Fed's Decline or Competition's Rise?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I have heard many declaim the declining footspeed and skills of Monsieur Federer in these, his waning years. Certainly his record is not so dominant in the last three years, as it was 2004-2009.

    Alternatively, could the truth be that his competition has simply gotten better with the maturation and improvement of Djokovic and Murray. Now it seems that he has three good players he must consider. (This does nothing to explain a loss to Stakhovsky.)

    Maybe the reality is a combination of both. Tennis seems to even more be a "young man's game." Not only is Fed getting older, but also his competition has gotten better. If this is indeed the case, I do wonder where on a chronological graph the two curves intersect?


    (Yes, I know he is not a former player, . . . yet. But I do prefer the more informed and reflective level of discourse over here, versus the bile and knee-jerkisms in the General Pro Player forum. Sorry.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Federer would still be winning 2 slams a year in this era if he was in his prime, he's better than these guys on the fasters surfaces. The top guys in this era are more consistant, also Murray and Djokovic since 2011 are very good players. Nadal and Federer are declining, 2011-2012 are the only years strong than 2004-2005 IMO. Although Tsonga and co are worse than the second tier players of Federer's era e.g. Nalbandian, Davydenko.
     
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  3. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, It's a combination of Federer's decline (since this year) and the increase of competition.
     
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  4. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    He declined long before this year, it just wasn't as catastrophic. Although 2012 was his best year since 2009.
     
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  5. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Statistics provided by Falstaff have proven in a convincing way that most players decline as soon as 26 years old. Fed might differ from this pattern, but his success is not a good measure of it.

    Success is not a strong indicator of players prime/peak for the very best, because they have success even out of their prime/peak. for exemple, Nadal had a 80% winning percentage of clay in 2005, and won 40% of his HC master 1000 titles this years. Yet, the common sense tell us that 2005 was not one of his peak year off-clay: He wasn't fully developped on HC and grass at the moment.

    Now, on regard of Fed declining, or his opponents level rising? I thing it is safe to say that it is unlikely that the whole field level rised at the same time. It is much more likely that only 2-3 players rose their level, thus making the opposition harder at the top. This theory fit the common sense, who says that Nadal, Djokovic and Murray transformed a weak era into a though era.

    We can thus make two hypothesis.

    1) If Federer's level have not declined, he should meet the same amount of success against the others players, i.e. maintain the same winning percentage.

    2) If Federer's winning percentage has droped, the change should be imputable to the new top players, not to the common journeyman. If the winning percentage diminution comes from the common journeyman, it is likely that either Federer's level has declined, or the common journeyman' level has increased. Which is unlikely.

    Krosero showed that his winning percentage went down as soon as 2007, and later further down. Was it at the hands of Djokovic, the new challenger, or Nadal?

    Have a look at his record against Djokovic:
    In 2007, Djokovic defeated Fed only once: in Toronto.
    In 2008, he beated him again only once, but this time in AO.
    in 2009, he beated him twice, in Miami and Rome. A feat that has been accomplished by none other than Roddick, Gasquet, Gulbis, Berdych.
    In 2010, he beated Fed once, in the USO SF, 9 month after the AO titles.

    That 5 loss to the hand of Djokovic in 4 years: I don't think that these loss explain the diminution of Fed's winning percentage.

    And a look at his "record" against Nadal:
    From 2005-2007, he lost to Nadal eight time.
    From 2008-2010, he lost six time.

    Here again, it is not the rise of Nadal which is responsible for his poorer winning percentage, as the amount of lost is constent. His loss against Nadal cannot be used to assess Fed'prim/peak because he was losing against him since the beginning. The only difference is that Nadal was able to go further in non-clay slam, and administer to Fed his usual treatment.

    So what is certain is that Fed had a winning percentage over 90% from 2004-2006, and around 80% since 2007, and that this diminution is hardly the responsibility of Nadal or Djokovic. We must conclude that he was vulnerable to a range of second tier players he used to own before, and that is a good indication of decline.

    As a reminder, Fed lost only against Nadal, Safin, Nalbandian, Gasquet and Murray between 2005-2006.
    In 2007 he turned 26 years old (one step of decline according to Falstaff) and his winning percentage declined of one step. In 2007, he registered loss to Gonzales, Canas, Volandri, Nalbandian. In 2008, he had loss against Fish, Roddick, Stepanek, Simon, Blake, Karlovic. In 2009 he lost to Wawrinka, Tsonga, Benneteau, Del Potro. In 2010 to Baghdatis, Gulbis, Berdych, Soderling, Monfils, etc.

    So either all this players reached a higher level that the players of his peak years, Fed declined.
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    NatF has it correct: it has been going on since 2010 at least.

    Whatever "it" is.
     
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  7. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Wonderful post. I believe that it is a combination of both.
     
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  8. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    The competition at the top has clearly increased since the days of Fed's domination of 2003 or 2004-2007. So there has been a CLEAR rise in competition. Murray, Nole, and Nadal have been clear superior players to the field of Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian, Davydenko etc. Maybe Nalbandian and Safin had just as as much raw ability as the top guys do today but mentally they couldn't bring it all together week in week out

    I always said Fed's resume has been wayyy over-inflated because of how weak the field was from that 4 year span of 2004-2007. If he would have had to deal with a prime Nole, Nadal, and Murray his slam count would be significantly less. During Fed's peak years, Nadal was still becoming a force outside of clay, Agassi was reaching his final years (though he was still good he wasn't as good as he was just a few years earlier when he emerged back onto the scene in 1999), Roddick has a FRACTION of the talent that guys like Nole and Nadal have. Hewitt was solid but definitely on par to Nole, Nadal, Murray. Hewitt still only managed to win 2 slams during that transitional era of 2001-2006 or 2007. In fact, after 2005 injuries ended his run.

    Yes Fed isn't the force he was a few years ago. His level has gone down, but the competition at the top of the game has definitely gone up from 2003-2007. There is NO denying that.

    Fed was very fortunate that he came along at a great time during a serious transitional era in tennis. Where there were absolutely NO dominant players around in their primes/peaks which enabled to win 3 slams a year for multiple years with not a whole lot of effort or any type of resistance from the field.

    Fed fans hate to hear that.. But its true. If he hit his prime a few years later (2008-present) or during the 60s, 80s, early 90s etc.. his accomplishments would be noticeably less. All of those eras had more talented threats around in and around the top which could stop Fed from dominating with the type of EASE he did in the early-mid 00's
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  9. 6-3 6-0

    6-3 6-0 Hall of Fame

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    I love the way how PSampras' fanboys jump to RNadal's bandwagon to dismiss RFederer's achievement and greatness :p

    I believe, its NOT a combination of both. RFederer isn't the even the shadow of himself post 2010 (the decline began in 2008 when he was affected by mono) plus RNadal has also declined that year, he is more injury prone.

    Just because this era doesn't have a "RFederer" (dominance), they dismiss the previous era by saying it was weak. The top 10 was STRONGER than it is now. Maybe only the top 3 is stronger now, but overall the competition was better. An old AAgassi was much better than the likes of JJanowicz, GDimitrov, etc.
     
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  10. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    I remember one year Sampras won Wimbledon w/o ever facing a top 10 player. Fed beat Djokovic/Murray to win Wimbledon at nearly 31 last year. Sampras' only impressive Wimbledon win was 1993 when he beat Agassi/Becker/Courier.
     
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  11. 6-3 6-0

    6-3 6-0 Hall of Fame

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    PSampras played a world no. 200+ in a Wimbledon SF (can't remember the year). What a strong era it must have been :twisted:
     
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  12. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Federer beat both of this year's finalists at last year's Wimbledon.
    I doubt that Djokovic or Murray are playing any better this year than last.

    Obviously, Fed at his best is the best of this generation of players.
    I also doubt that there is any more depth to the field this year than last.
     
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  13. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Djoker is playing much better this year than last.
     
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  14. OKUSA

    OKUSA Hall of Fame

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    Yes, going 5 sets to someone who's never been past 4th round in Wimbledon is playing better
     
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  15. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Come with that again...in what way? Oh because he took a Nadal coming back from 8 months to 5 sets in France? If he does not win on Sunday he will be in the exact same position going into the second half of the season, a bit worse due to his two early exits this year in masters series. So please explain? He's looking at a 6-8 title season with one-two majors most likely. Not seeming much better. He is nowhere near 2011 and if anything his better results have more to do with the instant vanishing Fedal.
     
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  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    djokovic is only playing a bit better than last year. murray is playing considerably worse.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  17. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Its federer's decline. If fed were at his peak, there is a very real possibility that delpo/murray would not have won their sole slams and djokovic's tally would be cut down to 3-4 slams, not 6, that nadal would have 2-3 slams off clay, not 4.
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    the transitional era was from 93-99 .

    the era b/w prime lendl, becker, edberg and that of federer/safin/hewitt/roddick/older agassi ( who finally matured ! )

    kafelnikov reaching #1 after seven straight losses
    moya reaching #1
    sampras being #1 in 98 with a considerably worse year than djokovic's 2008
    ( who ended it at #3 )
    'peak' sampras nearly going slamless in 96 ( being down MP to corretja )
    agassi doing nothing of note in majors from 96-98

    stich being a headcase and very inconsistent
    krajicek being perennially injured

    I've always said that had these 2 kept their heads & health, sampras would've ended up with less than 10 majors .

    If that's not the indication of a transitional era, I don't know what is
     
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  19. Nitish

    Nitish Professional

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    #19
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Some Stats

    Current ATP Top Ten
    1 Djokovic, Novak (SRB)
    2 Murray, Andy (GBR)
    3 Federer, Roger (SUI)
    4 Ferrer, David (ESP)
    5 Nadal, Rafael (ESP)
    6 Berdych, Tomas (CZE)
    7 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
    8 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG)
    9 Gasquet, Richard (FRA)
    10 Wawrinka, Stanislas

    I decided to use two separate years as dividing lines for the numbers. The years are 2008 and 2010. The reason I used 2008 for the first year is that is the year I thought Nadal was able to reach levels comparable to what he is now. The second year 2010 was used because I felt that Nadal reached an entirely new level in his winning the US Open that year. His serve was more powerful, reaching speeds of over 130 miles per hour.

    The crux of all the debate seems to center on the big three rivals (I will refer to them overall as the big three here) in Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. And another part of the debate centers on the general strength of the players at the top as opposed to the years Federer was at his peak--2004 to 2006 in which he amassed an incredible record and over five years from 2003 to 2007 he won 12 of 20 majors entered. A great percentage of 60%. A number rarely matched in tennis history.

    Since 2008 Roger Federer has won 5 of 23 majors for a percentage of 21.74. Still superb but obviously a decline. Nadal has won 9 of 20 majors for 45%. Djokovic has won 6 of 22 (with Wimbledon 2013 still a possibility for 7 out of 23) for 27.27%. Murray has won 1 out of 21 for 4.76% with the 2013 Wimbledon as a possibility for 2 out of 22.

    Since 2008 Federer has won 353 matches and lost 71 for a super percentage of 83.25%. Federer has been very consistent in those years with records of starting with 2008 of 66-15, 61-12, 65-13, 64-12, 71-12 and 26-7 this year.

    In that time he is 23-34 against the big three. He has lost 47.9% of all his losses since 2008 against the big three. Simple match indicates that he is 330-37 against everyone else for 89.92 percent. A percentage that seems comparable to his best years.

    I arbitrary decided to include three others in the top ten, excluding (probably wrongly) Ferrer because subjectively I don't think he has the talent to challenge in majors like the others. Of course Ferrer went to the French final this year so who knows. The others are del Potro, Berdych and Tsonga because not only do I feel they are greatly talented but they have defeated players like Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in majors. Del Potro of course won the US Open.

    Since 2008 Federer is 13-4 against del Potro, 9-4 against Tsonga and a surprising only 6-5 against Berdych. Federer is a combined 28-13 against these three for a record of 68.29%.

    Combined against all six of the players mentioned Federer is 51-47 since 2008 for 52.04%. Without these six Federer would be 302-24 for a percentage of 92.6% since 2008. This is in line with some of Federer's great years.

    In majors since 2008 Nadal is 5-0 against Federer, Djokovic is 5-5 and Murray 1-3 for a combined record of 11-8. Del Potro is 1-4, Berdych is 2-2 and Tsonga is 2-3 for a combined record against Federer of 5-11. Combined all six are 16-19 against Federer in majors.

    In majors since 2010 Nadal is 2-0, Djokovic 3-2 and Murray 1-2 for a 6-4 record. Del Potro is 0-2, Berdych is 2-0 and Tsonga is 2-3 for a combined record of 4-5 against Federer in majors. Combined all six are 10-9 against Federer in majors since 2010.

    My general feeling is that Djokovic reached a new level in 2011 and that Murray has reached a new level in 2012 with the help of his coach Ivan Lendl. This is a subjective opinion but I believe it is backed by results of the two. I think only in the last couple of years has the big three of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray been at their highest levels. Of course now with Nadal injured again who know what will happen in the future.

    Anyway, look at the stats and draw whatever conclusions you may want. Obviously if I moved the year back before 2008 Federer would look better and feel free to do so. I just thought Nadal reached a new level in 2008.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
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  21. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    The conclusion I draw (and we have had this discussion before, so not going to re-hash it too much) is that you care a lot about percentages (i.e. what % of slams in a given period a player wins), whereas I care a lot about raw numbers of slams won. :twisted:

    Anyway it is good to see you posting again.
     
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  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    1. explain how nadal's level and record in 2012-13 is comparable to that in 2008 ? He was demolishing almost everyone in sight in 2008 on clay. won queens and wimbledon back to back. Also won Olympics on fast HC.

    This year did not play the AO, struggled on clay vs a lot of players, lost in 1R to darcis at wimbledon

    Last year he lost to rosol in 2R at wimbledon. didn't play in the 2nd half of the year

    in 2006, 07, he was in the wimbledon finals. He gave federer a good match in 2006 and a very tough one in 2007. His 2007 wimbledon final level was pretty much the same that was in 2008 one.

    Certainly much better than his level in the 11 final vs djokovic

    2. It doesn't make sense to remove the win-loss records vs the top players and then say its comparable to that in his peak years - overall record. That's just an uneven comparision

    Try this,

    Remove federer's record vs nadal in 2006, he ends up with a 90-1 record, an astounding 98.9%

    federer's record from 2004-07 is

    74-6, 81-4,92-5,68-9

    a total of 315-24 = 92.92%

    remove his 6-8 record vs nadal,

    ends up with

    309-16 = 95.1%

    3. Subjectively speaking , pigs would fly before falla or even benneateau took prime federer to 5 sets in a best of 5 anywhere, let alone serving for the match or being two points away from winning

    pings would fly before berdych would beat peak federer in a slam or tsonga would straight set a decent federer at RG ( prime fed would at max lose a set vs him at RG )

    pigs would fly before you would see prime fed having only one breakpoint in a 5-set match ( see wimbledon 2011 QF vs tsonga )

    federer won 11 of the 12 non-RG majors from 2004-07 and the only one he lost, it took safin playing his very very best tennis and still federer had a match point in the 4th set TB
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, It's good to read that you are posting again. Interesting statistics.
     
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  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And your conclusion is . . . ?

    . . . Fed has declined, not that the competition has improved?









    (Flying pings? I like it.:))
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  25. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I think the difference between Federer of 2004-2006 and the Federer of today is bigger than the difference between Roddick, Hewitt and Djokovic, Murray. Likewise with his form in large parts of 2008, 2010 etc..
     
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  26. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    There's still this tendency to list Federer's rivals this way, with Nadal in a separate era, not listed at all anywhere in Federer's half of the list.

    If Nadal is going to be regarded as Federer's main rival, then there's no way not to list him as Federer's main rival in Federer's peak years.

    In 2004-07, Nadal was the only one of Federer's rivals who won multiple Grand Slam titles (Guadio and Safin were the only other titlists and they only took 1 title each). In that time period only Nadal and Roddick, among Federer's rivals, made the Wimbledon final.

    Any list of Federer's rivals in his peak years has to put Nadal right at the top.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  27. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I think that it's not just decline by Federer or increased competition. I think that it's been both. Federer's results since about 2007 have not been as good, therefore folks have looked for explanations. I think that there's no question that there has been some decline, but at times Federer is still capable of producing great tennis. It's just much more rare. Also, there's no question in my mind that the top of men's tennis has been tougher in terms of competition from 2008-2013 versus 2003-2008. With both factors playing a role, you have a drop in Federer's performance and results.
     
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  28. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    This strong era in mens tennis only began in 2011 with the rise of Djokovic, before that he was a punch bag for Roddick. 2010 was especially weak with Federer, Murray and Djokovic slumping.
     
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  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Substantive post as always and nice to see you posting again.

    Not replying to all the points made in these posts, but I think this part is exactly right: if Nadal is removed from the latter period then he has to be removed from the former period as well.
     
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  30. ForLoveOfTheGame

    ForLoveOfTheGame Semi-Pro

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    His diminished speed has taken a toll on his ability to win. Federer is a shot maker. Which is why he is in such decline now. You cannot make incredible shots from anywhere on the court when you don't have the speed to get to each and every ball with enough time to set up your shot. It's the very reason why so few people play with a one handed backhand. The argument against it is it feels less secure but I really believe it's because it requires much more footwork and preparation on the windup to be able to unleash the stroke with enough speed that it'll actually do anything when driving down the court. He'll never have this speed again, sadly...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qJiLDK-EBk
     
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  31. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Fed has been declining and an ailing old rocking chair since 2007 (according to his fanatical followers on here). Any win over Federer from 2007 or 2008 on doesn't count here
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    The "strong era"?

    Are you implying that before 2011, men's tennis was in a weak era?
     
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  33. 6-3 6-0

    6-3 6-0 Hall of Fame

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    I hope you know what sarcasm is :twisted:
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I was just trying to be clear in my interpretation.
     
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  35. 6-3 6-0

    6-3 6-0 Hall of Fame

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    Nevermind!
    Just to add to his post, yes, the strong era began in 2011, but ended in October that year. It was weak era until July 2012, then again started the strong era. How about this? :twisted:
     
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  36. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    To add to my previous post :

    1. along with tsonga, berdych, delpo , you missed someone in that time period, who was pretty much there in 08-11 ...... someone who could be put in the same category ........

    someone whom federer has a 16-1 record against and is 5-1 in majors versus ..... overall ...

    understandable since he's been out of the tour since then .

    not much of a difficult guess, is it !?


    2. % of majors won in years is a pretty useless statistic if you ask me, because it is a pretty small sample size and %s don't work well when sample sizes are small

    3. coming back to the %s of matches won if you remove top players, I actually wanted to add on to the previous post, but I'll put it here :

    in 04-07,

    federer lost to these guys multiple times :

    nadal ( 8x )
    nalbandian ( 3x )
    canas (2x)

    you removed records vs 6 guys and ended up with a 92.6%

    federer from 2004-07 :

    vs nadal : 6-8
    vs nalbandian : 7- 3
    vs canas : 2-2

    combined : 15-13

    I'll remove just these 3 and federer's record from 2004-07 becomes :

    from 315-24 to 300-11

    a change from 92.92% to 96.47%

    4. winning %s are indicative of things at times , but not conclusive.

    nadal's best winning % is a completed year is still 2005 , where he was at 89%, not 2008 or 2010

    player A had a record of 61-12 in a year
    player B had a record of 66-11 in the same year

    not much of a difference in their schedules/tournaments played.

    guess what were the ranks of these two players !?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    lol, don't worry ... federer's 5th , yes, FIFTH , best year in 2009 trumps your boy sampras' best year in 94 :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    things are not so black and white.

    As federer declined from his peak, rafa rose to his peak on HC mainly . So overall the field didn't really change that much

    federer's decline in the stages - early 08 and end of 08 & early 09 ( mono and back injury respectively ) , 10 and now in 13 are other sharp turns.

    djokovic's 2011 form was another major sharp turn. But the rest of the field from 2011 or so ( from #5 and below ) has been less impressive than what it was from 2004-07 for instance.

    djokovic in 07 was better than he was in 09 and 10.

    You'd think ~30 year old federer challenging that djokovic much more than prime nadal did in 2011 and federer wrestling away the #1 spot from both djokovic and nadal in 2012 would make those weak era propagandists think/pause a bit.

    But I guess the dislike is a bit too deeply ingrained for that.


    it was a typo. But anyways as it turns out, flying pings is a bit hilarious !
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
    #38
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    If one cares only about raw numbers of slams won, then one might conclude, given that Courier won four slams in his career and Laver won four slams in 1969, that Courier is as great as Laver.

    Do I misinterpret?
     
    #39
  40. 6-3 6-0

    6-3 6-0 Hall of Fame

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    I think RLaver has other impressive achievements to his resume which makes him one of the greatest to have played the sport.
     
    #40
  41. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    If we're only looking at the top 4 guys then there wasn't a Big 4 until 2011 which was my point. There was a brief period in 2011 and 2012 where Federer, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal were playing well. Now some members have started to drop off. Even so the guys beneath them are worse than before so I don't think it's a marked change.
     
    #41
  42. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero, I cannot understand that you neglect the fact that Nadal in Rogers peak years was not yet the peak Nadal. It's correct that even the young Nadal was rather strong but he still was not the Nadal we know`of later years.

    A player at 18 or 20 is seldom a peak player, even not a Rosewall or Hoad. Exceptions were McEnroe, Becker and Wilander.
     
    #42
  43. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    borg number one, well analysed but a true Federer fanatic will never accept that Federer's competition in his peak years was weaker than the top today.
     
    #43
  44. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Nalbandian, Davydenko, Agassi etc...are better than Berdych, Ferrer and Tsonga. The bottom half of the top 10 in 2003 - 2007 was better for the most part.
     
    #44
  45. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Yes.... But they certainly aren't better then Murray, Nole. and Nadal. Well Agassi you can certainly say is better than Murray and Nole (considering all surfaces over Nadal as well) but he was already a bit long in the tooth when Fed got ahold of him.. CLEARLY his best days far behind him


    I wouldn't say Davydenko is better than of any them either. Not to mention Davydenko's peak year didn't come until 2009
     
    #45
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nadal became #2 in the world rankings in July 2005 and held that position until he became #1 in Aug. '08. So he was the world #2 for most of the time period (2004-07) that is regarded as Federer's peak. Federer, of course, was ranked #1 in those years: any listing of his rivals, in those years, has to begin with the world #2.

    That's what I'm trying to get at: people generally make the dividing line between "weak" and "strong" eras as 2008, and they list Nadal as one of Federer's rivals in the post-2008 period, while dropping Nadal's name from the list of pre-2008 rivals, preferring instead to name all the players ranked #3 and below.

    The formula goes like this: "Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are far better players than Roddick, Hewitt and Safin." It's as if Nadal did not even appear until 2008. And it's a formula that makes it seem as if Roddick was Federer's strongest rival in 2004-07, when in fact his strongest rival was Nadal. In that time period Nadal took three Slam titles, beating Federer at each one. All three titles were at Roland Garros, yet Nadal was no clay-court specialist: he reached two Wimbledon finals in that time period just as Roddick did -- and he won three sets from Roger in those matches while Roddick won only one.

    Just because Nadal improved in later years is not a reason not to name him as one of Federer's chief rivals in his peak years of 2004-07.

    Is there ANY good reason, if you're going to name the rivals of the world #1, not to list the #2 player in the world?

    This reminds me a little bit of Lendl's competition in 1986. The world #2 was Becker, who at that time was only winning Slams on grass. He didn't win any Slam off grass until 1989, which is when he really matured overall as a player; he won 3 Wimbledons before he broke out and won something on another surface. Very similar to Nadal who won three French Opens before taking his first Wimbledon.

    So, what are you going do? How would you list Lendl's competition in 1986? The answer is obvious: Becker is at the top of the list. He ended the year #2 on the computer, had an edge in H2H over Lendl that year (3-2), and was the only person to defeat Lendl at a Slam (Wimbledon). Nadal held exactly the same position, relative to Federer, in the 2006 season.

    Of course Becker did not mature fully as a player until 1989. But that is no reason not to name him as Lendl's chief rival in 1986.

    If you did, it would sound something like the formula I mentioned above. Let's say you're talking about how Lendl, in 1988-89, is no longer winning as much as he did in his peak years of 1985-87. So you would say: "Lendl is not winning as much today because Becker and Edberg have finally matured and they are far better players than Pernfors and Mecir." (As you know, those are the two men who Lendl beat in the '86 French and USO finals.)

    Then somebody replies: "Hey, you know that Becker and Edberg were around in 1986, right? They were around and winning Slams, and beating Lendl in the Slams. Why are you leaving them off the list of Lendl's rivals in his peak years?"

    The counter reply would be: "Because Becker and Edberg were not nearly the players that they would become later. Lendl, in his peak years of 1985-87, only faced baby Becker and baby Edberg."

    That's the common idea, right? That Federer, through 2007, only faced "baby Nadal." Well, if that's true and that's a justification for not naming Nadal among Federer's rivals in 2004-07, then it makes just as much sense to drop Becker and Edberg from the list of Lendl's rivals in 1985-87.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
    #46
  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero, I just cannot understand your argumentation. I did not write about Nadal being premature and No.2 behind Federer. I did not contradict. I only said that Nadal as a youngster was not as strong as he was and is later.

    You still have not convinced me that Roger had tough opposition in his peak years. A comparison: Rosewall was strong as early as 1953 when he was arguably the best amateur. But we all know that the 1962 Rosewall was stronger than the 1953 one. Where is the problem?
     
    #47
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    BobbyOne, keep in mind I am not talking (yet) about the strength of Federer's competition at his peak. I am simply asking what is the correct way to list his competitors during his peak years. It should be assumed that if his competitors are going to be listed, then the #2 player right behind him is going to be listed.

    Therefore, this formulation, which I have seen many people use, including yourself, is incorrect: "2008-present is a stronger period than 2004-2007 because Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are far stronger players than Roddick, Hewitt and Safin."

    That formulation limits the lists of Federer's rivals in 2004-07 to the players ranked #3 and below. It omits Nadal entirely, which makes no possible sense because he was the #2 player in the world behind Federer.

    It would be like making a list of Lew Hoad's competitors in 1953 and not mentioning Rosewall. It would be impossible. The fact that Rosewall got better in later years is no justification for omitting him as one of Hoad's chief rivals in 1953.

    Same with Lendl in 1986. Becker has to be listed as his chief rival, regardless of whether Becker improved in later years.

    This is an extremely important logical point: what happens to a competitor in later years has nothing to do with whether he listed as a competitor in an earlier year. Nadal was one of Federer's rivals in 2004-07, and that is determined simply by looking directly at what Nadal did in 2004-07; what happened to Nadal in later years is entirely irrelevant to that question. Nadal could have retired entirely from tennis in 2008 or, on the other hand, won three calendar Grand Slams in a row; none of that has any bearing on whether Nadal is listed as Federer's rival in 2004-07.

    Therefore, this formulation is incorrect: "2008-present is a stronger period than 2004-2007 because Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are far stronger players than Roddick, Hewitt and Safin." You may want to formulate it differently, and that's fine, but as it stands it's incorrect. Agreed?
     
    #48
  49. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    krosero, Your endeavour to praise Federer honours you because Roger is a great player but please don't shut your eyes when considering if Federer had a strong or weak competition in his peak years.

    I don't understand your argumentation: I never doubted that Nadal was Federer's main rival in that time. Both facts are right: your claim that Nadal was Roger's strongest rival then and my claim that the Nadal of 2004 to 2007 was weaker than the "modern" Nadal.

    Our discussion was not about "Who was Federer's strongest rival in Roger's peak years". The question was:"Had Federer weaker competion then than the competition of now?". You critisize me for what I never have done: neglecting the fact that Nadal was Federer's chief rival in his peak years.

    Again: Where is the problem with my claim that Nadal was weaker before his peak years?

    By the way, Rosewall was not Hoad's chief rival in 1953 because Hoad was not a main rival of Roseewall then. Muscles' chief rivals for No.1 position were Trabert and Seixas. Only Dan would rank Hoad very high for 1953.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
    #49
  50. Nativenewyorker

    Nativenewyorker New User

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    This is exactly the way I see it. It's both. Fed is definitely in decline, but honestly that's the way it is with any great champion. They all have to get old. He may be able to produce some great tennis, but not consistently and not nearly as often.

    I also agree that the level of competitions from 2008-2013 versus 2003-2008 is much higher.
     
    #50

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