How many times has Nadal choked a match?

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Unpopular opinion: WIM 2019 was a choke. He was playing as good if not better than 2018 and had he been able to play maybe 10-20% better against Fed, I think he would have won the title.
That's definitely an unpopular opinion. I thought it was universally agreed that Nadal was better at 2018 Wimb than 2019.

His level was the highest of the Big 3 coming into that SF. Just never got any rhythm against Fed and played without a clear game plan.
You mean to tell me FH to the BH was not a clear game plan anymore?
 

ADuck

Legend
In a way, one may say tennis is a competition to see who fails less. Surely you realise the same fine-combed anal-ysis could be applied to Ned's wins as well. Of course if you believe Nadal's peak to be axiomatically supreme such that the match is always on his racquet...
That seems to be what you have to believe that I believe whenever I say Nadal didn't play his best against Federer every single time.

I think you should look inward:
"every single slam loss to Nadal outside clay was a choke."
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
First choke I remember was Wimbledon 06 final second set. Chocked when serving for the set and again in the tie-break.
In Wim 2006 final, Nadal did choke while serving for the 2nd set, but not in the TB. Federer was simply the better player in the TB.
Anyways, Nadal got the break in the 1st place with fed become a little loose after a bagel (granted Nadal did do his part as well).
not a co-incidence that Nadal got both his breaks in the match when federer was well ahead and relaxed (a bagel set and up double break in the 4th set)

one choking game from Nadal is not choke for the match. That's a big stretch.
 
That seems to be what you have to believe that I believe whenever I say Nadal didn't play his best against Federer every single time.

I think you should look inward:
"every single slam loss to Nadal outside clay was a choke."
I'd already acknowledged Nadal didn't perform optimally in that match, duh.
If you pick every nit, Federer didn't perform optimally against Nadal in any slam match bugagaga. RGs were still beyond him though.
 
muk tirelessly repeating his own propaganda while accusing others of propaganda posting... gets old, does it. Especially now, it's basically the same attitudes applied to real issues that cause so much shyt in the world.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Miami 09 vs delpo is an interesting one. I mean you could call it a choke, but delpo was just getting the better of BH-FH exchanges vs nadal and it was fun to watch that. I focussed more on that than if Nadal choked per se, heh.
 

sportsfan1

Hall of Fame
Fognini uso from 2-0 sets up was the big one of course. On the flip side, he's managed to not choke away a 2-0 set (maybe rarely even a 2-1) lead against Djokovic. It's happened to quite a few - fed, tsonga, tsits, sinner, musetti etc. Murray was also once close to blowing a 2-0, but managed to close out the win.
 

ADuck

Legend
I'd already acknowledged Nadal didn't perform optimally in that match, duh.
If you pick every nit, Federer didn't perform optimally against Nadal in any slam match bugagaga. RGs were still beyond him though.
Then don't be upset at my opinion if you agree? It was, to me, clearly Rafa's worst Wimby performance against Fed of all 4 matches. Course I'm going to call that out. I would rather the 2006 Rafa show up that day for the mental performance alone. At least that Rafa got his **** together after being bagelled. Maybe the problem was that Fed didn't bagel him the first set to spring him into action.
 

Rafa the King

Hall of Fame
That's definitely an unpopular opinion. I thought it was universally agreed that Nadal was better at 2018 Wimb than 2019.


You mean to tell me FH to the BH was not a clear game plan anymore?
It’s not that. It’s the court positioning. He stood close to the baseline, which is fine, but didn’t stick to his guns to play really aggressive on serve, once he got broken in the third he started to struggle in his service games a lot and that made it harder for him to break.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Then don't be upset at my opinion if you agree? It was, to me, clearly Rafa's worst Wimby performance against Fed of all 4 matches. Course I'm going to call that out. I would rather the 2006 Rafa show up that day for the mental performance alone. At least that Rafa got his **** together after being bagelled. Maybe the problem was that Fed didn't bagel him the first set to spring him into action.
2006 Rafa would be a tougher opponent on the basis of superior physicality alone. Does 2019 Fed still win if Rafa turns it into a physical battle?
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
Miami 2005, his first big final. The first set of Wimbledon 2006, the only time I've seen him overawed by an occasion, but he got it together so well afterwards. The last set of Wimbledon 2007, much as it upsets Federer fans whenever I say it. These are the only ones that are coming to mind for me, where his performance notably dropped off a cliff in comparison with the rest of the match without physical factors coming into the equation.

I suppose you could say he took his eye off the ball in that third set breaker with Tsitsipas in Australia, but I'm not sure I would go so far as to call it a choke. He made a couple of mistakes, let his opponent back in the match, and the guy took the chances and stepped up.

Some of the matches listed here so far are making me LOL pretty big.
 

ADuck

Legend
2006 Rafa would be a tougher opponent on the basis of superior physicality alone. Does 2019 Fed still win if Rafa turns it into a physical battle?
I don't understand why people keep saying Nadal should have turned it into a physical battle. The one thing Uncle Toni understood from the beginning way back in 06 is that if you play tentatively and passive against Federer on grass, he will destroy you. Nadal never played the physical game against Federer on grass, at least until 2019, and it was the perfect example on why Uncle Toni was right.

It's true that when Nadal won in 08 he played less aggressive than in 06 and 07, but it was still comparatively far more aggressive than 19.

Perhaps it being so long since Nadal had played him played a factor.

Oh, and even if Nadal was able to play that way without being blown away, we saw how good Federer's stamina was in the final, so if Nadal's goal was to tire Federer out I doubt that would have worked. Trying to play in a certain way with the goal of tiring your opponent out is quite frankly a stupid tactic at the pro level. You play to win, not to make the other guy lose. I actually think Medvedev may have tried this against Nadal in the AO final this year and we saw how that turned out.
 
Last edited:
Yes, a choke, but not a typical choke, because Tsitsipas rightfully won the 4th and 5th sets because Nadal lost all his energy. But you are right in that if he had not choked the 3rd set he wouldn't have lost, so I guess it counts.

Medvedev match at WTF 2020 is a similar story. Weird period Nadal went through there where he would lose intensity from winning positions. His stamina was terrible.
A choke is a chole regardless.
It felt really sad watching that match after middle of set4.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I don't understand why people keep saying Nadal should have turned it into a physical battle. The one thing Uncle Toni understood from the beginning way back in 06 is that if you play tentatively and passive against Federer on grass, he will destroy you. Nadal never played the physical game against Federer on grass, at least until 2019, and it was the perfect example on why Uncle Toni was right.

It's true that when Nadal won in 08 he played less aggressive than in 06 and 07, but it was still comparatively far more aggressive than 19.

Perhaps it being so long since Nadal had played him played a factor.

Oh, and even if Nadal was able to play that way without being blown away, we saw how good Federer's stamina was in the final, so if Nadal's goal was to tire Federer out I doubt that would have worked. Trying to play in a certain way with the goal of tiring your opponent out is quite frankly a stupid tactic at the pro level. You play to win, not to make the other guy lose. I actually think Medvedev may have tried this against Nadal in the AO final this year and we saw how that turned out.
You don't think playing a more physical game against 38 year old Fed is a better option that trying to outshot him?
 
I couldn't watch :X3:
I can understand man. It was extremely painful to see Rafa losing to a pigeon of his purely due to stamina issues.
He almost did it again at Barcelona, almost choked a 6-4 6-4 win into a 6-4 6-7 4-6 loss, but somehow turned it around after the mammoth choke in set2.
 

ADuck

Legend
You don't think playing a more physical game against 38 year old Fed is a better option that trying to outshot him?
Again, it's like we saw a different match. Rafa was not aggressive at all. If you want to know how I wanted him to play look at the match point saved in the last game.

Edit:
Better yet look at every point from 2:51:28 onwards.
 
Last edited:
Again, it's like we saw a different match. Rafa was not aggressive at all. If you want to know how I wanted him to play look at the match point saved in the last game.
That was not a sustainable play over the longer period at that age of him.
And tbh its better that he lost to Roger rather than to Novak.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Again, it's like we saw a different match. Rafa was not aggressive at all. If you want to know how I wanted him to play look at the match point saved in the last game.
What I meant to say is that if you put 2006 Rafa (who was pretty aggressive btw) with his speed against 2019 Fed, it becomes a more complicated match for the latter. Nadal could outhit him and even get most of his balls back. That would make Fed less sure on what he had to do.
 

ADuck

Legend
What I meant to say is that if you put 2006 Rafa (who was pretty aggressive btw) with his speed against 2019 Fed, it becomes a more complicated match for the latter. Nadal could outhit him and even get most of his balls back. That would make Fed less sure on what he had to do.
If you're asking 2006 Rafa vs 2019 Fed, then I choose Rafa. Rafa's speed and ability to hit aggressive shots from defensive positions is what caused even peak Fed trouble.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
The last set of Wimbledon 2007, much as it upsets Federer fans whenever I say it. These are the only ones that are coming to mind for me, where his performance notably dropped off a cliff in comparison with the rest of the match without physical factors coming into the equation.
I’ve rewatched that set countless times and to me there’s no way this is the case. The only real “collapsing” Nadal had was in the last game of the match.
 

ADuck

Legend
That was not a sustainable play over the longer period at that age of him.
And tbh its better that he lost to Roger rather than to Novak.
It's not a game of high margins, but it's the best strategy on grass against a guy like Roger. Better to lose in a low margin gun fight than go out like he did with no say in the match.

No way man, he could have beaten Novak.

Better yet look at every point from 2:51:28 onwards.

 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
It's not a game of high margins, but it's the best strategy on grass against a guy like Roger. Better to lose in a low margin gun fight than go out like he did with no say in the match.

No way man, he could have beaten Novak.
But that's not how Novak played Fed. There's a reason people always bring up 0 UE's in 3 tiebreaks. You don't win tiebreaks like this by playing a game of lower margins.
 
It's not a game of high margins, but it's the best strategy on grass against a guy like Roger. Better to lose in a low margin gun fight than go out like he did with no say in the match.

No way man, he could have beaten Novak.
It is not the best strategy to go all out attack against the best attacking player of modern era on his best surface having one of his best serving days. It is suicidal, just like it is suicidal for Roger to engage in a grindfest vs Rafa on a high bouncing court.


Not at all. Going all out attack would have resulted in an even quicker win for Roger.
 

ADuck

Legend
But that's not how Novak played Fed. There's a reason people always bring up 0 UE's in 3 tiebreaks. You don't win tiebreaks like this by playing a game of lower margins.
Rafa isn't Novak though. And I'm not certain but I think Roger played better against Rafa than against Novak. He was more clutch anyway.
 

ADuck

Legend
It is not the best strategy to go all out attack against the best attacking player of modern era on his best surface having one of his best serving days.
Not at all. Going all out attack would have resulted in an even quicker wim for Roger.
You say this as if he didn't do it already in 06, 07 and 08.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Rafa isn't Novak though. And I'm not certain but I think Roger played better against Rafa than against Novak. He was more clutch anyway.
We'll never know if Fed would've done better against Novak in a match will less pressure like a SF, although his record in Wimb SF is almost perfect so that's something.

Fed played a horrible match mentally against Djokovic. I still say Novak was lucky to win.
 

Mustard

Bionic Poster
Australian open 2021 QF vs Tsitsipas
ATP finals 2020 SF vs Medvedev
Acapulco 2019 2R vs Kyrgios
Wimbledon 2017 4R vs Muller
Rome 2016 QF vs Djokovic
US Open 2015 3R vs Fognini


(Will add more if I think of some more)
I don't agree with the Muller match being a "choke" at all. Just a damn awkward serve for Nadal, style wise, to deal with.
 

ADuck

Legend
We'll never know if Fed would've done better against Novak in a match will less pressure like a SF, although his record in Wimb SF is almost perfect so that's something.

Fed played a horrible match mentally against Djokovic. I still say Novak was lucky to win.
Of course Novak was lucky to win, that shouldn't be controversial at all to say considering what happened.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Of course Novak was lucky to win, that shouldn't be controversial at all to say considering what happened.
Novak fans will disagree though.

But you don't win 3 tiebreaks in one match without luck. Otherwise what stopped Novak from winning every tiebreak vs Fed in 2014-2015?
 

ADuck

Legend
Novak fans will disagree though.

But you don't win 3 tiebreaks in one match without luck. Otherwise what stopped Novak from winning every tiebreak vs Fed in 2014-2015?
Anyway, if we're gonna argue Novak won and Rafa lost because Novak delivered a more physical game, I would point to 2014 and 2015 where Novak won more comprehensively over Roger with, surprise surprise, a more aggressive game. The best way to beat the old man is to put him in awkward positions by playing with an attacking mindset. The whole logic behind "you can't beat him at his own game" doesn't take into account that Roger doesn't hold the advantage on defense. So you go after his relative weakness, defense. And how do you put him into defense? BY ATTACKING.

And remind me one time when Roger was ever upset by a defensive brand of tennis at Wimbledon? Cause I only remember big hitters like Tsonga, Berdych.

Rant over. (For now)
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Federer in 2019 Wimbledon semi was exceptional with his attacks. He played a level below in the final to be honest.
if you place a premium on the important points, yes.
On an average in the first 4 sets, fed was playing just as well in the 2019 Wim final as he was in the 2019 semi.
While he took the bull by the horns (literally and metaphorically!) in the 1st set TB in the semi, he UFEd his way in the 1st and 3rd set TBs in the final.
All he had to do was take one of those TBs (more the first since he was up 5-3) and he closes it in 4 sets, just like the semi.
 
Top