Could Nadal and Djokovic have stopped a rising Federer?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Mike Sams, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

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    Nadal had the advantage of being 5 years younger than Federer and developing the game, strategy and confidence in breaking down Federer's game when Federer was already at his peak and ultimately...Federer was met with a challenge whom he couldn't truly figure out.
    But what if the roles were reversed? What if it was Federer who was 5 years younger than Nadal and was on the rise today as we speak? A young hungry Federer, still a bit rough around the ages but committed to becoming the best in due time.
    How would a young 20 year old Federer be developing his game to take on the much older Nadal and Djokovic who are in their primes today?
     
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  2. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    A younger Federer would slap flatter forehands and take control of the net better!
     
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  3. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Well if Federer was 20 now, he wouldn't be a slam winner for another couple of years probably, at which point Nadal and Djokovic would be getting a bit old. 30 year old Federer can still give 25 year old Nadal and 24 year old Djokovic hard matches, so Federer at 22 against them is probably going to take advantage of their physical decline.

    But how would he handle the next lot of players? Well I don't see anyone coming on leaps and bounds soon, so it's likely he would dominate with Delpo being the Safin of the era.

    If he were the same age as Nadal and Djokovic he would have been the least successful of the 3 at first but would have started to overturn that. They way Nadal played at the French Open this year, a prime Federer could have beaten him even there.

    As to how his game would have changed, well he wouldn't have been serving and volleying at Wimbledon, he might have used a bigger racquet and not one based on Sampras's
     
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  4. rodrigoamaral

    rodrigoamaral Hall of Fame

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    nope.. federer was too dominant in his prime..
     
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  5. SirGounder

    SirGounder Hall of Fame

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    I think they could have stopped him some of the time. I believe there would have been some truly epic matches.
     
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  6. Love all

    Love all Semi-Pro

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    Not at all.
    Federer would have taken good measure of both of them by the time he had matured. So they are lucky
     
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  7. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Not for long... :D
     
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  8. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

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    To make a short story shorter, NO.
     
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  9. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Wrong, Nadal could defeat Roger on a regular basis before he even ever played him.

    Novak was capable of defeating #3,#2#1 all in a row in the same tournament and has proven just how dominate he can be with this years performance as well.

    The difference is that neither of these two guys need momentum to be where they are, however Federer does need momentum as you can see with his performances and that is in fact when he does best.
     
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  10. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

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    Well...Nadal couldn't win anything for 11 months until he finally got to his beloved clay so....:-?
    So I'm guessing he did need momentum to get on some kind of winning streak.
     
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  11. Biscuitmcgriddleson

    Biscuitmcgriddleson Professional

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    Do you honestly think that Nadal would have pushed himself on grass and hard had he not of been chasing Federer? Nadal would have been #1 due to clay and we know how little Rafa doesn't want to be the top dog.
     
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  12. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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  13. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    Roger Federer would have cleaned the floors with Nadal.
     
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  14. Netzroller

    Netzroller Semi-Pro

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    You have to consider that Nadal was a top player from early on while Roger reached his best a bit later.
    In their first encounter ever, 17 year old Nadal beat 22 year old Federer, the reverse would have probably never happened. I don't think Federer would have been able to seriously challange Nadal before his twenties when he stated to really emerge as a dominant force. Many of those matches, especially on clay would have never happened because young Federer would not have made the finals I belive. Thus, Nadal would have had it easier to some degree.
    Then however, prime Federer would have likely gotten the upper hand and at some point possibly become the dominant player on clay.
    It would probably make more sense to postpone this speculation a few years. We do not yet know how Rafa will do at age 26-30 so it's just to many variables saying how he would have done against a younger Federer. Then you also don't know how they would have dealt with the respective situatuon of Nadal being ahead and Federer being his hunter.
    Nevertheless, I am sure the dynamics of the rivalry would have been entirely different.
     
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  15. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    It still would have been an intense race between the three, also Federer would have had tougher competition during his prime years.

    Many Hewitt fans excuse him do to injuries, and many Safin fans excuse him for injuries as well. Who did that leave Federer with, Roddick?
     
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  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    wow this nadal guy you talk about must be a super-human if he could defeat someone else even before he played him ..:twisted:
     
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  17. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    LMAO!!!!!! Can I play as him in Virtua Tennis?
     
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  18. GOAT BAAH!!!

    GOAT BAAH!!! Professional

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    This might sound stupid but if Federer was able to somehow travel back in time to play himself would he stop a rising Federer or would he merely be the transitional time traveling doppelganger?
     
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  19. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Well the ****s always claimed the only way Federer could lose is by Federer defeating Federer:shock:
     
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  20. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Fed in 2004-2007 will always be #1 no matter which players are competiting with him.
     
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  21. kragster

    kragster Hall of Fame

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    As always I think you are right on the money. Fed took a lot longer to get to his prime so a young Fed (20-22) would be losing pretty much everything to Djoker and Nadal in their prime and who (without Fed) would be supremely high on confidence. Then at 23 Fed would start to turn things around rapidly as the physical games of 27 yr old Djoker and 28 yr old Nadal start to take a toll. There would still be a few competitive games. By 24, it is no contest, Fed is winning everything against 29 yr old Nadal and 28 yr old Djoker.

    I think Fed has shown that even at 30, he is a beast while Rafa and Nole showed us that even as teenagers they were beasts. What is left to be seen is if the latter can be competitive at Fed's age, my guess is they will not be ( And I'm saying this even though Rafa/Nole are my favorite players).
     
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  22. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    Don't you think that in 07 we saw the first cracks appearing? After that insane AO, he lost a few matches to Canas, Volandri, and that Wimbledon final, had it gone the other way, could have changed the landscape. I think Federer that year was confirmed year end number one in Basel...which was quite close, considering he already had three slams to his name, and a RU also.
     
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  23. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Of course this is a completely hypothetical question! However, although your scenario might give Federer an age advantage, you are probably taking away one of Federer's biggest advantages when it comes to his overall career -- Him coming of age and making his stride in a relatively weak competitive era!
    He won a slew of slams in this beneficial environment and gained incredible confidence because of it. If he was an up and comer now in his early 20's, and had to deal with an inform and fully developed Nadal and Nole, it would be quite a while before he won any slam. His best chance would probably be Wimbledon.

    He would most likely end up with far fewer slams overall vs the Federer of today (given the same time period to do so)...
     
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  24. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    If Fed was 20 now then he probably would be 2 years away from hitting his prime by which point Nadal and Djokovic would be burning out horrendously. His adventurous and fearless shotmaking would screw the **** out of them and he'd have winning h2h's over both in the long run providing they are willing to play in burnout mode for enough years. Meanwhile Fed goes on to win between 12 - 20 Slams again depending on who is about i.e. Tomic etc or whatever other talent lurks in the wings (currently doesn't seem to be a whole lot).

    Roger would be a destroyer as he used to be, I would imagine, if he could have taken the same training routes etc and actually coming now would have been incredibly beneficial for him against the likes of Nadal and Djokovic who would be shell-shocked by the unadulterated brilliance that Roger would incessantly produce. Also their own personal level would be significantly lower given they didn't have the true timeline Federer as a target to aspire to.

    Would have been great to see Roger utterly screw the current tour especially as it heads into about 2013/14 and his peak tennis starts being produced, what an awesome sight it would be.
     
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  25. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah, the 2007 year ending Fed wasn't winning by a landslide like in the previous years. It could be close. Also adding an improve Novak into the mix he can take some points away from both Fed, and especially Nadal on all surfaces. The points could be more evenly distributed and Fed could still hold his ground.


    1 Federer, Roger 7180
    2 Nadal, Rafael 5735
    3 Djokovic, Novak 4470
    4 Davydenko, Nikolay 2825
    5 Ferrer, David 2750
    6 Roddick, Andy 2530
    7 Gonzalez, Fernando 2005
    8 Gasquet, Richard 1930
    9 Nalbandian, David 1775
    10 Robredo, Tommy 1765
     
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  26. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    You can wake up now.

    Do you need a tissue?
     
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  27. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Weak era
    That's your perception, there's no way to measure the strength of an era. I personally don't think Fed coming of age happened in a weak competitive era.

    It wasn't a beneficial environment, Fed had to go through a lot of players who had an edge over him up until that point such as Hewitt, Nalbandian, old Agassi etc. His 2003 WTF and 2004 AO where very impressive in that regard.

    Fed's confidence came from coming into his own as a player both mentally and physically, he had to completely overturn his H2H with players like Hewitt, Nalbandian, Agassi and Henman to dominate the field, he had no mental/confidence edge over them (quite the opposite).

    Fed's dominance started at the age of 22-23, by that time Nadal and Novak would have been 27-28 years old, considering their playing styles and that many Nadal fans(including yourself) claim Nadal declined this year Fed would not be dealing with inform Nadal and Novak, they (Nadal especially) would be past their best tennis.

    Completely disagree, given today's extremely pitiful field of up and comers (in my opinion of course) and given that while he would be at his best Novak and Nadal would be waning and also not dismissing the fact that Fed even today( at the age of 30) can play at a relatively high level I'd predict he would have ended up with the same # of slams at the very least, probably more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
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  28. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

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    Federer was also getting consistently smashed by Agassi, Hewitt and Nalbandian until he turned it completely around on all 3 of them when he reached 22 years of age and everything began to click. I didn't notice him losing confidence when he kept losing match after match to Nalbandian and Hewitt especially. He continued to improve his game.
     
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  29. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Bingo, my point exactly. Nalbandian, Hewitt and Agassi were owning Fed completely before 2003 TMC/WTF and 2004 AO.
     
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  30. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    People are forgetting that Hewitt and Nalbandian have huge success against a pre-Fed in the early 2000. Now that Fed is on the tail end of his career, the players(nole/rafa/murray) who are 6 years younger in their primes are doing better than 30 year old Fed is not an earth-shattering surprise.
     
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  31. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Oh sorry, you don't like my valid opinion?

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee!
     
    #31
  32. nikdom

    nikdom Hall of Fame

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    That too, barely. He's still more likely to win a slam than Murray. The only guy to even derail a dominant Djokovic this year was Roger. And given the right surface of course, Roger is the only one still able to hand Nadal a bagel.
     
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  33. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Like tennis_pro once said....you need a brain tissue ?
     
    #33
  34. Mike Sams

    Mike Sams Legend

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    Federer even at 30 can still give Nadal and Djokovic a major tussle. Why do you think Nadal and Djokovic are always so happy like kids at Christmas every time they beat Federer? :lol:
    Because they know they could just as easily lose to Federer. They don't underestimate him even now at his old age of 30.
     
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  35. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    This is a completely sensible opinion. I do disagree but at least you follow a discernible form of logic here...

    I would say, the players you (and Mike Sams) mention as Federer's main competition early on had their own substantial vulnerabilities. Agassi was aging (much like Federer is now) and lacked defense skills, he was still great at offense but by 2003-04 his movement began to suffer. Hewitt achieved alot especially considering the weapons he had at his disposal. But was himself a transitional #1 with no major offensive ability, he had great fortitude, mental strength, and footspeed. Once the footspeed began to wane, he had no hope of staying number one. And although Nalbadian and Henman are good players - neither won or has won a slam; so they really should not be placed in this echelon of players.

    And yes i have mentioned Nadal's decline this year. But Nadal has proven to have up and down years and not sustain a gradual decline (as was the case of 2009 vs 2010). I do not know if Nadal's current decline (my opinion) will last or he may come warring back in 2012.

    As far as Nole is concerned, we do not know if he will experience a decline next year. Yes, the end of the year has been bad for him - but we will have to wait and see if he can maintain during 2012.

    And as far as up and comers, we will never know. Murray may finally get his head together; Tsonga and Delpo might get it together, or even Berdych, Raonic, Fish, etc. So the hypothetical younger Federer might have to face these gents, or some other guy who catches fire. Who knows.

    I still think it was better for Federer to have had the competition he faced winning all of his slams to date, and he wouldn't have it any other way...
     
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  36. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    True, and I was being nice.

    Nole may not be able to play this high level again in 2011, yet, past prime Fed was able to beat him at the FO and had a match point at the USO. Evidences does support a prime Fed would hold his ground and stay at #1
     
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  37. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Upcomers is a valid point which I also mentioned, also having different targets offers up different tour dynamics and the precedence for Fed's dominance and his career path and its manner shouldn't be discounted when considering a possible journey for his tennis career if he were 20 today and still ascending through the tour, not yet at his peak.

    Too much talent and ability, he'd have probably turned out to be an absolute thunderbolt and a whirlwind of tennis shotmaking much like he used to be, but with the fearlessness and ruthlessness of one who is entirely fresh and very hungry indeed.
     
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  38. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Absolutely.
     
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  39. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah, well that's usually the case when I'm not trolling.

    Yes but the point is that 27-28 year old (when Fed would face them) Nadal and Novak will have their own set of vulnerabilities as well if they decline in certain areas of their game. Both of them rely a lot on their amazing defense and footspeed, we'll have to see how they will cope with losing a step.

    I agree Agassi was slowly on his way out but he could still be dangerous(as Fed is today). What made Agassi a threat even in his 30s is his insane ballstriking ability(umatched IMO, nobody could make the other guy run as well as Dre), his dedication to fitness in the late stage of his career and the fact that he sort of wasted a lot of his younger years.

    Afterall Agassi won most of his slams at the age of 29+, not a usual career by any means. In comparison Fed won the bulk of his slams between the age of 22-29 and overall his game depends much more on movement/defense than Agassi's.

    Hewitt lacked firepower from the baseline but he had great ROS(one the best I've ever seen), moved well, had laser like passing shots and was one of the best competitors I've ever seen. His biggest problem beside slowing down and various injuries is IMO that he played in a wrong era, he was more built for the 90s tennis pace and conditions not the modern slower era in which topspin baseliners began to dominate. Hewitt's flat counterpunching style is more suited for faster surfaces and he was very comfortable playing against net rushers because he loved having a target.

    Disagree, tennis is about match-ups, Nalbandian and Henman might not have been slam winners but they were both very tough match-ups for Fed that he had to overcome, in the year Fed won his 1st slam Nalbo beat him both at AO and USO, beating Nalbo at WTF and then at AO was a tough mental challenge for Fed to overcome.

    So we don't know if it's a decline or a temporary slump, got it. I personally don't think his tennis declined on grass and HC this year(compared to 2010 atleast) but on clay he seemed quite vulnerable(for his very high standards of course), probably the least impressive CC version of Nadal I've ever seen.

    Well yes before we take Novak as a big threat that would reduce Fed's slam count in this hypothetical situation we first have to see if Novak will back his 2011 with another great year. 2011 was the first and so far the only year in which Novak was a threat in all 4 slams in a single year.


    Murray is a terrific player but he's not the up and comer, he's the same age as Novak, Tsonga & Berdych are even older than that. In this hypothetical scenario 22-23 year old Fed would be facing them all in their late 20s (or 30 in case of Tsonga), Fish is 30 year old now so he's definitely out of the question. Delpo is somewhere inbetween but problem is he's extremely injury prone so I can't qualify him as longterm threat yet.

    Up and comers are the guys today which would have been (again in the scenario OP presented) Fed's opposition between (Fed's) age of 26 and beyond, guys like Tomic, Raonic, Dimitrov, Berankis etc. and so far I'm pretty unimpressed by them(I like Raonic's game though).

    We'll have to agree to disagree but I'll reserve my judgement completely until I see how will Nadal and Novak fare in the future and how current young guns would develop.

    Overall I personally find this hypothetial scenario OP presented quite interesting, more so than 99% of others presented here.
     
    #39
  40. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    The problem with this is that we can go back and say that Nadal declined after 2008 and then a come back, but then again in 2010.

    I don't consider not doing as well a decline, decline means that your best is done and over with. As we saw in the coming years Federer was far from done and over with. Maybe not playing his best, maybe a more difficult field, but that is part of the game. I is rare that someone is at there 100%, and that does not mean they are finished.
     
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  41. Biscuitmcgriddleson

    Biscuitmcgriddleson Professional

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    Ok, so then Nadal has not declined on clay. Thanks man.
     
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  42. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    What this comes down to is asking who's peak is best. Peak vs peak vs peak, Federer blows both Nadal and Djokovic out of the water. Check the data.
     
    #42
  43. devila

    devila Banned

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    no fed fanatic admits that djoker's greatness on all surfaces caused fed's bitter hatred and lame efforts. fed "thinks" nadal is just physically scary, so fed is friendly to him.

    tipsarevic, murray and ferrer were dangerous to djoker, but federer was in the luxurious semi rounds of supreme slams. therefore, fed seemed more excellent than those 3 opponents.
     
    #43
  44. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    That is part of being in the top, it get easier for you and that is why I was thinking to my self "just wait until Federer drops out of the #1 ranking, it won't be so easy then!"
     
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  45. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Basically Fed is friendly to almost every players. Including the ex-player like Mac and Pete. He's just easy to get along with everyone.
     
    #45
  46. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Every player has to drop out of #1 because that's inevitable when he's past his prime. Hell, even Nadal drop out of #1 when he's in his prime. :)
     
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