Originally Posted by krosero
That's true; Nadal and Djokovic did better against Federer when they moved into their peak. It's also a fact, however, that they started doing better against Federer when Roger's numbers against the whole field started dropping. Note how Federer's win/loss records took a significant drop from '06 to '07; and how Federer had strange losses starting in early '08 to men he had previously owned (Mardy Fish at Indian Wells, Roddick in Miami).
Federer got off to a terrible start in '08, before even meeting Nadal. In fact he closed out '07 winning his last two matches with Nadal; but then in '08 he failed to win any tournament between the AO and the beginning of the claycourt season, when he started meeting Nadal. The last time he had entered the claycourt season without a title under his belt was 2002.
In a post upthread I also showed that the drops in Federer's win/loss records from '06 onward could only be partly attributed to extra losses he was taking to Nadal and Djokovic. In some cases the drop could not be attributed to that at all. He had more losses in '07 than in '06, but that was not due at all to Nadal, because in '07 he actually cut down on his losses to Rafa.
One thing I'd like ask you concerns win/loss records (and this question is for PC1, too, since he has done a lot of work with yearly win/loss records). We know when young players like Nadal and Djokovic reach their peak, because we are guided by their win/loss records. Those records improve as the players mature, until a peak year when the player has his best win/loss record: that is presumed to be his peak; or near his peak.
So if win/loss records guide us in telling us when Nadal and Djokovic hit their peaks, shouldn't win/loss records guide us in telling us when Federer started declining?
About Roddick and Hewitt: if you are right that Nadal and Djokovic have higher playing levels than Federer, then they should have gone through old Roddick and old Hewitt like a knife through butter. They should have dispatched those men at least as easily as Federer did. But the opposite is true: they did not have the same dominating scores over Hewitt and Roddick that Federer did over the peak versions of those men.
What I'm curious about -- I don't want to have a heated debate about it, just curious what you think -- is what you attribute all that to? Why do you think it went that way with Hewitt and Roddick, if Nadal and Djokovic really are better players than Federer?
I'll try to do some analysis on it. In the meantime here's some of the head to heads of Nadal against Roddick and Hewitt and Djokovic against the same two players.
7-3 in favor of Nadal against Roddick
6-4 in favor of Nadal against Hewitt. First three won by Hewitt and one won by Hewitt when Nadal retired.
6-1 in favor of Djokovic against Hewitt. Hewitt won the first match which Djokovic was younger.
5-4 in favor of Roddick. Roddick actually won four in a row against Djokovic at one point. Since late 2010 when Djokovic I guess straightened out his serve Djokovic has won the last two. In this case I would venture a guess that Roddick declined and Djokovic improved tremendously in the last two matches between the two.
Try to do more work on it later.