Is Djokovic overrated on clay?

WhiskeyEE

Legend
Doesn't really matter my ass. Nadal has 10 more RG than Djokovic. Why hasn't Djokovic won 4 or 5 RG? Nadal is the superior RG player, so the Djokovic was "mentally weak" is just an excuse. The fact that Nadal leads the H2H over Djokovic 6-1 at RG illustrated that superiority of Nadal at RG.
I am considering how they match-up with each other, which requires a little more thought than the brain dead analysis of their title count. You said:

"Djokovic doesn't match up well against Nadal on clay at RG."

This conclusion can only be based on the results of their RG matches in 2013 and 2014.

Novak didn't record a single win on clay against Nadal until 2011. So, yes, their matches before that are meaningless when dissecting your point.

In 2012, Novak got routined by Nadal both times they met in the clay Masters.

The ONLY years Novak under-performed against Nadal at RG compared to his Masters matches with him were 2013 and 2014. 2013 he clearly got tight and in 2014 he won the 1st set. Novak has lost only 3 matches to Nadal after winning the 1st set. The others were:

2009 Madrid: Lost 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(9) (doesn't get any closer)
2007 Wimbledon: 3-6 6-1 4-1 RET (doesn't even count)

Since hitting his prime, he has lost only ONE match to Nadal after winning the 1st set and the other 2 before his prime weren't exactly decisive. So the 2014 result was probably also the result of nerves, just like 2013.
 

Sport

Legend
I am considering how they match-up with each other, which requires a little more thought than the brain dead analysis of their title count. You said:

"Djokovic doesn't match up well against Nadal on clay at RG."

This conclusion can only be based on the results of their RG matches in 2013 and 2014.

Novak didn't record a single win on clay against Nadal until 2011. So, yes, their matches before that are meaningless when dissecting your point.

In 2012, Novak got routined by Nadal both times they met in the clay Masters.

The ONLY years Novak under-performed against Nadal at RG compared to his Masters matches with him were 2013 and 2014. 2013 he clearly got tight and in 2014 he won the 1st set. Novak has lost only 3 matches to Nadal after winning the 1st set. The others were:

2009 Madrid: Lost 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(9) (doesn't get any closer)
2007 Wimbledon: 3-6 6-1 4-1 RET (doesn't even count)

Since hitting his prime, he has lost only ONE match to Nadal after winning the 1st set and the other 2 weren't exactly decisive. Clearly also the result of nerves like 2014.
10 extra RG = it doesn't suit my argument so I ignore it.

2006, 2007 and 2008? = those years don't suit my argument so I ignore them.
 

WhiskeyEE

Legend
10 extra RG = it doesn't suit my argument so I ignore it.

2006, 2007 and 2008? = those years don't suit my argument so I ignore them.
You pat yourself on the back every single day for being objective. Funny how that goes out the window when you, ironically, wish to ignore certain things. Although that's par for the course for people who brag about their 'objectivity.'
 

Sport

Legend
If I were to say that Nadal lost the Wimbledon 2006 and Wimbledon 2007 finals because he was "mentally weak", people would rightly say I am making excuses.

If I were to say that Nadal lost the Australian Open 2012 final because he was "mentally weak" people would rightly say I am making excuses.

Yet I have to tolerate the ridiculous excuse that Djokovic only lost to Nadal the RG finals because of "mental weakness".
 

TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
Dude, the guy just lost a quarters of a masters. He ain't caring that much about that kind of tournament nowadays, just like Novak lost to Bautista in Doha and trashed everyone in Melbourne. Let's wait until Paris to see if this is just a slump or the guy is saving himself for the biggest tournaments.
Disagree. He smashes racket say a lot about how much he want to win.
 
Don't think it was unfair to say he wasn't at his best on clay last season. Nadal also wasn't at his best on grass, the difference is that everyone knows Nadal's best on grass is far behind him. That was unclear about Djokovic and remains so. His level on clay is probably higher than his post-AO hard court level.
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
Wdym overrated?

This is a guy who has beaten Nadal 7 times on the surface.

Further, he has 4 RG finals, and won all the clay masters multiple times. He also made 6 consecutive RG Semi Finals wich even Nadal has not managed. Djokovic is rather underrated.

Right now he is having some problems with his game but there is still much left to play on the dirt, most importantly RG where it's best of 5 and he has more time to turn things around if he were to struggle.
 

JoelDali

G.O.A.T.
Joker is below USTA National level. Of course he is over rated.

Federer is the top National level player by far according to widely published facts.
 
Both Federer and Djokvoic are overrated on clay by people who constantly harp on the "without Nadal" logic which is flawed in itself, and also overlooks what a horrifically weak clay era with no depth (along with Nadal of course) both played in to begin with.
 

Sport

Legend
Both Federer and Djokvoic are overrated on clay by people who constantly harp on the "without Nadal" logic which is flawed in itself, and also overlooks what a horrifically weak clay era with no depth (along with Nadal of course) both played in to begin with.
So you think Federer or Djokovic would be stopped in another era?

Juan Carlos Ferrero was the main force in RG in 2002-2003. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.

Gustavo Kuerten was the main force in RG 1999-2001. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Maybe some year, but not in every single RG match, also his career was pretty short.

Andre Agassi was the main force in RG in 1999. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.

Thomas Muster was the main force in RG in 1995. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.
 
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So you Federer or Djokovic would be stopped in another era?

Juan Carlos Ferrero was the main force in RG in 2002-2003. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.

Gustavo Kuerten was the main force in RG 1999-2001. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Maybe some year, but not in every single RG match, also his career was pretty short.

Andre Agassi was the main force in RG in 1999. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.

Thomas Muster was the main force in RG in 1995. Was he going to stop Federer and Djokovic? Doubt it.
Kuerten would definitely beat Federer and probably Djokovic most of the time. Hip crippled Kuerten ripped peak Federer apart their one meeting at RG.

Ferrero would more than hold his own against both. Agassi and Muster would score some wins for sure. Bruguera and Courier would be even more of a challenge. Moya, Corretja, Rios, and numerous others would score the occasional win. Every other era had with this era has none of on clay and grass too for that matter; depth.

Even if you dont entirely agree with me saying "oh Djokovic and Federer would have 4 or 5 French Opens without Nadal" which is probably true, and acting like that means they deserve 4 or 5 RG titles is absurd. And just imagine how horrible the clay field would be without Nadal, even if you dont agree the field with him included is weak.
 

Sport

Legend
Kuerten would definitely beat Federer and probably Djokovic most of the time. Hip crippled Kuerten ripped peak Federer apart their one meeting at RG.

Ferrero would more than hold his own against both. Agassi and Muster would score some wins for sure. Every other era had with this era has none of on clay and grass too for that matter; depth.
Muster was absolutely incomparable to Nadal, he was much worse. Thus, I believe Federer and Djokovic would destroy him just like they would destroy Ferrero, who is also in a completely different league than Nadal.

Agassi? Maybe some match, but most matches would be won by Fedovic. Remember Agassi only made 3 RG finals, while Federer made 5 RG finals and Djokovic 4.

Kuerten was a very good clay player, but he retired at age 27, so he wouldn't have stopped Federer and Djokovic fromm winning RG.

In sum, other than Kuerten, Lendl and Borg, I don't see any player from any other era able to stop prime Federer and Djokovic at RG.
 

ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Kuerten would definitely beat Federer and probably Djokovic most of the time. Hip crippled Kuerten ripped peak Federer apart their one meeting at RG.

Ferrero would more than hold his own against both. Agassi and Muster would score some wins for sure. Every other era had with this era has none of on clay and grass too for that matter; depth.
In 2004 we can't talk about peak Federer at RG.He was much better in 2005-2012 period at RG and I can say that even 2015 RG Fed was better than 2004 version.Prior to 2005 he was good on clay only in BO3.
 
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In 2004 we can't talk about peak Federer at RG.He was much better in 2005-2012 period at RG and I can say that even 2015 RG Fed was better than 2004 version.Prior to 2005 he was good on clay only in BO3.
OK prime Federer, whatever you want to call him. He was still much closer to his best than Kuerten ever was, agreed.
 
Muster was absolutely incomparable to Nadal, he was much worse. Thus, I believe Federer and Djokovic would destroy him just like they would destroy Ferrero, who is also in a completely different league than Nadal.

Agassi? Maybe some match, but most matches would be won by Fedovic. Remember Agassi only made 3 RG finals, while Federer made 5 RG finals and Djokovic 4.

Kuerten was a very good clay player, but he retired at age 27, so he wouldn't have stopped Federer and Djokovic fromm winning RG.

In sum, other than Kuerten, Lendl and Borg, I don't see any player from any other era able to stop prime Federer and Djokovic at RG.
Ferrero was pushing and often beating peak Kuerten on clay. He would certainly compete with Federer and Djokovic and score his share of wins over both.

Yeah Muster is nowhere near Nadal, but neither are Federer and Djokovic, so I dont see your point exactly.

Kuerten being virtually done at 27 doesnt mean anything when Federer's prime on clay was over after 27 and Djokovic's consistent performances on clay ended close to 27 too.

What are you saying, Djokovic and Federer would be making every clay final for a decade in any era like they would be this era, LOL! Yeah whatever, not happening.
 

I Am Finnish

Talk Tennis Guru
Is Djokovic's current level overrated on clay? Last year he lost to Checcinato at RG, and people said he has not at his best. Sure? Nadal lost to Müller at WB 2017 and no one said Nadal was not at his best. Checcinato is a clay specialist who played really well and defeated not only Djokovic but also Goffin. So I think Djokovic's current level on clay is that.

When Djokovic was at his absolute prime on clay he could challenge prime Nadal at RG (remember 2013). But Djokovic is (almost) 32 and now the decline should be more noticieable on his worst surface.
 

reaper

Legend
Surely Djokovic's current form on any surface is overrated given his early departures at Indian Wells and Miami. The problem for his detractors is that form is temporary class is permanent...or at least a little more durable than anyone who thinks Djokovic is about to fall off a cliff might believe.
 
Not sure why Sport is disagreeing with me, he is the one who started a thread on Djokovic being overrated on clay, and I am responding I think Djokovic and Federer are both overrated on clay by the weak clay field of this era and the whole overused "without Nadal" concept, yet is arguing me on that when I am essentialy agreeing with his own thread title.
 
He's a hard court player who can do well on clay. It's his worst surface by far, though.
I used to think grass was his worst surface but it is hard to say that now. Then again he has the benefit of a declined Federer on grass, and overall a field beyond the main rival (Federer grass, Nadal clay) that is woefully as weak as it is on clay. Hard courts is the only surface that has a decent field today since almost everyone is a hard court player these days.
 

acintya

Legend
i didnt read what you have said but i think djokovic is NOT overrated,only his level sux this time.he will come strong for RG
 

Towser83

G.O.A.T.
The volley Djokovic missed was not even break point so it is not clear whether Djokovic would have broken Nadal and eventually won the match anyway.

Also, it was not a "mental mistake" but a technical one. Djokovic has never been an excellent volleyer. He also missed an easy volley against Nadal in the Olympics 2008 semifinal, which costed him the match.
I thought he was a break up at the time and lost his serve that game. I feel though he doesnt have great overheads it's often caused by nerves. I think that point broke him mentally as well as game wise.

I mean Nadal is the better clay player but there are a couple of occasions where nole has had the game to beat Nadal on the day but the difference has been mental. Same as AO 2012, Nadal had the game to beat Djokovic but had a mental lapse which caused him to put a forehand wide

Overall though nadal just performs better at RG
 
I thought he was a break up at the time and lost his serve that game. I feel though he doesnt have great overheads it's often caused by nerves. I think that point broke him mentally as well as game wise.

I mean Nadal is the better clay player but there are a couple of occasions where nole has had the game to beat Nadal on the day but the difference has been mental. Same as AO 2012, Nadal had the game to beat Djokovic but had a mental lapse which caused him to put a forehand wide

Overall though nadal just performs better at RG
Djokovic seems to have a bit of a mental thing about Roland Garros. Similarily at the U.S Open for awhile. That is his balanced some by his probably overperforming at Wimbledon. It is still hard to believe he already has more Wimbledon titles than Becker and McEnroe, I really dont believe he is a better grass courter personally; and he likely isnt even done yet.
 

DSH

Legend
When the player is not natural on a surface, that's where the decline starts faster, so what happens to the Serbian is very predictable.
He will lose in RG, that is undoubted.
 

DerekNoleFam1

Hall of Fame
Djoker was definitely co-favourite for RG after winning the AO, but has since gone off the boil a bit, and not just on clay.
Losing early at MC is a worry, his home court where he has 2 titles.
If the slump continues then there will be more cause for concern, but will still benefit from the top seeding at RG more so than at Masters.
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
If he keeps playing safe tennis, he'll go home early from now until grass season. I suspect he won't keep playing scared. He simply has to go for more or settle for being a pusher until Wimbledon since he'll probably take another vacation.
 

Towser83

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic seems to have a bit of a mental thing about Roland Garros. Similarily at the U.S Open for awhile. That is his balanced some by his probably overperforming at Wimbledon. It is still hard to believe he already has more Wimbledon titles than Becker and McEnroe, I really dont believe he is a better grass courter personally; and he likely isnt even done yet.
I know, it's strange, and prior to his Wimbledon win in 2011 grass was seen as his worst surface by many. I dont think he's that natural on it but he's made it work, possibly because there's less players that can play really well on it and 30s Fed is never going to present the same challenge as Nadal on clay. Amazing though that he has more titles there than at the USO
 

EasyGoing

Professional
Maybe Nole is the only player who beat Rafa in straight sets in a best of five sets match on clay.
Let’s put this into perspective though. In 2015, Rafa had a 26-6 clay record with 5 defeats coming in straight sets (Nole 2x, Murray, Stan and Fog). All he won was Buenos Aires (played only against Argentinians) and Hamburg (vs Fognini).

That’s as many losses as he had from 2005 to 2011 Madrid and you need to count in the whole 2011 to get as many straight set losses. That and the following year were really the dark ages for Rafa so I don’t think you can count it as an achievement - even though I am positive many here will ;)
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
I am sorry but that sounds like an excuse. Nadal has 11 RG, Djokovic only 1 RG, and you are saying Djokovic lost to Nadal the RG finals because of "mental weakness"? Nadal is also 6-1 against Djokovic at RG, so it doesn't make sense to say that Djokovic match up well against Nadal at RG.

Nadal has not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight, not nine but ten more RG than Djokovic. A difference of 10 RG suggests that Nadal is much better on clay than Djokovic. To say that Djokovic lost the RG finals against Nadal due to "mental weakness" is an excuse.
No doubt Nadal is a better clay court player than Novak or Roger, who also has only one FO title. I do thin, however, that mentality is part of the problem, especially in Federer's case. Still, Novak has a better clay court resume than any other player today, except for Rafa.
 

Sudacafan

G.O.A.T.
Yes. 1 straight sets loss in 114 matches.
Let’s put this into perspective though. In 2015, Rafa had a 26-6 clay record with 5 defeats coming in straight sets (Nole 2x, Murray, Stan and Fog). All he won was Buenos Aires (played only against Argentinians) and Hamburg (vs Fognini).

That’s as many losses as he had from 2005 to 2011 Madrid and you need to count in the whole 2011 to get as many straight set losses. That and the following year were really the dark ages for Rafa so I don’t think you can count it as an achievement - even though I am positive many here will ;)
I consider 1 in 114 an achievement.;)
 

Enceladus

Hall of Fame
People who think that a champion like Novak are losing on purpose understand nothing about sport. These guys just hate the defeat so much.
Can I ask what you think of Agassi who deliberately lost the 1996 Australian Open semifinal against Chang (revealed in his autobiography Open)?
 
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