Is Nadal different from former Clay Kings?

er00si

New User
Could we have some stats or facts on how Nadal is the same or different from former clay Kings?

Is Nadal unique in ... ?
1) run down each shot faster;
2) better top spin;
3) higher energy level;
4) fitter;
5) more aggressive.
 

er00si

New User
Along the same line, had Nadal passed former clay Kings outside of clay courts?

er00si said:
Could we have some stats or facts on how Nadal is the same or different from former clay Kings?

Is Nadal unique in ... ?
1) run down each shot faster;
2) better top spin;
3) higher energy level;
4) fitter;
5) more aggressive.
 

mdhubert

Semi-Pro
What strikes me is that he's using very efficicent but non conventional technics, a bit like Borg at the time. Now watching Borg looks like classical tennis.
Other singularity is that he's a big guy compared to most claycourters, except Vilas and maybe Muster.
On fitness and mental strength, he's close to Borg I think.
 

diegaa

Hall of Fame
er00si said:
Could we have some stats or facts on how Nadal is the same or different from former clay Kings?

Is Nadal unique in ... ?
1) run down each shot faster;
2) better top spin;
3) higher energy level;
4) fitter;
5) more aggressive.

I agree on 3 & 4 and maybe 1. Definitely, not in #5.
 

35ft6

Legend
er00si said:
1) run down each shot faster;
2) better top spin;
3) higher energy level;
4) fitter;
5) more aggressive.
Lendl, Muster, and Courier were probably just as fit, but none of them were as fast in the 5th set as Nadal, so he ties a few in 4) and probably wins 3) hands down. Guga was definitely more aggressive, and maybe even a top form Ferrero was more aggressive. I think Nadal's game may be the most brutal of all. His combination of foot speed, heaviness of ball, consistency, and indomitable will is something very unique. Muster intimidated guys but IMO there was something spastic, dorky, and comical about him. He's like the guy who keeps jogging in place during soccer practice even between drills, huffing and puffing, only to pass out. Super intense, but in a dorky way. Not sure where I'm going with this...
 

Grimjack

Banned
Assuming that to earn the title "Clay King," one needs to have won the French Open, then Nadal is different from all but the very bottom tier of these guys in that he's won only one meaningful title his entire career. That's an important difference, I think.

And we're asking if he's surpassed the game's great clay players on other surfaces now? Based on what, his QF loss in the Australian one year? Right now, he's on par with one slam wonders like Moya, Costa, Gaudio, Gomez, Ferrero, and Noah.

He's got to at least double his output before he goes in the same sentece with the Brugueras of the world.

Triple it before he belongs with Kuerten.

Do all that AND expand his dominance into other slams AND reach world #1 before we can begin to talk about him as even a minor noble among history's claycourt royalty. Courier was probably no better than the 4th or 5th best player of his own generation, but right now, Nadal has an awfully long way to go to even sniff his accomplishments, and people wonder whether he's surpassing the Borgs, Wilanders, and Lendls of the world? Has he passed these guys on the non-clay surfaces? No. He can't sniff their jocks on clay or off.

He can't even lay claim to a Moya- or Chang-like "decent run" at a non-clay slam.

Right now, he's Andres Gomez in effeminate clothing.

Nadal = Chang, but without the hardcourt resume.
 

hopeless

New User
grimjack,

didnt nadal win 4 masters series titles last year?

and isnt he ranked 2nd in the world by quie a fair bit?

are you going to just ignore all that?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Nadal is a fantastic player, but when comparing him with past clay court greats, keep in mind that Babolat racquets have revolutionized the topspin game. Nadal is the poster-boy for the lighter stiff big-head racquet which can be whipped in a topspin. Also don't forget the strings (does he use BB?) which these days can generate top spin unimaginable to older players. Heck, even my topspins are better with a BB ALU Power. It is a feedback process - access to such racquets and strings at an early age leads to a certain kind of game, then as they get older they reinforce the habits. A great player of the past who is still fit may not be able to get into a groove with this equipment now if he had played with older stuff before.
 

ohplease

Professional
Grimjack said:
Assuming that to earn the title "Clay King," one needs to have won the French Open, then Nadal is different from all but the very bottom tier of these guys in that he's won only one meaningful title his entire career. That's an important difference, I think.

And we're asking if he's surpassed the game's great clay players on other surfaces now? Based on what, his QF loss in the Australian one year? Right now, he's on par with one slam wonders like Moya, Costa, Gaudio, Gomez, Ferrero, and Noah.

He's got to at least double his output before he goes in the same sentece with the Brugueras of the world.

Triple it before he belongs with Kuerten.

Do all that AND expand his dominance into other slams AND reach world #1 before we can begin to talk about him as even a minor noble among history's claycourt royalty. Courier was probably no better than the 4th or 5th best player of his own generation, but right now, Nadal has an awfully long way to go to even sniff his accomplishments, and people wonder whether he's surpassing the Borgs, Wilanders, and Lendls of the world? Has he passed these guys on the non-clay surfaces? No. He can't sniff their jocks on clay or off.

He can't even lay claim to a Moya- or Chang-like "decent run" at a non-clay slam.

Right now, he's Andres Gomez in effeminate clothing.

Nadal = Chang, but without the hardcourt resume.
A bit strong, but I was going to post essentially the same points. Nadal's probably accomplished more than Gaudio/Moya, maybe he's more along the lines of Muster at this point. Still behind Brugera, who's behind Guga, who's behind Courier.

That's history - in the present, the Fed/Nadal "rivalry" is quickly turning into the Sampras/Agassi "rivalry" - where the latter might sneak out a win here and there, but generally lopsided overall - and not much to talk about in the slams. Nadal sniffers will point out the head to head record, but until Nadal is lucky enough to not face Blake on route to a slam final, he's still 6 big trophies behind.

If I'm Fed, and I lose every French semi or final for the rest of my career to Nadal, while still winning one or two of the other slams every year? I'll take that every time.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
ohplease said:
A bit strong, but I was going to post essentially the same points. Nadal's probably accomplished more than Gaudio/Moya, maybe he's more along the lines of Muster at this point. Still behind Brugera, who's behind Guga, who's behind Courier.
Why is it Guga and Muster behind COURIER!!??
Courier won 2 FO, and 23 titles overall.
Muster won just 1 FO, but plenty of MS, and 44 titles overall, plus some nice winning streaks.
Guga just had 20 titles altogether, but 3 FO.

Vilas won 49 claycourt titles, more titles than Muster altogether. He won, yeah, only 4 GS, one FO, and one US open on clay, but he was runner up in 3 other FO.

IMO, with 62 titles, and 49 claycourt titles, Vilas is the ultimate King of Clay. Plus his 53 streak matches on clay.
 

ohplease

Professional
Andres Guazzelli said:
Why is it Guga and Muster behind COURIER!!??
Courier won 2 FO, and 23 titles overall.
Muster won just 1 FO, but plenty of MS, and 44 titles overall, plus some nice winning streaks.
Guga just had 20 titles altogether, but 3 FO.

Vilas won 49 claycourt titles, more titles than Muster altogether. He won, yeah, only 4 GS, one FO, and one US open on clay, but he was runner up in 3 other FO.

IMO, with 62 titles, and 49 claycourt titles, Vilas is the ultimate King of Clay. Plus his 53 streak matches on clay.
You're right, they shouldn't be behind Courier if all you care about is clay.

In reality, the tennis world really doesn't pay much attention to the clay court season, at all. Styles that succeed on the surface don't translate very well to other surfaces, and people who win exclusively on the stuff don't have the stature or the respect of people who win on other surfaces - with or without clay titles.

You can finish your career without a French - tennis fans genrally won't hold that against the greats (Connors, JMac, Sampras, etc., Becker, Edberg). Vs. not winning wimbledon (Lendl)? Vs. winning only the French (Muster, Brugera, Kuerten, Gaudio, Nadal, Ferrero)? I'm sure Vilas was great - but he's ultimately forgotten by the tennis world, at large.

Easy call.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
ohplease said:
I'm sure Vilas was great - but he's ultimately forgotten by the tennis world, at large.

Easy call.
Vilas won two grass Grand Slams. Plus 17 titles in 1977, plus a 46 match streak, one loss, and one 38 match streak right after that loss. A 145-14 record that year.

62 titles in his career, the same ammount than Sampas. Two more than Agassi. 920 wins overall. I think he's #3 or #4 in total wins.

Is he ultimately forgotten, or ... you just don't know too much about him?
Ask Borg, ask Lendl, ask Connors, ask McEnroe, they will have something to say about him ;)
 

fastdunn

Legend
er00si said:
Could we have some stats or facts on how Nadal is the same or different from former clay Kings?

Is Nadal unique in ... ?
1) run down each shot faster;
2) better top spin;
3) higher energy level;
4) fitter;
5) more aggressive.

This is subtle thing and not easy to notice:
he's got great hand.
 

sotua

Rookie
Andres Guazzelli said:
IMO, with 62 titles, and 49 claycourt titles, Vilas is the ultimate King of Clay. Plus his 53 streak matches on clay.
To paraphrase Gaudio, "what do you call Borg, then? The GOD of clay?".
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
Borg... he was simply amazing.
The best clay matches i've ever seen was Vilas vs. Borg.

He was the GOD of Clay ;)
But sadly, his career ended rather quickly, while Guillermo's lasted like 8 years longer.
 

!Tym

Hall of Fame
As fit as Nadal is, NOBODY was as fit as Muster at his peak ever in my opinion. The guy was like a machine, ran 10 miles a day! Can you believe that? The guy never for a second let up or got tired at his physical peak, was just insane, almost unhuman. Never seen anything like it on a tennis court.

Also, Nadal in my mind is just a hair below Muster in mental toughness. I've seen Nadal get flustered like against Grosjean with the crowd thing, but Muster? He was like, he LOOKED for a reason to get ticked off, and like McEnroe it made him play better, it FUELED him. At his peak, don't know of a mentally tougher or fitter player than Muster.

I think, however, that Nadal is the best combination of ALL the great clay courters of the past, it's like he has the best qualities of each as equal, slightly better, or just slightly worse. It's very daunting indeed. The big thing is injuries or burn out. Being "king of clay" just seems to take something out of a player, it's like it robs them of their soul, their mojo, or something and forever after something's just missing, like it's never fully all there quite ever again.

To me, Nadal is definitely not in Gomez's class. How old was Gomez when he won the French? 29 or 31 or something right? Nadal to me is a clay court PHENOM for his age, it's just unbelievable the mental poise, confidence, speed, physical development/fitness, and MATURITY he has for his age. It was like he was BORN to play this role. Most players, even talented, ones it takes them awhile to believe in themselves to step on the big stage and not choke, but Nadal is like one of those you'd say on American Idol is just a NATURAL. He just stepped on the court from the beginning and PERFORMED like he had been doing it his whole life, knocking out his mentor and idol Carlos Moya in like his first tournament or something. Now, THAT tells you everything you need to know. Just the simple AUDACITY of it all to step up uninhibted against your idol, and just whack him wihtout fear? It's one of those kinds of things you can't each, and is just something you're born with. Players with that kind of specialness to me only come along once a generation. There's a reason Nadal stood out to practically EVERY pro observer and expert in the know right from the start. It's because he's like freakin' Punky Brewester with Punky biceps and more importantly Punky PUGANCIOUSNESS. He feels like, has this aura of like Punky Brewester on steroids...NOT accusing him of anything, but you know what I mean.
 

ohplease

Professional
Andres Guazzelli said:
Vilas won two grass Grand Slams. Plus 17 titles in 1977, plus a 46 match streak, one loss, and one 38 match streak right after that loss. A 145-14 record that year.

62 titles in his career, the same ammount than Sampas. Two more than Agassi. 920 wins overall. I think he's #3 or #4 in total wins.

Is he ultimately forgotten, or ... you just don't know too much about him?
Ask Borg, ask Lendl, ask Connors, ask McEnroe, they will have something to say about him ;)
I'm not required to know that much about him. I need to know as much about him as say, Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Carlos Moya.

As far as # of tournament wins - you've proven my point. You can win all the tournaments you want, if they aren't Grand Slams - history won't care. Vilas himself would probably gladly trade half his tournament wins for 1 or 2 more slam titles.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
ohplease said:
I'm not required to know that much about him. I need to know as much about him as say, Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Carlos Moya.

As far as # of tournament wins - you've proven my point. You can win all the tournaments you want, if they aren't Grand Slams - history won't care. Vilas himself would probably gladly trade half his tournament wins for 1 or 2 more slam titles.
Vilas won 4 GS, and was Runner Up in other 4, I think.
I think that's a good mark ;)
 
Lendl, Muster, and Courier were probably just as fit, but none of them were as fast in the 5th set as Nadal,
Nadal has a 3-2 record in 5 setters. 2 of his wins were 7-6 in the 5th. The 2 he lost were 61 & 62 in the 5th. Lendl won 35 five setters in his career. Muster had an 18-7 record in 5 setters. I remember Becker accusing Muster of being on steroids because he was faster/fresher in the 5th set than he was in the 2nd set in their final at Monte Carlo '95.

As fit as Nadal is, NOBODY was as fit as Muster at his peak ever in my opinion. The guy was like a machine, ran 10 miles a day!
What about Lendl/Courier? They often went for long runs after 5 setters.
Nadal seems like a naturally fit guy, not sure if he pushes himself to unreal levels like those guys(& he doesn't have to-yet). Commentators haven't talked about his workout routines like they did with Lendl/Muster/Courier. I'm sure he works out, but those guys were fitness fanatics. I think they enjoyed all that stuff. Perhaps too much. Courier & Muster declined rather suddenly. Maybe they worked out too much.

I'm not required to know that much about him. I need to know as much about him as say, Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Carlos Moya.
The guy won 4 majors(& the Masters-on grass)
He did it in an era that was the best of alltime(in terms of great players)
Borg, Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Wilander were all battling for majors at the same time.

Moya & Kafelnikov aren't in the same ballpark.

I'm sure Vilas was great - but he's ultimately forgotten by the tennis world, at large.
If the "at large tennis world" consists of teenagers & 20 somethings that know jack about history of tennis prior to Agassi, then I guess you're right.

Vilas played & won majors when tennis was at its peak in terms of popularity. More Americans knew who Vilas was in '77 than who know who Nadal, Safin, Hewitt, etc today. He was probably more famous around the world then compared to Federer today. Tennis was huge & so was Vilas.
Just because you don't know much about him, don't assume how big a figure Vilas is in the tennis world.

And the standards for greatness were different in different eras. Majors weren't always the most important events. They didn't even have the most prize money compared to other events in those days.

By your logic, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin will be forgotten by the tennisworld in 20 years.
 

ohplease

Professional
Moose Malloy said:
And the standards for greatness were different in different eras. Majors weren't always the most important events. They didn't even have the most prize money compared to other events in those days.

By your logic, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin will be forgotten by the tennisworld in 20 years.
Hey, if you can get old dudes online to manage the legacies of the heros of their youth, then maybe their standards will continue to hold sway. Until then, "how many slams did they win?" is hardly a poor metric, however callow it might be. You're free to think I'm high.

Further, just because *I* will remember Chang, Gomez, Korda, Moya and other one slam wonders of my era (and their stories), that doesn't in any way obligate tennis fans of the future to remember them. Nor do I expect that they should. Nor should you expect similar players from a previous era to be remembered (or even respected) today. Brian Teacher? Roscoe Tanner? Mark Edmondson? Who cares? They'll all be forgotten. As will Roddick, Hewitt, Safin et. al if they don't start giving Federer a run for his money.

You're right about changing standards - for example, if, in some bizzaro world future, masters level tournaments were to become more important than slams, then Agassi absolutely had a better career than Sampras. I'll consider the kids that agree with that assesment to be high, and they'll consider me old - and that's how it should be.

Vilas won one French, one US (on clay), and two weak field Aussies. The modern standard for greatness can be fairly characterized as at least 6:

Sampras - 14
Emerson - 12
Lavel - 11
Borg - 11
Agassi - 8
Connors - 8
Rosewall - 8
Lendl - 8
Wilander - 7
Federer - 7
JMac - 7
Edberg - 6
Becker - 6

Vilas had 4, and two of those carry asterisks. Nadal (the original subject) might get 5 more, but for right now? He's got 1 - and that 1 doesn't even have a good story behind it like Chang or Cash.
 

mileslong

Professional
guys like emerson and lavel should have a huge asterisck by their name since back in the their day they only had to play one match to defend their crown. if they won wimbledon the year before then they simply had to play the championship match the next year to either defend or lose their crown...
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
mileslong said:
guys like emerson and lavel should have a huge asterisck by their name since back in the their day they only had to play one match to defend their crown. if they won wimbledon the year before then they simply had to play the championship match the next year to either defend or lose their crown...
Didn't know that.

But they always played best of 5 matches, no tie breaks, and singles, doubles and mixed doubles to boost their meagre earnings. And no trainers to attend to their injuries immediately. So it all probably evens out at the end.
 
guys like emerson and lavel should have a huge asterisck by their name since back in the their day they only had to play one match to defend their crown. if they won wimbledon the year before then they simply had to play the championship match the next year to either defend or lose their crown...
What the hell are you talking about? They had best of 5 in all rounds(& no tiebreaks), 128 draw.

It was only the way you described it in the late 1800/early 1900s. Do you think Laver & Emerson played in 1910?

Jeez, kids today....
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
I think Rafa said it best today in a press conference in Barca:

"I suppose I've still got to improve a great deal," he insists. If at 19 I can't keep on improving, then that's a poor state of affairs....".

I do agree with Grimjack, it's hard to compare the career of a guy who is just starting his to guys whose careers are over or nearly over.
 
ohplease, check out this thread, you might then understand why it is hard to compare greatness in any era(since the standards were not always the same)

if you read up on this history of the game, you will realize that Emerson is not on anyone's list of greatest players(& he is #2 according to you, just because of his majors) If Vilas gets asterisks on 2 majors, Emerson gets asterisks on all 12.

I guess you can only understand tennis in the 70s if you were there. The media & players weren't constantly flashing a major count for players. Prize money list was as significant as ranking(like it is in golf today). Some non-atp events could get better fields & got more news coverage than majors. Have you heard of the Dallas WCT event? It was as big as any major today in the field it got, prestige, prize money, tv coverage. Laver-Rosewall played 2 great matches there in the early 70s that they both count among their most important matches. And today, no one has any idea of that.

Vilas is in the Hall of Fame(& got in when standards were higher) check out the link to learn more about him(notice how they include Italian Open results along with major results? See what I mean about standards changing. You can't pretend that pro tennis players were judged the same way 20-30 years ago & hold them up to the standards of today.)


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=88040

http://www.tennisfame.com/enshrinees/guillermo_vilas.html
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
VamosRafa said:
I think Rafa said it best today in a press conference in Barca:
I do agree with Grimjack, it's hard to compare the career of a guy who is just starting his to guys whose careers are over or nearly over.
Like Federer?

Ho ho ho, just couldn't help it, sorry ....

Sorry again.
 

urban

Legend
I saw Vilas live at the WTC in 1979 or 80, when he was at the peak of his form. That year he even beat Borg, but suffered an illness just before RG and couldn't compete there. I remember a doubles with Clerc against Panatta/ Bertolucci, in which Vilas was absolutely devastating, hitting the ball true and hard. Later in his career he was too conservative and too topspin minded. In my view, the two most fittest clay courters were Borg and Wilander. They were not as muscular as others, but more lean marathon men, who could run all day and night. And they didn't sweat.
 

ohplease

Professional
Moose Malloy said:
ohplease, check out this thread, you might then understand why it is hard to compare greatness in any era(since the standards were not always the same)

if you read up on this history of the game, you will realize that Emerson is not on anyone's list of greatest players(& he is #2 according to you, just because of his majors) If Vilas gets asterisks on 2 majors, Emerson gets asterisks on all 12.

I guess you can only understand tennis in the 70s if you were there. The media & players weren't constantly flashing a major count for players. Prize money list was as significant as ranking(like it is in golf today). Some non-atp events could get better fields & got more news coverage than majors. Have you heard of the Dallas WCT event? It was as big as any major today in the field it got, prestige, prize money, tv coverage. Laver-Rosewall played 2 great matches there in the early 70s that they both count among their most important matches. And today, no one has any idea of that.

Vilas is in the Hall of Fame(& got in when standards were higher) check out the link to learn more about him(notice how they include Italian Open results along with major results? See what I mean about standards changing. You can't pretend that pro tennis players were judged the same way 20-30 years ago & hold them up to the standards of today.)


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=88040

http://www.tennisfame.com/enshrinees/guillermo_vilas.html
In cases like this, I defer to setratings.com. They've done a better job than just about anyone at trying to put a decent cross-era metric together. They have the top 25 rankings for peak rating, dominance, and longevity - with decent correlation to reality IMHO.

Anyway, they have Vilas around Muster, Bruguera, Hewitt, Safin, Kuerten - I think that's fair. A handful of slams, #1 ranking for a while (or close to it). There's still a greater class (or two) of player above them, whatever your criteria.

Everyone will remember the very best. People who've been paying attention will remember the class just below. And junkies who get the tennis questions in trivial pursuit will remember the class below that. Vilas is, at best, in that second class, and arguably in the third - with history and current opinion certainly not helping his cause.
 

35ft6

Legend
sureshs said:
Nadal is a fantastic player, but when comparing him with past clay court greats, keep in mind that Babolat racquets have revolutionized the topspin game. Nadal is the poster-boy for the lighter stiff big-head racquet which can be whipped in a topspin. Also don't forget the strings (does he use BB?) which these days can generate top spin unimaginable to older players. Heck, even my topspins are better with a BB ALU Power. It is a feedback process - access to such racquets and strings at an early age leads to a certain kind of game, then as they get older they reinforce the habits. A great player of the past who is still fit may not be able to get into a groove with this equipment now if he had played with older stuff before.
This is irrelevant, though, since all of his contemporaries have the option of using the same technology if they so wish. It's as relevant as saying that Sampras' success on grass should have an asterisk next to it in light of the fact that guys who played in the 60's didn't have the option of playing with the Pro Staff 6.0. Your point would be better taken if Nadal got into a time machine and played the 1955 French Open using his Babolat while everybody else had to use wood.
 
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