Clay 2004-09 Federer vs 2011-16 Djokovic

Clay 04-09 fed or 11-16 djo


  • Total voters
    54

Lew II

Hall of Fame
2004-09 Federer

Matches won: 86.44%
Big Tournaments: 84.47%
Roland Garros: 86.49%
Vs top-10: 61.54%

2011-16 Djokovic

Matches won: 87.85%
Big Tournaments: 87.13%
Roland Garros: 87.18%
Vs top-10: 73.17%
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
Gonna go with Nole for this. Pretty much equal at the slams except Federer had that poor performance in 2004. Worth noting, however, that Federer also faced Nadal once more than Djokovic did. Difficult to compare peak levels between Federer and Djokovic for obvious reasons.

Masters is a clear win for Novak. 7 wins compared to Fred's 4. Plus, Novak won all 3 masters at least twice in this period. Fred only won Hamburg and Madrid. Federer has some Bo5 finals and didn't have byes in some of his runs, so that's a factor, but not enough to swing it in his favour. Novak also more successful against Nadal too.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Gonna go with Nole for this. Pretty much equal at the slams except Federer had that poor performance in 2004. Worth noting, however, that Federer also faced Nadal once more than Djokovic did. Difficult to compare peak levels between Federer and Djokovic for obvious reasons.

Masters is a clear win for Novak. 7 wins compared to Fred's 4. Plus, Novak won all 3 masters at least twice in this period. Fred only won Hamburg and Madrid. Federer has some Bo5 finals and didn't have byes in some of his runs, so that's a factor, but not enough to swing it in his favour. Novak also more successful against Nadal too.
Four each:

2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic was 30-11 against the top 10 during that time and Federer was 16-10. Djokovic won 1 RG and 7 Masters, and Federer won 1 RG and 4 Masters. Best periods of their clay careers but I think it's clear Djokovic edges this.
 
I'm not sure what you're talking about.
2004, yeah no nadal, but still plenty of RG champs and clay courters around.
2009, nadal won 2 clay masters, was world no.1 & had won 3 of last 4 slams. Soderling just happened out of nowhere
Nadal beat Djokovic 4 times on clay w/DC included as well.
 
Gonna go with Nole for this. Pretty much equal at the slams except Federer had that poor performance in 2004. Worth noting, however, that Federer also faced Nadal once more than Djokovic did. Difficult to compare peak levels between Federer and Djokovic for obvious reasons.

Masters is a clear win for Novak. 7 wins compared to Fred's 4. Plus, Novak won all 3 masters at least twice in this period. Fred only won Hamburg and Madrid. Federer has some Bo5 finals and didn't have byes in some of his runs, so that's a factor, but not enough to swing it in his favour. Novak also more successful against Nadal too.
The part in bold is not really fair. Federer would have much more success if the had to face 2014-2016 Nadal instead of peak Nadal. Of course you can only beat the player who is on the other side of the net, but bringing head to head against Nadal for the comparison is not fair IMO. Prime Nadal and 2014-2016 Nadal is not the same player by any means, even if it is the same person.
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
The part in bold is not really fair. Federer would have much more success if the had to face 2014-2016 Nadal instead of peak Nadal. Of course you can only beat the player who is on the other side of the net, but bringing head to head against Nadal for the comparison is not fair IMO. Prime Nadal and 2014-2016 Nadal is not the same player by any means, even if it is the same person.
I would agree that 2014-16 Nadal was definitely below the level of Nadal that Federer faced (especially 2015-16), but I think that 2011-13 Nadal is comparable. Federer beat Nadal twice between 2005 and 2009; Hamburg 2007 and Madeid 2009. He also had match point in Rome 2006. Djokovic beat 2011-13 Nadal 3 times, at Madrid and Rome 2011 then at Monte Carlo 2013. Outside of RG, Djokovic was 3-2 vs Nadal in this period. He then went on to have further success against a weaker Nadal in 2014-16.

I think Federer had the tougher Nadal, but it's not enough to dismiss Djokovic's greater success against Nadal IMO
 

topher

Semi-Pro
I would agree that 2014-16 Nadal was definitely below the level of Nadal that Federer faced (especially 2015-16), but I think that 2011-13 Nadal is comparable. Federer beat Nadal twice between 2005 and 2009; Hamburg 2007 and Madeid 2009. He also had match point in Rome 2006. Djokovic beat 2011-13 Nadal 3 times, at Madrid and Rome 2011 then at Monte Carlo 2013. Outside of RG, Djokovic was 3-2 vs Nadal in this period. He then went on to have further success against a weaker Nadal in 2014-16.

I think Federer had the tougher Nadal, but it's not enough to dismiss Djokovic's greater success against Nadal IMO
Another factor, Roger had to play Rafa in 5 set masters finals. Rafa is a different beast in 5 sets on clay than 3 sets.

Even before Rafa lost some foot speed in 2009, Novak was showing some matchup problems with prime clay Rafa that Roger never had. But does that mean he’s better on clay than Roger or just had the better weapons vs Nadal?

I think it’s a tie, but OP has an agenda so didn’t want to include that as an option. :p
 

Towny

Hall of Fame
Another factor, Roger had to play Rafa in 5 set masters finals. Rafa is a different beast in 5 sets on clay than 3 sets.

Even before Rafa lost some foot speed in 2009, Novak was showing some matchup problems with prime clay Rafa that Roger never had. But does that mean he’s better on clay than Roger or just had the better weapons vs Nadal?

I think it’s a tie, but OP has an agenda so didn’t want to include that as an option. :p
Yes, this is a fair point. Fed may have had a good chance of beating Nadal in Rome 2006 had it not been Bo5. I doubt he wins Monte Carlo that year though, which was their only other non-RG Bo5 match on clay.

If we look at their performances at the masters overall, I still think Djokovic comes out ahead, due to better consistency:

Federer
2004 - Loss to Costa (R), Win over Coria (H)
2005 - Loss to Gasquet (MC), Win over Gasquet (H)
2006 - Loss to Nadal (MC), Loss to Nadal (R)
2007 - Loss to Nadal (MC), Loss to Volandri (R), Win over Nadal (H)
2008 - Loss to Nadal (MC), Loss to Stephanek (R), Loss to Nadal (H)
2009 - Loss to Wawrinka (MC), Loss to Djokovic (R), Win over Nadal (M)

Wins: 4 (Coria, Gasquet, Nadal x 2)
Losses: 11 (Costa, Gasquet, Volandri, Stephanek, Wawrinka, Djokovic, Nadal x 5)

Djokovic
2011 - Win over Nadal (M), Win over Nadal (R)
2012 - Loss to Nadal (MC), Loss to Tipsarevic (M), Loss to Nadal (R)
2013 - Win over Nadal (MC), Loss to Dimitrov (M), Loss to Berdych (R)
2014 - Loss to Federer (MC), Win over Nadal (R)
2015- Win over Berdych (MC), Win over Federer (R)
2016 - Loss to Vesely (MC), Win over Murray (M), Loss to Murray (R)

Wins: 7 (Berdych, Federer, Murray, Nadal x 4) - Worth noting also beat Nadal in MC 2015 SF and Rome 2016 QF
Losses: 8 (Tipsarevic, Dimitrov, Berdych, Federer, Vesely, Murray, Nadal x 2)

Djokovic won 47% of masters played, as opposed to Federer who won 27%. Now, you could make the argument that the difference is Nadal, who beat Federer 5 times and only beat Djokovic twice. If the losses to Nadal were equalised, they'd both be on the same number of masters. However, I don't think that's fair to do given Federer only beat Nadal twice yet Djokovic beat him 6 times. I agree that Nadal was at the lower level in 2011-16, compared to 2005-09 (especially 2015-16), but it's not enough to account for Djokovic winning 6/8 matches in Bo3 and Federer only winning 2/7.

Djokovic also very impressively went undefeated in Bo3 clay matches in both 2011 and 2015. Federer did not achieve that in 2004-09, and there was only 1 year in which he only lost to Nadal.

For what it's worth, I think their peak level on clay is pretty much the same. I also don't think there's a great deal between the two. However, I feel compelled to give Djokovic the edge on clay during their respective prime periods, even if it is only slight.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
LOL Fed fans talking about Nadal's slight differences but if you ask them about Roddick, Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Philippoussis they say that competition doesn't count.
 

ForumMember

Hall of Fame
The only matrix you should use is Sets won against Nadal. That's all.

Anyone followed Tennis in these periods would go with Djokovic and it should be landslide. Djokovic put some fear in my mind even when playing on clay against Nadal, but Federer not much.
 

ForehandRF

Professional
Another factor, Roger had to play Rafa in 5 set masters finals. Rafa is a different beast in 5 sets on clay than 3 sets.

Even before Rafa lost some foot speed in 2009, Novak was showing some matchup problems with prime clay Rafa that Roger never had. But does that mean he’s better on clay than Roger or just had the better weapons vs Nadal?

I think it’s a tie, but OP has an agenda so didn’t want to include that as an option. :p
Yeah, those BO5 matches in 2006 were very important from the mental perspective, given that they were at the beginning of their clay rivalry.Still, it is what it is and Djokovic was more successful against the Nadal.
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
Obviously Djokovic matches up better with Nadal on clay with his two hander. Any idiot knows this. Federer’s one hander is susceptible to Nadal on clay. Federer on the other hand has beaten Djokovic multiple times on clay when he was past his best and djokovic was peaking. Federer can wrong foot Djokovic on clay like no other.
 

TearTheRoofOff

Hall of Fame
LOL Fed fans talking about Nadal's slight differences but if you ask them about Roddick, Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Philippoussis they say that competition doesn't count.
Well, what they should tell you is that those guys put in more legit performances than you'd care to admit. Gonzo was absolutely awesome in AO 07, as Nadal would tell you, and the final was also high quality.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Roland Garros 2004-09 vs 2011-16 win percentage comparison:

Nadal 96.88 < Nadal 97.14
Federer 86.49 < Djokovic 87.18
Nalbandian 77.27 < Murray 83.33
Djokovic 77.27 < Federer 81.48
Davydenko 76.92 < Wawrinka 81.48
Robredo 76.92 < Ferrer 80.65
Gaudio 76.47 < Tsonga 77.78
Coria 75.00 < Monfils 76.47
Monfils 73.68 < Gasquet 75.00
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Obviously Djokovic matches up better with Nadal on clay with his two hander. Any idiot knows this. Federer’s one hander is susceptible to Nadal on clay. Federer on the other hand has beaten Djokovic multiple times on clay when he was past his best and djokovic was peaking. Federer can wrong foot Djokovic on clay like no other.
Nadal on clay

vs one-handed bh excluding Federer: 89.73% of wins
vs two-handed bh excluding Djokovic: 94.77% of wins
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
Nadal on clay

vs one-handed bh excluding Federer: 89.73% of wins
vs two-handed bh excluding Djokovic: 94.77% of wins
Are you trying to say that returning a high bouncing topspin shot on a clay court is easier with a one hander than a two hander? If you are welcome to the ignore list.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Are you trying to say that returning a high bouncing topspin shot on a clay court is easier with a one hander than a two hander? If you are welcome to the ignore list.
I'm saying that Nadal deals better with two-handers, whatever is the reason. This stat is clear.

Maybe it's because one handers have a longer reach, or more power.
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
Nadal pummels excellent one handers on clay such as Wawrinka, Federer and Gasquet. Your stats are inflated due to losses to Thiem at minor tournaments. He massacres Thiem whenever they meet at RG. The only other losses to one handers on clay I can think off over the last decade are one offs to Zeballos and Wawrinka.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
More lies. No one says competition doesn't count, what they say is that level of play is more important than name.

Keep trolling putting Roddick in with Baggy, Gonzo and Philippoussis as well.
How do you measure level of play objectively?

Why was Nadal better in 2004-09?

I can see only one way: win percentage stats over the field. In that case clay 2004-09 Nadal is slightly better than 2011-16, but the rest of competition on all surfaces in 2004-09 was not comparable to 2011-16. You can't have both. You have to be consistent.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
How do you measure level of play objectively?

Why was Nadal better in 2004-09?
Using the word objective doesn't make you objective lol. Tennis is a zero sum game and every win or loss is relative to the field - and every field is different. Not to mention the thousands of permutations that can happen in every single match.

Your attempt to ignore judging actual match play is about as far from objective as possible. I use a combination of match stats and watching to determine level of play. Which you know.

I consider the three best years and three worst years all better in 2004-09.

04, 05, 09 > 14, 15, 16

06, 07, 08 > 11, 12, 13
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
How do you measure level of play objectively?

Why was Nadal better in 2004-09?

I can see only one way: win percentage stats over the field. In that case clay 2004-09 Nadal is slightly better than 2011-16, but the rest of competition on all surfaces in 2004-09 was not comparable to 2011-16. You can't have both. You have to be consistent.
It is hard to measure level when you have small differences between them but not if it is a moderate to big difference. A ton of people love and create hypotheicals to just favor Federer at times and he wins most of these matches but it woud be boring talking tennis if you dont debate level.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
It is hard to measure level when you have small differences between them but not if it is a moderate to big difference. A ton of people love and create hypotheicals to just favor Federer at times and he wins most of these matches but it woud be boring talking tennis if you dont debate level.
Yeah sometimes it's two high quality matches and it's splitting hairs to pick. Other times one match is marred by poor errors and the other features good shotmaking and healthy winners to errors. Obviously you need to account for game styles and court speeds too but ignoring actual game play is silly...
 

Sabrina

Rookie
Using the word objective doesn't make you objective lol. Tennis is a zero sum game and every win or loss is relative to the field - and every field is different. Not to mention the thousands of permutations that can happen in every single match.

Your attempt to ignore judging actual match play is about as far from objective as possible. I use a combination of match stats and watching to determine level of play. Which you know.

I consider the three best years and three worst years all better in 2004-09.

04, 05, 09 > 14, 15, 16

06, 07, 08 > 11, 12, 13
2005 Nadal was better on clay (and even hard) than 2006 Nadal. 2006 Nadal was only better on grass.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
2005 Nadal was better on clay (and even hard) than 2006 Nadal. 2006 Nadal was only better on grass.
Clay is pretty close though. Rome close. MC better in 2006 and RG close as well. Went unbeaten on clay in 06 and lost some matches but played far more of them. Competition tough in as well in both years. I think both are behind 07-08,10 and 12 and near par with 17.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
Yeah sometimes it's two high quality matches and it's splitting hairs to pick. Other times one match is marred by poor errors and the other features good shotmaking and healthy winners to errors. Obviously you need to account for game styles and court speeds too but ignoring actual game play is silly...
Forced errors as well is good one as well.
 

Sabrina

Rookie
Clay is pretty close though. Rome close. MC better in 2006 and RG close as well. Went unbeaten on clay in 06 and lost some matches but played far more of them. Competition tough in as well in both years. I think both are behind 07-08,10 and 12 and near par with 17.
Clay only 2005-2009 Nadal was better than any Nadal post 2010 other than 2012 and maybe 2017 Nadal.

On topic: 2011-2016 Djokovic would be my vote. Even though he had the benefit of facing a weaker Nadal on clay in 2014-2016 but I will not argue about that in this case.
 
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