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-   -   Fed's Decline or Competition's Rise? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=469143)

hoodjem 07-05-2013 05:54 AM

Fed's Decline or Competition's Rise?
 
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.)

NatF 07-05-2013 06:57 AM

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.

BobbyOne 07-05-2013 07:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NatF (Post 7565074)
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.

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

NatF 07-05-2013 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobbyOne (Post 7565213)
hoodjem, It's a combination of Federer's decline (since this year) and the increase of competition.

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

Flash O'Groove 07-05-2013 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 7564706)
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?

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.

hoodjem 07-05-2013 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NatF (Post 7565223)
He declined long before this year, it just wasn't as catastrophic. Although 2012 was his best year since 2009.

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

Whatever "it" is.

DolgoSantoro 07-05-2013 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flash O'Groove (Post 7565386)
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.

Wonderful post. I believe that it is a combination of both.

90's Clay 07-05-2013 07:57 PM

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

6-3 6-0 07-05-2013 08:10 PM

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.

smoledman 07-05-2013 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 90's Clay (Post 7568661)
Fed was very fortunate that he came along at a great time during a serious transitional era in tennis.

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.

6-3 6-0 07-05-2013 08:21 PM

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

Dan Lobb 07-05-2013 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smoledman (Post 7568702)
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.

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.

90's Clay 07-05-2013 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Lobb (Post 7568711)
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.

Djoker is playing much better this year than last.

OKUSA 07-05-2013 09:04 PM

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

egn 07-05-2013 09:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 90's Clay (Post 7568750)
Djoker is playing much better this year than last.

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.

abmk 07-05-2013 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Lobb (Post 7568711)
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.

djokovic is only playing a bit better than last year. murray is playing considerably worse.

abmk 07-05-2013 10:49 PM

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.

abmk 07-05-2013 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 90's Clay (Post 7568661)
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

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

Nitish 07-06-2013 01:41 AM

Like Flash said earlier Falstaffs analysis throws a lot of light into this subject.It shows that feds performance declined against the field EXCLUDING Novak,Murray,Djoko and Nadal.So the drop in performance can be attributed more towards Decline than rise in competition.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=464502

And the age distribution of major finalists in the Open Era which shows how performance goes down after 26

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=453446

pc1 07-06-2013 02:32 AM

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.


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