Coria at his best, Nadal at his most physical. Probably THE greatest clay match of the century.

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Kuerten, Courier and Bruguera to name only 3 would at their best would all give Nadal a better match than Coria. Add Soderling to the list as well.
As in they'd beat Nadal or just give a better match?

Because as far as clay matches go, it's difficult to see how they'd get much better than Rome 2005 (or 2006 for that matter). Granted Nadal's game was still quite incomplete but he made up for it with ludicrous court coverage and physicality.
 
Can someone summarize why Coria was so good on Clay? I don’t remember seeing him on any top 10 list in terms of best forehand, backhand, serve or return
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
Can someone summarize why Coria was so good on Clay? I don’t remember seeing him on any top 10 list in terms of best forehand, backhand, serve or return
Like Ferrer he was everywhere on the court but unlike Ferrer he seems to be able to hit through the court way more, this is Nadal near his peak defense and yet Coria manages to hit through him for stretches. Not to mention he is good with his droppers.

But yes his strokes only come off as extremely solid but short of spectacular.
 

40L0VE

Semi-Pro
As in they'd beat Nadal or just give a better match?

Because as far as clay matches go, it's difficult to see how they'd get much better than Rome 2005 (or 2006 for that matter). Granted Nadal's game was still quite incomplete but he made up for it with ludicrous court coverage and physicality.
Opinion only, I think the first 3 I listed would give Nadal a tougher match. They were all at the best great on clay courts, super fit and they had heavy firepower.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
This was the era when Nadal struggled to hit his groundies past the service line......short, short, short
This is true but overblown. Really overblown.

Nadal never hit too deep when he had enough physicality. Yes his shots were less deep on average early in his career.

But watch this one, it is one of his celebrated matches later in his career and he still is hitting his FH near the service line mostly

 
As in they'd beat Nadal or just give a better match?

Because as far as clay matches go, it's difficult to see how they'd get much better than Rome 2005 (or 2006 for that matter). Granted Nadal's game was still quite incomplete but he made up for it with ludicrous court coverage and physicality.
If say at a time there are 4 real rivals of Nadal on clay rather than 1(I say one because when Fed was real rival on clay Djoker wasn't and when Djoker became one Fed wasn't anymoar) then the chances of Nadal getting beaten on a relatively weaker day go significantly up.

Hypothetically speaking if between 2011-2014 there was a healthy Soderling playing as good as he did in 2009 and '10 and if there was a healthy Coria playing like he did in 2005, in addition to Novak, Nadal might have to play all three of these back to back in the late stages of a tournament.

They would tire him naturally and if he has a weaker day one of them might snatch a win. Even if you are Nadal you can't bring your best everyday.

When Nadal had to only play Djokovic(as in Novak was the only serious contender) he could play easy against the rest of the field while mentally and physically preparing to peak for the final or something.
Having to go through 3 Djokovics is a different task altogether though mentally and physically.

Having said that in any era you don't expect so many players to be at peak on a particular surface. Rafa actually had great competition on clay always.
Even when the rest of the tour sucked(like 2017 to now) on other surfaces Rafa had Thiem on clay.
 

40L0VE

Semi-Pro
This is about as tough a match as you can get though, as @Bender says.
Rafa won both those matches. I still think the 3 I named first at their best would have a better chance to beat Rafa.

What about about Djokovic? He had a 7 match winning streak against Nadal in 2011/2012 when Nadal was in his prime years. Two of those wins were successive victories at the Madrid and Rome finals on clay. Before Novak's win streak Nadal was 10-4 in the previous 14 matches and after the win streak went 6-1 in the next 7 matches.

Some posters rate Coria far more highly than me but based on my opinion and what match ups we've actually seen I can't pick Coria as Nadal's toughest match up.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
If say at a time there are 4 real rivals of Nadal on clay rather than 1(I say one because when Fed was real rival on clay Djoker wasn't and when Djoker became one Fed wasn't anymoar) then the chances of Nadal getting beaten on a relatively weaker day go significantly up.

Hypothetically speaking if between 2011-2014 there was a healthy Soderling playing as good as he did in 2009 and '10 and if there was a healthy Coria playing like he did in 2005, in addition to Novak, Nadal might have to play all three of these back to back in the late stages of a tournament.

They would tire him naturally and if he has a weaker day one of them might snatch a win. Even if you are Nadal you can't bring your best everyday.

When Nadal had to only play Djokovic(as in Novak was the only serious contender) he could play easy against the rest of the field while mentally and physically preparing to peak for the final or something.
Having to go through 3 Djokovics is a different task altogether though mentally and physically.

Having said that in any era you don't expect so many players to be at peak on a particular surface. Rafa actually had great competition on clay always.
Even when the rest of the tour sucked(like 2017 to now) on other surfaces Rafa had Thiem on clay.
That's fine and I wouldn't disagree with your scenario, but he said any one of those three in Coria's place would give Nadal a bigger match.

It's just that I can't see how a match could be meaningfully / noticeably more difficult without those guys beating Nadal. In fact the 2006 match for Nadal was basically as difficult as a match can get without losing.
Rafa won both those matches. I still think the 3 I named first at their best would have a better chance to beat Rafa.

What about about Djokovic? He had a 7 match winning streak against Nadal in 2011/2012 when Nadal was in his prime years. Two of those wins were successive victories at the Madrid and Rome finals on clay. Before Novak's win streak Nadal was 10-4 in the previous 14 matches and after the win streak went 6-1 in the next 7 matches.

Some posters rate Coria far more highly than me but based on my opinion and what match ups we've actually seen I can't pick Coria as Nadal's toughest match up.
I don't think anyone's said that though, just that in this particular match Coria gave Nadal a huge fight and if he didn't suddenly fade away with the yips he most likely would've hung around on clay a few more years to produce some classics with Rafa.
 
That's fine and I wouldn't disagree with your scenario, but he said any one of those three in Coria's place would give Nadal a bigger match.

It's just that I can't see how a match could be meaningfully / noticeably more difficult without those guys beating Nadal. In fact the 2006 match for Nadal was basically as difficult as a match can get without losing.
Oh I totally went in a direction of my own. I didn't properly read the conversation you were having. I agree with what you say.
 

40L0VE

Semi-Pro
I don't think anyone's said that though, just that in this particular match Coria gave Nadal a huge fight and if he didn't suddenly fade away with the yips he most likely would've hung around on clay a few more years to produce some classics with Rafa.
The OP is talking about the 'greatest' match, you the 'toughest', me I'm going by results in Djok's case and my opinion in the case of Guga, Jim and Sergi. We're not talking about the same thing. I can't add anymore to what I've already said.
 

myth

Semi-Pro
Like Ferrer he was everywhere on the court but unlike Ferrer he seems to be able to hit through the court way more, this is Nadal near his peak defense and yet Coria manages to hit through him for stretches. Not to mention he is good with his droppers.

But yes his strokes only come off as extremely solid but short of spectacular.
"Between 2001-2002, he served a seven month suspension for taking the banned substance nandrolone"
That probably explains the court coverage...
 

myth

Semi-Pro
As in they'd beat Nadal or just give a better match?

Because as far as clay matches go, it's difficult to see how they'd get much better than Rome 2005 (or 2006 for that matter). Granted Nadal's game was still quite incomplete but he made up for it with ludicrous court coverage and physicality.
I don't think Courier Bruguera Kuerten would have got a set out of Nadal....
The only way: Give Nadal a pro tour 630 or pro staff 85 instead of his Babolat. If not impossible to stop the spin machine...
 

myth

Semi-Pro
If say at a time there are 4 real rivals of Nadal on clay rather than 1(I say one because when Fed was real rival on clay Djoker wasn't and when Djoker became one Fed wasn't anymoar) then the chances of Nadal getting beaten on a relatively weaker day go significantly up.

Hypothetically speaking if between 2011-2014 there was a healthy Soderling playing as good as he did in 2009 and '10 and if there was a healthy Coria playing like he did in 2005, in addition to Novak, Nadal might have to play all three of these back to back in the late stages of a tournament.

They would tire him naturally and if he has a weaker day one of them might snatch a win. Even if you are Nadal you can't bring your best everyday.

When Nadal had to only play Djokovic(as in Novak was the only serious contender) he could play easy against the rest of the field while mentally and physically preparing to peak for the final or something.
Having to go through 3 Djokovics is a different task altogether though mentally and physically.

Having said that in any era you don't expect so many players to be at peak on a particular surface. Rafa actually had great competition on clay always.
Even when the rest of the tour sucked(like 2017 to now) on other surfaces Rafa had Thiem on clay.
Novak was unlucky at last year FO. I think he could have won with a better draw and conditions.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
The OP is talking about the 'greatest' match, you the 'toughest', me I'm going by results in Djok's case and my opinion in the case of Guga, Jim and Sergi. We're not talking about the same thing. I can't add anymore to what I've already said.
Yeah but I was replying to your posts directly not OP's but let me break down what's happened just so we are on the same page:
  1. OP is saying 2005 Rome may be the "greatest" clay match
  2. You disagree, saying Guga, Jim, and Sergi would've given Nadal a "better" match--but that's not a proper disagreement since if you disagreed directly with OP you would've provided another match, not hypothetical opponents.
  3. I asked to clarify what you meant because I couldn't see how those three could've given a "tougher" match (paraphrasing your use of the word "better"). I understood your claim that those three would've given a "better" match to mean that they would've played Nadal closer, not necessarily that they would beat Nadal.
  4. You (in reply to @Breakpointerer) then say suggest Guga, Jim, Sergi, and Djokovic would've had a better chance at beating Nadal that year, and that you disagree that Coria is Nadal's toughest matchup
  5. I said that no-one said Coria is Nadal's toughest matchup
So I think you may have misunderstood my original reply to you. The thing is, I said the Rome 2005 match was about as tough as a particular match can be, not that Coria is Nadal's toughest matchup. Ie, Coria in that match that year got about as close as you can get to beating Nadal without actually winning in the end, so I disagree that Guga, Jim, Sergi, and now Djokovic could get any (meaningfully) closer to beating Nadal and still lose. Whether they would beat that Nadal is a separate thing altogether.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I don't think Courier Bruguera Kuerten would have got a set out of Nadal....
The only way: Give Nadal a pro tour 630 or pro staff 85 instead of his Babolat. If not impossible to stop the spin machine...
Contrary to popular belief, neither of those racquets produce less spin than Nadal's AeroPro Drive.

String spacing on Nadal's APD is actually closer in depth to an 18x20 than a traditional 16x19. I've used all three frames and the Pro Staff 90 with various strings.

Since string spacing in the contact zone is by far the most influential factor in topspin production, and the PS90 (and its successor the RF97A) has the most open stringbed, Nadal with a PS85 or a 630 wouldn't have had any difficulty creating topspin--even if the specifics of those frames wouldn't have been to his liking. Both the 85 and the 90 in particular seriously cut through the air and allows for ridiculous topspin in a way that the APD's aero beam can only hope to replicate.

Thiem with an even denser 18x20 string pattern has no difficulty creating even more spin than Nadal does.

Don't forget that Muster of all people used the 630 and he didn't exactly have difficulty creating topspin.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
I don't think Courier Bruguera Kuerten would have got a set out of Nadal....
The only way: Give Nadal a pro tour 630 or pro staff 85 instead of his Babolat. If not impossible to stop the spin machine...
Wasn't Kuerten one of the first to get Co-poly? Already around 1998-99?


I haven't watched him at all ,but think I read that he was one of the first big player to transition to Poly
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Kuerten, Courier and Bruguera to name only 3 would at their best would all give Nadal a better match than Coria. Add Soderling to the list as well.
As in they'd beat Nadal or just give a better match?

Because as far as clay matches go, it's difficult to see how they'd get much better than Rome 2005 (or 2006 for that matter). Granted Nadal's game was still quite incomplete but he made up for it with ludicrous court coverage and physicality.
Opinion only, I think the first 3 I listed would give Nadal a tougher match. They were all at the best great on clay courts, super fit and they had heavy firepower.
Only in '03 did Coria crack 80% in service games won. That lack of size and firepower makes him vulnerable to redlining opponents even on clay, as we saw at RG that year where Marin Verkerk of all people blew him off the court in straights. Kuerten, Bruguera and Courier OTOH would be able to withstand the assault, which any top player with enough weapons can put together in stretches.

Also I wouldn't be too sure about these Big 3 failing to down lesser versions of Rafa even once. I've already mentioned that Jim's 64.3% of games won in '92 and '93 is the highest since '91 by anyone not named Nadal and that even Rafa in his less successful years didn't surpass that mark, but that still sells Courier short cuz he'd switch to an even higher gear at RG, where he won an eye-popping 67.5% in '92 which currently sits in 24th place of the Open Era. And Bruguera did his rival one better by winning 68.8% the following year, for 14th place in the post-'68 ladder. Novak's % OTOH tends to stay more or less the same through a whole CC season, in fact he has yet to dominate RG to the same extent as he has Down Under.

As I keep pointing out CC tennis is almost a different game, one that rewards spin, sliding and patience more than power, quick steps and flashes of brilliance, and while Novak has plenty of the former his grinding game still can't match that of true top dirtballers of old. (Guga is an exception that combines a little bit of the best of both worlds.) Djoko definitely has the edge in longevity over almost all of these guys save maybe Borg and Lendl, but peak to peak I like their chances better vs. prime Rafa at RG.

This was the era when Nadal struggled to hit his groundies past the service line......short, short, short
This is true but overblown. Really overblown.

Nadal never hit too deep when he had enough physicality. Yes his shots were less deep on average early in his career.

But watch this one, it is one of his celebrated matches later in his career and he still is hitting his FH near the service line mostly

The extra topspin all but means more short balls than the average. Borg used to have the same issue, especially on the BH side. Obviously didn't hurt either guy all that much on clay.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Only in '03 did Coria crack 80% in service games won. That lack of size and firepower makes him vulnerable to redlining opponents even on clay, as we saw at RG that year where Marin Verkerk of all people blew him off the court in straights. Kuerten, Bruguera and Courier OTOH would be able to withstand the assault, which any top player with enough weapons can put together in stretches.

Also I wouldn't be too sure about these Big 3 failing to down lesser versions of Rafa even once. I've already mentioned that Jim's 64.3% of games won in '92 and '93 is the highest since '91 by anyone not named Nadal and that even Rafa in his less successful years didn't surpass that mark, but that still sells Courier short cuz he'd switch to an even higher gear at RG, where he won an eye-popping 67.5% in '92 which currently sits in 24th place of the Open Era. And Bruguera did his rival one better by winning 68.8% the following year, for 14th place in the post-'68 ladder. Novak's % OTOH tends to stay more or less the same through a whole CC season, in fact he has yet to dominate RG to the same extent as he has Down Under.

As I keep pointing out CC tennis is almost a different game, one that rewards spin, sliding and patience more than power, quick steps and flashes of brilliance, and while Novak has plenty of the former his grinding game still falls short of that of true top dirtballers of old. (Guga is an exception that combines a little bit of the best of both worlds.) Djoko definitely has the edge in longevity over almost all of these guys save maybe Borg and Lendl, but peak to peak I like their chances better vs. prime Rafa at RG.




The extra topspin all but means more short balls than the average. Borg used to have the same issue, especially on the BH side. Obviously didn't hurt either guy all that much on clay.
I meant give Nadal a closer match and still lose, not whether they'd beat Nadal.

Nadal's CC game was still developing so a notable CC heavyweight in his peak taking out a 2005 Nadal is not a huge stretch.
 

beltsman

Legend
Contrary to popular belief, neither of those racquets produce less spin than Nadal's AeroPro Drive.

String spacing on Nadal's APD is actually closer in depth to an 18x20 than a traditional 16x19. I've used all three frames and the Pro Staff 90 with various strings.

Since string spacing in the contact zone is by far the most influential factor in topspin production, and the PS90 (and its successor the RF97A) has the most open stringbed, Nadal with a PS85 or a 630 wouldn't have had any difficulty creating topspin--even if the specifics of those frames wouldn't have been to his liking. Both the 85 and the 90 in particular seriously cut through the air and allows for ridiculous topspin in a way that the APD's aero beam can only hope to replicate.

Thiem with an even denser 18x20 string pattern has no difficulty creating even more spin than Nadal does.

Don't forget that Muster of all people used the 630 and he didn't exactly have difficulty creating topspin.
All true, but the APD allowed the use of poly strings with a powerful and forgiving racquet.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
This match gets posted a lot around here, but I ain’t complaining lol
Literally the essence of clay-court tennis :D
Think about all that Nadal has done on clay and how much work he's had to put in to dominate it the way he did, and this is just ONE match. Those knees have some MILES on them.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
It was those matches that truly established Djokovic’s clay potential, imo.
I gotta give it to him, he could have lost the mental battle after going down a set like most guys, but he NEVER folded in, no matter the score when he played Nadal on clay. I was like damn dude give up already! Lol. Matches like those made Djokovic the warrior he is. I can't see him having the unparalled desire he has to win without Fedal (he'd have won slams of course).
 

myth

Semi-Pro
2013 is good bc of the epic 5th set. It looked like Rafa was going to lose for a hot minute.
2013 SF is epic....
Costa Muster 1995
Courier Sampras 1996
Kuerten Muster 1997
Kuerten Kafelnikov 1997
Federer Del Poltro 2009
Federer Djokovic 2011
Djokovic Wawrinka 2015
Thiem Zverev 2016
Thiem Goffin 2016
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster

My favourite clay court match. Wish Coria would have kept his health. We could have had so many classics between these two.
Have heard many reasons put forward for Coria's missed opportunities but this is the first time I've heard that his health was a factor.
 
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