Originally Posted by gaspard
Man, the insults are flying in this thread. I'll just stick to logic and tennis. I'm going to post something similar to an entry I made in another thread, if my memory serves, which seems to have disappeared, not my memory, the other thread. It was the one about who is better between Federer and Nadal. Does anyone know what happened to it?
Anyway, how early ones success starts as a pro, is not always a good indicator of how succcesful ones career will be. Ok, Federer won his first Grand Slam when he was 21 and Nadal when he was 19. But Becker and Chang won their first Grand Slam when they were 17, and Hewitt was world No.1 at 20. Federer has already surpassed them all, despite his later start. The GS Chang won at 17 was his first and last. Becker won only 5 more, despite his enormous potential. In fact, Becker was the world No.2 at 19 as well. It took him another 5 years before he achieved the No.1 position and he was only there for a grand total of 12 weeks, with a 20 week interruption from Edberg, so not even consecutive weeks. He never ended the year as No.1. As for Hewitt, he has been totally left behind by Federer, maxing out at 2 majors. It is normally very tough to accumulate Grand Slams, which makes Federer's achievements all the more remarkable. Agassi was world No.3 at 18, but it took him up to the age of 30 to get to 8 Grand Slams, some almost never happened. Mats Wilander maxed out at 7, despite winning his first at 17. Federer is already at these figures and he is just getting started. All of the players mentioned here, were better than Federer at a younger age, as is Nadal, but the difference is, they did not have his potential and the capacity to realize it.
Ok, so what is to stop Nadal doing just as well or better? Personally, I don't see Nadal winning more than 4 majors, max. I think he will win another, maybe 2 more, but I am even doubtful of a 4th. Nadal's style of play is far too defensive. It depends on him running everything down, very similar to Chang and Hewitt. This is a very tough way to play tennis in the modern game. I think that players with more firepower will, at some point, begin to get the better of him, as Federer and others have with Hewitt, and Blake did against Nadal in Indian Wells, and this will begin to take its toll.
In my other post, someone suggested that Nadal was young and had time to develop a more attacking style. Yes, I believe this is true. I think he can improve that aspect of his game, but this is not his natural style, so I do not see him being able to produce this type of style efficiently, in the way that Becker, Sampras, Safin, Federer, Berdych etc can, it will always be a struggle.
I also think that the mental challenges will become tougher for him now that he is no longer considered the underdog up and coming young gun with nothing to lose. He will be the favourite in most of his matches, apart from when he plays Federer, and there will be more pressure in the expectation he should win, as has been the case against Blake, a test that he has so far failed. Ironically, because he has now been beaten twice by him, in their next encounter he might fair better, because this expectation will not be present so much anymore, Blake, in fact, might feel there is pressure on him.
I think Nadal will have a very good career, in the way that Chang, Muster, Hewitt etc have, but I do not see him achieving what Federer will in the game. I also think Federer will turn round the head to head.
Now I'm going to save all of this, in case this post gets deleted as well. It would be great if anyone could tell me what happened to the other thread in the general area.