Nadal is practically a shadow of his former self-but still finds a way to win

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
 

True Fanerer

G.O.A.T.
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -
which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
Either Federer is immune to the aging process or he is the GOAT.

YOU DECIDE.

 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Lost speed, mobility? Yes.

Lost forehand power? No. Watched some highlights of 2013 USO Nadal and I think he hits it more flat and with more pace nowadays.

Improved backhand? Yes.

Improved serve? Yes.

It’s always about compensating with something else.
I saw Nadal live this year and he was crushing most shots with few errors . I for sure noticed his big loss in foot speed only .
Fed has become so erratic for along time
 

robthai

Hall of Fame
You what I think? You're just a hypocrite. He isn't facing any younger all time greats. He wouldn't do too well as he can't even beat older all time greats off clay anymore.
 

Pantera

Banned
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
Great analysis. For me though the biggest decline is UFES. Rafa made more FH UFES v Swrtzman then he used to in a whole tournament. And his movement is very cumbersome.

Thats why perversely although medvedev is the best HC player at the moment he may have been a better opponent for Rafa than grigor. For all Medvedevs brilliance the one think he doesnt seem to have is massive power off the ground, he seems more like a solid player who makes no errors. But that also means Rafa can get to more balls and if it turns into a grind on this occasion Rafa has an advantage as Medevedev even v the woeful grigor did look a step slow.

Had it been grigor or stan in final or Federer even on what ive seen past 2 rounds Rafa may have been in trouble as their shot making ability would have troubled this Rafa who not as able to run shots down like he used to.
 

Hypergxtraspin

New User
You guys are BS! Give Nadal his due credit. He is considered the only player on tour who never takes a point off. Not one point. That's why he is in this position. He is mentally stronger than the field right now. Fed and Joker cant match Nadals level absolute dedication on every point. This is also why Fed and Joker struggle with people like Medvedev. While Nadal crushes them. NADAL will win in straight sets. He is currently the best player on tour. Next 2 years he will be on top in my Opinion
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Lost speed, mobility? Yes.

Lost forehand power? No. Watched some highlights of 2013 USO Nadal and I think he hits it more flat and with more pace nowadays.

Improved backhand? Yes.

Improved serve? Yes.

It’s always about compensating with something else.
Exactly this. Otherwise it would be highly illogical. You don’t lose just 3 sets in 3 years combined at RG while being "a shadow of yourself".

Or now at the US Open he could very well win the tournament with losing just 1 set. Or in Melbourne he reached the final without losing a set.

One time can be a fluke, but not always. He doesn’t have worse stats than in his so-called "peak" years.

He may be lucky with a draw here and there, but no matter if I like it or not, he plays great tennis these days. I have no problem to admit that as a Federer fan.
 

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
You've just admitted the weakest era, talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Only in the weakest era could a player so far below his best still score dominant titles, as everyone else is orders of magnitude below and the few ones who aren't are injured.
Put the current Nadal in with Federer's opponents from 2004-06 and he wins every single slam. The field then was laughably weak. But that's what happens in translational periods.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Nadal is a legend. Legends always improve or make changes to their game and continue evolving as the sport evolves. Federer did it too. But ultimately nobody wins the battle against age.
 

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
Nadal is a legend. Legends always improve or make changes to their game and continue evolving as the sport evolves. Federer did it too. But ultimately nobody wins the battle against age.
I think that's right. Nadal has maybe one or two years left to try and equal or pass Federer. Djokovic has maybe two or three years left. But time is ticking.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
I think that's right. Nadal has maybe one or two years left to try and equal or pass Federer. Djokovic has maybe two or three years left. But time is ticking.
And it's also possible that the big 3 may never win another Slam. Nadal loses to Medvedev and psychologically and physically becomes a spent force, Federer retires due to age, and Djokovic never recovers fully to his best health....who knows? Could happen.
 
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
You all speak as if he'd already won it. He's not playing Anderson or some pigeon. He's playing THE player of the moment, the guy who fears nobody, not even the moronic NY crowd.

But I agree that it's a mystery, that Nadal had become a pigeon to Djokovic and Federer yet still rakes in slams.
 

Azure

Legend
Put the current Nadal in with Federer's opponents from 2004-06 and he wins every single slam. The field then was laughably weak. But that's what happens in translational periods.
You are definitely short selling Rog's efforts. Fact and I think we can all agree with this is that all three players have had tough and easy slams, relatively speaking. If not for a player 6 years younger to him, we wouldn't be looking at Fed as someone who last won his US Open slam 12 years ago. He would be a more recent winner. Again, put Federer instead of Nadal at all the French opens between 2005-2008 and we might have seen Fed as a 3-5 time RG champion. The same logic applies to Djokovic too. Over 15-20 years all these things even out. As for Fed, lol he should be wearing dentures now - not running around like a rabbit beating guys old enough to be his sons
 

reaper

Legend
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_tennis&ved=2ahUKEwjHxJHg2L7kAhXN7XMBHaF5CtAQFjAZegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw2fgRPpZoShPp7W__seW1rV

Real tennis fans are few and far between.
 

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
You are definitely short selling Rog's efforts. Fact and I think we can all agree with this is that all three players have had tough and easy slams, relatively speaking. If not for a player 6 years younger to him, we wouldn't be looking at Fed as someone who last won his US Open slam 12 years ago. He would be a more recent winner. Again, put Federer instead of Nadal at all the French opens between 2005-2008 and we might have seen Fed as a 3-5 time RG champion. The same logic applies to Djokovic too. Over 15-20 years all these things even out. As for Fed, lol he should be wearing dentures now - not running around like a rabbit beating guys old enough to be his sons
Federer is playing remarkably well for his age, but he's not the first to do so.

Rosewall won a slam at an older age than Federer. And that was in the era before training, nutrition, sports science and...ahem...other things.
 
Federer is playing remarkably well for his age, but he's not the first to do so.

Rosewall won a slam at an older age than Federer. And that was in the era before training, nutrition, sports science and...ahem...other things.
And age is anyway not so relevant in this context because of GAS, the Great Age Shift. I opened a thread on it. "33 is the new 27" - Lendl.
 

alexio88

Hall of Fame
Federer is playing remarkably well for his age, but he's not the first to do so.

Rosewall won a slam at an older age than Federer. And that was in the era before training, nutrition, sports science and...ahem...other things.
so now fed's an equivalent of rosewall, right?:unsure:
 

zuluzazu

Semi-Pro
You all speak as if he'd already won it. He's not playing Anderson or some pigeon. He's playing THE player of the moment, the guy who fears nobody, not even the moronic NY crowd.

But I agree that it's a mystery, that Nadal had become a pigeon to Djokovic and Federer yet still rakes in slams.
This year nadal has lost to people who are absolutely stunning in those slams. Djoko is AO GOAT and Fed is Wimby GOAT. So losing to them in those slams must not be something surprising. Nadal played djoko very close in wimby 2018 which I think is a indicative of their level on anything off clay except AO.
 
This year nadal has lost to people who are absolutely stunning in those slams. Djoko is AO GOAT and Fed is Wimby GOAT. So losing to them in those slams must not be something surprising. Nadal played djoko very close in wimby 2018 which I think is a indicative of their level on anything off clay except AO.
Yes, but Novak crushed him at AO, and RF is 38. Rafa should have done more outside of clay slams vs those two players.
 

ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Put the current Nadal in with Federer's opponents from 2004-06 and he wins every single slam. The field then was laughably weak. But that's what happens in translational periods.
I disagree.The field in 2004 & 2005 was overall tougher than the one of today.I would say that 2019 is on par with 2010.
 

zuluzazu

Semi-Pro
Yes, but Novak crushed him at AO, and RF is 38. Rafa should have done more outside of clay slams vs those two players.
But rafa absolutely crushed both on clay. As age advances it is difficult to play your best on a surface not natural for them. In their peak they could go out of their box on their worst surfaces but nowadays its quite difficult. Novaks ball striking power has considerably dipped on clay. Similarly feds movement is not the same as it was.
 
Exactly this. Otherwise it would be highly illogical. You don’t lose just 3 sets in 3 years combined at RG while being "a shadow of yourself".

Or now at the US Open he could very well win the tournament with losing just 1 set. Or in Melbourne he reached the final without losing a set.

One time can be a fluke, but not always. He doesn’t have worse stats than in his so-called "peak" years.
But the Melbourne situation provided a perfect explanation: there, we saw Nadal look better than ever against the field, but get brutally exposed by a truly great opponent, showing how far below his true best he actually was and how weak the field is to allow him to dominate in spite of that, unless of course you think it's normal for peak Nadal to get crushed by anyone even Djokovic, in which case LOL get lost.

The logic is really simple and easy:

a) Big 3 are all way past their best, moving so much worse than no improvement in stroke technique is able to compensate nearly as much;

b) their best was extremely good, so even past-prime they'd still do decently in a strong field;

c) but since this is the weakest field since forever, they continue to dominate and even look better than ever sometimes, because of the utterly inept and hopeless mugs across the net.

Flawless.
 

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
I disagree.The field in 2004 & 2005 was overall tougher than the one of today.I would say that 2019 is on par with 2010.
You must be joking. 2004/5 was one of the weakest fields in tennis history. A transitional period with only one ATG playing at a high level.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
You all speak as if he'd already won it. He's not playing Anderson or some pigeon. He's playing THE player of the moment, the guy who fears nobody, not even the moronic NY crowd.

But I agree that it's a mystery, that Nadal had become a pigeon to Djokovic and Federer yet still rakes in slams.
Well Nadal is right up there as a co-favourite. So if the other 2 guys don't win off clay, Nadal has his shot. Plus Djokovic has been doing nothing but winning since June of 2018. Taking most of the Slams outside of RG and here at USO. But there's still Medvedev waiting in the wings. And one thing we know is that the USO is where surprises tend to happen. Del Potro, Cilic, and Murray all won their first Slams at the USO. So if there's any liklihood of a first time Slam winner, it's here.
 
Well Nadal is right up there as a co-favourite. So if the other 2 guys don't win off clay, Nadal has his shot. Plus Djokovic has been doing nothing but winning since June of 2018. Taking most of the Slams outside of RG and here at USO. But there's still Medvedev waiting in the wings. And one thing we know is that the USO is where surprises tend to happen. Del Potro, Cilic, and Murray all won their first Slams at the USO. So if there's any liklihood of a first time Slam winner, it's here.
FO is traditionally THE slam with the most surprise winners. After Rafa retires it will go back to that status.

AO was usually the stable one, where favourites win. Ditto Wimbledon.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
But the Melbourne situation provided a perfect explanation: there, we saw Nadal look better than ever against the field, but get brutally exposed by a truly great opponent, showing how far below his true best he actually was and how weak the field is to allow him to dominate in spite of that, unless of course you think it's normal for peak Nadal to get crushed by anyone even Djokovic, in which case LOL get lost.

The logic is really simple and easy:

a) Big 3 are all way past their best, moving so much worse than no improvement in stroke technique is able to compensate nearly as much;

b) their best was extremely good, so even past-prime they'd still do decently in a strong field;

c) but since this is the weakest field since forever, they continue to dominate and even look better than ever sometimes, because of the utterly inept and hopeless mugs across the net.

Flawless.
But it just cannot be the case that just "the whole field" is so much worse. That is statistically impossible. However, it is maybe possible that the field directly behind the Big 3 (like #4-10) is weaker than before.

And to Melbourne: I think Rafa wasn’t ready for the grinding against Djokovic already. He improved his offensive/aggressive game, but when he saw he couldn’t hit through Djokovic, he was done.

I admit that I thought Rafa would win the final after he was that great in the earlier rounds. My worst prediction this year. :-D

However, now I think Rafa is physically better again, and some of his running counterpunches are still out of this world. All of the Big 3 are still in good shape, so this kind of decline is exaggerated a bit as well (if there is no specific injury like Federer’s back issues or Novak’s shoulder pain).
 

JasonZ

Semi-Pro
I saw Nadal live this year and he was crushing most shots with few errors . I for sure noticed his big loss in foot speed only .
Fed has become so erratic for along time
Federer is an error machine these days. Every single shot of him declined, and his movement. Maybe only the serve is same level as in earlier years, but i am not sure.

Nadal declined only in movement, but he decliney A LOT in this area which was his main assett
 
But it just cannot be the case that just "the whole field" is so much worse. That is statistically impossible. However, it is maybe possible that the field directly behind the Big 3 (like #4-10) is weaker than before.
Well that's what matters. It doesn't matter if #30s haven't declined or even improved a little, current Big 3 are still much better. It's the other best players that provide the real challenge, and it appears the strength of this 'next best' tier has dipped significantly, perhaps due to a lack of talent in a particular tennis generation or two or something else, I don't know.


However, now I think Rafa is physically better again, and some of his running counterpunches are still out of this world. All of the Big 3 are still in good shape, so this kind of decline is exaggerated a bit as well (if there is no specific injury like Federer’s back issues or Novak’s shoulder pain).
"Some of". And some others are misses where he used to make it almost all the time. Nadal is still a great mover, but the decline in his passing shots for example is obvious, he used to be able to make them from anywhere on court, even pulled several meters wide. That's no longer the case.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
Damn right... What he has achieved despite setbacks which should be insurmountable for most players is definitely GOAT worthy
 

Nadal_King

Semi-Pro
Rafa these days is the best when it comes to disposing of next gen or coming up the ladder type players, also I feel he is the type of player which players find most difficult in there earlier meetings than roger or novak due to his groundstrokes being like no one else on tour when in good form. For some reason few years back he was most suspectible to early round upsets but these days he has reversed that hugely.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
Of the Big 3, Nadal is the player who has regressed furthest from his younger self. Federer's more economical style of play has allowed him to keep his game at a consistently high level-and he has vastly improved his backhand- (even Roger feels he would defeat his younger self). Djokovic seems to be suffering little loss of power or speed, though the injuries are starting to mount up.

Nadal, on the other hand has lost the power on his forehand, he has lost mobility, he has suffered a tremendous loss of speed around the court -which was maybe his greatest attribute. He has also suffered far more injuries than his fellow "Big 3-era".

Yet somehow, through sheer hard work, and the willingness to adapt his game, Nadal stands on the brink of a possible 19th slam title -which would give him 5 of the last 12 titles. An incredible achievement.

All real tennis fans must surely be rooting for him on Sunday.
You are hilarious. Rafa is way worse now, and Fed is better now? That sure fits your personal preference, but no one is buying it.

One of the most inaccurate things I have heard on this site.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
And honestly although there is no denying Rafa is definitely slower than before, AT THE MOMENT all other aspects of his game seem just fine. He even has a better serve than in the past. Totally agree that until this USO and on clay, it looked like his confidence was clearly lower than in his prime leading to lapses during matches, but I see no signs of this now. Medvedev will have his work cut out for him.
 
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Eren

Professional
You all speak as if he'd already won it. He's not playing Anderson or some pigeon. He's playing THE player of the moment, the guy who fears nobody, not even the moronic NY crowd.

But I agree that it's a mystery, that Nadal had become a pigeon to Djokovic and Federer yet still rakes in slams.
You honestly believe the Medvedev has a reasonable chance to win against the Beast of Mallorca? Nadal's only mug loss in a Slam final came against Wawrinka.
 
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