he can dominate is because clay has relatively few high profile events when compared with HC. It would be much more difficult for him to dominate if there were 2 slams on clay and 6 masters on clay. No matter how good you on a surface once these tournaments are spread around so much,you will inevitably lose or prioritize some in front of others. With so many clay events and with some Rafa losses,other guys would win some clay events and give the impression of a deep clay field,just like it is with HC nowadays.

A correct comparison of depth could only happen if he had a relatively balanced nr of HC,clay and grass events.

Are you shitting me?

Look at the clay court field in 2005 to present and say it was a tougher field than the hard court field from 2004 to present. If you really think that the clay court field is stronger than the hard court field then you have gone down in my estimation.

Safin - great player, could dominate anyone and if he had a great mentality like Rafa's and didn't get injured everytime he hit top form then Safin would still be active with 6 slams at the least. His best surface hard.

Roddick - good player. Best surface at that time was hard court, no doubt.

Hewitt - best surface was hard court from 04-07.



Ok, so out of Federer and Nadal on clay, who else do we have? Almagro, Robredo, Djokovic. Neither have made slam finals on clay like those three have on hard courts. So in theory - Robredo, Almagro, Verdasco, Djokovic and all of those clay courters behind Federer and Nadal, are much better than Safin, Hewitt and Roddick on hard court. Right. Now i know that TW is a joke.

Mustard
05-28-2010, 07:37 AM
what is period?

A term mostly used in the USA and Canada which means something like "without question", "end of story" or "full stop".

namelessone
05-28-2010, 08:39 AM
Are you shitting me?

Look at the clay court field in 2005 to present and say it was a tougher field than the hard court field from 2004 to present. If you really think that the clay court field is stronger than the hard court field then you have gone down in my estimation.

Ok, so out of Federer and Nadal on clay, who else do we have? Almagro, Robredo, Djokovic. Neither have made slam finals on clay like those three have on hard courts. So in theory - Robredo, Almagro, Verdasco, Djokovic and all of those clay courters behind Federer and Nadal, are much better than Safin, Hewitt and Roddick on hard court. Right. Now i know that TW is a joke.

Jumping to conclusions,aren't we?

Where did I say that almagro and company are better claycourters than safin,hewitt and so on are HC'ers? Seriously,is that what you got from my posts?

Some of them weren't as consistent as some like to believe(as in being threats to fed),like safin and nalbandian(guys with great games),with very on and off games. I explained blake and hewitt has had many problems and basically only wins one title a year nowadays,if that. Hewitt had major health issues and hasn't been a major factor in big tourneys since 2005 or so.

I also said your guy,roddick,was the most consistent of them all,along with davydenko. Most of the guys I named up there had very short peaks. The last time Nalby did anything of notice on tour was 2007 and he has mad major injuries. Safin's last major result was in 05'(partially in 08 too due to his WB semifinal,even he looked surprised). Safin and Nalbandian had games to be nr.1's easily but fizzled out ,nalby's case is particularly tragic,at least marat got some slams to his name.
Hewitt had hip surgeries and had his last great results circa 2005. To be fair hewitt's peak was before Fed's time and is now a veteran who still fights the good fight.
Some of these guys are HOF HC'ers but they weren't in a position to trouble the top HC'er(a.k.a Fed) CONSTANTLY, the only constants in the 04'-09' period have been roddick and davydenko. Many of the guys up there had trouble winning sets against Fed ANYWHERE,nevermind matches. Many of them haven't had a victory over Fed ANYWHERE since 05',that's 5 seasons ago.

As for the depth of the HC-clay field,I'm sorry to have to quote myself:

"I never claimed HC did not have greater depth today,I just explained why."

Anaconda
05-28-2010, 09:13 AM
Jumping to conclusions,aren't we?

Where did I say that almagro and company are better claycourters than safin,hewitt and so on are HC'ers? Seriously,is that what you got from my posts?

Some of them weren't as consistent as some like to believe(as in being threats to fed),like safin and nalbandian(guys with great games),with very on and off games. I explained blake and hewitt has had many problems and basically only wins one title a year nowadays,if that. Hewitt had major health issues and hasn't been a major factor in big tourneys since 2005 or so.

I also said your guy,roddick,was the most consistent of them all,along with davydenko. Most of the guys I named up there had very short peaks. The last time Nalby did anything of notice on tour was 2007 and he has mad major injuries. Safin's last major result was in 05'(partially in 08 too due to his WB semifinal,even he looked surprised). Safin and Nalbandian had games to be nr.1's easily but fizzled out ,nalby's case is particularly tragic,at least marat got some slams to his name.
Hewitt had hip surgeries and had his last great results circa 2005. To be fair hewitt's peak was before Fed's time and is now a veteran who still fights the good fight.
Some of these guys are HOF HC'ers but they weren't in a position to trouble the top HC'er(a.k.a Fed) CONSTANTLY, the only constants in the 04'-09' period have been roddick and davydenko. Many of the guys up there had trouble winning sets against Fed ANYWHERE,nevermind matches. Many of them haven't had a victory over Fed ANYWHERE since 05',that's 5 seasons ago.

As for the depth of the HC-clay field,I'm sorry to have to quote myself:

"I never claimed HC did not have greater depth today,I just explained why."

You made out in your first post that the clay court field had unbelievable players and the hardcourt field was only average.

My guy, Safin, was a great hard court player and could have been the greatest on that particular surface. Unfortunately he chose to throw his unbelievable talent down the toilet and pulled the flush on it after he got injured after 2005. I'm sure he would have challenged Federer and others for slams if he didn't get injured.

Roddick was consistent, but in 2006 the year was just plain weak on any surface. It was the Rog and Rafa show. Even guys like Ljubicic, Nalbandian and Blake with a combined total of 0 masters series at that point all made up the top 5.

Davydenko was just a mental midget. Seriously. Great ball striker but would always get caught up with his mental problems; AO 2006 V's Federer.

Believe it or not, i don't rate Nalbandian highly, he's like Baghdatis only somehow he's more injury prone. Safin is practically better in every department of the game.

Blake was never really a factor. He wasn't the mindless ball basher the TW muppets make him out to be but again it was mental with him. He also lost focus.

PS. Sorry for misinterpreting your post!

namelessone
05-28-2010, 09:17 AM
Competition discussion aside my answer to this thread topic is definitely Nadal on clay. Even more lopsided and complete dominance over the field on clay than what Federer has ever had on hard courts, and his dominance on that surface starting at a very young age. And the painfully shallow and overall very poor clay court field of today aside Nadal's complete dominance of Federer and the 08-09 Djokovic on clay is extraordinary, as that is still quite tough competition on clay.

The painful thing,for me as a CC lover,is that there are very few guys coming up that look like they could be good consistent CC'ers. Rafa will dominate 1-2 more years but I don't see who comes next. Clay is a young man's surface. At the moment Giraldo and Bellucci look pretty interesting to me but that's about it. And it is only normal. Why would anyone today want to form players to succeed on clay when they will step on HC two out of three times on tour.

Even Nadal is a freak. As weird as it sound Nadal was not built up to be a great CC'er,he became one as a result of some late tampering by Tony. As late as 16 Rafa's favourite surfaces were fast courts(grass most notably) and his forehand was much flatter. Tony decided to add more spin and grind to Rafa's game and Rafa worked out that left arm to be able to hit with so much spin. Consistency and grinding(especially in 05' and 06'),coupled with Rafa's natural athleticism,have resulted in him becoming a great CC'er but that was not the intention at first. While everybody was praising him for his clay prowess Nadal wanted to prove that he could do it on other surface as well and he did.

namelessone
05-28-2010, 09:31 AM
You made out in your first post that the clay court field had unbelievable players and the hardcourt field was only average.

My guy, Safin, was a great hard court player and could have been the greatest on that particular surface. Unfortunately he chose to throw his unbelievable talent down the toilet and pulled the flush on it after he got injured after 2005. I'm sure he would have challenged Federer and others for slams if he didn't get injured.

Roddick was consistent, but in 2006 the year was just plain weak on any surface. It was the Rog and Rafa show. Even guys like Ljubicic, Nalbandian and Blake with a combined total of 0 masters series at that point all made up the top 5.

Davydenko was just a mental midget. Seriously. Great ball striker but would always get caught up with his mental problems; AO 2006 V's Federer.

Believe it or not, i don't rate Nalbandian highly, he's like Baghdatis only somehow he's more injury prone. Safin is practically better in every department of the game.

Blake was never really a factor. He wasn't the mindless ball basher the TW muppets make him out to be but again it was mental with him. He also lost focus.

PS. Sorry for misinterpreting your post!

No worries. My last series of posts spoke about how HC has greater depth because it has a greater nr. of tourneys and that it would be the same for clay if it had those benefits. Picture young safin,nalby,roddick,davydenko,whoever having maybe 5-6 high profile HC events a year and a juggernaut on this surface. Would any of them have become great HC'ers? Highly unlikely because they wouldn't have enough chances to win tourneys and they would lose heart in front of that juggernaut.

Rafa would not be able to dominate clay if clay had a similar layout to HC today,there would simply be too many events. As davey25 has said,HC has had more surprise winners in the last years,even in some masters events and that's because the top guys can't keep this up for so many HC events. Fed gets a few,Rafa gets a few,Murray also,Novak usually has very good end of year runs and between them,the odd masters falls to a guy who wasn't used to winning on that level. Fed had a terrific 06' when he won many many HC events but even he realised that he can't win all these high profile HC events and eventually stuck to slams and TMC,with the odd HC masters thrown in for good measure. But if HC had three masters I assure you that Fed could dominate,even today.

statto
05-28-2010, 09:46 AM
There's a reason why Nadal and Federer are generally heads and shoulders above everyone else on clay. Because there's a decided lack of depth there. You could easily argue that outside of Federer, Nadal, and maybe Djokovic (who's best surface is hard courts), none of the rest of the top 10 really counts clay as their best surface.

That is a weak argument. There are 10000 points to be had at slams and masters on hard courts, whereas there are only 5000 points to be had at slams and masters on clay courts. There are only 2000 points up for grabs on grass. From this it's easy to see that if you're a good hard court player, even if you're poor on clay and grass your ranking should be pretty good. Conversely, even if you're very good on both clay and grass, if your hard court play is poor you'll struggle with your ranking.

As a result we see a lot of clay court specialists who don't set the world on fire with rankings, but who can give much higher ranked players a torrid time on clay.

The situation is made worse for clay specialists over the last five years because of the dominance of Nadal. He takes so many points during the clay season their ranking gets screwed even more.

frisco
05-28-2010, 09:56 AM
That is a weak argument. There are 10000 points to be had at slams and masters on hard courts, whereas there are only 5000 points to be had at slams and masters on clay courts. There are only 2000 points up for grabs on grass. From this it's easy to see that if you're a good hard court player, even if you're poor on clay and grass your ranking should be pretty good. Conversely, even if you're very good on both clay and grass, if your hard court play is poor you'll struggle with your ranking.

As a result we see a lot of clay court specialists who don't set the world on fire with rankings, but who can give much higher ranked players a torrid time on clay.

The situation is made worse for clay specialists over the last five years because of the dominance of Nadal. He takes so many points during the clay season their ranking gets screwed even more.

Nadal is very good and clay and grass and does not struggle with his ranking.

statto
05-29-2010, 07:47 AM
Nadal is very good and clay and grass and does not struggle with his ranking.

He isn't poor on hard courts though. He has won a HC slam and consistently wins masters on HC.