Federers backhand vs Rafa

ffw2

Rookie
well it's more of an inkling that I've had since I watched Wimbledon '07 and then all of their 2008 matches - Roland Garros '08 was especially bad. Of course I was a child at that point in time and barely understood tennis but I am still a human with decent pattern recognition skills, after all.

I think everything gets over-nostalgized here, tbh. The Fedal rivalry had an amazing peak, probably the best I have ever seen, but after AO '09 it became a little stale. I will admit that Rome '06 and Miami/Dubai 05/06 were incredible though. Those are maybe a bit underrated, actually.
2021's been an eye-opening year, for sure.

Certainly puts some things in perspective. (y)
 

beltsman

Legend
The real question is: why couldn't Fed do the same to Nadal? He could not pin Nadal to his BH. Why is that?

Also, Fed's FH, while the all-around GOAT shot, is not built to hit through people. Its strength is in versatility, finding angles, etc. Not straight powering through the court a la Delpo, Soderling, Stan. That's why he couldn't dominate with his FH against Nadal.
 
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Kralingen

Hall of Fame
What's an example of a good rivalry that deserves it's reputation?
aside from Murrovic? lol

That's a great question, really. I don't really know enough about the older rivalries like Borg-McEnroe, Lendl-McEnroe, anything involving Connors or before etc.

I mean there isn't really one that jumps off the page in terms of extended quality and consistency, is there? Even Agassi-Sampras which is regarded as a GOAT rivalry wasn't all that competitive in some matches. Maybe Sampras-Becker?

I think Federer-Del Potro and Djokovic-Wawrinka, for example, produced some very interesting tennis at their peak, and produced multiple matches that are every bit as watchable as the best Fedal or Djokodal ones. Of course many duds due to injury/form in those ones as well.
 

ChrisG

Professional
Let’s just say that a fit Nadal is unstoppable at the FO. He destroyed everybody, not only Fed but also the other Goat Novak.
 

tennis24x7

Semi-Pro
I meant that he changed racquet strings in his time and he was an expert at adapting to new equipment.
An ATG like him coaching Federer to solve the Nadal riddle would have been good.
Federer was too rigid to move outside his comfort zone.
And this then carried over to other surfaces where Nadal used the same tactic to effectively shut Fed down
 

Sunny014

Legend
And this then carried over to other surfaces where Nadal used the same tactic to effectively shut Fed down
Maybe the age difference and the 1 handed backhand combo converted Federer into an absolute inferior player when he faced Nadal.
While playing everyone else he looked like a God and vs Nadal he was like helpless, looking to be an inferior athlete. Sad that he did not do anything different in those years to change this, he should have addressed this problem as early as 2007 or 2008. Even if he was winning 3 slams per year he should have done something.

The year 2008 was ripe for this, after losing wimbledon he should have taken the drastic step of changing his racquet, even though he didn't do this, he should have done this latest after his loss to Potro, no explanation as to why he allowed Nadal to abuse his backhand in the 10-13 years ... 4 good years wasted !
 

ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Maybe the age difference and the 1 handed backhand combo converted Federer into an absolute inferior player when he faced Nadal.
While playing everyone else he looked like a God and vs Nadal he was like helpless, looking to be an inferior athlete. Sad that he did not do anything different in those years to change this, he should have addressed this problem as early as 2007 or 2008. Even if he was winning 3 slams per year he should have done something.

The year 2008 was ripe for this, after losing wimbledon he should have taken the drastic step of changing his racquet, even though he didn't do this, he should have done this latest after his loss to Potro, no explanation as to why he allowed Nadal to abuse his backhand in the 10-13 years ... 4 good years wasted !
There is a possibility that had Federer changed his racket earlier, he wouldn't have beaten Djokovic in slams in 2011-2012 :D
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru

I am watching these highlights of the 2007 french open final, since I didn’t watch it live. And I notice the same pattern the entire time. Nadal just hitting to Federer’s backhand until it breaks down, he finds Federers backhand from any position, a serve, backhand, typically his forehand, and just keeps going to it until it misses or he stretches federer out wide enough for him to attempt a winner down the line. Its almost unreal how often this seems to happen. I think nadal is a really adaptable player, he wins majority of matches on clay even against players with good backhands like Djokovic, Murray, Thiem, Wawrinka, etc. But here against Fed, he rarely needs to do anything aside from hit to the backhand and go from there.

Why does Federer let this happen? If he lost to Nadal 4 straight years at French open then surely he must decide a change is needed at some point. Federer is not a dumb player, and is surely aware of Nadals gameplan, and aware of his own weaknesses. I am actually frustrated watching Fed get abused on his backhand even though I am not a fan, because it seems wrong for such a player to get beaten with some simple strategy. Yes, Nadal has all the tools to execute this strategy, but it is still relatively simple.

Why did Federer not make some adjustment in the time from 2005 rg to 2008 rg? Instead Nadal exploited his game even more by the end. Like i said I didnt watch this stuff live so forgive me if im missing something obvious.
I fully believe in every one of those encounters Federer was confident in his game, probably over confident since it went the way it did so many times. I think he really believed he would beat him and a change wasn't needed.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.

... I notice the same pattern the entire time. Nadal just hitting to Federer’s backhand until it breaks down
Just now noticed? This has been a well-documented tactic of Nadal's since 2007. And even Fed mentioned and joked about it for years. It is a steadfast tactic for most when they see a one handed backhand, though the effectiveness is never certain.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
What the hell do you expect him to do about that tactic? He’s playing a best of 5 on slow high bouncing clay with a one hander against the best grinder of all time with the best lefty forehand of all time. He tried to change it up in 2008 with stupid net approaches and got butchered. Wawrinka has arguably the best one handed topspin drive of all time and Nadal butchered him on that wing. Federer had to basically redline and blast winners at will for 3 full sets with no dips to win.
But yeah I agree with this aswell. Wasn't much he could have changed to be honest. I don't know what he could have done to protect that BH side more other than to play brainless tennis but that wouldn't have worked either. Nadal was always gonna target that side no matter what and especially on serve where it's out of anyones control where the opponent is gonna serve the ball, I guess Fed could have guessed more to that side and ran around it but when you are up break points it's mentally hard to just guess on one side instead of standing firm and just return the serve and see how it goes. All players are afraid of letting chances slip for free. It's in your nature to play it safe.

Federer was quite competitive here though and could have made it much closer if he took his chances.
 

Sunny014

Legend
There is a possibility that had Federer changed his racket earlier, he wouldn't have beaten Djokovic in slams in 2011-2012 :D
Nothing like that, Djokovic was always inferior to Federer until 2011 and that was not going to change, had Federer changed his racquet in 08 or 09 then he would still have taken all those slams vs useless players like Murray, Soderling and Roddick, his wimbledon 2012 would also have come anyhow, but he would have benefitted with slams here and there as his resurgence of 2014 would have come 4 years earlier from 2010 itself, those 4 years he could have added 2-3 extra slams maybe.

Problem is Federer started to rise in 2014 with his new racquet and it was too late because Novak's resurgence had also begun, a young champion who is at his peak and at a GOAT level will defeat an older GOAT in his early mid 30s, that is law of nature, you cannot defy it.

So Nadal basically ruined Federer and slow him down until 2014 and from 2014 Novak took over as the new guy to beat Federer.

In between 10, 12, 13 and 2014AO were 3+ years where there were openings, outside clay Federer would have won over Nadal with his new racquet but he just wasted it...
 
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