How many times has Nadal choked a match?

abmk

Bionic Poster
So after AO 2012 he lost 3 in a row in slams, and many overall. Nadal has declined massively in tiebreaks over the years.
Already addressed in a post above ->
Nadal's TB stats only started taking a dive from 2014 onwards (when prime ended)
He was at 65.7% TBs won (157 /239 ) from 2005 to 2013 - which is pretty high
58.5% (96/164) from 2014-current
 

Underdog

Semi-Pro
First choke I remember was Wimbledon 06 final second set. Chocked when serving for the set and again in the tie-break.
I'd say he kinda choked Wimbledon 07 too, Fed served better for the tie breaks, but Rafa lost the momentum in the 5th when he was clearly the better player.
Chocked Miami 09 against Delpo after working so hard to gain the momentum after losing the first and being a breakdown in the 5th.
AO 2012 obviously, such a poor game to be broken back from 30-15, after fighting so hard to gain momentum and looking like the better player for most of that 5th set.
USO 2015 might be the biggest choke.
Actually don't think AO 2017 was a choke, his level didn't drop in the 5th and actually was much better than his level in the first three sets especially
Choked a little in WIM 2018, but Novak was the player with the bigger chances in the 5th and after serving to stay in the match on 4 occasions, he eventually faltered. Think the choking lies mainly in him not winning the 3rd when he was the better of the two, rather than not converting a BP in the 5th
Choked big time against Nick in Acapulco in 2019, but all in all didn't play a poor match throughout
Massive choke against Thiem in AO 2020. Really rare for him to play a great level and lose to someone other than Novak or Fed.
Big choke again against Thiem and more notably against Med in WTF 2020. In hindsight, his best chance to win WTF
As big, if not bigger, of a choke against Tsitsipas in 2021 AO. Just fell away after not winning the third, although for some reason it always looked like he was going to struggle if he didn't win that set.
He choked against Novak in RG 2021 too, but I don't know if he could have pulled of the win and then won the final too, given the state of the foot. If he doesn't let Novak in the match in the first set to come back to 5-3, he probably dominates the opening proceedings of the 2nd. Also chocked massively in the third after coming back to 5-5.

He won some epics after choking like WIM 08, RG 13, USO 2019 and this year's AO final. Biggest choke IMO is a bit controversial, but if he could have won 2 of the 5 tie-breaks he lost to Thiem in 2020, I think he either wins AO or WTF.

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. 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.
Refreshing unpopular opinion. I thought I was the only one to think like this. Agreed, mate
 
He really hasn't choked a whole lot. The only real notable ones I remember was AO 2012 and AO 2017. Other times he was injured and not playing well, or just completely out of form or just blown off the court by an aggressive in form/zoned player but thats not a "choke". Generally in form and healthy and he usually gets the W
 
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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.
It was almost as big of a gap in form as it was in RG2020 final between Nadal &DDjokovic.
The difference being mental strength of Nadal who 6-0 6-2 7-5 ed Nole & Roger who lost 6-7 6-1 6-7 6-4 12-13
 
2021 RG SF
I don't think so, his legs were already gone by the middle of 3rd set & he was hanging in purely by hand skills; whereas Novak looked like he could go for 3-4 more hours.
Even if he won the 3rd set, it would have just delayed the inevitable & Novak would have won in 5. Not really a good scenario because Nadal's foot injury would have beem flared and aggrevated even more so than it did.
 

ADuck

Legend
Roger doesn't rely on athleticism on grass for being able to attack.
What do you mean? Aside from the serve, all players rely on their athleticism to attack. It may look easy what Federer was doing out there but it's anything but. We saw what happened in 2021.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
It was almost as big of a gap in form as it was in RG2020 final between Nadal &DDjokovic.
The difference being mental strength of Nadal who 6-0 6-2 7-5 ed Nole & Roger who lost 6-7 6-1 6-7 6-4 12-13
Disagree. If that were the case, fed wouldn't have broken Djoko 5 times in the first 4 sets while only facing BP towards end of 4th set when up double break.

In the semi, fed didn't break Nadal even once in first 2 sets and broke him twice in the match while getting broken twice himself in the 2nd set, losing it 1-6.

While Nadal did win most of the important points in RG 20 final, he was the better player as well in general. Sets 1 and 2 would have been closer if he hadn't won most of the important points, but he still would have won those, IMO
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Roger doesn't rely on athleticism on grass for being able to attack.
Yes, fed does rely on athleticism on grass to attack.
Its why his decline tends to get under-rated/noticed less. The loss in explosiveness is not as easily noticed as say loss in speed of Nadal.
 
Disagree. If that were the case, fed wouldn't have broken Djoko 5 times in the first 4 sets while only facing BP towards end of 4th set when up double break.

In the semi, fed didn't break Nadal even once in first 2 sets and broke him twice in the match while getting broken twice himself in the 2nd set, losing it 1-6.

While Nadal did win most of the important points in RG 20 final, he was the better player as well in general. Sets 1 and 2 would have been closer if he hadn't won most of the important points, but he still would have won those, IMO
Gentleman, You've misunderstood what I said. I can understand though, my choice of wording was not exactly a clear one.

Let me simplify this for you.

The gap of level between Djokovic and Federer at 2019 Wimbledon final (Fed had higher level) was almost as big as the gap of level between Djokovic & Nadal at RG2020 final (Nadal had higher level); but Nadal is mentally tougher and clutch which made all the difference.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
Miami 2005 versus Federer. 2 sets to zero and a couple points (IIRC) away from the match in straight sets. Lost in 5.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
He really hasn't choked a whole lot. The only real notable ones I remember was AO 2012 and AO 2017. Other times he was injured and not playing well, or just completely out of form or just blown off the court by an aggressive in form/zoned player but thats not a "choke". Generally in form and healthy and he usually gets the W
In both he was a break up in the 5th set.
 
Its true.
I have seen people saying Nadal had declined more in 17 than fed in 17. Wut?

I mean saying Nadal had declined more in 17 than fed in 12 (same ages) is fine and understandable, but both in 17?
Those people are insane, what more can I say?
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Nadal has never choked. Choking is when a player cannot play his normal level for an entire match. Choking is not missing routine shots at big moments.
Nadal has never really not played his best due to nerves that I can remember. Usually if he is in form and playing well he wins slams anywhere except Wimbledon. Only time I think maybe he could have choked was AO 2019 final but then again Djokovic was unplayable that event so hard to know if Nadal choked or just got a spanking by a guy in the zone.
AO 2019 he was nervous as hell . He was blitzing everyone else in that tournament, then seen Djokovic across the net and was fluffing shots constantly.
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
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.
You've always "defended" Muller and rejected the idea that Nadal choked, nice to see from a Nadal fan. It is true, Muller's type of aggression is different to anything that Nadal's faced at Wimbledon (bar Kendrick and Brown - though he was quite awful in 2015). It's a formidable match-up for Rafa due to Muller's serve and a relentless net attacks.
I think their trilogy at Wimbledon is quite entertaining due to contrast in playing styles (Nadal's demonic defense and athleticism and Muller's efficient S&V) that produced a nice grass court tennis. Kinda reminds me of the Agassi vs Rafter (1999-2001) encounters at SW19.
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
Federer fans really like to ignore Nadal missing an easy forehand to go 4-2 up. He could have still lost after that, but still.
Nadal made 3 (arguably 4) FH errors in that game, which was quite bad for his standards, especially if you look at it as an isolated case. Still, don't forget that he'd saved a bunch of break points before got broken, 3 in his first service game, 1 in the 2nd, another one in the third (a game where he got broken) and then four more in the next service game until finally lost his serve.
That's a clutch performance and far from choking, Fed's level was simply higher during the majority of the fifth so he prevailed in the end.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
You've always "defended" Muller and rejected the idea that Nadal choked, nice to see from a Nadal fan. It is true, Muller's type of aggression is different to anything that Nadal's faced at Wimbledon (bar Kendrick and Brown - though he was quite awful in 2015). It's a formidable match-up for Rafa due to Muller's serve and a relentless net attacks.
I think their trilogy at Wimbledon is quite entertaining due to contrast in playing styles (Nadal's demonic defense and athleticism and Muller's efficient S&V) that produced a nice grass court tennis. Kinda reminds me of the Agassi vs Rafter (1999-2001) encounters at SW19.
Probably hard to call it a choke, as Nadal was never ahead in the match. Muller was the better player overall. However, he missed some great chances at 9-9 in the fifth set. Rushed the net from the baseline on one BP (the same mistake he repeated next year against Djokovic), made a baseline error on another one.
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
Probably hard to call it a choke, as Nadal was never ahead in the match. Muller was the better player overall. However, he missed some great chances at 9-9 in the fifth set. Rushed the net from the baseline on one BP (the same mistake he repeated next year against Djokovic), made a baseline error on another one.
But you can't just focus on one point and draw such conclusion, a player cannot use every single chance he has and let's face it, Muller had more chances in the fifth than Nadal regarding break points.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
But you can't just focus on one point and draw such conclusion, a player cannot use every single chance he has and let's face it, Muller had more chanced in the fifth than Nadal regarding break points.
Nadal should be a much better returner and better baseline player than Muller, so it's pretty clear why are his missed chances discussed more. When he returned Muller's serve he was supposed to find a way to win the point and break him. I don't call it a choke though, just a big missed chance. (not that it matters much, he wasn't beating Federer to win the title anyway)
 

Martin J

Hall of Fame
Nadal should be a much better returner and better baseline player than Muller, so it's pretty clear why are his missed chances discussed more. When he returned Muller's serve he was supposed to find a way to win the point and break him. I don't call it a choke though, just a big missed chance. (not that it matters much, he wasn't beating Federer to win the title anyway)
Nadal is a better returner than Muller overall, but his return (on grass) has been the weakest part of his game by far, and is the main reason for his fiasco during 2012-2015 at Wimbledon, so dealing with an unorthodox serve like Muller's (lefty, incredible placement, nasty slice serve and great angles) is a huge challenge for Nadal and puts him under constant pressure and out of his comfort zone all the time.

The other problem for Nadal is that, unlike against other players with huge serves he's faced there, he cannot afford staying 5 meters behind the baseline vs Gilles while returning serve as he is a competent S&V player and doesn't give him much time to chase down the volleys. Against someone like Rosol, Nadal still has enough time to run from side to side and deal with the powerful groundstrokes, but Muller robs him of time by attacking the net relentlessly.

And yes, Nadal is a much better baseliner, but when you play (again, a competent) serve & volleyer on grass, your superiority off the ground doesn't necessarily guarantee you success.
 
AO 2019 he was nervous as hell . He was blitzing everyone else in that tournament, then seen Djokovic across the net and was fluffing shots constantly.
I noticed it I think first or 2nd point when he sliced a FH return. Don't think I have seen him do that his whole career. Djokovic was insanely good that day.
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
I noticed it I think first or 2nd point when he sliced a FH return. Don't think I have seen him do that his whole career. Djokovic was insanely good that day.
Yeh my memory of every point is sketchy, as ive never re-watched it. But i remember watching it, thinking ive never seen him play so poorly. Id need to look up the unforced error count, but he was shanking and hitting the net plenty, from memory.

Djokovic sure played good stuff also, i may add. But Nadal was beaten easier than ever from Djokovic, apart from Doha 2016.
 
Yeh my memory of every point is sketchy, as ive never re-watched it. But i remember watching it, thinking ive never seen him play so poorly. Id need to look up the unforced error count, but he was shanking and hitting the net plenty, from memory.

Djokovic sure played good stuff also, i may add. But Nadal was beaten easier than ever from Djokovic, apart from Doha 2016.
If I recall Rafa turned up at the complex about 8 hours before the match which was unusual for him. Usually he turns up about 3 hours before the match. Apparently Djokovic when he heard how early Nadal had turned up knew he would win the match. Rafa at the time was not as confident in his game despite his on paper excellent run to the final. One wonders whether he would have beat Federer had he beat Tsitsipas.
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
The third set of the 2018 Wimbledon semifinals.
Nadal had a set point on his serve and didn't take advantage of it.
And the break point in that same match in the fifth set when the Spaniard came up to the net to be passed by Djokovic's forehand.
Inexcusable choke by him!
:cry:
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
If I recall Rafa turned up at the complex about 8 hours before the match which was unusual for him. Usually he turns up about 3 hours before the match. Apparently Djokovic when he heard how early Nadal had turned up knew he would win the match. Rafa at the time was not as confident in his game despite his on paper excellent run to the final. One wonders whether he would have beat Federer had he beat Tsitsipas.
If Federer had been playing even remotely well, then no. A definite no.
 
Not really. He was on younger side, but not very young. You would expect top youngsters of an era to be able to beat a 37.5 yo ATG when he's playing inconsistent a chunk of the times atleast.

Maybe its the general weakness of 89-99 born that makes one think otherwise.
I take the point regarding inconsistency. Just the way Federer was playing I had him down to win the event that's why I said it was an inexplicable loss as just didn't see it coming at all at the time
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
You don't think playing a more physical game against 38 year old Fed is a better option that trying to outshot him?
Didn't you see the 2019 Wimbledon final where your idol outlasted his rival, six years younger than him, despite being almost 38 years old?
:sneaky:
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
I don't think he has ever choked.

I think he's been outplayed and outhit, on very few occasions.

But for the most part what I've seen is him strangling his opponents into choking.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
you had 2 things in that set: 40-15 and the TB. that could make up for one, but not both
Also what makes up for 1st and 3rd set TBs messups ? nothing.
Fifth set tiebreak (which is what I assume the bolded is referring to) wasn't much of a choke or a mental collapse. Fed had simply given out physically by then and the errors he made in that tiebreak were ones that he was making all set anyway. I would give more credit to Djokovic for grabbing that last tiebreak.

Really, I think the extent of Federer's choking in the fifth set is often exaggerated. He choked much worse in the first and third set tiebreaks.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Didn't you see the 2019 Wimbledon final where your idol outlasted his rival, six years younger than him, despite being almost 38 years old?
:sneaky:
And besides, Federer had nothing left physically by the final set tiebreak. It's Djokovic who outlasted him.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Thinking about it, it's actually not often Nadal chokes a match away, even though in my opinion he chokes a lot within matches (and gives his fans heart attacks and grey hairs), he is able to keep fighting despite that and eventually win the match anyway.

But what are some examples where he didn't fight back, and we can say with let's say >50% certainty that him choking led to him losing?
Why do you love the word "choke" so much? Have you ever played a sport? :D
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
AO2012 was a mini-choke. It was one point, so maybe a bit overblown, it could have been the difference but he got broken back twice after that point so how much difference did that really make. It would have been a nerve-wracking affair till the last service game even if Nadal held then.

Holy sh*t I forgot about the Thiem 2020 match. That was horrible. The tiebreaks oh my god, complete choking fest, but Thiem did play really well from behind too. That was like the 3rd set vs Kyrgios in 2019 Acapulco but worse and repeated 3x in a row :-D

Agree with WB2019. The only thing is I wouldn't call it a choke if it happened the entire match, he just played bad and tentative the whole time. The only time he let loose was in the last game of the match when Fed was serving for it, but it was too little too late. If he had won that game though, I think it really possible he could have turned the entire match around and won it.
Nadal didn't choke anything. He simply was defeated by a player who played better than he did in those moments. Thiem wasn't gifted anything by Nadal in their 2020 AO match.
 
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