Fed-Rafa H2H w/o clay bias: Rafa still better

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by GustafsonFanatic, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    Since Fedfans are saying that H2H is skewed because of all the clay matches, consider what the H2H would be if they met proportionally on all surfaces.


    Let's take Federer in 2008 (this is all very approximate, of course)

    Federer played 20 tournaments: 2 on grass, 5 on clay, 13 on hardcourts.

    So if Federer played Rafa in every single one of them, there would be 2 matches, 5 on clay, and 13 on hardcourts. Agree?

    So, the frequency of the surfaces is:

    Grass: 2/20 = 0.1
    Clay: 5/20 = 0.25
    Hard: 13/20 = 0.65

    Now, look at their H2H:

    Grass: 2-1 Fed
    Clay: 9-2 Rafa
    Hard: 3-3

    Next step, multiple the wins by frequency of each surface:

    Federer:

    Grass: 2*0.1 = 0.2
    Clay: 2*0.25 = 0.5
    Hard: 3*0.65 = 1.95
    Total = 0.2+0.5+1.95 = 2.65

    Nadal

    Grass: 1*0.1 = 0.1
    Clay: 9*0.25 = 2.25
    Hard: 3*0.65 = 1.95
    Total = 0.1+2.25+1.95 = 4.3

    As you can see, 4.3>2.65, Rafa would still have a positive H2H even if they played on all surfaces with corresponding frequency.

    Any way you look at it, Nadal is simply better in H2H.

    This has nothing to do with the number of slams won by each player. Federer has way more slams right now and he will definitely have more at the end of their careers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
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  2. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    This took me no more than 5 minutes.

    If you find it too complicated, just look at it this way:

    1) HC is the most frequent surface and on HC, H2H is 3-3, equal
    2) There are more tournaments on clay than on grass, and Nadal leads the H2H on clay by a huge margin (9-2) whereas Fed leads on grass by just 2-1, so Nadal's clay wins overwhelm Fed's wins on grass.
     
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  3. Blinkism

    Blinkism Legend

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    Not to mention, Federer leads their non-clay H2H by just 1 match. Even if they just met 2 times on clay, the most likely scenario would be that Nadal would win both those matches and lead the H2H

    Also, before anyone gets into anything about how Nadal's success on other surfaces against Federer is because of his mental edge on clay translating into other surfaces, don't forget that

    in their first 2 matches that a 17 year old Nadal, first, put the beatdown in less than an hour on Federer (just fresh from winning the AO and reaching #1) in Miami and, a year later, almost beat Fed in straights in the final.

    This was all before Nadal had begun his prominence as a clay-courter. At this point, Federer had achieved more on clay (1 Master's title, 1 Master's final, 1 QF appearance at the FO as opposed to no Master's finals on clay or appearances at the FO for Nadal). Their first 2 matches were on hardcourts and already Nadal was getting into Fed's head.

    Their next 2 matches were split on clay and hardcourts. First, Nadal denied Fed his first chance to reach a FO final and then he beat him in Dubai. Already, 3/4 of their matches were on HC's and Nadal, overall, was the superior in 2 of those matches.

    People exaggerate the impact of clay on the Nadal-Federer rivalry.

    The fact is that Nadal was always able to compete with Federer on HC's and on Grass. Federer was also able to compete with Rafa on clay, many of their matches being very close- but, at the end of the day, what matters is the victory. Nadal fully deserves all of the matches he won and it's not fear to pretend like the H2H is meaningless and their rivalry is just the result of Nadal's clay court prowess. Forget clay courts for a second- who has ever challenged a prime Federer on hardcourts like Nadal did? For sure, no one challenged Fed on grass like Nadal did.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  4. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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    edit: nevermind
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
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  5. Agassifan

    Agassifan Hall of Fame

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    If it makes you sleep better, so be it.
     
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  6. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    I agree. I mean, it's obvious just looking at their HC H2H. It's equal (3-3) and Nadal is much superior on clay than Fed on grass.

    This doesn't mean that Nadal is more GOAT than Fed. It's just that the clay is not that much of an impact on H2H, as you say.
     
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  7. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    What do you mean? :confused:

    You just take the frequency of the surface and multiply it by the number of wins on that surface.
     
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  8. Blinkism

    Blinkism Legend

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    No, obviously it doesn't.

    I just feel, sometimes, that people discredit the H2H to put down Nadal more than put down any argument that Nadal is GOAT (what sane poster actually argues that?).
     
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  9. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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    Yeah you have your point, but basically it's telling us what we already knew right?

    Nadal is a LOT better on clay over Federer than Federer is on grass over Nadal.
     
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  10. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    I wonder what they think about Rafa's H2H vs Novak, which is 14-6 (just 1 more win for Rafa than 13-7). Djokovic actually leads 6-5 when you discard the clay.

    Is 14-6 close?

    I dont' know. Does anyone?
     
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  11. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Yes, because h2hs reflect the comparative ability of players much more than titles won, which is why Paul Haarhuis and Richard Krajicek, for example, are better than Sampras.
     
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  12. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    Who said that?

    I heard a lot of complaining about how Nadal leads H2H just because they played too many clay matches. That's not true.

    That's the only thing I'm addressing. Look at my other posts if you think I'm a ********.
     
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  13. TennisVeritas

    TennisVeritas New User

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    Quite pathetic really..I mean why are you taking the '08 as a reference season to judge about the H2H between these two great players? Is your agenda to tarnish FED's stats!!

    It is like judge Rafa's career based on his worst (half) a season, i.e. the '09 one after RG...What is the purpose of your "work" if not winding up FED's fans..

    Give us a break: FEDvs Rafa stats are clearly biased by the surface factor and this is in my opinion a fact (how many time they had the opportunity to play one against the other in the US summer events when FED was at his best.. Think about that)..
     
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  14. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    No, people say the h2h is lopsided because of the disproportionate number of matches played on clay. That is true.

    Maybe you did not mean Nadal is literally better and was only referring to the h2h, but the title is a tad unclear in this regard:

    'Fed-Rafa H2H w/o clay bias: Rafa still better'
     
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  15. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    If you want, you can divide the hardcourts into slow and fast, and do an even more detailed analysis.

    But, Nadal would still lead.

    You say that they played too many mathces in 2008 when Fed was at his worst. That's true, but they played each other since 2004 when Rafa was 17!!!

    They also played 8 matches from 2004 to 2006 (during Fed's absolute prime). Was Rafa in his prime in those years? When he was 20, and before that?
     
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  16. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    I mean better in H2H (in actual matches he plays against Fed, regardless of surface), not tennis ability or success. Fed obviously had more success and Rafa will not match him by the end of his career.

    What would you call Rafa's h2H with Djokovic (14-6, and 9 matches on clay)? Ownage, lopsided, equal?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  17. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    If I remember correctly,they are 13-7 in the h2h with 11 matches on clay and 9 on non-clay surfaces. Rafa leads the clay with 9-2 and Roger the non-clay with 5-4 on non-clay surfaces. 5-4 is still pretty close. Let's say for the sake of argument that Rafa was in his HC prime in the 2004(their first HC meeting)-2207(their last HC meeting outside of AO 09' where presumably fed wasn't in his prime). They shared their victories quite evenly on non-clay surfaces though one expected to obliterate Nadal on those. 2-1 on grass for Fed and 3-3 on HC. And they usually went to 5 sets outside of clay,there were 5 sets in miami 05',5 sets in WB 07 and WB 08'. Though there was a memorable 5 set final in Rome between them.

    If I had to draw a conclusion,I would have to say that Rafa dominates Fed on clay though Fed is one of the few who can stand up to Rafa on clay and that Rafa holds his own quite nicely against Fed outside of clay as well,though if Fed is on a roll he can dominate him on fast surfaces,a la TMC 06' and 07.
     
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  18. akv89

    akv89 Hall of Fame

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    You make a good point. Nadal does have Fed's number regardless of the "most matches are on clay" argument. But it doesn't change my opinion that H2H is by nature very misleading. In addition to biases created by what surface the player play on, there are biases in the H2H created by matchups, and also by the time in the player's career when the matches were played (or not played). For example, there is bias in the H2H that does not reflect the recent form of the two players because Nadal hasn't been able to reach the finals of any of the tournaments that both have played since Madrid as a result of his decrease in form.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  19. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is not better than Federer simply because they are both measured against the tour, not against each other.

    The tour is always there, it does not have mono or tendinitis. The tour is now playing the Year-End Championship in London while Nadal just lost 2 matches and the opportunity to update their H2H with Federer. Yes, again.

    As I say, I have a pretty solid H2H with Federer myself. In fact, I never lose to the guy despite all his futile efforts. Neither does Nadal these days.
     
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  20. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    Of course Nadal is better h2h. He leads their h2h because of clay. But clay is an important surface. On other surfaces he's done equally well in their matches against each other. Still I feel there are a ton of reasons to say the h2h is biased, and not telling the whole story. Fact is just that Rafa does well against Roger.

    However, imo a h2h tells nothing about who the better player is. Soderling isn't better than Davydenko, Nalbandian isn't better than Rafa, Murray isn't better than Federer, Krajicek isn't better than Sampras.
     
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  21. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    Ok, I can agree with almost everything. Nadal is a bad matchup for Fed. And they didn't play recently when Rafa was in bad shape. But, H2H also doesn't reflect that fact that they played a lot of matches from 2004 to 2006 when Fed was at his very best and Nadal was still 2 years before his best (2008 ).

    Actually Rafa leads 6-2 in 2004-2006. Those are Federer's best years. Nadal was still 2 years before his prime (which is 2008 ). Nadal only became really good on HC in 2008 (by "good" I mean good enough to reach semis of a slam and stop losing to Gonzo and Blake ).
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  22. Speranza

    Speranza Hall of Fame

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    Good news for the Rafa vs Federer H2H

    delete post.
     
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  23. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    The problem with placing great value in h2hs generally, even outside of surface bias, is that there are no constants and is no consistency in when and how players meet. In football leagues, teams will play each other a set number of times at home and away, so neither side has an unfair advantage. Teams can also make up for any shortfalls/injuries/illnesses/problems elsewhere with the substitution of other quality team mates. There is also consistency in the duration of matches and the periods between them.

    In tennis there are no such constants. You can play a particular player 5 times in one season, when you are having a particularly bad period with injury, illness or confidence problems, yet meet them only 1 or 2 times during a season where circumstances are reversed. There is no regularity in when you meet and no team support when you are not up to the task. Other times you may play a particular individual more often on their preferred surface and your least or in circumstances which suit them more. H2hs tell us less than overall results because there is no consistency in the circumstances and number of meetings.
     
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  24. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    I would say their h2h is lopsided. Even though h2hs can behave in funny ways and should not always be taken as gospel, their h2h clearly shows Nadal is stronger on clay/grass and Djokovic is stronger on hardcourts. This conclusion is also supported by their overall results. Given that this is the case, when, how and on what surfaces they meet have a huge impact on what the h2h looks like taken out of context. I would not describe it as ownage, other than on clay. Nadal is 9-0 on clay and 2-0 on grass. Djokovic is 6-3 on hard. This plus their overall results paint a very clear and consistent picture.
     
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  25. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    Fed's loss in Dubai was inexcusable.
    I do however think that Fed's prime on Clay was 2006-2009 rather than 2004-2006. His level of play on clay was just subpar especially in 2004, but also in 2005.
     
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  26. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Not true and this is not a good definition of 'good'. Nadal won the Candian and Madrid 1000 tournaments in 2005, plus made the final in Miami. Outside of the Slams, this is the year he posted his best hardcourt results, which demonstrates he could play very well on the surface. What might have been preventing him at the hardcourt Slams could have been any number of things. Maybe he got tougher draws, maybe the competition were playing particularly well or were more determined on those particular days. Best of 5 is also more challenging than best of 3, so there may have been physical reasons earlier on also. Having said that, he did dominate the clay season in 2005 as well as win Roland Garros, but hardcourts also pose a different physical challenge. We should also bear in mind that even now, Nadal is less strong on hardcourts than he is on clay. In the last 2 years his results at the hardcourt Slams have improved, but his results and performances weren't exactly chopped liver back then either and his results at other hardcourt events have not really improved noticeably from those in 2005. Results can change from day to day based on many factors and may not always be exactly proportionate to how good you are in relation to another time. Look at footage of some of Nadal's performances in 04, 05, 06. He is not playing markedly less well than he was in 07, 08, 09, despite improvements.

    Also, although Nadal was very young in his early matches with Federer, he was still the No.2 through most of that, so we should focus on his level more than his age. Look at tennis history amongst the best. It's not particularly rare to see prodigious ability like this i.e. Becker, Chang, Borg, Agassi etc. Human ability is not limitless. There is a limit and a learning curve that gradually straightens. If you get to that sooner than others, so be it, but it does not mean you will continue at this rate. Nadal improved, but they were not huge improvements and it's not as if others were not improving as well or getting worse. There are also other pieces of information which might be missing, like the fact Federer had heatstroke the first time they met. I mean, you never really know what is going on with these players from one moment to the next. You have to wait until the autobiography, à la Agassi, before you can get the inside track and even then you still may be in the dark. In any case, overall ranking and results do not lie.
     
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  27. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    I can't be bothered to read this whole thread but if you are using Federer in 2008 as your data reference then this is a joke.
    That is the period when Fed was in his biggest ever decline/slump vs Rafa in his all-time prime....
     
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  28. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    So if other people will compare Rafa's matches from 2009,they should leave out the second part of the season because he was in a major slump as well?
    Fed had his share of problems in 08' but like I said before the guy made 3 out of 4 Slam finals and missed his chance in AO because that was when mono seemed to be affecting him the most(he was sweating buckets and his face looked swollen). There is a good chance that if he faced anyone else other than Nadal(bad match-up) he would have won both RG and WB that year.
     
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  29. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    No, ok use 2009 instead then. Oh, they played twice, one win a piece, and Roger is the better clay-courter?
    Better to do it across their whole H2h.
     
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  30. TennisVeritas

    TennisVeritas New User

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    You are just wrong, when you are referring to this concept, i.e. the prime years of Rafa. As far as we know Rafa best years might be over yet: Rafa started a lot early in the professional tour, who knows if he did reach his beast last year and the '06-'07 were the seasons in which he was near his peak (on clay it is quite likely this was the case)..who knows: Do you have a crystal ball to tell when a tennis player has his own peak..

    The main critic remains: You are analyzing everything taking the '08 as the main season..give us a break: this was the worst FED's season and by far.
     
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  31. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    No, no, no, I never used 2008 for anything. The only thing I used 2008 for was to see how many tournametns are played on each surface. In 2008, Fed played 13 on HC, 5 on clay, and 2 on grass. Federer usually plays 2 tournaments on grass, 4-5 on clay, and about 10-13 on hardcourts. I could have taken any other year and my results would be nearly identical (ie. Nadal would have better H2H).

    So, forget about 2008. I didn't use matches in 2008. I only used H2H throughout their entire careers.
     
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  32. GustafsonFanatic

    GustafsonFanatic Banned

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    For a player like Nadal, it's more difficult to see clearly what and how they improved. But it is clear that he improved a lot in 2006 and 2007 on clay. He was losing to Andreev before that and getting bageled by Gaudio. And even that is nothing compared to 2008.

    But, he was always a bad matchup for Federer, though. Even when he was young, Fed found it difficult to play with him (even though Blake and Berdych didn't), so you have a point there. But, nevertheless, Fed got beaten far worse in RG 2008 than RG 2005, and it wasn't just because of mono. Nadal just got better in the meantime.

    Well, you are coming up with excuses for Federer now. I know he has had a few serious ailments (heatstroke, mono, backpain). But I can come up with a whole bunch of excuses for Rafa as well (tired in Madrid, injured in Wimb2007, confused in his 1st Wimby final in 2006, choked and wasn't fit in Miami). Rafa probably has even more excuses than Fed since he had more injuries in his career.
     
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  33. David L

    David L Hall of Fame

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    Nadal was ranked No.2 (where he is now) by the start of the 2005 US summer hardcourt season. That's the kind of level he was playing at, not that of an 18 year old playing junior tournaments. He was the No.2 amongst men. Of course he improved from this point, but he's not the only player on tour. There are many players out there improving or getting worse at any given time and by degrees. Also, Gaudio was pretty good on clay back then, but Nadal still mainly handled him quite comfortably.

    Nadal hit peak levels at Roland Garros 2008, but this may not be truly reflective of a level he is capable of sustaining. None of his other score-lines last year matched this particular purple patch. Also, I do not believe Federer was fit enough, stamina wise, at Roland Garros last year, because of the disruption caused to his training schedule by his illness. This I believe resulted in uber aggressive tactics and a swifter defeat in the final than might otherwise have been the case. It was a one-off, not something you can regularly expect. If Nadal got unimaginably better in 2008, you have to wonder what Davydenko was doing beating him so handily in Miami. The fact is that players can have good runs or purple patches, as well as poor runs, without necessarily experiencing huge material changes in their general ability. It's happened to Federer, Safin, Gaudio, Davydenko and practically every other player who has played the game. Nadal got better, but not that much better and he was not alone.

    As far as excuses/reasons go, if they a real, then it skews the outcome of particular matches, regardless of what we make of them, but you cannot skew a whole career, which is truly reflective of a player.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  34. JennyS

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    Some people are forgetting something: out of Nadal and Federer's hardcourt meetings, only two came during the later part of the season. The others: Miami 04, Miami 05, Dubai and the Australian Open were at the start of the season. Nadal's Jan-March hardcourt results are almost always better than his summer/fall hardcourt results.

    I think the proper way to break down their meetings is the time of year the matches occured:

    Jan-March: Nadal 3-0
    April-June: Nadal 9-3
    July: Federer 2-1
    August-October: no meetings
    November: Federer 2-0

    1st half of the season: Nadal 12-3
    2nd half of the season: Federer 4-1.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  35. Good post Jenny,

    Nadal it seems is trying to win as much as possible in a short period of time whereas Federer will probably win slams over a 8-9 year span (not impossible) and Federer is 5 years (thats a lot in tennis) older than Nadal but a lot fresher over the whole season.
     
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  36. AM95

    AM95 Hall of Fame

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    you fail..your still taking the clay h2h in account
     
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  37. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    Agassi vs Sampras broken down by time of year

    1st half of the season
    Agassi 8-7

    2nd half of the season
    Sampras:13-6
     
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  38. bruce38

    bruce38 Banned

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    I think the point Nadaltards keep missing is this:

    As pointed out by the OP, the total number of HC matches is actually >> clay court matches. YET, they have had more encounters in clay court matches than hardcourt. Can someone please answer why? What Nadaltards can't fathom is that the answer to this question also impacts H2H.
     
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  39. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    Thanks!

    Imagine if 15 of the meetings were during the second half of the season and only 5 were during the first half of the season. Nadal never would have gotten in Federer's head without all of those clay losses. So if they had mostly met in the later stages of the season, Fed would have been the one in Nadal's head!

    Heck, Nadal may not have won Wimbledon without the psychological advantage of leading the h2h. Without having beaten Federer 11 times prior to the 2008 Wimbledon final, would he have had the belief that he could beat him there?
     
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  40. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

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    Oh my goodness.

    Give it a break.

    Without getting too technical.

    Rafa's h2h isn't skewed by the clay.

    It's close on hard and grass as well.

    And all of this while Fed is five full years older than him.

    Imagine if they were the same age.
     
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  41. bruce38

    bruce38 Banned

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    So you say give it a break then go on to rattle of 4 more points that continues it. Interesting "logical" process.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  42. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    That's a good point. I think we should consider the number of same clay tournaments played versus same hardcourt tournaments played starting with Miami 2005:

    Same hardcourt tournaments played: 40, played each other in 5
    Same claycourt tournaments played: 17, played each other in 11

    Overall, Federer and Nadal have played each other in 12.5% of their hardcourt tournaments and in 64.7% of their claycourt tournaments since spring 05. Unbelievable!
     
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  43. bruce38

    bruce38 Banned

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    Thanks for backing up my point with stats. Any Nadaltards care to answer why this is the case? Anyone???? Nadaltards?? Are you there???
     
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  44. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

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    The debate isn't about who's better. I think that's what many fans are missing.

    The issue is that the results aren't skewed because we are talking about the #1 and #2 players on clay are meeting the most, because they are the best.

    But, if Nadal gets to Fed on the other surfaces, Fed does not dominate Nadal on his better surfaces like Nadal dominates Fed on his best surface.

    This does not mean Nadal is the GOAT.
    Or, he is better than Fed.
    Or, that he will end up with more slams than Fed.

    It was only brought up to disprove the claim that the h2h is skewed because of the clay.

    If people want to pick and choose that would open up the door to the disparity in their ages, primes, first and half of the season and other such nonsense.

    The bottom line is that it's a bad matchup. Nothing more. Nothing less.
     
    #44
  45. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    Thanks!

    Here is an even better stat

    From 2006-2008, Nadal and Federer met in 9 out of 11 same clay court tournaments played! In that same period of time, they only played each other 3 times on hardcourts!
     
    #45
  46. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Uhmmm, you fail miserably. You took one year (2008 )to come up with this BS??

    Let me give you some stats:

    Between 2004 and 2008, Fed played 8 hard court slams, made it to the finals of 7, in which he won all 7.

    Nadal failed to make the finals of any of them, because he wasn't good enough to meet fed that deep in a hard court slam.

    By comparison, between 2005 -2008 Fed was good enough to face Nadal 4 straight years at the French.

    so, Just looking at slams, Nadal had a 4-0 record.
     
    #46
  47. Sartorius

    Sartorius Professional

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    I think that would be better for Federer.

    In my opinion, the most important aspect of this rivalry is not clay (not to say it's not important at all though), it's the age difference. For the most part, it has and is going to play against Federer's favor.

    http://www.gototennisblog.com/2009/07/20/rafael-nadal-i-have-an-advantage-over-roger-federer/

     
    #47
  48. bruce38

    bruce38 Banned

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    What happened to give it a rest? Do you not practice what you preach?
     
    #48
  49. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

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    Whatever happened to this?

     
    #49
  50. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    all excellent posts, and yet these momos don't get it.

    Guess they were absent from school when math and logic were taught.
     
    #50

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