Nadal's toughest opponent in a RG final?

Who was it?

  • 2005 - Puerta

    Votes: 6 8.2%
  • 2006 - Federer

    Votes: 7 9.6%
  • 2007 - Federer

    Votes: 8 11.0%
  • 2011 - Federer

    Votes: 12 16.4%
  • 2012 - Djokovic

    Votes: 28 38.4%
  • 2014 - Djokovic

    Votes: 10 13.7%
  • 2019 - Thiem

    Votes: 2 2.7%

  • Total voters
    73

clout

Hall of Fame
It’s gotta be 2012 or 2014 Novak. Novak was in good shape for the first set and a half in 2014, and in 2012, he was blowing Rafa off the court in set 3 and 4, but somehow Rafa managed to pull it out 7-5 in the fourth set
 

King No1e

Legend
2012 Djokovic. Wasn't too far from unbeatable Peakovic that had crushed Nadal at Madrid and Rome 2011, as evidenced by him blowing Nadal off the court for a set and a half. Still ended up with a relatively one sided scoreline. Another reason why 2012 Nadal was his clay peak. Federer was never as good on clay as Djokovic was around that time, especially against Nadal.
If Nadal had faced Federer in the SF that year, I'd have no doubt he would replicate the 2008 demolition. (A huge step up from 2011, where he struggled to beat Fed and would've had a gladiator fight if Djoker made the final instead.)
 

King No1e

Legend
alos maybe 2011 federer as well
just fed need one good drop shot
but that drop shot was out
that point was set point
5-2 ( ad - 40 ) i stongly feel if fed had won that first set , wins that RG
Don't underestimate Nadal's ability to out grind zoning opponents. I would've still picked him to win if Federer won the set.
 

ibbi

Hall of Fame
Puerta on account of the fact he was doping and Rafa was a pup, Federer 11 for me pushed Rafa the hardest for 3 sets, with Thiem this year not far behind in terms of how well he played for 2 sets. Overall maybe Federer 2007? I would probably pick 2011 if I'm singling one out. The last set is a disservice to how competitive that match was for so long, especially to those of us that remember that dropshot.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
The answer has to be Novak. I can't imagine anyone thinking Puerta is anywhere on the same planet as Novak in terms of quality. Novak is an ATG, obviously he's the tougher opponent than Puerta, who won three titles in his entire career!
 

ibbi

Hall of Fame
The answer has to be Novak. I can't imagine anyone thinking Puerta is anywhere on the same planet as Novak in terms of quality. Novak is an ATG, obviously he's the tougher opponent than Puerta, who won three titles in his entire career!
Yeah, but this thread is clearly asking about in the specific final, and Novak wasn't very good in either of the finals they played except for the little bit where the weather turned in 2012.
 

StANDAA

Legend
For those saying 2012 Djokovic was getting mauled by Nadal in the 2012 final until the damp conditions blunted Nadal's game, that match is straight sets otherwise.

In terms of closeness it's probably Puerta, level of play? Not sure.
I agree Djoker made too many mistakes in the first two sets, but I think the level he displayed in the third set was higher than anything the rest of the other players shown in their finals. Overall the third set of the match offered a higher quality tennis from both men than anything from the other options in the poll.
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
wasn't 2012 nolé on his way to getting blown out in straights until it turned into a mud-bathing contest? That's what I seem to recall.

It could still be the correct answer of course, but I feel it adds some context to the whole shebang.

The bitter reality is that Rafaello has had a comfortable margin in every single one of his 15–16 RG finals.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Here are Nadal's numbers against the opponents above:

2005 Puerta: DR=1.17, broken 3 times, broke opponent 8 times
2006 Federer: DR=1.20, broken 3 times, broke opponent 4 times
2007 Federer: DR=1.14, broken 1 time, broke opponent 4 times
2011 Federer: DR=1.08, broken 5 times, broke opponent 7 times
2012 Djoker: DR=1.10, broken 7 times, broke opponent 9 times
2014 Djoker: DR=1.18, broken 3 times, broke opponent 6 times



notes: 2007 Federer was only 1/17 on break point opportunities. 2012 Djoker broke Nadal 7 times in 10 changes, which is insanely clutch.

I guess we need to define tough. Nadal's paper-thing dominance ratio over 2011 Fed has me leaning towards 2011 Fed. However, Djoker's clutch 7/10 on break points is so mentally clutch.

I'm going to take 2011 Federer by a whisker over 2012 Djoker. The scoreline gives it away. Federer won 5+ games in each of the first 3 sets in 2011.
 

Yugram

Hall of Fame
In terms of level of play – Djokovic 2012. But Nadal was still better by a country mile and should’ve straight-setted Djokovic if not for the rain.

In terms of how close the opponent’s level was to Nadal’s – Puerta.
 
In terms of level of play – Djokovic 2012. But Nadal was still better by a country mile and should’ve straight-setted Djokovic if not for the rain.

In terms of how close the opponent’s level was to Nadal’s – Puerta.
I guess 2013 has a case as well (though a mental let up from rafa at 6-5 30-0 fourth set, but still djok rose from ashes)
 

Yugram

Hall of Fame
I guess 2013 has a case as well (though a mental let up from rafa at 6-5 30-0 fourth set, but still djok rose from ashes)
As we saw in 2012, you don’t beat Nadal at RG by being grindy, no matter how good you are. So I’d say 2013vic had smarter approach by being more aggressive and going to the net a lot, but the question was only about final opponents.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, but this thread is clearly asking about in the specific final, and Novak wasn't very good in either of the finals they played except for the little bit where the weather turned in 2012.
I understand, but Novak's "not very good" level is still 10 times superior to anything Puerta was ever capable of producing. Let's put it like this: Novak's level in both the 2012 and 2014 FO finals would defeat Puerta's 2005 form 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
 
The answer has to be Novak. I can't imagine anyone thinking Puerta is anywhere on the same planet as Novak in terms of quality. Novak is an ATG, obviously he's the tougher opponent than Puerta, who won three titles in his entire career!
So 2008 Federer was also a tougher opponent than 2005 Puerta? (Nadal who showed up in RG 2008 would beat Puerta much easier than he did in 2005, but I never get your logic)
 
As for the question, it is too close to call. Not sure 2012 was so much better than some of the finals against Federer, but indeed it was hard to wait for the match to continue on the next day when Nadal was down a break in the fourth set. Good that he managed to break back in the first game, and never lost serve after that.

@Yugram veronika404 still can't get over this match. :-D:-D:-D:-D
 

ibbi

Hall of Fame
I understand, but Novak's "not very good" level is still 10 times superior to anything Puerta was ever capable of producing. Let's put it like this: Novak's level in both the 2012 and 2014 FO finals would defeat Puerta's 2005 form 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
Sure, but talking relative to Nadal on that specific day. A doped up Puerta, an inexperienced Rafa (again, relative to the player he'd be when he played those finals against Novak, he had played more big finals than Puerta had even then :-D ) and Puerta played pretty well in that match!
 

BGod

Legend
Matchup wise I think 2011 Fed. Because at that point Roger wasn't so stubborn to backhand regardless of Nadal's spin. And he may have been more focused but losing that 1st set showed he was still mentality scarred.

So I voted 2006 Federer. Talent wise clearly ahead of Nadal and didn't have same mental wounds. Really just too much hubris that day.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic 2012 easily

won 8 games in a row vs the all time single surface GOAT
That sometimes happens when you're down 0-2. You play freely and the other guy takes the foot off the gas.

Sick achievement in its own right, though... But was it a really tough/ close match? I don't remember it that way. But the 2013 encounter has perhaps deleted all memory of the 2012 match ;)
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
That sometimes happens when you're down 0-2. You play freely and the other guy takes the foot off the gas.

Sick achievement in its own right, though... But was it a really tough/ close match? I don't remember it that way. But the 2013 encounter has perhaps deleted all memory of the 2012 match ;)
well yes 2013 was way closer but OP asked for final. Still think he put pressure on Rafa like no one else in a final there. None went over 4 sets anyway
 

Yugram

Hall of Fame
That sometimes happens when you're down 0-2. You play freely and the other guy takes the foot off the gas.

Sick achievement in its own right, though... But was it a really tough/ close match? I don't remember it that way. But the 2013 encounter has perhaps deleted all memory of the 2012 match ;)
It wasn’t about taking foot off the gas. If it wasn’t for the rainy conditions, both 2011 and 2012 would’ve ended in straight sets.
 

Xemi666

Professional
Thiem played pretty good this year, he just couldn't maintain the level after the 2nd set. Federer in 2011 did pretty well too, considering most people expected a crushing going into the match.
 
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