How do you think Djokovic would match-up against young Nadal on clay?

How would the match-up be?


  • Total voters
    36

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
Watching Nadal and Djokovic play on HC earlier in Novak's career (2007-2009), I always felt Djokovic is rather comfortable in the match-up and Nadal is the one that has to come up with the goods to beat his opponent.

However, Djokovic was totally underdeveloped on clay in 2006 and 2007 to a point where he played HC tennis on clay and looked awful out there and in 2008, Nadal was too strong.

Federer got to face 2005-2007 Ned at RG, Djokovic got to face 2012-2014 Ned at RG, both similarly good from my perspective (2007 ~ 2012, 2005 ~ 2013, 2006 ~ 2014)

2012-2014 Nadal switched his game up to counter Djokovic, the traits of his game being bigger serve and better shotmaking, especially with the FHDTL.

Young Nadal was faster and hit with more consistency (as in more depth and more regularity).

The question here is, would Djokovic have preferred to play the supreme grinder-juggernaut or the slower version, but with better shotmaking.

I always felt shotmaking and aggressiveness is more important against Djokovic based on how other players like Federer or Wawrinka handled Djokovic throughout the years, so what would be the argument young Nadal isn't an easier match-up gamewise?
 
2007 and onwards everything will be same, Nadal trouncing Djokovic like usual.

2006 would be 50-50 , like even Federer at Rome was, but I think Nadal would still win.

2005 I think is where he might lose because of the serve. But from baseline, even though Nadal was a teen he will be a tough nut to crack.
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
How do you think Djokovic would match-up against young Nadal on clay?

We know, because Djokovic did not win a set off Rafa on clay until Rafa was 23.
Nadal was 21 during Hamburg 2008. :p

Plus 2007 Djoker was 2 levels below prime on clay, so it's irrelevant.
 

Biotic

Hall of Fame
I assume you meant 2011-2016 Djokovic.

Don't think he'd beat him at RG. Could take 2005/2006 Nadal to a 5th set. Puerta was serving for the 4th set actually.

I'd fully expect him to win a couple of matches in Rome/Hamburg/MC. Youngovic was neck and neck in 2008 Hamburg/2009 MC + Madrid, before running out of breath, can't see how Primevic wouldn't get him once in a while. Nadal would have to go for his shots a bit more often vs "unlimited stamina" Djoko.

On average slightly tougher matchup for Youngdal than you know who (even he got him twice, albeit one of those a dead tired Nadal).

Stat of the day: 2011-2014 Djokovic leads Nadal 4-2 at clay Masters.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
I think he'd push Nadal harder than Federer did in the clay Masters in general, but I still see him faltering all the same at RG.

Either way, he certainly doesn't rack up as many wins as he currently has imo
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
I assume you meant 2011-2016 Djokovic.

Don't think he'd beat him at RG. Could take 2005/2006 Nadal to a 5th set. Puerta was serving for the 4th set actually.

I'd fully expect him to win a couple of matches in Rome/Hamburg/MC. Youngovic was neck and neck in 2008 Hamburg/2009 MC + Madrid, before running out of breath, can't see how Primevic wouldn't get him once in a while. Nadal would have to go for his shots a bit more often vs "unlimited stamina" Djoko.

On average slightly tougher matchup for Youngdal than you know who (even he got him twice, albeit one of those a dead tired Nadal).

Stat of the day: 2011-2014 Djokovic leads Nadal 4-2 at clay Masters.
Almost exactly what I was thinking actually.

I personally think 2011 Djokovic has a chance against 2005 Nadal or 2013 Djokovic against 2006 Nadal at RG.

Obviously, gotta give Nadal the benefit of doubt, so I will keep this as a "just me" opinion.
 

Strale

Semi-Pro
If we are talking about gluten free vegan,yoga meditating sensei with pyramid energies Novak 26-28 years old than i can assure you he would find a way to win once or twice..

Djokovic is tactical genius who adapts like no one ever in tennis...

I dont want to sound clueless like federer fans with hypotheticals but i beleive he would be a worthy opponent to Nadal to say the least.

Its a shame that we cant make the same scenario for Nadal on AO...Djokovic would devour every version of Nadal "even" on steroids(or maybe not even :D)
 
Joker doesn’t have the consistent firepower to hit through Youngdal/Primedal, and Youndal/Primedal had better stamina than Joker. It’s basically a pick your poison type of situation. Do you want to try and ball bash your way through him where you most likely UFE yourself into oblivion. Or you can play it safer allowing him to grind you down until your legs are gone.
 

gadge

Professional
I think he'd push Nadal harder than Federer did in the clay Masters in general, but I still see him faltering all the same at RG.

Either way, he certainly doesn't rack up as many wins as he currently has imo
He wouldn’t beat him on RG but could push him into 5th on occasion.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
We already saw Madrid 2009. I don’t believe Djokovic ever played significantly better than that match on clay for any length of time. One of the most titanic clashes ever
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
I dont get when people say Djokovic wasnt developed on clay till later.

He has said in numerous interviews that he grew up playing on clay courts mainly i believe.

Maybe he developed a different mentality , or tactical style. But we cant pretend that clay was unknown to him till 2011.
 

Amen786

Semi-Pro
Watching Nadal and Djokovic play on HC earlier in Novak's career (2007-2009), I always felt Djokovic is rather comfortable in the match-up and Nadal is the one that has to come up with the goods to beat his opponent.

However, Djokovic was totally underdeveloped on clay in 2006 and 2007 to a point where he played HC tennis on clay and looked awful out there and in 2008, Nadal was too strong.

Federer got to face 2005-2007 Ned at RG, Djokovic got to face 2012-2014 Ned at RG, both similarly good from my perspective (2007 ~ 2012, 2005 ~ 2013, 2006 ~ 2014)

2012-2014 Nadal switched his game up to counter Djokovic, the traits of his game being bigger serve and better shotmaking, especially with the FHDTL.

Young Nadal was faster and hit with more consistency (as in more depth and more regularity).

The question here is, would Djokovic have preferred to play the supreme grinder-juggernaut or the slower version, but with better shotmaking.

I always felt shotmaking and aggressiveness is more important against Djokovic based on how other players like Federer or Wawrinka handled Djokovic throughout the years, so what would be the argument young Nadal isn't an easier match-up gamewise?
Djokovic would not win a clay match against nadal from 2005 to 2008. Come on, that man was possessed

He is known
 

Kralingen

Hall of Fame
I actually agree with Djokovic in the idea that '06-08 Nadal was not unbeatable, but I still don't think any clay version of Djoker takes down young Nadal. we have to talk hypothetical Borg if we want someone who can actually beat prime Nadal on clay and even that is a stretch given how long ago Borg played.

Believe it or not in the actual matches in '06-08 he actually played Nadal decently close, they were straight sets but he pushed Rafa to a TB in '08 and broke him back quite a few times. Djokovic was actually not a mug on clay back then, but he lacked stamina and his serve let him down a fair amount.

I'm sure a smarter '11-'13 Djokovic could maybe pull a set or two out on RG but he still doesn't win the match.
 
Young Nadal was a force of nature and his physical prowess made up for his lack of experience and finesse. After his 2009 break he was never as quick as before. Djokovic's late success against Fed and Nadal is explained more through their decline than his improvement.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
The 3rd option is the correct answer, cuz Novak ain't beating any championship version of Rafa at RG. Here's why:


A couple more things:

I assume you meant 2011-2016 Djokovic.

Don't think he'd beat him at RG. Could take 2005/2006 Nadal to a 5th set. Puerta was serving for the 4th set actually.

I'd fully expect him to win a couple of matches in Rome/Hamburg/MC. Youngovic was neck and neck in 2008 Hamburg/2009 MC + Madrid, before running out of breath, can't see how Primevic wouldn't get him once in a while. Nadal would have to go for his shots a bit more often vs "unlimited stamina" Djoko.

On average slightly tougher matchup for Youngdal than you know who (even he got him twice, albeit one of those a dead tired Nadal).

Stat of the day: 2011-2014 Djokovic leads Nadal 4-2 at clay Masters.
Sounds about right. '16/take-your-pick Nole probably pushes '06 Rafa to 5. Maybe Bull's maiden version, too. But the outcome would still be all but preordained from the get-go, despite an occasional Masters W here and there.

Puerta actually put up a good fight in the '05 final, which BTW is another blow against the idiot talking point about 1HBHs being useless vs. Nadal's suffocating spin. Of course there's the possible if not likely advantage of doping, but a bigger factor probably was the Argie's own lefty spin which confounds even fellow southpaws cuz they're so used to playing righties themselves and like I said this was Bull's maiden Slam to boot. (Ditto Pistol vs. Korda Sr. who also returned the Sampras serve as well as anybody.)

Joker doesn’t have the consistent firepower to hit through Youngdal/Primedal, and Youndal/Primedal had better stamina than Joker. It’s basically a pick your poison type of situation. Do you want to try and ball bash your way through him where you most likely UFE yourself into oblivion. Or you can play it safer allowing him to grind you down until your legs are gone.
That really is Djoker's biggest weakness on clay. His RPM rates on both wings are literally average, which caps his dirtballing potential cuz even an ATG FH-BH combo + ATG movement don't amount to much on terre battue if you can't make your opponents take a further step back with spin.

I actually agree with Djokovic in the idea that '06-08 Nadal was not unbeatable, but I still don't think any clay version of Djoker takes down young Nadal. we have to talk hypothetical Borg if we want someone who can actually beat prime Nadal on clay and even that is a stretch given how long ago Borg played.

Believe it or not in the actual matches in '06-08 he actually played Nadal decently close, they were straight sets but he pushed Rafa to a TB in '08 and broke him back quite a few times. Djokovic was actually not a mug on clay back then, but he lacked stamina and his serve let him down a fair amount.

I'm sure a smarter '11-'13 Djokovic could maybe pull a set or two out on RG but he still doesn't win the match.
LOL '08 (RG) Rafa is just about as unbeatable as they come on clay. Even the King of Dirt has cracked the rarefied 70% ceiling in GW% only 4 times at RG - '08 (75.7%), '12 (71.0%), '17 (76.8%) and '20 (70.9%), to go along with an equally historic 67+% for the CC season (67.8%, 68.2%, 67.9% and 69.0% respectively) - and though '17 statistically edges out '08 most would agree the latter's fresher pair of wheels pushes him a slight notch above.

Apart from Borg the only (OE) guys I'd give more than a puncher's chance against that Rafa are GOATing Guga and '93 (RG) Bruguera, but the %s would eventually fall in Bull's favor. Unless Novak pulls a Tonya prior to RG he ain't pushing '08 Rafa to 5 in any scenario.
 

Sudacafan

Talk Tennis Guru
How do you think Djokovic would match-up against young Nadal on clay?

He would have to be young Djokovic, almost one year younger than Nadal.
 
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