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Old 11-30-2012, 03:13 PM   #72
World Beater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustard View Post
2011 is gone, my friend. Heck, even 2012 is over as far as tennis is concerned. The present situation of the Nadal vs. Djokovic rivalry is considerably different compared to this time a year ago. This time last year, Nadal had lost 6 finals in a row to Djokovic on all 3 surfaces, including in 2 major finals. At the present time, Nadal is on a 3-match winning streak against Djokovic, having convincingly strengthened his position as the king of clay, back to his old dominant self.
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I would agree with you except that Nadal's momentum had been severely curtailed. Nadal thrives off of winning and playing matches in succession. He had won RG and struck back against novak on clay.

But all of that was stopped at wimbledon and since then nadal has only gone down, and novak is back to #1.

Whatever momentum nadal had is gone, and djokovic - nadal is definitely in djokovic's camp. The burden is on nadal to prove he can get back to the top after such a long layoff - nadal is a great player but he is not superman.

Novak in contrast finished 2012 in a grand way beating one of the best masters players of all time in federer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustard View Post

LOL. Djokovic has almost always been ahead of Nadal on hardcourts in their head-to-head, even before 2011. Before 2011, Nadal would always win both the closest, and the most important, matches, on all surfaces, while Djokovic's wins would always be on hardcourts in 2 straight sets. 2011 saw Djokovic change the dynamics of the rivalry, to the point where he was out-Nadalling Nadal on the tennis court. In 2012, though, it changed again.

I firmly believe that Nadal got rid of his demons during the 2012 Australian Open final, strangely enough, despite the loss. He looked content after the match, rather than unsettled. It was obviously bad to lose after leading 4-2 in the fifth set, but just getting into that position had restored Nadal's confidence that he could beat Djokovic in the future.

Djokovic's grandfather passing away may have had some hand in the result of the 2012 Monte Carlo final, but it was still an extra boost of confidence for Nadal when he won the title for the 8th year in a row. The 2012 Rome final was a close match, yet Nadal won it in straight sets, avenging the previous year's loss. And the 2012 French Open final, with so much at stake, saw Nadal triumph.

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I do not agree that rivalry changed that much against novak in 2012. Nadal won 3 matches on clay, a surface where he is supposed to beat novak and everyone else. Nadal just "held serve".

Even though djokovic won in 2011, nadal was always going to be the favorite considering his achievements on clay.

Before 2011, even though novak held the edge against nadal on hardcourts, nadal was still getting him back on hardcourts in big matches - slams.

That has pretty much changed since 2011, and 2012 did not do anything to turn back that tide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustard View Post

The European clay period is more than 4 months away yet and the French Open is 6 months away. We've got many tournaments before then. Nadal will probably play the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament, Doha, the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami before he gets on the clay.



Nadal hits with a load of topspin, so has a high margin for error. That's why he's so good, he can be powerful and aggressive, while at the same time, he has a high margin for error so that even on a bad playing day, he usually does well.



It might have done Nadal good to have had many months away from tennis. If Nadal still has the physicality and the desire for success, the break will have done him brilliantly.
The tour is always improving. Murray will be better next year after his success in 2012. Djokovic will have more confidence after finishing 2011 strong. I expect del potro to get better as well.

Nadal on the other hand has to go back to the drawing board. He has health issues to worry about and fitness. Those other guys are working on their games and playing competetive matches while nadal was fishing and cycling.

Even if we assume that nadal had gotten back even with djokovic in 2012, he has definitely lost whatever ground he had made up. All the top contenders have a head start on him.

Lets see what happens.
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