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View Full Version : Federer-Nadal rivalry in the 90's


tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 11:40 AM
I saw an interesting thread about the Sampras-Nadal match-up and thought a Federer-Nadal would be even more fun to guess had they played in the 90's.

Let's say they play 10 matches at the AO (rebound ace), 10 at the FO, 10 at Wimbledon (fast speed) and 10 at the old US open (not much different in speed compared to nowadays). Let's assume both are the same age which would not give Nadal an advantage once he started to peak and Federer got older.

ManFed
12-07-2011, 11:45 AM
That's easy, Fed would crush Nadal except in RO. Probably he would win 30/40 matches.

mattennis
12-07-2011, 11:52 AM
If they grew up in the nineties, possibly they both would have ended playing different.

DjokovicForTheWin
12-07-2011, 11:54 AM
Nadal might win a couple FO. Because don't forget Nadal has declined at 25.

veritech
12-07-2011, 11:56 AM
they will still meet mostly on clay and h2h will still favor nadal.

marcub
12-07-2011, 12:23 PM
they will still meet mostly on clay and h2h will still favor nadal.

That's right.
But it wouldn't have been much of a rivalry either. Nadal might not have made it into the top 5.

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 12:25 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 6 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 10 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 7 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 8 of 10

So overall Federer leads slightly 21-19 probably. He would do alot better than he would against Sampras who was a nightmare matchup for Nadal's game.

Nathaniel_Near
12-07-2011, 12:38 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 6 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 10 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 7 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 8 of 10

So overall Federer leads slightly 21-19 probably. He would do alot better than he would against Sampras who was a nightmare matchup for Nadal's game.

Basically agree completely with this.

dudeski
12-07-2011, 12:52 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 6 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 10 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 7 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 8 of 10

So overall Federer leads slightly 21-19 probably. He would do alot better than he would against Sampras who was a nightmare matchup for Nadal's game.

Why is Sampras a nightmare matchup for Nadal? His backhand, forehand and movement are all worse than Fed's. He has better serve but I don't see Roddick causing too much problem for Nadal. Sampras wouldn't be able to win a single set on clay against Nadal in 10 matches.

tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 6 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 10 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 7 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 8 of 10

So overall Federer leads slightly 21-19 probably. He would do alot better than he would against Sampras who was a nightmare matchup for Nadal's game.

I actually think that Nadal would be a nightmare match-up for Sampras. Look how good Fed hits the 1 handed backhand yet he still struggles big time against the Spaniard. Sampras backhand wasn't half as good as Fed so he wouldn't even rally with Nadal.
On 00's conditions Nadal wins 100 % matches on clay and at least half on slower grass/slower hard courts. Sampras would have to really go for his forehand to end the rallies quickly, otherwise Nadal would peg him back. Pete would obviously be too good on a faster court but how many of those are left nowadays, 10 %?

On 90's surfaces the rivarly would look exactly the opposite with a vast majority of surfaces being medium fast to ultra fast. On 90's surfaces Fed would also do way better against Nadal.

All in all I think Sampras' game was perfect for the 90's while Nadal's fits with today's conditions. Federer would do well in any era.

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 12:56 PM
Why is Sampras a nightmare matchup for Nadal? His backhand, forehand and movement are all worse than Fed's. He has better serve but I don't see Roddick causing too much problem for Nadal. Sampras wouldn't be able to win a single set on clay against Nadal in 10 matches.

While Federer has a better overall ground game than Sampras that isnt a big factor as Nadal has had no problem outplaying Federer off the ground except for indoor matches. Even in some of Federer's wins, such as Wimbledon 2007 and Miami 2005 Federer won somehow despite being completely dominated off the ground.

Sampras has a far more dominating serve than Federer, whatever problems Nadal has returning Federer's serve would be atleast doubled with Sampras. Sampras attacks at each opportunity, serve and volleying even on 2nd serves often, and either going for a clean winner or coming in behind any short ball, so Nadal would not get away with returning and playing well beyond the baseline as he often does vs Federer. Not to mention Sampras is a much better volleyer. Sampras would not try to beat Nadal's forehand with his own backhand like Federer stubbornly is apt to do.

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 12:58 PM
I actually think that Nadal would be a nightmare match-up for Sampras. Look how good Fed hits the 1 handed backhand yet he still struggles big time against the Spaniard. Sampras backhand wasn't half as good as Fed so he wouldn't even rally with Nadal.


Sampras wouldnt even bother getting involved in hardly any 14 shot rallies so it is moot. On his serve he would hold with a slew of unreturned serves, putaway 1st volleys, and a few forehand winners off a weak return. On Nadal's serve he would probably coast most of the time, going for quick winners and most times allowing Nadal to hold, but usually getting the one time he connected on a few shots and getting the crucial break he needs to win the set, usually late. That is how he played vs everyone.

tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 12:59 PM
While Federer has a better overall ground game than Sampras that isnt a big factor as Nadal has had no problem outplaying Federer off the ground except for indoor matches. Even in some of Federer's wins, such as Wimbledon 2007 and Miami 2005 Federer won somehow despite being completely dominated off the ground.

Sampras has a far more dominating serve than Federer, whatever problems Nadal has returning Federer's serve would be atleast doubled with Sampras. Sampras attacks at each opportunity, serve and volleying even on 2nd serves often, and either going for a clean winner or coming in behind any short ball, so Nadal would not get away with returning and playing well beyond the baseline as he often does vs Federer. Not to mention Sampras is a much better volleyer. Sampras would not try to beat Nadal's forehand with his own backhand like Federer stubbornly is apt to do.

There's no reason to think Sampras would do better against Nadal in 00's than Federer, really. The serve isn't as huge of a weapon as it was in the 90's. Fed would do tons of s-v against Nadal if they played in the 90's, I'm sure.

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 01:00 PM
There's no reason to think Sampras would do better against Nadal in 00's than Federer, really. The serve isn't as huge of a weapon as it was in the 90's. Fed would do tons of s-v against Nadal if they played in the 90's, I'm sure.

Who knows. Part of the reason Federer dumped Lundgren after 2003 was reportedly that Lundgren wanted him to keep playing an all court game and coming in often (which he did far more in his younger years) and that Federer didnt want to do that, as he didnt feel he was as comfortable or natural at the net as the baseline.

I didnt neccessarily say Sampras would do better in the 2000s either (although given Federer's poor record, and that Sampras is a tougher matchup as I said he might have). My statement was that Federer in the 90s while Federer might have done better vs Nadal than today, he would be an easier opponent than Sampras back then. Sampras's game was made for the 90s court conditions, more than Federer, far more than Nadal obviously, and more than almost anyone else. It was also all but made to be beating someone with Nadal's playing style. Federer would fare better vs Sampras than Nadal would, but Sampras would dominate Nadal more than anyone else in 90s playing conditions (outside of clay).

tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 01:01 PM
Sampras wouldnt even bother getting involved in hardly any 14 shot rallies so it is moot. On his serve he would hold with a slew of unreturned serves, putaway 1st volleys, and a few forehand winners off a weak return. On Nadal's serve he would probably coast most of the time, going for quick winners and most times allowing Nadal to hold, but usually getting the one time he connected on a few shots and getting the crucial break he needs to win the set, usually late. That is how he played vs everyone.

You're talking about Sampras on a FAST SURFACE, how would he do against Nadal in current conditions? Clay, slow grass, high bouncing hard court? Federer himself won 4 out of 4 matches at the WTF against Nadal, a remotely fast surface still nothing compared to 90's speed.

And so would Pete.

We're talking about current Wimbledon courts, high bouncing hard courts and clay. Sampras has never played on those.

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 01:03 PM
You're talking about Sampras on a FAST SURFACE, how would he do against Nadal in current conditions? Clay, slow grass, high bouncing hard court? Federer himself won 4 out of 4 matches at the WTF against Nadal, a remotely fast surface still nothing compared to 90's speed.

And so would Pete.

We're talking about current Wimbledon courts, high bouncing hard courts and clay. Sampras has never played on those.

Sampras never played on the current conditions so we will never know for sure what he would do. I cant see him playing almost exclusively from the baseline, even on his own serve, like Federer and Nadal do though. It just wasnt his mentality at all. Even from the baseline he would go for quick points, especialy on Nadal's serve games. He would not try to outrally a much better baseliner point after point.

I dont think Sampras would break Nadal often at all but he probably wouldnt have to. Even under current playing conditions his serve would be a nightmare to return, he is probably the best server ever remember, and unlike someone like Karlovic he backed it up with great volleying or some great first strike forehands.

coloskier
12-07-2011, 01:05 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 6 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 10 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 7 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 8 of 10

So overall Federer leads slightly 21-19 probably. He would do alot better than he would against Sampras who was a nightmare matchup for Nadal's game.

They would never meet on faster grass or at the US Open because Nadal would never make it to the finals in either of those faster surfaces. So their head to head would still rely on meeting on clay.

tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 01:05 PM
Who knows. Part of the reason Federer dumped Lundgren after 2003 was reportedly that Lundgren wanted him to keep playing an all court game and coming in often (which he did far more in his younger years) and that Federer didnt want to do that, as he didnt feel he was as comfortable or natural at the net as the baseline.

I didnt neccessarily say Sampras would do better in the 2000s either (although given Federer's poor record, and that Sampras is a tougher matchup as I said he might have). My statement was that Federer in the 90s while Federer might have done better vs Nadal than today, he would be an easier opponent than Sampras back then. Sampras's game was made for the 90s court conditions, more than Federer, far more than Nadal obviously, and more than almost anyone else. It was also all but made to be beating someone with Nadal's playing style.

Still, Federer was a good volleyer, beat Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 as a kid playing tons of s-v, won his first Wimbledon using the s-v tactic and still uses it from time to time to surprise his opponents

NadalAgassi
12-07-2011, 01:06 PM
Still, Federer was a good volleyer, beat Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 as a kid playing tons of s-v, won his first Wimbledon using the s-v tactic and still uses it from time to time to surprise his opponents

Yes, which is why it is strange he didnt want to continue to pursue that playing style more. As Mary Carillo said "he let that part of his game go cold". It would have helped him greatly in his future encounters with Nadal (and even Djokovic today). If he were volleying like the early 2000s he probably could have even split his encounters with Nadal on clay.

tennis_pro
12-07-2011, 01:11 PM
Yes, which is why it is strange he didnt want to continue to pursue that playing style more. As Mary Carillo said "he let that part of his game go cold". It would have helped him greatly in his future encounters with Nadal (and even Djokovic today).

I don't think it's Federer's decision, it's more the conditions he has to play in. If it was so easy to do s-v nowadays there would be at least 1 decent s-v player, even Tsonga who has a great serve and very good volleys plays mainly from the baseline. The only crumbs we have nowadays are Stepanek, Llodra and Mahut and once they retire we can only watch some youtube videos of how real s-v was performed.

sunof tennis
12-07-2011, 01:37 PM
I actually think that Nadal would be a nightmare match-up for Sampras. Look how good Fed hits the 1 handed backhand yet he still struggles big time against the Spaniard. Sampras backhand wasn't half as good as Fed so he wouldn't even rally with Nadal.
On 00's conditions Nadal wins 100 % matches on clay and at least half on slower grass/slower hard courts. Sampras would have to really go for his forehand to end the rallies quickly, otherwise Nadal would peg him back. Pete would obviously be too good on a faster court but how many of those are left nowadays, 10 %?

On 90's surfaces the rivarly would look exactly the opposite with a vast majority of surfaces being medium fast to ultra fast. On 90's surfaces Fed would also do way better against Nadal.

All in all I think Sampras' game was perfect for the 90's while Nadal's fits with today's conditions. Federer would do well in any era.

Assuming fast courts would necessarily equate to low bouncing courts, I agree that Fed would do much better in ther 90s against Rafa. Look at the last two WTFs. With Fed, it's not so much about the pace of the court, but how high the balls bounce. The higher the bounce, clearly the harder it is for
Fed to hit backhands and the less effective his terrific slice backhand is.

Magnetite
12-07-2011, 02:18 PM
H2H would be a lot closer that's for sure.

kishnabe
12-07-2011, 04:34 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 7 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 7 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 10 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 7 of 10

MichaelNadal
12-07-2011, 09:04 PM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 7 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 7 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 10 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 7 of 10

You think Federer would beat Nadal 3 times out of 10 at RG on even MORE clay-like clay? :) And Nadal wouldn't even get ONE victory on fast grass?

http://michaeljacksonanimatedgifs.com/images/others/mjgif280.jpg

monfed
12-07-2011, 09:21 PM
Rebound Ace - Fed wins 8/10. It could even be 10/10 for Federer considering Nadal was beaten by the likes of Gonzales when AO was played on Rebound Ace.

Clay - Nadal wins 9/10. I give one win to Federer based on his Rome 2006 performance. I expect him to put one across.

90s Grass - Federer wins 10/10. This is not even debatable.

USO - Federer wins 10/10. Fast HC is Nadal's nightmare, look how poorly he performs in Cincy, the last remaining fastcourt in the ATP.

Current USO - I'd say it's 60-40 in Nadal's favour.

I'm sticking to my assessment of Nadal winning 0 non-clay slams in the 90s.

MichaelNadal
12-07-2011, 09:24 PM
Rebound Ace - Fed wins 8/10. It could even be 10/10 for Federer considering Nadal was beaten by the likes of Gonzales when AO was played on Rebound Ace.

Clay - Nadal wins 9/10. I give one win to Federer based on his Rome 2006 performance. I expect him to put one across.

90s Grass - Federer wins 10/10. This is not even debatable.

USO - Federer wins 10/10. Fast HC is Nadal's nightmare, look how poorly he performs in Cincy, the last remaining fastcourt in the ATP.

Current USO - I'd say it's 60-40 in Nadal's favour.

I'm sticking to my assessment of Nadal winning 0 non-clay slams in the 90s.

Well hey, haters gonna hate right? :) It's silly for you to think Nadal would play the way he does today on 90's surfaces. The guy adapts, and it's ridiculous you think he wouldn't be able to win a single slam on 90s surfaces off clay. He won Queens on traditional grass, and im sure he would still like 90's grass.

zagor
12-08-2011, 02:47 AM
Rebound ace: Federer wins 7 of 10
Roland Garros: Nadal wins 7 of 10
Wimbledon (faster 90s grass): Federer wins 10 of 10
U.S Open: Federer wins 7 of 10

LOL .

mandy01
12-08-2011, 03:35 AM
Who knows. Part of the reason Federer dumped Lundgren after 2003 was reportedly that Lundgren wanted him to keep playing an all court game and coming in often (which he did far more in his younger years) and that Federer didnt want to do that, as he didnt feel he was as comfortable or natural at the net as the baseline.
.I don't know where you heard this. It is true that Roger felt more comfortable at the baseline ( with one of the main reasons being how well he hit his forehand) but I think Lundgren leaving had a personal reason to it. I'm not sure, but I remember reading that as close as he was to Roger, he was, how do you say, a bit messy. I remember reading somewhere that Mirka initially used to do his laundry and all other stuff. If true, why should she do that for him?

tennis_pro
12-08-2011, 03:53 AM
LOL

Yea, it looks weird but come to think of it, I could actually imagine a 30-year old Federer beating a 30-year old Nadal at the FO.