Who is mentally tougher: Nadal or Djokovic?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by always_crosscourt, Feb 1, 2013.

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Who is mentally tougher: Nadal or Djokovic?

  1. Nadal

    43 vote(s)
    42.6%
  2. Djokovic

    45 vote(s)
    44.6%
  3. EXACTLY DA SAAAAME

    13 vote(s)
    12.9%
  1. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Poll is up, floor is yours, have at it.
     
    #1
  2. Djoker

    Djoker Rookie

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    Against each other I'd say Nole holds an edge there.
    Against the field probably a fit Rafalito, but only by the width of a matadors ball hair.
     
    #2
  3. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Taken into account their entire careers Nadal by an ocean. Djokovic was a mental midget until his 2011 breakout.
     
    #3
  4. dudeski

    dudeski Hall of Fame

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    OP is asking who IS not who WAS.
     
    #4
  5. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Djokovic. I like his fearless atitude when dealing with BPs. So many times over the past 2-3 years, Djokovic has responded to pressure situations by boosting his racquet head speed and swinging through his shots.
     
    #5
  6. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    I still give it to Nadal

    Nadal:
    1- Overcame the final losing streak to Novak at the Slams
    2- Was the only one mentally Tough to take it to Prime Fed at the Slams
    3- Obviously played with pain in big matches (which makes it harder to focus)
    4- Other than the cringe of frustration does not smash equipment or yell out at other players boxes/fans in anger.
    5- Players have said Rafa's intensity during warm up is so high that you think "man as soon as this guy stepped out here he has decided on winning"


    Novak:
    1-Many cases of letting the crowed not supporting him get under his skin.
    2- Smashes equipment...chairs...etc.
    3- After a big points he wins tends to rub it in the crowds face...other players box instead of moving on to the next point.
    4- Has double faulted Match point at a Slam

    and Honestly...I think he few saved match point crushing shots is really Him decided....well I have probably lost so I might as well take a big swing...he relaxes and take the gamble with only prayers for the outcome...and because of this he pulls it off occasionally.

    I've done the same myself I was 2-9 in a 10 point tie break and I decided eh...I am just going to crush everything.

    few points later I was at 8-9 and realized I was back in it...went back to being tight and lost 11-9
     
    #6
  7. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    OMG, it's Novak, and it's not even close.
    Novak swings out when his chips are down. Rafa gets tight. This alone tells me all I need to know.
    Rafa looks menacing and tough only when he can punish you with his power. Much of his aura of mental invincibility I believe owes to his physical stamina with which he has built a career around frustrating his opponents until they tire or allow their own mental levels to drop just enough against him that his level by relief looks stronger... So, he has this gift for taking opponents off of their games- like Tilden apparently had, but that is different than being mentally tough IMO.. Mental toughness to me stands for having the capacity for weathering adversity. Maybe I would not be saying this if Rafa had not choked, flubbing a volley when up a break in the 5th against Novak last year down under, but right then and there Rafa showed me how tough he is (or how tough he IS NOT) because he was facing someone who could grind as long as/and not become frustrated by Rafa, and both men at that point in the match were psychologically bare, stripped naked of anything but their heart and will--and Rafa blinked DESPITE that he was in the lead.

    The answer to OPs question IMO is Novak, and it's not even close.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #7
  8. dudeski

    dudeski Hall of Fame

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    How is this even a question? Nadal so far this year wasn't mentally strong enough to even play on hard courts and instead cowers to play low ranked players in a small clay court tournament.
     
    #8
  9. dudeski

    dudeski Hall of Fame

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    A lot of the so called mental toughness that Nadal used to have is simply him being able to play his normal game i.e. super safe cross court high spin forehands that just happen to land where everyone else's weaknesses are. It doesn't take mental toughness to just keep playing your normal game and win because your opponents crumble with a flood of unforced errors. It's called being lucky that your opponents can't handle well your bread and butter shot. If Nadal regularly had to completely change his strategy in middle of the match to come back from being two sets down then yes, he would be mentally tough.
     
    #9
  10. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    You are basing this whole "who is tougher mentally" thing on ONE EXAMPLE?

    Why don't you mention that Nadal won in Madrid 2009 in a similar bloodbath game, when both were on their last legs? Why don't you mention Nadal subduing Djokovic 3 times in a row on clay in 2012? Why don't you mention Djokovic BLINKING when it was time to get his career slam(unlike Fed in RG 2009 or Nadal in USO 2010) in RG against Nadal in 2012 or hell,even against "old man" Fed in 2011 SF? And how come he even allowed Nadal a 5th set in AO 2012, Djoko also choked in that match in the 4th when he should've closed. The fact that Nadal was able to give peak/prime Djokovic such a tight match in AO 2012, on Djok's home turf, when he was brushed off pretty easily by him in WB and USO should tell you everything about Nadal's fighting spirit. Djokovic's response on Nadal's home turf, in RG, was less impressive.

    There is no doubt that Djokovic's mental acumen improved A LOT in the last 2 years and maybe he even has the edge in a direct match-up with Nadal but career wise, Nadal is the toughest guy mentally from their group. Nadal always had a reputation for "escaping" tight matches, hence the "mentally toughest" moniker(that was not given to him by Nadal fans) whereas Djoko has only started building this kind of rep in the last 2 years, when he escaped Fed in USO twice, Tsonga in RG, Murray in AO 2011, Shanghai, Nadal in Miami 2011 and so on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #10
  11. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Currently (and for the last couple of years) Djokovic is the easy pick.

    Does not make excuses for losses, saves multiple match points in some of the biggest matches.
     
    #11
  12. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    This is sort of what I was hinting at. Rafa's lefty power is unprecedented. How do you train for counteracting that? You can't replicate that much lefty spin in training. Lefties already have the advantage in that, there's fewer of of them for righties to train with, while on the other hand every lefty can find plenty of righy partners. So, just playing lefty is one thing, but having so much power on top of that, well, that combination is nearly unstoppable.
    Enter Novak, though, whose backhand gobbles up Rafa's crosscourt junkballs, and with some improved fitness to counteract Rafa's plan B of grinding away, there's a new king.
     
    #12
  13. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    :)

    That lucky *******.

    Almost everybody on tour HAPPENS to have to a vulnerability to lefty topspin.

    What were the odds?

    Now that I think about, it's like this for Sampras as well - he was simply lucky that his bread and butter shot, the serve, landed where opponents couldn't reach it or where it troubled them most.
     
    #13
  14. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    Yeah, that's why Nadal was so unstoppable on non-clay courts in the 2005-2008 period?

    Wait a minute...
     
    #14
  15. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    You are right. There is no limit to the number ways data can be teased by fans with an agenda. I like Novak because he seems more real or organic than Rafa. They both are mentally tough. Mental toughness simply does not occur to me to be something like a mask that one puts on and tries his best to preserve from cracking, yet this is how I see Rafa's game face- the look of heavy strain frozen there. By contrast, I see more ups and downs reflected on Novak's countenance during a match, and an amiability or the willingness to smile or laugh at himself when he's not preparing to fight off a break point. Novak seems cooler, that's all; while Rafa seems a bit one-dimensional in a childlike way. Maybe the women love him so because he ignites a strong nurturing response in them *Aww, there there, my baby boy, come to mama and be a good little man*.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #15
  16. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    :)

    TW tought me that women(and let's not forget the 13 year old girls) love Nadal in a decidedly sexual way since apparently they only show up at this matches to ogle his biceps and check out his ass.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #16
  17. citybert

    citybert Professional

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    What about when Nole sawed off his raquets
     
    #17
  18. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    At their peaks.....Nadal is mentally tougher. Now Djokovic.....Nadal has a lot of insecurities to face now......maybe he can overtake Djokovic mentally again.
     
    #18
  19. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    Wasn't that a false story?
     
    #19
  20. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, according to Novak.

    I picked "EXACTLY DA SAAAAME" even though I would have to go with Djokovic. He shows no fear of losing and it has netted him some big wins and even slams.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #20
  21. citybert

    citybert Professional

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    According to Nole who denied it.
     
    #21
  22. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I have noticed an uptick recently among some posters defending Rafa in the number of appeals that they have been making to data that comes back to the present from three or more years ago...it's actually quite interesting. I remember, then, how difficult it was on me digesting the reality that Roger had lost his aura of invincibility, and that he had been replaced by Rafa. And this latest potential changing of the guard with Novak apparently consolidating his usurpation of Rafa as the "It" player seems to be tasting chalky to a few posters.
     
    #22
  23. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    Don't deflect, back up that sentence in your previous post.

    How is Nadal's lefty spin with MASSIVE AMOUNTS of POWER unstoppable, when he didn't even make a AO/USO SF(let alone win) until 2008, in the FOURTH YEAR since his arrival on the big stage of tennis. Via your theory, Nadal's spin should've obliterated almost everyone in that period but more often than not he was the one left hanging on hardcourts.

    If you and dudeski are right, then a LEFTY like Verdasco need only modify his game to add a little more topspin(he can ask Ferrer and Nadal for pointers), he's got the same brawn as Nadal(if not more, Dasco is a gym rat) and the wins basically take care of themselves. Likewise, beef Melzer up a bit, give him a Babolat,make him hit with a bit more spin and he is good to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #23
  24. ledwix

    ledwix Hall of Fame

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    Nadal's hand he uses for tennis is that way by design, not by luck. That was a career-changing move by Uncle Toni.

    And other lefties exist; why can't they hit as much topspin as Nadal? Because he is better.

    But well, I think lately his mental toughness has gone below Djokovic's after being higher the past. Hard to say how their careers will end up, though.
     
    #24
  25. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    what a dek-de-dek thread..

    Djoke of course due to the head-to-head last year, duhh. He crushed poor Rafalito's spirit as well as finishing off his abused body.
     
    #25
  26. Hood_Man

    Hood_Man Legend

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    Right now I'd say Djokovic. Nadal's mental strength is pretty overrated imo, I've seen him wear that Deer in Headlights expression a fair few times over the years. You'd think he was a cyborg the way people used to talk about hook, when actually he was as human as the rest of us, more than capable of panicking and feeling frightened when things looked tough (goodness knows what I'd be like though, I feel like I need therapy for shell shock from doing a shift in the call centre).

    Novak on the other hand seems to have a "#### it" attitude to those moments these days. Sometimes it works, like it did against Fed at the USO in 2011, and sometimes it doesn't (USO 2012 when he hit that big forehand long on match point). Either way, he doesn't look scared, he looks ready for it.
     
    #26
  27. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    :)

    The h2h for 2012 is 3-1 in favor of Nadal.

    Overall it's 19-14 to Nadal.
     
    #27
  28. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    2011 then, Djoke beat him like 10 times in a row..
     
    #28
  29. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    He was hitting flatter forehands during the earlier part of his career. Not until he traded depth for pace did he begin winning non-clay slams. I see that his spin has in fact obliterated nearly everyone on clay. He was long collecting so many points between February and July each year, that this by extension was assuring him favorable seeds off of clay. Anyway, I am not exactly sure what your question is...besides, I said, "nearly unstoppable," not merely "unstoppable." This is why those under oath in court are sworn to tell not just the truth, but the whole truth.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #29
  30. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    It was actually 20.
     
    #30
  31. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Overall if you look at the whole career I gotta give it to Nadal, however since 2011 IMO Novak showed more mental toughness than Nadal ever did at any point in his career.

    I always thought that Nadal's mental toughness is overrated while his actual game/talent underrated (even among his own fans), his very meek response to facing another player playing at an all-time great level who actually forced him out of his comfort zone (hitting it high to the BH) only reinforced my opinion.

    Especially Wimbledon 2011 final was a pretty lackluster effort from Nadal overall, even Fed (whom some Nadal fans consider to be mentally weak) in 2008 Wimbledon final pushed it to 9-7 in the 5th and he was having a far worse season in 2008 than Nadal did in 2011.
     
    #31
  32. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    My question is: how was Nadal's power UNSTOPPABLE when he was losing left and right before 2008?

    Nadal didn't trade depth for pace to win non-clay slams, not on a massive level anyway. His game was still 90% topspin, maybe 10%(and I am being generous here) flatter shots. The real gamechanger for Nadal was that he gained a bit more confidence in his abilities on non-clay courts once he finally took WB and transferred that to HC(winning Olympics right after, making USO SF, winning AO 2009), plus his BH was much improved since 2005. His first HC win, in AO 2009, he didn't hit particularly deep or particularly hard but his BH was solid and sharp and he didn't give too many misses from his fh side.

    If your theory of "depth for pace" were true, than Nadal would still be playing this way but from what we've seen from Nadal on HC last he played, he still favoured the deep spinny ball(if he doesn't hit short) 9/10 over the across the body forehand finish.
     
    #32
  33. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Well, you may know much more about the intricacies of Nadal's game and how exactly he has developed it over the years, and my only reason for being in this thread was to state my belief that Novak is mentally tougher than Nadal.

    P.S. I will repost this just in case it was missed:
    "I said, 'nearly unstoppable,' not merely 'unstoppable.' This is why those under oath in court are sworn to tell not just the truth, but the whole truth."
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #33
  34. brettsticker86

    brettsticker86 Rookie

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    both extremely tough, id give the edge to nadal tho
     
    #34
  35. Vrad

    Vrad Semi-Pro

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    The guy who returned Federer's serve for a cross-court winner on MP in the USO 2011.

    In more detail, Nadal has shown mental strength for a longer period of time. However, since his 2011 breakout year, Djokovic's mental toughness has been unparalleled.
     
    #35
  36. Agassifan

    Agassifan Hall of Fame

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    This question is nonsense. Nole (over the last two years) maybe the toughest EVER.
     
    #36
  37. President

    President Legend

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    Djokovic is probably mentally tougher, both are among the mentally toughest of all time though.
     
    #37
  38. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    To be fair to Nadal, Djokovic is not the unflappable robot people are making him out to be. There have been times where Djokovic has played really timid tennis on court.

    FO last year- In that last game, Djokovic was trying to push it to the tiebreaker serving at 5-6. At 30-30, Novak was playing so defensively that he hit a forehand lob rather than a regular groundstroke, which Nadal munched up. Then Djokovic threw in the double on MP.

    Wimbledon- Djokovic attempted to lob Federer (quite poorly) rather than hitting a passing shot to make Federer hit a volley. That was BP in the 3rd set after they split the first two sets. Also, once Federer won the 3rd set, Djokovic pretty much rolled over and died.

    Olympics- He employed a suicide serve and volley attempt against Murray on match point.

    USO- I expected a guy like Djokovic to benefit from the momentum shifting in his favor, yet he folded badly in the 5th set. I also don't agree that Djokovic going for a forehand winner on match point shows exceptional character. I mean Federer has probably lost more than 50% of his matches against Nadal trying to hit a big forehand on MP.

    Not saying Nadal has a stronger mental game than Djokovic. Just saying that Djokovic can be completely dismantled mentally by opponents as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
    #38
  39. sportsfan1

    sportsfan1 Hall of Fame

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    In addition to the instances you mentioned, there was also the lob attempts against Fed in the Cincy 2012 final. Djok has learnt from those erroneous lob attempts and now relies more on passing shots - vs Fed at WTF 2012 and vs Wawrinka at AO 2013, both on MPs.
     
    #39
  40. Fiji

    Fiji Legend

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    Djokovic is mentally tougher since 2011.
     
    #40
  41. Blocker

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    This one is too close to call. I'd say they're even.
     
    #41
  42. Tennis_Hands

    Tennis_Hands Hall of Fame

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    How can anyone judge the mental toughness of a player, who is inactive at the moment?
     
    #42
  43. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    I think both are extremely mentally strong in different ways! Nadal perhaps long term by that I mean at coming back from setbacks in his career Djokovic to me is the greatest fighter ever as in no cause is a lost cause Nadal not far behind! But Novak has won and incredible amount of matches from impossible situations or so it seemed!

    They say in tennis a good example of mental strength is how you take on a big server!

    Isner brought his blistering serve to the party at the French Open in 2011 and is the only guy ever to take Nadal to 5 sets! It was an amazing effort from Nadal mentally to withstand that barrage!

    Novak also came up against a similar test in the Davis Cup and managed to win in 5 also somehow seeing of the huge serving John another fine example of the mental toughness and and determination of the world number 1!
     
    #43
  44. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    Overall career-wise, I still have to give it to Nadal. We will see if that changes when he comes back and how he will deal with the pressure at that point.
     
    #44
  45. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    4 years ago, Nadal. Now, Djoker.
     
    #45
  46. adamX012

    adamX012 Rookie

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    Novak is better than Nadal :)
     
    #46
  47. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

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    Nadal, mainly because he has always had nerves of steel. Djokovic perhaps only since 2010/2011.
     
    #47
  48. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Both really.
     
    #48
  49. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    LOL at the poll score. It's clearly Nadal.
     
    #49
  50. Clarky21

    Clarky21 Banned

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    Lance by a mile. He lost a couple of matches in a row to Andy including a slam final, but did not continue to lose over and over again afterward. He turned it around quickly, and never let himself get into a rut.

    I've always thought Nadal's purported mental strength was not as some people made it seem. I think he can border on being a mental midget at times, especially when conditions don't suit him just right. Look at what happened in IW against Fed last year, and RG against Lance last year as well to see what I mean.
     
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