Bigger gap on clay- Nadal over Federer or Henin over Serena

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by NadalAgassi, Dec 6, 2011.

?

Who has bigger gap in clay abilities

  1. Nadal over Federer

    21.2%
  2. Henin over Serena

    75.8%
  3. equally large gaps

    3.0%
  1. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    One common element in this generation of players is that eras greatest player is far below the eras greatest clay court player on that surface. Nadal is far and away the best clay courter of this era, with Federer a distant second best. Henin is far and away the best clay courter of this era, with Serena a distant second best. Federer overall is better than Serena on clay, however Nadal is the greatest mens clay courter of all time while Henin is not the greatest female clay courter of all time. Federer is a top 15 clay courter all time, while Serena is lucky to even be top 25 despite probably being 2nd best of a really weak womens clay court era.

    So ultimately which has the bigger gap in abilities on clay. Nadal over Federer or Henin over Serena.
     
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  2. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    Federer is not that far away from Nadal. He mostly matches up terribly, which problem is enlarged by the clay. Nadal is clearly better on the surface, but Federer is really good too and not that far off imo. For instance: Federer could just as well play with Nole on clay as could Rafa this year. In 2006, Fed had matchpoints in Rome, there were incidents in MC and the RG final wasn't that onesided. No excuses though. Just saying that the gap is there, but not that big. I take Henin over Serena. Serena hardly ever made it to Henin.
     
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  3. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I would say Henin over Serena. Serena at her best has a 30% chance on clay against Henin at her best. Federer at his best has a 15% chance on clay against Nadal if Nadal is in mediocre form. The only thing is Serena's game is high risk to play anywhere near her best on clay very often, while Federer has a game that allows him to play close to his bets almost every time. All in all it is pretty close. Per gender Nadal >> Henin >>>>>>> Federer >> Serena on clay, which makes the gaps pretty similar.
     
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  4. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    Can we state/prove that Federer is the second best clay court player of all time?
    Because he only lost to nadal in RG finals
    He would have won more RG titles than Guga for example
     
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  5. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Sure, and you can also state that Donald Young is the best hard court player ever if you wish. One can always state anything, no matter absurd. It just wont make it true is all. :lol:
     
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  6. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    I don't know how this is a discussion. Federer plays extremely well on clay, and is the second best of the last decade. Until this year, he was the only person to have beaten Nadal in more than 1 Clay match in his prime.
     
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  7. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    The thing is Nadal is not as hugely better as the H2H would suggest, I mean at 12-2 you would assume he destroys Federer everytime, but a lot of their matches Federer has at least won a set. The thing is, Nadal is always too good in the end. Federer can outplay Nadal for a set, but he has to redline to do it, and has to do it when Nadal is not redlining himself.

    With Henin vs Williams, as you say they are both a lesser quality than their male counterparts. With less meetings in H2H it's somewhat hard to compare. Not sure...
     
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  8. _maxi

    _maxi Banned

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    Horrible threadddddddddddd....
     
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  9. roysid

    roysid Professional

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    Henin is not such a powerhouse at clay people assume. She is very good no doubt but she wasn't the unbeatable force that Nadal was.

    - Did Henin win RG on debut. No. In 2001 lost in semis. Only in 2003 when Serena a powerhouse player was leading 5-3 in 3rd set and after that incident came back to win.
    - Does see win almost every clay tournament which Nadal did till 2010. No.

    Federer is much better than Serena's comparable achievment on clay. But Nadal is way better than Henin's achievements.
     
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  10. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I think that 2003 match is a key to remember. Serena very nearly beat a peak Henin at Roland Garros. The same is not true of Federer and Nadal, any version of Nadal for that matter.
     
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  11. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Federer's taken Nadal to 5 sets in a few FO finals hasn't he?
     
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  12. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nah.

    10RGTitles
     
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  13. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    no, he took him to a 4th set tiebreak in 2006, and should have taken him 5 this year.

    But he did take a prime Nadal to 5 in Rome.
     
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  14. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Serena beat a prime Henin in straight sets once in Rome. It was a brilliant match, Henin played very well, but Serena just outplayed her that day.

    Serena amazingly probably should actually lead Henin 3-2 head to head on clay as she should have won their 2002 Berlin matches and 2003 French matches where she was ahead and had many opportunities to close out the 3rd sets.

    Well respected tennis expert and ex star player Mary Joe Fernandez also said one time before a Henin and Serena clay match: "Justine knows the match is not in her hands, that if Serena plays her best tennis, that that is too good" proving that even though Henin is the better overall clay courter, Serena at her best would actually beat Henin at her best on clay, which is not true of Federer and Nadal.
     
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  15. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    how was Henin in her prime in 2002, care to explain?
     
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  16. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I consider Henin's prime to be 2001-early 2004 and 2006-2007. I consider her peak years (which is different than prime) to be mid 2003-early 2004 and 2007. If not then when would they be?
     
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  17. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    I wasn't saying anything about Serena vs Henin, just commenting on someone thinking Federer took Nadal to 5 at RG, and saying he did take him to 5 at Rome.

    I'm not sure I'd say Henin was in her prime as early as 2002 though, she hadn't won a slam yet and only just started winning Tier 1 titles with that win in Berlin
     
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  18. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Well this thread is about all of Federer, Nadal, Serena, and Henin, and to determine where the bigger gap exists on must consider not only Federer and Nadal but Henin and Serena.

    Henin making the 2001 Wimbledon final by beating Capriati and taking Venus to 3 sets marked the start of her prime IMO. She would have won the 2001 French if she didnt choke a big lead in the semis to Clijsters, Capriati was never beating her there. Had that happened nobody would doubt 2001 was the start of her prime. So mid 2001 marked the start of her prime (not peak, but prime) for me. 2002 she was co-favorite for the French title along with Serena until her injury at Roland Garros.

    Even if you disagree 2003 was one of her peak years and not only did Serena nearly beat Henin at the French (probably would have without Henin's desperation and near defeat pulling a famed cheating act) but the highly respected Mary Joe Fernandez declared pre match that Serena's best on clay is better than Henin's. Of course the expert validated fact that Serena's best on clay is better than Henin's does not mean Serena is the better clay courter, Henin is far more consistently close to her best on clay than Serena is to hers. It does indicate that she is closer to Henin on clay than Federer to Nadal though, as nobody would ever say before a big match in one of Nadal's peak years (or any year Nadal is playing tennis for that matter) that Federer's best is better than Nadal's best on clay.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2011
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  19. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    I think the winner is Nadal over anybody. I don't even want to begin to talk about women's tennis.
     
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  20. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Federer could have won all the matchups versus Nadal on Clay. Likewise Nadal could have all the matchups on Grass versus Federer.

    Serena beating Henin on clay.....maybe one in twenty chances.

    Henin is the dominant clay courter....won 4rg titles. While Serena had reached one final and one that one.

    Federer reached 5 FO finals winning one. Obviously really close to Nadal in terms of GS achievement on clay and in terms of play.

    Federer should have beaten Nadal at 2007 and 2011 FO finals....he was the dominant player.....just lously break points and mental breakdown.
     
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  21. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    LOL so Federer could have won the 2008 French Open final, most of their Monte Carlo finals, what are you smoking.

    Serena could have easily won 3 of her 5 meetings with Henin on clay as well. Even in the 2 one sided defeats she lost only 6-4, 6-3 while playing awful for her standards.
     
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  22. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Federer was playing well in the second set....had he capitialized....things would be different.
     
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  23. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well I'd say Nadal over Federer is a bigger gap but that's mostly due to Nadal being a bad match-up for Fed overall and Nadal being better/greater CC player(modified for gender) than Henin.

    Sure Federer could have made H2H on clay closer against Nadal, he was in with a chance in many of their CC encounters but that's the thing with Nadal on clay, you have to play a consistently high level of offense for the whole duration of the match. We recently saw that in DC match against Delpo as well and Juan's a tall guy with an excellent two hander (so he has some match-up advantages against Nadal compared to Fed).

    I mean it's easy to say coulda/woulda/shoulda, Nadal's a tough customer on clay.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  24. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Oh I'm remembering those best of five masters you're right.
     
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  25. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    In FO 2006 after Fed won the first 6-1 to keep that up for another 3 sets definitely speaks to what you say about playing a consistently high level for the whole duration of the match. That was but one example.

    However, in Rome 2006 Fed had match point. That had nothing to do with Nadal warrior or toughness, it had more to do with Fed choking. When a guy has match point, especially multiple ones, he had you beat. But sometimes **** happens.
     
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  26. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Dude, I was just correcting someone by saying Federer never took Nadal to 5 at the FO but he did at Rome so maybe that's what he's thinking of.... which he was, as he said himself. I don't have to discuss the Serena vs Henin factor when I'm correcting someone on Federer Nadal...


    Anyway I don't think Federer beating Sampras at Wimbledon marked the start of his prime, i don't think nadal beating Federer at Miami 2004 marked the start of his prime. But you could be right that 2002 was her prime, but I'd say the beginning, not 2001

    Also who made Mary Joe the final word on everything? Her's is an opinion, why are you so hung up on it? I understand what you mean (what she means) totally, but she can't be proved right.

    Also you could argue that Federer's best is the first set of RG 2006 where he didn't allow Nadal to settle. Even on clay nadal often needs a few good games to get comfortable, so in the highly unlikely event that Federer just played liked that and hit lots of winners to very few UE's then his best could beat Nadal by not allowing Nadal to even play. It's got about 1% chance of happening, but as a more attacking player he always has the chance to dominate on any surface for a while - of course it's not usually for more than one set on clay.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
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  27. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    In case 1, the handicap is a specific opponent's game. Case 2 the handicap is a surface. In both cases, the second player has to play at a much higher level than normal for them to overcome it. I can't personally say of the two whose best is ABSOLUTELY better, Fed or Nad. But I do agree that Serena's overall peak, when she did achieve it, is higher than Henin's peak on clay, or Venus' peak on grass for that matter.
     
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  28. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    No I have to say if he won the second set he was still going to lose the match. He won the first set in 2006 and the second set in 2005 and 2007 and didn't make a bit of difference. Nadal was at his best that day and Federer didn't want to be there. But arguing he could have won the match is ridiculous.

    The matches he should have won are

    Rome 2006
    Hamburg 2008

    then matches he could have taken to a decider and maybe won

    RG 2006
    Monte Carlo 2006
    RG 2011
    maybe RG 2007

    Matches he lost in straights but wasn't far from winning both sets

    MC 2008
    Madrid 2010


    RG 2005 and 2008 were out of his hands. Madrid this year was 3 sets but I didn't think he'd win at any time.

    Note, that there's no way he could winn all of these matches, he would always lose more than he won.
     
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  29. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Comparatively RG2011 has to be at the top of that second category because that was the worst of Nad's 4 matches. The other three are about equal but still mostly not in Fed's hands.
     
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  30. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    yeah true, although in both MC and RG he was a tiebreak away from taking it to 5, in this years RG he blew it from the start, but yeah he had chances to win the first set and maybe the second set too
     
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  31. celoft

    celoft Guest

    Henin over Serena.
     
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  32. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah, most fans see it that way. Serena is not even the 2nd best cc in her era.
     
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