Originally Posted by TennisD
This has to be a joke, right? You can call Rafael Nadal a lot of things, but suggesting that he's not one of the strongest players of the last 20 years, both physically and mentally, is absurd.
The other poster didn't say he wasn't mentally or physically strong. He/she simply said he's overrated in that department, and that is very debatable. For the record, I think he's one of the strongest players on both accounts that tennis has ever seen never mind the last 20 years.
But for example, a lot of people look at Nadal's 5 set record and his wins over Federer, and say he's mentally tough. This is true obviously, however they fail to mention his really bad losses to Gonzalez, Delpo, Tsonga, and Federer (at WTF 2007 and 2011). Contrast this with say Federer and off the top of my head I can only recall 2 matches in a longer career where he's been absolutely blown off the court. Those being RG 2008 and Olympics 2012. The general consensus is that if Nadal can get it to 5 (or 3) sets he will win, but he's been "destroyed" a fair bit in his career for someone of his standard. The thing about this logic is that no one actually questions Nadal's mental toughness. Everybody just says "Well that guy was way too good today" and everybody moves on. He's also had many injuries and MTO's, but he's known for fitness and stamina. People will say if he wins he was healthy or he was injured but he fought through it, but when he loses "He was injured!" is a favourite line. Again, I still believe he is one of the strongest on both accounts in all time, but this is some food for thought.
Contrast this again with Federer, and you have almost total opposites. Federer has an average 5 set record for someone of his standard, but he rarely gets blown off the court. Therefore Federer often loses very close matches, mostly to rival players because lesser players can't take him to 5 sets and are often beaten very easily. Then it is more prudent to question mental toughness because he lost a 5 set match where he often had a thousand chances to break and never took advantage of them. It's a study in how you want to lose matches with both these guys. Also physically, he has only 2 walkovers in over 1000 matches (a significant amount more than Nadal obviously as he's older by 5 years), and has never retired in his career. In fact, aside from Wimbledon 2012 I can't remember the last time he called a trainer on the court.
Just some food for thought.