Did nadal benefit from a weak clay era?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by dominikk1985, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I do admit, that fed did benefit from the very weak 03-06 era.
    the 08-12 era is much stronger, however you have to admit, that nadal did not face a lot of great clay specialists.

    the 90s and early 00s had so many great clay courters (guga, muster, brugera and the other spaniards, courier...) but which great clay courters played from 05-12?

    there have been some OK clay courters but in the end he played most finals against federer who is great but certainly no clay specialist. I don't see any great clay courter that he had to beat.
     
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  2. President

    President Legend

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    I think Federer and Djokovic would clean up against all those clay specialists you mentioned apart from Kuerten. The slowing of the surfaces these days means everyone at the top has a great baseline game and Djokovic and Federer both move exceptionally well on clay, having grown up on the surface.
     
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  3. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    the AO can't start soon enough..
     
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  4. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    He'd still have 5-6 RG titles at this point unless he had to face Borg.
     
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  5. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    It wouldn't make a difference. Nadal is too damn good.
     
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  6. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    If I'm completely honest, I think Nadal's just too good on that surface.

    The only people I'd see challenging him (if they are playing their best) are Borg, Guga and Rosewall.
     
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  7. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Just like Federer.
     
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  8. dudeski

    dudeski Hall of Fame

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    Nadal benefited from being the clay GOAT.
     
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  9. nikdom

    nikdom Hall of Fame

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    If you take vitamins and alternate between running all day like a rabbit and being out injured with a broke knee, yeah, you can dominate clay as a leftie. Nadal sold his soul to the devil to win a few more slams than he could have hoped for naturally.

    Helps that the only fellows who give a crap about clay are other talentless spaniards and latin americans.
     
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  10. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Did Fed benefit from a weak grass era and lack of threats at the top in general from 2004-2007 on all surfaces outside of Nadal on clay? ?


    Neither surfaces have been "great" per say in terms of talent and depth from the 2000's-present time. But Nadal would have been all time great on clay in ANY era. Would he have only managed to lose once at the French his entire career thus far in a different era? I highly doubt it but he would have grabbed his fair share regardless of his competition
     
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  11. nikdom

    nikdom Hall of Fame

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    LOL

    Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian were no competition?

    And who exactly was Nadal's competition? Can't even remember any names thats-who..
     
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  12. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Hewitt, Safin, and Nalbandian on grass? Please..


    Overrall.. Safin and Nalbandian were complete NO shows 85 percent of their careers. Hell have the time you forgot they were even around.


    Hewitt was FINISHED after 2005. From 2006-on he was done
     
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  13. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    agreed..then the frequency of these nonsense threads will dramatically decrease.
     
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  14. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    No clay era would be strong enough for Nadal anyway, so it's a moot point.
     
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  15. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    for once you said something sensible, speculative as it is.
     
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  16. merlinpinpin

    merlinpinpin Hall of Fame

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    Not even a *blue clay* era? :D
     
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  17. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    There could be better clay courters in this era....but Nadal would still dominate. Maybe we just want to see Rafa lose a set to someone other than the top 4 guys every once in a while.
     
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  18. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Actually, Fed and Djoko have done well winning each 2 clay finals against Rafa. That's the best anyone has done since 2005. I'm not sure Sampras and Agassi would have done as well.
     
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  19. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Ha ha yeah, blue trash era would have been Rafa's downfall. It would have been clay's downfall too, so hopefully it will never come to pass...
     
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  20. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Yes...

    I'm glad someone can admit the first part; even though you left out a year.
     
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  21. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    yeah I agree, though I think Borg is the only guy on his level, Guga would test him but I would still give Nadal a big edge, Rosewall I don't know enough about and such a difference in eras technology it's hard to say for me


    yeah sure. 2007 was a strong year, nadal making the Wimbledon final, Djokovic winning 2 masters including wins over Nadal and Federer and making the US Open final.

    But for you it has to be a weak year because Nadal was not the number 1 player and doesn't have an injury excuse (like 2009). We can see this because in 2011 when Nadal again wasn't the number one player, you claimed it was again a weak era, despite the fact that as a federer fan I thought 2011 and first half of 2012 was some of the hardest era tennis in history. But for you it's only a hard era when nadal is number 1.

    How predictable.
     
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  22. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I'm not saying nadal only won because of his opponents.

    federer had weak opponents from 03-07 (well at least in 07 baby novak and baby murray started) but he proved that he could still win against nole and nadal later. so he is certainly no fluke winner.
    same is true for nadal on clay. he would have won FO titles in every era. but would he have won every year if he had to face a prime guga?
     
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  23. pringles

    pringles Semi-Pro

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    Yea Nadal would have his hands full on clay against Philippoussiss, Blanco, Norman, Schaller or Gaudenzi.

    And who from the 90's would actually beat Nadal on clay, apart from an odd upset? Kuerten, Courier, Bruguera, Muster? Like Nadal would mind.
     
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  24. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    The REAL strong era began when Djokovic joined the party, and started challenging and winning the big titles. That was the start of 2011.

    2008 was not the start of a strong era, as many think. How exactly is 2007 different from 2008? Federer and Nadal have two tough five set matches, and both went the distance, and either could have won. Djokovic and Federer US Open 07 and AO 08, two three set matches that had very close sets, but just one was won by Roger, and the other Novak.

    Let me see, Gonzalez blasts Nadal off the court in AO 07 on route to first final, Tsonga does the exact same one year later to reach his first final and only final also. It just happens that Tsonga faced Nadal one round later, what if he faced him in the first round? Tsonga was beating Murray in the first round, so why not Nadal?

    So, if Nadal had won W 07, and Djokovic won USO 07, then I guess it would have been a tough era.

    What if Federer had also won W 08, he was only two points away, would we still be in strong era, because he would have likely ended the year number one.

    And if anything, Nadal has weak opposition at the FO. We can say that right? Because if Nadal beats everyone left and right without losing games, it is still a strong era, he was just too good. But when Federer wins a slam in dominating fashion, then the era is immediately weak.


    Djokovic rising to the top for me is what has made this a tough era. He challenged and beat Federer and Nadal, who at that point were two all time greats anyway.
     
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  25. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Djokovic certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons given we know how the fedal rivalry works but Djokovic's rivalry with both throws open so many more possibilities.

    In 2012 there was also the rise of Murray to genuine contender for the biggest events.

    I agree there is not much between 2007 and 2008. We're talking about slight margins and players moving slightly in opposite directions. Nadal and Djokovic moving up, but Federer also moving slightly down. Why is it that people credit the slight rise in form of Nadal and Djokovic but don't cerdit the slight dip by Federer? on combined ability of all these players, 2007 and 2008 are pretty much the same. The only issue is Murray improved in 2008 and won 2 masters and made the US Open final. But that's not a huge factor really.
     
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  26. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    I really liked 2012 from a neutral point of view. Because for me, we saw the big four, actually perform like the big four. They all had their moments, and contended all four slam finals, the olympics, and the WTF title matches. And they all split it.

    Yes, 2008 saw Murray rise, but he came into the picture really when he beat Rafa at US Open. He was no challenge just a weeks earlier at W, he Rafa crushed him easily. And he was like a deer caught in the headlights in the final, Federer finished him easily. This year, Murray for me showed his calibre when he pushed Novak all the way in AO, I knew he was finally ready to join the elite.
     
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  27. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Not true!

    I've always compared 04-07 vs 08 onwards; the former time span was relatively weak and transitional the other relatively strong and ultra competitive at the top.

    I never said 2011 was weak; only that Nadal's level was lower than the previous year, much like Nole's level was lower this year than 2011.

    Very simple and straight forward.
     
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  28. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Probably, but then again so did Borg who dominated an even weaker clay era. The people who had tough clay competition are people like Lendl, Wilander, to some degree Kuerten, and to some degree Laver and Rosewall in the mid to late 60s. The era today though has a weak clay era, and an even weaker grass era. Hard courts is the only place that has had a decent field.
     
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  29. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    True, Murray was only a factor from the US Open onwards. This year was hugely competitive, it's just a shame nadal wasn't there post Wimbledon because otherwise this would have been the most competitive year in a very long time, with 4 top class players. It was still great though

    Well fair enough. I do have to say though Nole's leve in 2011 was insane and his level this year when the whole 12 months was done, was nothing amiss. He had a few tough matches last year vs Federer, Nadal and Murray that he managed to pull through better than he maybe should have (in other words matches that could have been long and tough were not always thanks to him gra=bbing the intitiative at the right time and matches there were long he always came through in) this year Fed, Nadal and Murray gave a bit more and Djokovic wasn't quite as clinical.

    Likewise Nadal at the US Open was playing an insane level which cannot be expected to last and most of the year he was not tested anywhere near as he was in other years.

    I think most of the time it doesn't matter as much as peple think

    ps, though why 04-07? Funny coincidence that that's when Federer was number one...

    There was a much weaker period before that. 2000-2003 was weaker, but Fed didn't become number one til 2004 and didn't lose it til 2008, so it has to be 2004-2007. :lol:
     
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  30. DRII

    DRII Legend

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    Because, when I was the first to make the comparison a year or so ago (I think) I was specifically referring to Federer's level of competition. To me there was a clear delineation between pre 08 and post 08: mainly the emergence of two other all time greats on the scene to join Federer and one with the clear potential (Murray)...

    I agree that 2001 to 03 (the end of Sampras/Agassi era going into Hewitt's and Roddick's short time on top) was even weaker than 04-07 and was incredibly transitional...

    Again, i will say as I've always said: there is no such thing as a weak era in a multinational, established sport with the potential to make millions of dollars, but there are certainly weaker eras/time spans.
     
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  31. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    People were saying the competition got stronger is the reason why Roger is not winning slam and isn't rank #1. However, the weak competition got debunked after a 31 years old Roger won Wimbledon and became #1 in the world. In fact, i

    Prime Roger was #1 during 04-07 and that make sense, but not in 2012. So 2012 can only weaker, certainly can't be stronger.
     
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  32. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    What is with 2004 and 2005 getting thrown in with the whole weak era talk? It had Federer, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Agassi, and later Nadal all playing at a very high and - for Safin this is especially important - consistent level, as well as a slew of other talented but decidedly second-tier players like Nalbandian and Davydenko. 2006 is where things started to get a little shaky, with Baghdatis making the Australian Open final, Ljubicic reaching no. 3 in the world, and Hewitt, Safin, and Agassi all dropping off at once. Things started to get better in 2007 with Djokovic becoming a consistent force, but it really wasn't until 2008 when he broke through to win a slam and Murray established the current top four that the tour reached a level of depth comparable to that of 2004 and 2005.
     
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  33. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    guillermo vilas? I think he was better than any of the clay courters nadal faced (well not actually better then fed or nole but those are no clay specialists).
     
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  34. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Quoted for truth. Especially that bolded part. Fantastic stuff Hitman.
     
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  35. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Except Djoko started challenging the top names long before 2011. He beat Fed and Nadal for the first time in masters in 2007 and he beat Fed in a slam for the first time in 2008.
     
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  36. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    People throw those years in because prime (notice I said prime) Federer dominated them, thus all the other players you mentioned, no matter how talented were useless mugs.
     
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  37. Gonzo_style

    Gonzo_style Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with OP. When Nadal was young, in 2005, he started to beat all great players on clay, Moya, Gaudio, Ferrero, Costa, Coria etc. Coria played well in those finals in MC and Rome, but failed to win.
     
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  38. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    I know. It's crazy. Sure, one man ended up winning five of the eight slams played in that period, but the other guys - guys who were slam winners and former world no. 1s - were still making it deep at slams and still consistently challenging Federer and each other.

    Hewitt has two finals, two semis, and two quarterfinals in those two years, and never once did he lose before the second week of a slam. Roddick has two finals, a semifinal, and two quarterfinals. Safin has a win and another final. Agassi had a final, two semifinals, and two quarterfinals. Of course, for Fed-haters, the fact that Agassi did so well and was still solidly in the top ten is just proof of how weak the era was. Flip it to the present and the fact that Federer is still doing so well means the opposite - it's proof that his level hasn't dropped and that we're just in a stronger era. It's illogical nonsense.
     
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  39. beast of mallorca

    beast of mallorca Legend

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    Put Nadal in any era, and he'll be the dominating figure on the clay surface.
     
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  40. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Oh I agree, but you'll never explain that to some people around here. It would be just the same as if I said Nadal dominated a weak clay era, but the truth is he's just ridiculously good on the stuff. This era has given us the false impression that if one of the top 4 doesn't have to go through 2 of the others then his slam is worthless, and if I'm to be honest, I think the consistency has a lot to do with surface homogenization which applies to Federer as well.
     
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  41. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Chances are if you didn't play in the 50s, 80s at the time of Wilander and Lendl etc. or early- mid 90s (courier, bruguera, Muster, agassi, Chang, kafelnikov, etc), you played in a weaker clay era.

    There haven't been many "strong" clay eras. Borg's wasn't strong, neither is Nadal's


    All Borg had to contend with was Vilas (who was probably on par with Fed or a little better), all Nadal has to contend with is Djoker and Fed. Who are "good" dirtballers but certainly not great by any means
     
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  42. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    I think Nadal emerged before 2008, on grass he challenged Federer in 2007. There's not that much difference between 07 and 08, tiny margins changed, Federer going down a bit and Nadal coming up a bit. So nadal had already emerged in 2007, he just hadn't won a non clay slam, but that was only ecause one of the greatest Wimbledon champions had defeated him in a 5th set. Nadal had proved himself beyond dout, though some people didn't want to believe it. Djokovic emerged during 2007 but obviously he cememnted this in 2008. However as a slam player I'd say he was definitely worse in 09 and 10 than he was in 07.

    Of course some periods are weaker (though part of Nadal becoming so good as a player is him aiming at Federer to take his place, then Djokovic aiming at the standard they both set), I just feel people go overboard and assume that certain players would have won nothing in different circumstances. Like this thread about Nadal, Nadal has had it easier with less competition, but he'd still probably have done most of what he has. He would have just lost a few more sets, maybe a title or 2 out of his haul of clay titles. And sorry but I think the same for Federer. He's still won a slam this year beating Murray and Djokovic and beat Djokovic 6-0 7-6 in a final and had a close H2H with him this year despite being 31 and 15 years a pro. It's hard no matter how young you are to keep the same desire after even 10 years which is a factor why Nadal might sometimes seem less focussed the past few years. There are certain players like Nadal on clay who only has Borg in the same league and would beat most other people most of the time. With Federer there are only a few guys like Sampras and maybe Connors and Mac at their best, who would have a significant impact on his career because Federer is in a higher league to most players who have played the game. I think most times Federer would beat guys like Becker because as good as he was he's not in the top level of the game. Yeah it would be harder than beating Baggy. but he'd still win. Prime for prime I still think Federer is a better HC player than Djokovic (who is one of my favourite all time players) and much better on grass. Djokovic has still struggled vs Federer at the US Open everytime they played. On Plexicushion Djokovic is the guy to beat, but on rebound ace who knows.

    True but he failed to back that up for a while, even I was beginning to think he would never win another slam.
     
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  43. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    He still beat those guys in 2009 and 2010. There is no way to contend that his USO 2010 win over Fed should not count. Conversely, he continued losing matches to them in 2011 and after, so there is no reason to start any new era at the beginning of 2011. seems very artificial to me.
     
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  44. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    you don't see any distiction between Djokovic prior to 2011 and afterwards?

    I guess there is no distiction between Nadal in 2005 and in 2008 or 2010..
     
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  45. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    He had his best season in 2011. So what? He lost matches vs Fed and Nadal in 2012 and actually he lost a major match to Fed in 2011. Just because he had a great year means everything he achieved before was not on the same level? Sorry but Djoko started being a force in 2007. He became a top player in 2007. In 2009, he pushed Nadal on clay to his limits. He won slams, masters, WTF AND Olympic medal before 2011. He didn't have his "breakthrough" in 2011. He had his best season which is not the same thing.
    ETA: no, there is no major distinction between Nadal's 2005, 2008 and 2010: those are simply his best 3 seasons on the tour. Nadal has had his "break through" season in 2005. Since then, he's been a top player which is exactly what one could say about Djoko since 2007.
     
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  46. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    His level was almost flawless though. U must not have watched the matches o_O
     
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  47. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Yeah his breakthrough was in 2007, but he didn't reach his potential until 2011, in 2009 and 2010 he actually went backwards as a player.

    It's like Pete Sampras had his breakthrough in 1990, but there;s no question he went up a level in 1993.

    Are you saying Nadal didn't reach another level in 2008 or 2010, he was in fact the same as 2005?

    Not saying Djokovic wasn't a force, but his force wasn't on the same level as Federer and Nadal, and in 2011 he raised his game to be the best player. 2012 wasn't as good but he's still at a higher level than before 2011.
     
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  48. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Sure but that's what happens during a player's peak season. That would be true about Nadal too in 2008 (and like Djoko in 2011, for part of the season, not the entire time). That doesn't change the fact Djoko was already a top player in 2007. I guess the difference it that he became #1, just like Nadal won his first slam off clay in 2008. Those are landmarks all right. That doesn't mean they were not top players or legit threats before they happened.
     
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  49. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    The biggest difference is that he was an actual slam winning threat that was beating Federer and Nadal AT slams. After his AO 08 win, he went backwards. He never followed up on his win over Federer, losing to him at the USO in 08 and 09, as well as to "weak" era clowns Safin and Haas at Wimbledon, another "weak" era clown Roddick at the AO in 2009, Kohlscreiber at RG, and Tsonga at the AO in 2010, Melzer at RG, and Berdych at Wimbledon.
     
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  50. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    I guess we're gonna have to disagree here. To me, Djoko has been a threat to the top players since 2007. He didn't win his first master in 2011, he didn't win his first slam in 2011, he didn't even win his first WTF in 2011 and he certainly didn't beat Nadal and Fed for the first time in 2011. He became better in 2011, no doubt that he went up a (big) notch that year but I'm not sure it justifies treating his former years as irrelevant or completely separate. Rafa also got better in 2008 but he was a major force before 2008 too.
     
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