Edberg vs Nadal.

jamumafa

Semi-Pro
I know, I know, Its hard to compare eras etc etc.

Buuuuuuut, in a hypothetical match-up, who wins?

Edberg, possibly the best volleyer of all time, clinical in putting away volleys, flawless technique etc. OR Nadal, amazing passing shots and defense, and shots at the opponents feet?

Nadal sometimes stands too far back on the return allowing edberg to swing a ball around on the serve and get into the net. However, if edberg is too slow or not good enough with the first volley, nadal has a very good chance on the pass.

On all surfaces, except Clay, thats a no-brainer. Grass, USO surface, AO surface etc.

Who takes it?
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I think on fast grass or a low-skidding fast court, Edberg would/could win.

Also, I think Edberg would do better than everyone here, in the haze of Nadal's current great form, thinks he would, even if he lost.

On clay, he'd lose, but he would get a LOT more games off of Nadal than Fed did at this year's French. He simply wouldn't engage Nadal in rallies and would keep on coming in and coming in. Also, he'd slice low and deep or hit one of his great backhand drives (Edberg's approach game really isn't acknowledged enough). Yes, given the era of super spin and poly strings, Edberg would get passed plenty, and again, lose on clay, but he'd get his chances. He's also smart enough to occasionally approach up the middle. His medium-paced pancake forehand, which he would always take early(Edberg didn't back up), would probably annoy Nadal, though it wouldn't really hurt him.
 

Grimjack

Banned
Listen, it's possible that if you could put Edberg in a time machine, he might be able to start all over again and re-invent himself as a dominant power baseliner. Possible, but doubtful.

If you just brought him, in his prime, playing his "classic" S&V game to the modern pro game, there's no one in the top 100 who wouldn't slaughter him.

S&V is dead for a reason. It stopped working in the era of extreme grips and poly strings.
 

Benhur

Hall of Fame
Listen, it's possible that if you could put Edberg in a time machine, he might be able to start all over again and re-invent himself as a dominant power baseliner. Possible, but doubtful.

If you just brought him, in his prime, playing his "classic" S&V game to the modern pro game, there's no one in the top 100 who wouldn't slaughter him.

S&V is dead for a reason. It stopped working in the era of extreme grips and poly strings.
I don't know if it really stopped working or it simply stopped being used. In any case, your assertion that anyone in the top 100 would "slaughter him" sounds like a wild exaggeration. He was much more talented than Stepanek, for example, and Stepanek is not being "slaughtered" with his net game.
 

TheNatural

G.O.A.T.
I think Edberg would have to add another 20k/hr to his first and 2nd serves. Otherwise Nadal would win comfortably. I remember Bjorman thrashing Edberg once at the US Open and Nadal is conbsiderably better than Bjorkman ever was.
 

JanusB

New User
I think Edberg would have to add another 20k/hr to his first and 2nd serves. Otherwise Nadal would win comfortably. I remember Bjorman thrashing Edberg once at the US Open and Nadal is conbsiderably better than Bjorkman ever was.
Different times, different games. Edberg was a considerably better player than Björkman ever was.
 

sunnyIce

Semi-Pro
depends on when they played...

if we transported them back 15 yrs ago before the advent of the poly strings, then edberg would win easily.
if they played in today's game, then edberg may not be able to handle the spins at all.
 

morten

Hall of Fame
Edberg would do major harm. I think he was 12-0 vs Muster head to head... He loved breaking down spin players.
 

anointedone

Banned
Nadal would win every single time on clay.

On grass of today Nadal wins 3 times out of 4. On grass of then Edberg wins 3 times out of 4.

On hard courts they split pretty evenly I believe. I think Nadal hates playing really agressive baseliners most on hard courts, and if they have a huge serve on top of that even moreso. I think he would actually prefer playing a serve /volleyer without an overpowering serve, and only because Edberg was such an outstanding serve/volley player and Nadal's least strong surface is hard courts do I even have him doing that well.

Edberg would do major harm. I think he was 12-0 vs Muster head to head... He loved breaking down spin players.
Muster is no Nadal. Nadal is like a Muster+++ once you go over everything that makes up Muster's game; but then you add on a much better serve, good volley, far more agressive groundstrokes, and comfort on surfaces other then clay on top of that. Lastly Nadal passes far better then Muster ever did. Muster even lost to Rafter and Sampras on clay.

On clay, he'd lose, but he would get a LOT more games off of Nadal than Fed did at this year's French.
This years French was only one match. Federer has always been alot more competitive vs Nadal on clay then that one match. Edberg on a given average day probably does do alot better vs Nadal then Federer did in the one match that was this years French Open final, but Federer in almost every other match he has played Nadal on clay has done alot better then Edberg probably would do on average. Edberg would not take a set off Nadal in 7 of their 10 matches on clay, nor he would he win once and have a match point to win in another best 3-of-5 if the only played 10 times on clay.
 
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tlimster

Rookie
I would agree that Nadal would not be able to beat Edberg if Nadal was playing in the 80s-90s without polyester. Edberg's a pretty big spin player too, so wonder how much his serve would improve with poly and new technology. I would bet on Edberg at Wimbledon on the old grass with the old strings, and Nadal at Wimbledon on the new grass with the new strings. Edberg at U.S. or Aussie, Nadal at French. I also think Muster would have done pretty well with poly.
 

tlimster

Rookie
I would add that Becker's a better big match player, so he'd probably have a better chance at beating Nadal. Roger seemed to be having success against Rafa by coming in in the fifth set, but didn't seem to want to do it, especially in the last two games when he was broken (netting forehand into the net to lose serve) and trying to break (netting forehand to lose match). It seemed like he was one shot late in coming in, or trying to hit too good of a shot and come in, whereas Becker at the end would just start coming in on anything and somehow find a way to win. I thought Rafa was tightening up and not going for his shots as much in the end, instead just getting it deep enough where Fed couldn't put it away from the baseline.
 

andreh

Professional
Nadal almost for sure.

Even with Courier's passing shots Edberg had big problems on grass.
In 1993 yes. This was clearly past Edberg's prime. His last really good year was 91 (even though he managed one more US title out of pure will power in 92).

There seems to be alot of peple on these boards that only remeber the last years of Edberg's career, where he was but a shadow of his former self.
 

andreh

Professional
I think Edberg would have to add another 20k/hr to his first and 2nd serves. Otherwise Nadal would win comfortably. I remember Bjorman thrashing Edberg once at the US Open and Nadal is conbsiderably better than Bjorkman ever was.
Again in 1993...past Edberg's prime. Edit: this was actually in 1994. Even more past Edberg's prime.
 
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I would add that Becker's a better big match player, so he'd probably have a better chance at beating Nadal. Roger seemed to be having success against Rafa by coming in in the fifth set, but didn't seem to want to do it, especially in the last two games when he was broken (netting forehand into the net to lose serve) and trying to break (netting forehand to lose match). It seemed like he was one shot late in coming in, or trying to hit too good of a shot and come in, whereas Becker at the end would just start coming in on anything and somehow find a way to win. I thought Rafa was tightening up and not going for his shots as much in the end, instead just getting it deep enough where Fed couldn't put it away from the baseline.
Fundamentally, I agree. But now that Rafa takes more balls early and plays closer to the baseline, I think his inner Agassi, now that it's developed, would complement the rest of his game, and work well against Boris et al. His passing shots are on another level now, too.

Elly Vines would win nine out of ten against Rafa, for sure. And I think we'd all agree, Don Budge's backhand would destroy Rafa, as would Zenzo Shimizu's western grip baseline game. I also like Stich and Rafter on a good day.

Don't you just LOVE inter-era comparisons?
 

pmerk34

Legend
I don't know if it really stopped working or it simply stopped being used. In any case, your assertion that anyone in the top 100 would "slaughter him" sounds like a wild exaggeration. He was much more talented than Stepanek, for example, and Stepanek is not being "slaughtered" with his net game.
It's not used at the Pro level becuase it stopped working
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
Edberg's kick serves would play into Nadal's return game. I would like to see how Nadal would have handled Goran's slice serve wide to his forehand on grass. On a very low-bouncing surface, a vintage Edberg's slice approaches would have been effective against Nadal's grips.
 
Edberg's kick serves would play into Nadal's return game. I would like to see how Nadal would have handled Goran's slice serve wide to his forehand on grass. On a very low-bouncing surface, a vintage Edberg's slice approaches would have been effective against Nadal's grips.
I'm thinking Rafa would handle 4 or 5 out of ten. And handle them pretty well.

But he'd pee his pants if he'd have to face the second serve of Jack Kramer.
 
Listen, it's possible that if you could put Edberg in a time machine, he might be able to start all over again and re-invent himself as a dominant power baseliner. Possible, but doubtful.

If you just brought him, in his prime, playing his "classic" S&V game to the modern pro game, there's no one in the top 100 who wouldn't slaughter him.

S&V is dead for a reason. It stopped working in the era of extreme grips and poly strings.
And yet Michael Llodra made it to the 4th round of the French Open. It may be a difficult tactic to use effectively at the pro level these days, but it's certainly not impossible.
 
And yet Michael Llodra made it to the 4th round of the French Open. It may be a difficult tactic to use effectively at the pro level these days, but it's certainly not impossible.
Rafter got the Italian Open final. Boris did, too. Pete won the Italian Open once.
Henman got to the semis of Roland Garros. Stich got the the RG final.
 

matchmaker

Hall of Fame
In 1993 yes. This was clearly past Edberg's prime. His last really good year was 91 (even though he managed one more US title out of pure will power in 92).

There seems to be alot of peple on these boards that only remeber the last years of Edberg's career, where he was but a shadow of his former self.
True, the Wimbledon finals with Becker were high quality tennis. I just don't understand how he could become such an uninspired player afterwards.

He played against Courier at Wimbledon and he would just hit kick serves to Courier's BH and get past by it at net time and time again. He couldn't adapt his strategy, it was very painful to see indeed.
 

andreh

Professional
True, the Wimbledon finals with Becker were high quality tennis. I just don't understand how he could become such an uninspired player afterwards.

He played against Courier at Wimbledon and he would just hit kick serves to Courier's BH and get past by it at net time and time again. He couldn't adapt his strategy, it was very painful to see indeed.
True. And that kick serve was much less of a stroke in those days than before. I think frequent injuries had forced Edberg to adapt his serve. It's quite clear than in 92 and forward he tosses a lot less behind his head, which turned his american twist into a lot more returnable topspin/slice serve (particularly obvious on the second serve, which had been one of the games best).

That is why returners caught up to him, not because returns somehow magically improved by magnitudes over the span of just a few years.
 
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