Peak Level over Five Years

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    In 09 and 10 there was no big 4 really. Murray nor Djokovic made a slam final in 2009 with loses to players like Haas, Roddick, Gonzalez, Cilic...2010 was more of the same for them though they made slam finals 1 each. Djokovic won just a single masters title in that entire 2 year period and didn't record a win over a top 10 player in 2010 until September.

    Neither Murray nor Djokovic were particularly stronger than the top contenders of Federer's era if at all in this period. For example Djokovic in 2007 was playing better than in 09 or 10.

    The field didn't get stronger till 2011 really.
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The big three wasn't as strong but Djokovic was already in the mix and Murray was very good in regular tournaments. Perhaps it all evens out with Federer being a better player while the three weren't quite as good and later Federer declining and the other three improving so a look at the records could still give us interesting information.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  3. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Great stuff, particularly re: the total matches played against the Top 10 as the 2000s crept along. Plenty of ways to read that data, all worth discussing.

    I might go back and add record against Top 5 opponents to the Nadal entries, just to see if any differences emerge.

    EDIT: Just added the Top 5 numbers. First thought is that it's interesting how Nadal played better against 1-5 than 6-10 in the 2006-09 range or so, particularly when compared to how much better he played the second half of the top 10 in later years (33-5 against those guys from 2010-13; 27-3 from 2011-13; 19-0 from 2012/13). Might be due to facing the Top 5 on preferred clay more often in early years:

    2006 - 8 matches against the Top 5; 4 on clay, 1 grass, 1 outdoor hard, 2 indoor hard. 6-2 overall record - 4-0 on clay, 0-1 on grass, 1-0 on outdoor hard, 1-1 on indoor hard.

    2007 - 12 matches against the Top 5; 6 on clay, 2 grass, 2 outdoor hard, 2 indoor hard. 8-4 overall record - 5-1 on clay, 1-1 on grass, 1-1 on outdoor hard, 1-1 on indoor hard.

    2008 - 14 matches against the Top 5; 8 on clay, 2 grass, 4 outdoor hard. 11-3 overall record - 8-0 on clay, 2-0 on grass, 1-3 on outdoor hard.

    2009 - 12 matches against the Top 5; 6 on clay, 3 outdoor hard, 3 indoor hard. 7-5 overall record - 5-1 on clay, 2-1 on outdoor hard, 0-3 on indoor hard.

    2010 - 8 matches against the Top 5; 1 on clay, 1 grass, 3 outdoor hard, 3 indoor hard. 5-3 overall record - 1-0 on clay, 1-0 on grass, 1-2 on outdoor hard, 2-1 on indoor hard.

    2011 - 16 matches against the Top 5; 7 on clay, 2 grass, 6 outdoor hard, 1 indoor hard. 8-8 overall record - 5-2 on clay, 1-1 on grass, 2-4 on outdoor hard, 0-1 on indoor hard.

    2012 - 6 matches against the Top 5; 3 on clay, 3 on outdoor hard. 4-2 record overall - 3-0 on clay, 1-2 on outdoor hard.

    2013 - 17 matches against the Top 5; 7 on clay, 7 on outdoor hard, 3 on indoor hard. 12-5 record overall - 6-1 on clay, 5-2 on outdoor hard, 1-2 on indoor hard.

    The main takeaway here is that even if his peak level play is largely recognized to be in the 2007-10 range, Nadal has certainly become a more consistent player across the tour in recent years - particularly on HCs.

    Through 2009, Nadal was meeting his peers in the rankings about half the time or more on clay; since then, it's generally around half the time or more on hard courts. His HC results against the Top 5 are still not great in the 2009-13 range (14-18 by my count, versus 7-10 in the 2006-10 period), but he's meeting Top 5 players a lot more frequently on HCs than he was back then, which means of course he's generally progressing further in those events.

    Still maintaining clay superiority over the Top 5 in any 5 year stretch, of course.

    Anyway, perhaps this data suggests favoring the 2009-13 range. Though, again, it's just hard to skip 2008, including that 10-0 result on clay/grass against Top 5 players.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  4. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    Just for fun, and draw whatever conclusions you want, but I'm going to look at Connors' losses from '74-'80 and Federer's from '03-'09, categorize them into losses inside/outside top 10.

    Connors 1974.....................Federer 2003
    Losses: 4...........................Losses: 17
    Losses top 10: 1.................Losses top 10: 5


    Connors 1975......................Federer 2004
    Losses: 7...........................Losses: 6
    Losses top 10: 3..................Losses top 10: 0

    Connors 1976......................Federer 2005
    Losses: 7...........................Losses: 4
    Losses top 10: 5..................Losses top 10: 2

    Connors 1977......................Federer 2006
    Losses: 10..........................Losses: 5
    Losses top 10: 8..................Losses top 10: 3

    Connors 1978......................Federer 2007
    Losses: 6............................Losses: 9
    Losses top 10: 3..................Losses top 10: 4

    Connors 1979......................Federer 2008
    Losses: 12..........................Losses: 15
    Losses top 10: 10................Losses top 10: 10

    Connors TOTAL '74-'79........Federer TOTAL '03-'08
    Losses: 46........................Losses: 56
    Losses top 10: 30...............Losses top ten: 24
    % of losses top 10: 65.2......% of losses top 10: 42.9
     
  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The stats here seem to indicate that Connors was rarely upset by anyone but a top player, even more so than Federer.
     
  6. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Djokovic was in the mix already in 2007, his win at Montreal was more impressive than anything he won in 2009 - beat Roddick, Nadal and Federer in a row. In 2009 Djokovic lost to Roddick over and over including at the AO where he was defending champion. Murray was good but I don't think he was any better than the guys Federer was stomping all over. Murray lost to Roddick at Wimbledon too. I think Roddick of 2004 would have beaten them both plenty.

    There was less emphasis in the masters in the mid 00's, Federer regularly skipped them.
     
  7. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    I get what you're saying, and I'm certainly not one to diminish Fed's competition in his early days: Roddick, Hewitt, "diaper binky-baby grass virgin" Nadal, et. al. get mercilessly shredded because Fed mauled them and the field during the 2003-2007 period.

    However, do I think Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal (certainly by 2007) were better players, however marginally, than Fed faced before, after 2007? Yes, I do. Fed had declined, but he started losing more and more to the same guys. Yes, he had bad losses outside of them, which (to me, at least) is indicative of decline, but I can't imagine he'd run roughshod on these guys if their peaks and primes were concurrent.
     
  8. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    That's my point though, 09 and 10 were not peak years for Murray and Djokovic, nor even prime for Djokovic. So why should they be qualified as strong years? He started losing more to everybody. He lost to Roddick, Blake, Stepanek, Karlovic, Fish etc...in 2008 for example. Guys from his own era.

    Murray is the equivalent of Hewitt IMO, I don't see him getting Federer at any major tournaments. He didn't until 2013.
     
  9. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    To me, it indicates why Connors walked away with only 5 major titles in this span of time compared to Federer's 13 in a similar stretch. It's true that Connors played only 63% of the major tournaments that Federer did in the same amount of time, but he was much more prone to falling against better players than Federer was. I didn't break it down in that way, but it seemed that the upsets, losses to players outside the top ten, came a lot more often for both of them outside of the Slams.

    A differential of over 20% of losses to top 10 players vs. not 10 top is, to me, huge.
     
  10. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Thanks - I'll take a look at the ITF site.
     
  11. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Stuck this in a post above, but thought I'd give it its own post as perhaps another jumping off point for the Nadal 2006-10, 2007-11, and 2009-13 analyses.

    Here are his records against Top 5 players, broken down by surface, from the 2006-13 range (overall Top 5 records for each range has been edited into the original posts):

    2006 - 8 matches against the Top 5; 4 on clay, 1 grass, 1 outdoor hard, 2 indoor hard. 6-2 overall record - 4-0 on clay, 0-1 on grass, 1-0 on outdoor hard, 1-1 on indoor hard.

    2007 - 12 matches against the Top 5; 6 on clay, 2 grass, 2 outdoor hard, 2 indoor hard. 8-4 overall record - 5-1 on clay, 1-1 on grass, 1-1 on outdoor hard, 1-1 on indoor hard.

    2008 - 14 matches against the Top 5; 8 on clay, 2 grass, 4 outdoor hard. 11-3 overall record - 8-0 on clay, 2-0 on grass, 1-3 on outdoor hard.

    2009 - 12 matches against the Top 5; 6 on clay, 3 outdoor hard, 3 indoor hard. 7-5 overall record - 5-1 on clay, 2-1 on outdoor hard, 0-3 on indoor hard.

    2010 - 8 matches against the Top 5; 1 on clay, 1 grass, 3 outdoor hard, 3 indoor hard. 5-3 overall record - 1-0 on clay, 1-0 on grass, 1-2 on outdoor hard, 2-1 on indoor hard.

    2011 - 16 matches against the Top 5; 7 on clay, 2 grass, 6 outdoor hard, 1 indoor hard. 8-8 overall record - 5-2 on clay, 1-1 on grass, 2-4 on outdoor hard, 0-1 on indoor hard.

    2012 - 6 matches against the Top 5; 3 on clay, 3 on outdoor hard. 4-2 record overall - 3-0 on clay, 1-2 on outdoor hard.

    2013 - 17 matches against the Top 5; 7 on clay, 7 on outdoor hard, 3 on indoor hard. 12-5 record overall - 6-1 on clay, 5-2 on outdoor hard, 1-2 on indoor hard.

    The main takeaway here is that even if his peak level play is largely recognized to be in the 2007-10 range, Nadal has certainly become a more consistent player across the tour in recent years - particularly on HCs.

    Through 2009, Nadal was meeting his peers in the rankings about half the time or more on clay; since then, it's generally around half the time or more on hard courts (see particularly 2010 and 2013). His overall HC results against the Top 5 are still not great in the 2009-13 range (14-18 by my count, versus 7-10 in the 2006-10 period), but he's meeting Top 5 players a lot more frequently on HCs than he was back then, which means of course he's generally progressing further in those events.

    Still maintaining clay superiority over the Top 5 in any 5 year stretch, of course.

    Anyway, perhaps this data suggests favoring the 2009-13 range, to the extent it reflects balanced results across surfaces. Though, again, it's just hard to drop 2008, including that 10-0 result on clay/grass against Top 5 players.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  12. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I'll add that for Murray his win/loss record in 2010 was 72%, much lower than the likes of Hewitt and Roddick in 04-05 for example. Djokovic was at 77% in 2010 but he didn't make the final of even a masters tournament that year - though he made the USO final.

    There's no way those guys were better competition than Roddick and Hewitt in their peak years.
     
  13. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    This is a fair point. It's worth noting (and apologies if you've heard this from me before) that Connors had to deal with surface experimentation at his signature GS event, the Open, from '74-'78. 3 different surfaces (and a title on each) at the US Open during his 1974-78 peak; given that he made the finals or won the event all five of those years - and given that he made 11 finals out of 12 GS events he entered from '74-'78 - he may've had a somewhat better GS haul/conversion rate had his peak coincided with a more stable period in the game (I think he wins at least 1 more US Open myself, and possibly 2).
     
  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Angie aka AngieB is an angel with rather strange opinions and odd behaviour.
     
  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, the "tour" is more than your AMPOL tournament tour.

    Rosewall was 5:2 in tournament clashes and 8:4 overall. Learn history!
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, My mistake. I meant early 1960. Thanks for your hint to my error.
     
  17. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, my mistake: I meant of course early 1960 not 1960s. Could not sleep enough since several days.

    It's actually right (not an excuse) that Rosewall was an old man in 1965 and therefore probably lost his No.1 spot to Laver. Age was a disadvantage for Muscles in most years he played against the Rocket.
     
  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Carsomyr, Rosewall lost his No.1 place when being 30/31 (in 1965). Most players had their peak (not prime) in that time from 25 -29. Nowadays they peak earlier.
     
  19. SpicyCurry1990

    SpicyCurry1990 Hall of Fame

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    65-69 Laver:

    65:
    US Pro F
    French Pro F
    Wembley Pro W

    66:
    US Pro W
    French Pro F
    Wembley Pro W

    67: CYGS
    US Pro W
    French pro W
    Wembley Pro W
    Wimbledon Pro W

    68:
    French Open F
    Wimbledon W
    US Open 4th Round

    69: CYGS
    Australian Open W
    French Open W
    Wimbledon W
    US Open W

    Totals:
    17 Majors played: 12 Wins, 4 Runner-Ups, 1 pre-finals loss
    2 CYGS
    Five consecutive Undisputed #1 finishes
    GOAT gonna GOAT
     
  20. SpicyCurry1990

    SpicyCurry1990 Hall of Fame

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    Very interesting analysis. Nadal is an enigma for 5 year peak since his 08 year is his clay/grass peak and 13 is his HC peak. Hard to drop either.

    I vote Nadal get the full 08-13 window since he missed 3 slams and about 3/4 of a season in that 6 year window anyways.
     
  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    You just should change your behaviour towards me and your judgment of my character and expertise...
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    For goodness sake Bobby, just relax and learn to have a sense of humor. It's a joke.

    And Rosewall was imo at his peak in 1960 at age 25. He had several years of experience in the pros and won majors. He was not in my opinion better than Gonzalez.
     
  24. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Thanks - I've had the same instinct you've had re: 2008-13, though it feels like a shortcut. There's also a side of me that feels Nadal did just enough on HCs in 2009/10 to keep the 2006-10 period in the conversation, given how stellar he was on natural surfaces in the early years.

    Was thinking about Novak regarding this question as well - presumably level-wise his will wind up either 2010-14 or 2011-15, in terms of peak play (hard to imagine him improving upon 2011 such that it'd fall outside the window).

    Career-wise, I do like his 2007-11 (although I'm sure the stats aren't as quality as later eras). Starting as a 19/20 year old losing just to Roger and Rafa at the 2007 slams, and finishing with his famous back-to-back triumphs over them at the 2011 Open is a great story.
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You have to look at stats of course but you also have to take a subjective look at the competition. We're judging level of play and not just accomplishments.
     
  26. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Of course - just musing aloud I suppose. Any preliminary thoughts on your end from the Nadal data, or do you need more context? Here are some more relevant stats I didn't include for each range:

    2006-10

    Against Federer, era rival

    12-7 overall (9-2 on clay, 1-2 on grass, 2-0 outdoor hard, 0-3 indoor hard)

    5-2 at the majors, all finals (3-0 RG, 1-2 Wimbledon, 1-0 AO)

    0-3 at the YEC

    6-2 at MS 1000s (all clay)

    12-5 in finals overall (9-2 clay, 1-2 grass, 2-0 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard).

    Miscellaneous

    Age: 19-24
    2 Channel Slams (2008, 10)
    3 GS on 3 Surfaces (2010)
    2 Davis Cup victories (2008-09)
    Big Events Missed: 2006 AO, 2008 YEC, 2009 Wimbledon
    Overall Results at GS events: 101-10 (average season: 20-2)
    Record in GS quarterfinals: 13-3 (4-0 RG; 4-0 SW19; 2-2 AO; 3-1 US Open)
    Record in GS semifinals: 10-3 (4-0 RG; 4-0 SW19; 1-1 AO; 1-2 US Open)
    Record in GS finals: 8-2 (4-0 RG; 2-2 SW19; 1-0 AO; 1-0 US Open)

    Percentage of majors won: 44.4 percent (8/18 )
    Percentage of total tournaments won: 34.8 percent (31/89)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You should also look at percentage of majors won and percentage of total tournaments won.
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Rosewall was 25 years old. He had been a pro since 1957. He was experienced and physically at his peak. He was at his peak. You write I made a wrong claim but you know very well I look carefully into everything and analyze the statistics and facts very carefully. You can't just throw it off and say I made a wrong claim as you put it. If you recall I've done this for other sports in the United States so I'm hardly inexperienced in breaking down the information so it makes logical sense.

    Right you are making it a Rosewall thread again. This thread is not just for Rosewall. If you really want to contribute to this thread why don't you discuss peak level for another player besides Rosewall. I would appreciate that.

    Is there a player you'd like to discuss five year peak here besides Rosewall?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  29. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Nadal, 2007-11

    Against Federer, era rival

    11-6 overall (8-2 on clay, 1-1 on grass, 2-0 outdoor hard, 0-3 indoor hard)

    5-1 at the majors, all finals (3-0 RG, 1-1 Wimbledon, 1-0 AO)

    0-3 at the YEC

    6-2 at MS 1000s (5-2 clay, 1-0 outdoor hard)

    9-4 in finals overall (7-2 clay, 1-1 grass, 1-0 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard).

    Against Djokovic, era rival

    15-13 overall (8-2 clay, 2-1 grass, 3-8 outdoor hard, 2-2 indoor hard)

    4-2 at the majors (2-0 RG, 1-1 Wimbledon, 1-1 US Open)
    1-2 title fights, GS (0-1 Wimbledon, 1-1 US Open)

    2-1 at the YEC
    1-0, Olympics
    1-0, Davis Cup

    6-10, MS 1000s (5-2 clay, 1-7 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard)
    3-4, MS 1000 finals (2-2 clay, 1-2 outdoor hard)

    5-6, finals overall (5-0, 2007-10, 0-6, 2011)

    Miscellaneous

    Age: 20-25
    2 Channel Slams (2008, 10)
    3 GS on 3 Surfaces (2010)
    3 Davis Cup victories (2008-09, 2011)
    Big Events Missed: 2008 YEC, 2009 Wimbledon
    Overall Results at GS events: 107-11 (average season: 21-2)
    Record in GS quarterfinals: 14-3 (4-0 RG; 4-0 SW19; 2-3 AO; 4-0 US Open)
    Record in GS semifinals: 11-3 (4-0 RG; 4-0 SW19; 1-1 AO; 2-2 US Open)
    Record in GS finals: 8-3 (4-0 RG; 2-1 SW19; 1-0 AO; 1-1 US Open)

    Percentage of GS events won: 42.1 percent (8/19)
    Percentage of total tournaments won: 32.2 percent (29/90)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  30. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Ok - will add.
     
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Reason for that is that players who miss some majors for various reasons aren't unduly penalized. I have a lot of these stats for many greats but not everyone. Lot of work and proves I have no life. lol.
     
  32. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Nadal, 2008-12

    Against Federer, era rival

    10-4 overall (6-1 on clay, 1-0 on grass, 3-1 outdoor hard, 0-2 indoor hard)

    5-0 at the majors (2-0 RG, 1-0 Wimbledon, 2-0 AO)

    4-0, GS title fights (2-0 RG, 1-0 Wimbledon, 1-0 AO)

    0-2 at the YEC

    5-2 at MS 1000s (4-1 clay, 1-1 outdoor hard)

    7-2 in finals overall (5-1 clay, 1-0 grass, 1-0 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard).

    Against Djokovic, era rival

    13-12 overall (9-2 clay, 1-1 grass, 2-7 outdoor hard, 1-2 indoor hard)

    3-3 at the majors (2-0 RG, 0-1 Wimbledon, 0-1 AO, 1-1 US Open)
    2-3 title fights, GS (1-0 RG, 0-1 Wimbledon, 0-1 AO, 1-1 US Open)

    1-1 at the YEC
    1-0, Olympics
    1-0, Davis Cup

    6-8, MS 1000s (6-2 clay, 0-5 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard)
    4-4, MS 1000 finals (4-2 clay, 0-2 outdoor hard)

    7-7, finals overall (7-1, 2008-10, 2012; 0-6, 2011)

    Miscellaneous

    Age: 21-26
    2 Channel Slams (2008, 10)
    3 GS on 3 surfaces (2010)
    3 Davis Cup victories (2008-09, 2011)
    Big Events Missed: 2008 YEC, 2009 Wimbledon, 2012 US Open, 2012 YEC
    Overall Results at GS events: 101-10 (average season: 20-2)
    Record in GS quarterfinals: 14-2 (4-0 RG; 3-0 SW19; 3-2 AO; 4-0 US Open)
    Record in GS semifinals: 11-3 (4-0 RG; 3-0 SW19; 2-1 AO; 2-2 US Open)
    Record in GS finals: 8-3 (4-0 RG; 2-1 SW19; 1-1 AO; 1-1 US Open)

    Percentage of GS events won: 44.4 percent (8/18 )
    Percentage of total tournaments won: 33.3 percent (27/81)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In a way Nadal is like the tortoise and Federer the hare. Federer jumps out to a huge lead but slow Nadal the tortoise is moving steadily. Nadal doesn't have the one riveting five year peak figures that Federer has but every five year period seems to be close and very high quality. Will Nadal catch Federer? Well that's debatable but it'll be interesting.

    Super work my friend.
     
  34. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    Really, there hasn't been a time in tennis when two legitimates candidates for greatest of all-time were active and still playing well since Laver and Rosewall, and with another all-time great like Djokovic in the mix.
     
  35. eldanger25

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    Nadal, 2009-13

    Against Djokovic, era rival

    12-13 overall (8-3 clay, 0-1 grass, 3-6 outdoor hard, 1-3 indoor hard)

    4-3 at the majors (2-0 RG, 0-1 Wimbledon, 0-1 AO, 2-1 US Open)
    3-3 title fights, GS (1-0 RG, 0-1 Wimbledon, 0-1 AO, 2-1 US Open)

    1-2 at the YEC
    1-0, Davis Cup

    6-7, MS 1000s (5-3 clay, 1-3 outdoor hard, 0-1 indoor hard)
    4-5, MS 1000 finals (4-3 clay, 0-2 outdoor hard)

    7-10, finals overall (6-1, 2009-10, 2012; 1-9, 2011, 2013)

    Miscellaneous

    Age: 22-27
    1 Channel Slam (2010)
    3 slams on 3 surfaces (2010)
    RG/US Open double (2013)
    2 Davis Cup victories (2009, 2011)
    Big Events Missed: 2009 Wimbledon, 2012 US Open, 2012 YEC, 2013 AO
    Overall Results at GS events: 91-9 (average season: 18-2)
    Record in GS quarterfinals: 12-2 (4-0 RG; 2-0 SW19; 2-2 AO; 4-0 US Open)
    Record in GS semifinals: 11-1 (4-0 RG; 2-0 SW19; 2-0 AO; 3-1 US Open)
    Record in GS finals: 8-3 (4-0 RG; 1-1 SW19; 1-1 AO; 2-1 US Open)

    Percentage of GS events won: 47.1 percent (8/17)
    Percentage of total tournaments won: 36.7 percent (29/79)
     
  36. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Would love to check all that out - not sure if it's in older threads. Get a big kick out of all this myself, of course - which calls into question all sorts of life choices on my end as well, I suppose.
     
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I enjoy the top four we had today. By top four I mean Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray who may not be the ATP top four now.

    Incidentally John McEnroe also had a great five year peak period from I believe 1981 to 1985. I think he was just below winning 90% of his matches for that period if memory serves.
     
  38. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Thanks - and well said re: Nadal and Federer. I had a similar animal kingdom reference in mind: Roger's 2003-09 was like a lion feasting on gazelles at every turn, while Nadal just diligently cranks out those 85 percent w/p, 1-2 slam seasons, year after year, 5 year stretch after 5 year stretch. Sometimes grass court results, sometime hard court results - always clay court results.

    Just a great contrasting pair (and Novak too).
     
  39. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    It's an interesting question - can we really say, with any certainty, that Nadal has had a true peak? Two of his best seasons came six years apart, separated by good, if not great seasons (not counting 2010, his best). That certainly is unprecedented among the best to ever play the sport (perhaps excepting Laver, 1964/1969, though there are reasons for that).

    Let me make the argument for 2007-2011. 2008-2010 was arguably his best three season stretch, with 2009 being anomalous due to injury. 2007 he was nearly at the level of Federer on grass, and 2011 was really only losing to Djokovic.
     
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The thing is that if the accomplishments seem the same but the level of competition is much higher it stands to reason his level of play was higher also. He certainly is a more skilled player now than in the past but perhaps the talent could be down also. For example Laver's 1969 season is considered by some to be his best but I believe the year he had his highest level of play in 1967. Toughest average competition and he was two years younger. Many who saw Laver in the Open Era thought Laver had some decline from his pro tour period from a subjective point of view.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Much better analogy than mine. Nadal tweaks his game here and there in the hope of improving. He never rests on his laurels. I respect that.

    Among the women, the one with the best five year number could very well be Navratilova who won 427 matches and lost 14 from 1982 to 1986. Just incredible.
     
  42. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    I've argued this before without getting much headway, but I think tennis is much less of a "skill" game than in decades past. To me, it's not that athletes are significantly in better shape today or the grind of the tour is excessive, but the game in the 50s, 60s, 70s rewarded the most skilled players as opposed to the most athletic players.

    For example, I think Laver's physical peak came earlier than '69, probably earlier than '67 as well, but since he was becoming more skilled, it hardly mattered since having racquet skills was the most important component in success.

    I think Federer is more skilled now than he was from '03-'07, but losing a step is so much more costly in today's game, and learning new skills has allowed him to stay relevant and in the mix, but little more than that.

    Nadal is rare in that he has remained a huge factor for ten straight seasons. He entered his prime at an early age, and really, hasn't looked back since: he is more skilled too, but his bread and butter - consistency and defense - is still his bread and butter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  43. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Interesting point - it touches on a lot of factors, and makes sense intuitively to say that a great player's understanding of the game (or "skill") - his/her own in particular - naturally increases with experience, just as his/her physical abilities (and single-minded focus on the sport as adult interests beckon) diminish over time.

    I suppose where the skill/athleticism line intersects is akin to this 5 year peak question - your theory might be applicable if we're seeing older generations of greats submit more late 20s/early 30s 5 year candidacies - to the extent peak levels were less dependent on athleticism back then, and could've therefore been the product of skill/experience as much as youthful springiness and exuberance.

    Just spitballing - might be misreading your ideas. It's interesting stuff to me, because the extent to which great players manage the transition from infallible star to canny veteran is another element of greatness (and potentially peak play) in my eyes.
     
  44. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Re: Nadal - I very much admire his work ethic as well. There's also a nice blend of diligence and dominance with him - Nadal at RG is approaching Bill Russell in the NBA levels in terms of jaw-dropping results. I think he'll be quite motivated to reach 10 titles there next season.

    Re: Navratilova - agreed. Those stats are basically unfathomable - to be that locked in to average fewer than 3 losses a season for half a decade is just off the charts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  45. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    I guess my point was that tennis of Laver's generation (and before), rewarded skill more than it did athleticism. This isn't meant to diminish their athletic abilities, but Laver, Rosewall, and guys like Gonzales, Tilden, etc. all had arguably their best seasons near, at, or after 30. I think the more you play the game, the more you learn about it. Even tennis savants like Federer can learn a thing or two after 25.

    But I think physical peaks have, more or less, remained constant. I'm sure Laver was faster, nimbler, more explosive, and could get to and do more with more balls in 1964 than he could in 1969. But - since skill and tennis savvy was such an important part of the game in his generation, his tennis peak was really '67-'69. I think as the focus has shifted toward near exclusive baseline play, physical peaks and tennis peaks have a lot more overlap today than they did 50 years ago.
     
  46. SpicyCurry1990

    SpicyCurry1990 Hall of Fame

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    is there anywhere to find w/l records on players before 1973 which arent kept by the atp?
    Id be interested to compare 67 and 69
     
  47. SpicyCurry1990

    SpicyCurry1990 Hall of Fame

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    I think its a disservice to his hard court play to cut out 2013. If we want to do that, we have to pretty much give Nadal two different peaks:

    06-10 grass/clay with head end of hard
    09-13 hard/clay with tail end of grass

    Its certainly a good narrative and could be the end of "volume 1" per say. With hopefully 2012-2016 being a comparable volume 2.

    Likely will end up being 2011-2015. Hard to imagine 2015 not topping 2010 give his current level, Murray's current level, and the window there currently is while the next gen is developing for a year.

    There is a very slight but non-0 possibility of his 2016 ending up as a greater year than 2011 but it would only be from an accomplishment and not level perspective.
     
  48. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    I agree with a lot of this - good stuff.
     
  49. eldanger25

    eldanger25 Professional

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    Agreed re: 2013 - really the culmination of some subtle post-2009 (and post-2011 Novak) changes to his game/style of play, particularly on HCs.

    Agree with all this - I think it'll be 2011-15 as well most likely.
     
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Spicy, Great and surely GOAT. And Rosewall is the other GOAT ;-)

    Laver is ahead of Rosewall reg. 5 years period (even though R. has a better percentage at majors won) and reg. GS and tournaments won. On the other hand Rosewall is ahead at their hth in majors, majors won, majors won in a row, top ten places and several longevity fields.

    By the way, I would be glad if you could answer my two posts in the other forum ;-)

    I have mentioned you positively in the Rosewall on the Australian Championships thread.
     

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