Who suffer more pain in defeat: Borg or Nadal ?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by TMF, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I find Nadal's situation today is similar to Borg's situation in the early 80s. Borg beat Mac in an epic match at Wimbledon 1980, and Nadal beat Nole at USO 2010 to earn a career slam. Then all of the sudden, Borg lost the last 3 meetings at the slam final to Mac, and so did Nadal against Nole(so far). Nadal won the FO in 2011 and Borg won the FO in 1981 without their nemesis standing in their way. Both Nole/Mac became undisputed #1(Nole-2011;Mac-1981) while their main rival took the back seat.

    And since they both are at the same age at that point, I was wondering who's losses suffered more. Remember, these are 3 slam events.
     
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  2. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    I would say Borg. He took losses very, very personal.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I think for Borg it was more about surfaces at the USO.

    For Nadal it seems to be more about Djokovic raising his game.
     
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  4. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Borg.

    Nadal is never going to walk away from the game no matter how many times he loses to Novak.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    No, he's going to limp away from the game, and have bilateral knee replacements by 40. But, I wouldn't count him out of winning another few majors before he's done.
     
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  6. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Nadal seems a far more balanced individual than Borg, so there's no reason to disbelieve him when he says he loves these tight battles even when he loses.
     
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  7. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is the nicest guy among the top players. The time wasting and the theatrics can be annoying, but he's graceful, win or lose. I have a lot of respect for him.

    Does anyone think that Nadal might try coming into net more against Djokovic? His volleys are quite good.
     
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  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    What opportunities does he have to come in? His serve doesn't justify it, especially against Djoko. I think improving his serve, alone, would give him the biggest bang for the buck, even without any tactical changes, although it would open that door for him. He doesn't get much in the way of free points on serve as most great players have always enjoyed.
     
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  9. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    True. He was on the run, side to side, against Djokovic for far too much of the match.

    The best I've seen Nadal play on hardcourts was easily the US Open Final where he beat Novak, great serving and impenetrable from the baseline. He definitely needs to work on flattening out his serve a bit more.
     
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    There were a number of times I thought Nadal had Djokovic out of position in which Djokovic hit some floating returns which I thought Nadal could have volleyed away but he decided to stay back. Of course you could say the same for Djokovic.

    It's tough but I thought Nadal would serve like he did at the 2010 US Open regularly but he has never regained that level of serving.
     
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  11. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Ralph needs to improve his serve technique. It's almost all arm and his timing is not good. If he learns to incorporate the kind of upper body rotation and timing that most great servers employ he'll have more power and more spin, more free and easy points, more wins, and a longer career.

    PS: Ralphs biggest problem is that he's a righty playing lefty, like Rosewall was a lefty playing righty. It's no easy feat to learn to throw, or serve, with your non-dominant wing. But, if he's going to keep up with Djoko, he can't forfeit the most important shot in the game.
     
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  12. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Nadal and Uncle Toni seem to be aware of the serve-problem. I heard on Eurosport, that he couldn't train his serve in the last months properly, due to his shoulder problems. I think, he will sit out the February events to heal the shoulder. And Uncle Toni has obviously said to the Eurosport team, that he indeed serves even now better with his right than his left arm.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, one of the old-timers said he thought Nadal was a better volleyer than Fed.

    I also think Nadal should, instead of slugging it out on the baseline, occasionally bring Djoker in to the net and then lob over him.

    Djokovic's lateral movement is incroyable, but his orthogonal movement is only so-so (plus Djokovic is not a great volleyer; his dropshots are laughable).
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Speaking of volleys, doesn't any player hit the hard deep powerful volley into the other corner anymore? I think players are so scared that the opponent will run it down and pass them that they all want to hit a short soft angle volley which is nice if it works but often it's a failure. They either hit it out or it's not a perfect volley and the opponent can easily pass them. At least with a relatively deep strong volley you probably can pick off the attempted passing shot.
     
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  15. Strobe Lights

    Strobe Lights Semi-Pro

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    I think Mac said this. I don't agree with him though. Nadal has great volley success but part of that is down to the fact that he almost exclusively comes in when he knows the volley is likely to be easy. He is a very good volleyer though and I think part of his on-court intelligence is that he limits himself to when he goes to the net.

    If he attacked and came in as often as Fed then I think we'd see him miss more often and he would revert to baseline play. However, Fed does miss too many easy volleys, while making the difficult ones.
     
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  16. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Some of Borg's fans say he left the game was due to other reasons besides Mac took over the tour. But if it was Mac who denied him 3 slams was the reason he retire, then I think Borg suffer more than Nadal. For now at least unless Nadal decides to walk away too.
     
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  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It is a myth that Borg left tennis because of McEnroe. Borg played until the end of 1981, which is past that year's US Open, took 1982 out of the game apart from Monte Carlo and exhibitions due to a dispute with the tennis authorities over how many tournaments he should play. It was expected that Borg would return full-time in 1983, but he announced in January 1983 during the Masters tournament that he wouldn't be returning to tennis full-time. Borg eventually returned to tennis full-time, but in 1991, and by then it was far too late and he didn't win a single match.

    Quite why people believe the McEnroe myth is a mystery, with even Bud Collins mentioning that "Borg walked out of tennis after losing to McEnroe at the 1981 US Open", even though Borg won a clay-court event in Geneva right after that US Open. Many of the same people think Sampras actually retired right after winning the 2002 US Open, when it was actually 11 months after that.
     
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  18. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Borg played an excessive number of exos, FAR more than players do today. And he did it for several years. You look at his "official" schedule on his ATP page and it looks like a full schedule; but not counted in any that are tons of events that are counted as exhibitions.

    That's really what burned him out: that, and his physical style. Lennart Bergelin, his coach, wanted him to play less exos because he thought they were draining him (he made that comment in 1980).
     
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  19. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Federer is a very good volleyer, but obviously not on the same level with Edberg, Mac, Pete, ect. He does miss some easy volleys, but I mainly see him do that against Nadal, where his play sometimes seems puzzling. Nadal is a huge match-up problem for Federer, but it still puzzles me why Federer attempts certain styles of play against Nadal. What's more is that Federer seems to have a very negative mindset in playing Nadal that he has against no other player.

    For example, Federer was up 7-6, 1-0 and he failed to hold serve, somewhat inexplicably. Federer was also up a break at 4-3 in the 3rd set and he again, failed to hold his serve, yet seemed to hold his serve routinely for the rest of the set. To me, these are the moments where he loses the match against Nadal. If he could just get a little bit of steam, I think he'd have a shot at beating Nadal in a major, even at his age, but he also seems to falter at the key moments.

    I agree with Strobe Lights that Nadal rarely has to hit tough volleys. That said, I also agree with PC1 that Nadal could have found his way into net a bit more in the final and I only think that can help him.

    As for Nadal's serve, it's the ultimate percentage serve and it's bloody brilliant for clay-court tennis, but for a lefty, I think he does need to make better use of the lefty-serve out wide. I don't think there's anything wrong with his timing, as Limpin writes, but I do think the technique isn't the most fluid and is somewhat of a "muscle" serve as Limpin also writes.

    Nadal is a percentage player, at his heart, and I just don't see him being able to make adustments to beat Djokovic on a regular basis.
     
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  20. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Mac was obviously part of the burnout. We all know the story about Borg leaving before the trophy celebration...he was not a happy camper that Mac had in many ways overtook him at the top of the game. If he hadn't felt so challenged, I doubt he would have felt so burned out.
     
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  21. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The runner-up leaving before the trophy presentation is hardly unique at the US Open. Connors did the same after losing the 1977 US Open final to Vilas, as he was still very angry with how the match ended.
     
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  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's true, Nadal does not approach the net that much, and the real test of his volleying ability would be if he were to come in regularly and frequently. I'm not talking Rafter/Edberg frequency, just more than he does now.

    With his current game he can come in a little more, but if he wants to come in a lot more, how will he do it? Behind his serve? Behind looping forehands that sit up? Behind a slice approach?
     
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  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Probably Nadal's best approach is when he flattens out his forehand and hits it deep into a corner. You never know. Ken Rosewall was strictly a baseliner until he turned pro and realized he was a natural volleyer. But Rosewall had a big advantage over Nadal because he played doubles a lot. I think Nadal can be a pretty good volleyer but of the top four players I actually think Andy Murray has the best volley.
     
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  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Borg I'm sure wasn't very happy but I do think the death threat on his life had a lot to do with him leaving early.
     
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  25. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Connors was an ass though and Connors did a lot of things. Borg was a good sport in comparison and I think it only shows how much that loss to Mac hurt him.
     
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  26. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I think all greats feel a lot of pain from there defeats, especially at the majors, whether it's Nadal, Federer, Borg, McEnroe, Connors, or Laver. Borg's situation was quite different than it was for any other player really, given his track record in tennis from 1973-1981 especially. In 1982, he was arguing with Tour organizers as to having to qualify for Wimbledon, Roland Garros, and the US Open, which was of course a preposterous situation. I think even though Nadal is going through a tough stretch with Djokovic, he will bounce back somewhat and he may eventually turn the corner. If you look at 1980-1981 for Borg, he won 5 of the 8 biggest tournaments and made the finals in the other three. Even in just 1981, he won the Masters indoors and the French Open, while making the finals at W and the US Open. Plus, McEnroe was no threat on red clay. With Djokovic, it's quite a different situation, as he is poised to contend for every major at this point. As to Nadal, I'm sure that AO loss was especially tough for him, but we'll see if he can turn the corner on red clay first against Djokovic. Also, we'll see if Federer can continue to poise a significant threat to both Djokovic and Nadal starting with the FO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
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