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ninman
04-12-2011, 07:11 PM
So I was just thinking about this match and I think it really was a critical match in the Federer Nadal rivalry. If Federer had won he would have had a mental boost, and actually believed he could beat Nadal on clay, which would have carried over to other surfaces, and probably would have resulted in him winning more of their future meetings.

As it was Nadal won, and I think you can really see how it affected Federer, he never really put up a good fight against Nadal on clay after that, and it carried over to their matches on other surfaces. For example the AO final 2009, a match that Federer had on his raquet and lost.

As for the match itself, having re-watched it I honestly don't feel that Federer deserved to win. He played, very, very well against Nadal for the entire match, however there were some crucial moments where he just didn't step up, and he let Nadal back into the match. I think that's further evidence of Nadal getting into Federer's head.

For example the second set tie breaker which Federer was leading 4-2, and he shanked a forehand to make it 4-3. Then there were many moments in the fifth, like 4-2 40-30, the two match points obviously and 5-3 in the tiebreaker. Federer had a very good chance to win that point for 6-3 but he saw match point looming and he snatched at it.

So he definitely had his chances to really put the match to bed, but he kept letting Nadal back in and getting tight. In my opinion if Federer had managed to win that match I think the head to head with Nadal would look totally different. Matches like FO 2006, 2007, Monte Carlo 2008, and Hamburg 2008, all matches I really feel (especially the last two), he lost due to choking effectively.

single_handed_champion
04-12-2011, 07:28 PM
Match-ups, baby. They're everything in tennis. If Nadal had won the Wimbledon 2007 final, I think he would have won the HC majors even earlier, maybe even multiple times.

Ray Mercer
04-12-2011, 07:32 PM
So I was just thinking about this match and I think it really was a critical match in the Federer Nadal rivalry. If Federer had won he would have had a mental boost, and actually believed he could beat Nadal on clay, which would have carried over to other surfaces, and probably would have resulted in him winning more of their future meetings.

As it was Nadal won, and I think you can really see how it affected Federer, he never really put up a good fight against Nadal on clay after that, and it carried over to their matches on other surfaces. For example the AO final 2009, a match that Federer had on his raquet and lost.

As for the match itself, having re-watched it I honestly don't feel that Federer deserved to win. He played, very, very well against Nadal for the entire match, however there were some crucial moments where he just didn't step up, and he let Nadal back into the match. I think that's further evidence of Nadal getting into Federer's head.

For example the second set tie breaker which Federer was leading 4-2, and he shanked a forehand to make it 4-3. Then there were many moments in the fifth, like 4-2 40-30, the two match points obviously and 5-3 in the tiebreaker. Federer had a very good chance to win that point for 6-3 but he saw match point looming and he snatched at it.

So he definitely had his chances to really put the match to bed, but he kept letting Nadal back in and getting tight. In my opinion if Federer had managed to win that match I think the head to head with Nadal would look totally different. Matches like FO 2006, 2007, Monte Carlo 2008, and Hamburg 2008, all matches I really feel (especially the last two), he lost due to choking effectively.

Federer was neck and neck with Nadal at Rome 06, French 05, 06 and 07. That goes to show how good Federer was on that surface. The fact is without Nadal Federer would probably have 5 straight French Open titles. The thing I always hated about those matches was that Federer would always have to win the point outright against Nadal whereas Nadal's points were usually gifted to him from errors because Federer was forced to press so much due to Nadal's defence. Nadal makes so few errors and had such a high margin for error. I guess that's why so many people find his game crummy to watch.

single_handed_champion
04-12-2011, 08:13 PM
Federer was neck and neck with Nadal at Rome 06, French 05, 06 and 07. That goes to show how good Federer was on that surface. The fact is without Nadal Federer would probably have 5 straight French Open titles. The thing I always hated about those matches was that Federer would always have to win the point outright against Nadal whereas Nadal's points were usually gifted to him from errors because Federer was forced to press so much due to Nadal's defence. Nadal makes so few errors and had such a high margin for error. I guess that's why so many people find his game crummy to watch.

So people would rather have ugly errorfests?

Anyway, I agree that Federer back in those days was the closest to a challenge Nadal had on clay. Nadal now is probably a better player, but IMO a diminished claycourter (still a beast of one) being stretched to the limit by Djokovic and Soderling in 2009, while Federer is slower and more error-prone.

President
04-12-2011, 08:43 PM
So people would rather have ugly errorfests?

Anyway, I agree that Federer back in those days was the closest to a challenge Nadal had on clay. Nadal now is probably a better player, but IMO a diminished claycourter (still a beast of one) being stretched to the limit by Djokovic and Soderling in 2009, while Federer is slower and more error-prone.

On the other hand, 2010 was his most succesful clay season and Monte Carlo 2010 was described by Nadal himself as his highest level ever. I think its more likely that he was just struggling overall in 2009, and we saw it at RG, WB, and later on in the year.

Ray Mercer
04-12-2011, 09:46 PM
So people would rather have ugly errorfests?

Anyway, I agree that Federer back in those days was the closest to a challenge Nadal had on clay. Nadal now is probably a better player, but IMO a diminished claycourter (still a beast of one) being stretched to the limit by Djokovic and Soderling in 2009, while Federer is slower and more error-prone.

I have to admit I enjoy guys going for outright winners. This is why I always loved Federer because he would try to end the point with a winner very quick and was usually successful back in the day. Nadal prefers to grind out rally's and wait for the error or easy put-away which can get boring fast.

Nadal was probably a better clay courter in 08 then he is now. Three years ago his defensive movement was ridiculous. He can't chase quite as well as he used to.

MichaelNadal
04-12-2011, 11:50 PM
I have to admit I enjoy guys going for outright winners. This is why I always loved Federer because he would try to end the point with a winner very quick and was usually successful back in the day. Nadal prefers to grind out rally's and wait for the error or easy put-away which can get boring fast.

Nadal was probably a better clay courter in 08 then he is now. Three years ago his defensive movement was ridiculous. He can't chase quite as well as he used to.

I agree with this. Even though he DID hit that level a few times in 2010. Rome 06 is one of my 5 favorite matches ever. What a BATTLE on that court.

ninman
04-13-2011, 12:47 AM
Yes, but the point I'm making is that Federer's abilities were enough he just didn't execute at the crucial moments. In 2008 Federer was having his way with Nadal for large portions of the matches in Monte-Carlo and Hamburg in particular.

I mean 4-3 with a break and 4-0 in Monte-Carlo, 5-1 and 5-3 in Hamburg. Those matches were his to win. Same with FO 2007, 1/17 break points won, and in FO 2006, having won the first set 6-1, totally fell to pieces.

The FO 2005 was competitive but Federer just didn't serve well at all, he was broken a total of 9 times in that match, and only managed to break Nadal 6 times. He really could have taken that match to 5, same with 06 and 07.

But I really feel that the Rome final was the big turning point. A win there would have set him up for the FO and I genuinely believe he would have won it.

People can say whatever they want about bad match ups, Nadals high forehand to Federer's backhand or whatever, but I personally think those are just excuses. Federer has thrown away as many matches as he actually lost against Nadal. Sure Nadal's out played him a few times, but there have lots of occasions were Federer could easily have defeated Nadal, and didn't due to mental weakness.

bolo
04-13-2011, 02:56 AM
Wishful thinking. The skill and slack is on nadal's side on clay, no one close result in favor of federer is going to change those fundamentals.

Nadal can always put a bit more pressure on federer and come back in any sets he is behind on the surface, while federer usually has to be playing at an extremely high level to win his sets. Watch that 2nd set of their MC 08 match again, federer got ahead mostly with some high risk tennis: big forehands, some net rushes, big serves. But that was too hard to sustain for a whole set on clay vs. nadal and when he came back down to earth he went the other way and imploded.

Federer is probably a 1 (2?) in 10 player vs. nadal on clay, and that's pretty good considering that the rest of the tour looks like it's 2 in 100 vs. nadal on the same surface.

ninman
04-13-2011, 04:07 AM
Well in the Hamburg 2007 final the strategy he used to win was to hit his backhand up the line, then rush the net. If he hit the backhand right the only place Nadal can put it is back up the line, which Federer covered for the easy put away.

The only problem is if you play that strategy too much Nadal can anticipate it and run around the forehand. But in Rome 2006 Nadal was getting illegal coaching from Tony anyway, which is why he was able to anticipate a similar strategy from Federer.

namelessone
04-13-2011, 04:46 AM
Well in the Hamburg 2007 final the strategy he used to win was to hit his backhand up the line, then rush the net. If he hit the backhand right the only place Nadal can put it is back up the line, which Federer covered for the easy put away.

The only problem is if you play that strategy too much Nadal can anticipate it and run around the forehand. But in Rome 2006 Nadal was getting illegal coaching from Tony anyway, which is why he was able to anticipate a similar strategy from Federer.

But Tony was there in Madrid 2009, when Fed won. What happened there? Got the signals mixed up?

Something that the FFID(Fed fans in denial) need to accept is that the best of Nadal on clay> best of Fed on clay. It's quite similar to the Nadal-Djoker matchup on HC. Nadal needs to play his absolute best just to stay with Djoker on HC and while he can beat Novak from time to time, Novak comes out on top most times on hardcourt.

It's like this with Federer and Nadal as well as far as clay is concerned. Federer needs to play near perfect and Rafa needs to have an off day for Fed to pull off a win. If Fed faulters just a little, trouble begins.

vllaznia
04-13-2011, 04:57 AM
But Tony was there in Madrid 2009, when Fed won. What happened there? Got the signals mixed up?

Something that the FFID(Fed fans in denial) need to accept is that the best of Nadal on clay> best of Fed on clay. It's quite similar to the Nadal-Djoker matchup on HC. Nadal needs to play his absolute best just to stay with Djoker on HC and while he can beat Novak from time to time, Novak comes out on top most times on hardcourt.

It's like this with Federer and Nadal as well as far as clay is concerned. Federer needs to play near perfect and Rafa needs to have an off day for Fed to pull off a win. If Fed faulters just a little, trouble begins.

At their best Nadal>Federer on every surface maybe on indoor i would give Federer the edge because of the 3 wins , the problem is not the surface its the matchup, Nadal is the worst possible matchup for Federer, its like he has been designed to beat Federer.

namelessone
04-13-2011, 05:13 AM
At their best Nadal>Federer on every surface maybe on indoor i would give Federer the edge because of the 3 wins , the problem is not the surface its the matchup, Nadal is the worst possible matchup for Federer, its like he has been designed to beat Federer.

I would give Fed the edge on fast HC as well.

vllaznia
04-13-2011, 05:37 AM
I would give Fed the edge on fast HC as well.

Why? The only matched played on fast HC was won by Nadal even though Federer threw that match way. Honestly do you think Nadal would have a 15-8 head to head with Federer if he played with the right hand?

Ray Mercer
04-13-2011, 05:55 AM
Why? The only matched played on fast HC was won by Nadal even though Federer threw that match way. Honestly do you think Nadal would have a 15-8 head to head with Federer if he played with the right hand?

Federer has the edge on grass too. Nadal is always getting dragged into 5 setters on grass whereas Fed used to steamroll. Federer spanked Nadal at the old Shanghai fast court even if it was indoor. A prime Fed at Cinci, US, Wimby, Shanghai or anything indoor would have an edge over Nadal. Nadal has the edge on slow hardcourt where he can run winners down and push his way out of trouble.

namelessone
04-13-2011, 06:08 AM
Federer has the edge on grass too. Nadal is always getting dragged into 5 setters on grass whereas Fed used to steamroll. Federer spanked Nadal at the old Shanghai fast court even if it was indoor. A prime Fed at Cinci, US, Wimby, Shanghai or anything indoor would have an edge over Nadal. Nadal has the edge on slow hardcourt where he can run winners down and push his way out of trouble.

How?

Baby Nadal took a set off Federer in his primiest prime at WB and pushed him to five in 07', a match that could have easily went either way, where Fed was actually saved by his serves towards the end. The 08' final could have been straight sets for Nadal if the rain hadn't come(Fed was looking much more composed after the first rain break).

And it doesn't matter if Nadal gets into more five setters on grass against the field as we are talking about Fed vs Nadal on grass, where only matchup matters.

stanton warrior
04-13-2011, 06:16 AM
How?

Baby Nadal took a set off Federer in his primiest prime at WB and pushed him to five in 07', a match that could have easily went either way, where Fed was actually saved by his serves towards the end. The 08' final could have been straight sets for Nadal if the rain hadn't come(Fed was looking much more composed after the first rain break).

And it doesn't matter if Nadal gets into more five setters on grass against the field as we are talking about Fed vs Nadal on grass, where only matchup matters.

2-1 is edge, even if slightly. Federer was just two points away to be undefeated against Nadal on grass.

MagneticCurls
04-13-2011, 06:19 AM
How?

Baby Nadal took a set off Federer in his primiest prime at WB and pushed him to five in 07', a match that could have easily went either way, where Fed was actually saved by his serves towards the end. The 08' final could have been straight sets for Nadal if the rain hadn't come(Fed was looking much more composed after the first rain break).

And it doesn't matter if Nadal gets into more five setters on grass against the field as we are talking about Fed vs Nadal on grass, where only matchup matters.

In 2007, Nadal was in his prime, no longer baby. Fed won that on grass playing pretty badly off the ground. In 2008, Fed came off mono year where he lost tons of practice time. Is still took Nadal playing the best tennis of his career to barely pull it off 9-7 in the 5th. I would hardly give Nadal the edge on grass based on that. If rain hadn't come perhaps Fed would have won the remaining 3 sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.

aldeayeah
04-13-2011, 06:32 AM
If rain hadn't come perhaps Fed would have won the remaining 3 sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.
Er, they were 4-4 in the third when it started raining, and the match was actually stopped at 5-4 (Fed up) with loads of wasted BPs on both sides.

Jchurch
04-13-2011, 07:02 AM
How?

Baby Nadal took a set off Federer in his primiest prime at WB and pushed him to five in 07', a match that could have easily went either way, where Fed was actually saved by his serves towards the end. The 08' final could have been straight sets for Nadal if the rain hadn't come(Fed was looking much more composed after the first rain break).

And it doesn't matter if Nadal gets into more five setters on grass against the field as we are talking about Fed vs Nadal on grass, where only matchup matters.

Nadal's best grass match against Federer was in 07. So let me get this straight.... a part of Federer's game his serve is what saved him against Nadal, but since it is his serve you can't really count the win? Well then every match Nadal won was only because of his freakishly athletic defense. It's just one part of his game right :)

Just so you know, AO 09 could have gone either way just as Wimby 08 could have also. But I guess the matches could have only gone either way when Nadal is not the victor correct?

MagneticCurls
04-13-2011, 07:02 AM
Er, they were 4-4 in the third when it started raining, and the match was actually stopped at 5-4 (Fed up) with loads of wasted BPs on both sides.

Whatever. My main point was that IF it didn't rain is just an excuse by the other poster.

Jchurch
04-13-2011, 08:29 AM
Whatever. My main point was that IF it didn't rain is just an excuse by the other poster.

Agreed! Federer would have obviously broken at 4-5 and then that would have crushed Nadal's heart and he would have lost the following two sets at love. Nadal would have cried ala Federer AO 09 and would have been so ashamed of his actions as he is a raging bull that he would have retired and spent his days playing pick up soccer on his home island. I must say creating hypotheticals is very fun.

Also, to the poster I quoted, I do agree with you about these IF points, hence I created my own IF :)

single_handed_champion
04-13-2011, 11:39 AM
Oh God, not this again (debates on the validity of Fedal wins). OP was a question about a single match that I agree was quite pivotal in this rivalry. If Federer had won it, he would have realized that his offensive strategy (constant net-rushing, inside-out forehands at the earliest opportunities) was what would win against Nadal on clay, but also that he needed it to be quite brilliant to actually pull it off.

Instead, he lost and went on to get sucked into the familiar patterns of high forehands he just can't handle off his backhand.

MagneticCurls
04-13-2011, 01:27 PM
There are no IFs, what happened happened. Fed had mono in 2008, so what? If his immune system was stronger he might not have gotten mono. One has to pay for one's frailties. The only thing I don't get is how all the *********s automatically thing W is Nadal's in the same vein as the FO. Nadal has barely beaten Federer at W and in the one that he did win it was not so easily as attested by a couple of 5 setters along the way with strategic MTOs. W is not in the bag for Nadal.