Question to Rafa fans: Which is Nadal's most heartbreaking loss?

Which is Nadal's most heartbreaking loss?


  • Total voters
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For me personally it has to be the 2012 AO F. He missed an absolute sitter of a BH. Had he made that BH he goes on to win that match against Peakovic at his pet schlem.

As for RAFA himself, he’s said for a while now that the 2014 AO F was the one match that hurt the most and he’d like a do over.
 

DIMI_D

Semi-Pro
Which of Nadal's losses was the toughest and most heartbreaking? Discuss and vote!
Def between AO 12, 14, 17 F and wimby 18 sf
Wimby 07 was underdog yes was 5 sets just wasn’t expected he would win. FO 21 there was the foot injury and the limp but also he is coming off so much success so for me it’s not such a massive hit.

AO 12 didn’t deserve a loser, AO 17 he is up a break in the 5th both matches and looses pretty heartbreaking but overall analysis u say the better man one on the night. That’s the way I saw it after the match ended.

AO 14 - Massive shock u are expecting Nadal to clean up Stan after playing such a dominant tournament and is injured this loss is referred to by his team as the one that’s hardest for Nadal and the match he would replay if he could in his career.

Wim 18 - this is the one most heartbreaking to me the passing shot to break and knowing he goes on to win Wimby 18 amazing quality. Tiebreaker was crucial I knew it that night but still battled on was agonisingly close. For me the feeling was Nadal was the better player overall in this match he deserved the win.
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
Nole 2012, Nole deserved the win, but damn it felt that Nadal was close.

Even so, bar that mistake, I think with the level he had at the moment, no matter what else he could have done, he wouldn't win that match. Djokovic simply was superior.
 
He's had such a beautiful career, can't be too upset tbh. AO2012 is one of my favorite matches, but if I had to pick it'd be that one because it felt like it could have really gone Rafa's way
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Nadal's most painful losses are to Djokovic: '12 AO and '21 RG.

Federer's most painful losses are also to Djokovic: '11 USO and '19 Wim.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Most heartbreaking? 2007 Wimbledon final

Most pissed off and angry? 2018 Wimbledon semi final

I can't believe the poll results so far. The 2012 Australian Open final wasn't heartbreaking. It was the sad that he lost in the end, but it was a big improvement after his 2011 matches at Wimbledon and the US Open against Djokovic.
 

Fabresque

Hall of Fame
Most heartbreaking? 2007 Wimbledon final

Most pissed off and angry? 2018 Wimbledon semi final

I can't believe the poll results so far. The 2012 Australian Open final wasn't heartbreaking. It was the sad that he lost in the end, but it was a big improvement after his 2011 matches at Wimbledon and the US Open against Djokovic.
I think it’s still heartbreaking because he made those big changes in his game to combat Novak specifically, and he fought so hard but still couldn’t get it over the line. Yes he improved a lot, but he didn’t get the end product he wanted, + 2012 wasn’t a good year for him despite winning RG.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Most heartbreaking? 2007 Wimbledon final

Most pissed off and angry? 2018 Wimbledon semi final

I can't believe the poll results so far. The 2012 Australian Open final wasn't heartbreaking. It was the sad that he lost in the end, but it was a big improvement after his 2011 matches at Wimbledon and the US Open against Djokovic.
Agreed he made huge inroads and then went on to win 6 of the next 7 against Nole capping it with the epic 2013 summer hardcourt season

W07 for me was one of the best matches he’s ever played and he still lost. Just brutal.

W18 I always felt Djokovic was the better, more comfortable player in that match while Nadal really had to redline to stay with him. That one stings the second most because you know that with some different circumstances (avoiding Del Potro or the roof being open or the match not being spit over two days thanks to Isner) it was well within reach for him to get a 3rd Wimbledon which he isn’t going to get that shot again.

AO14, I get why it bothers him but from a fan POV, meh, injuries happen.

AO17 also doesn’t bother me because Federer turned back the clock and went JesusFed mode in that 5th set. Similar to how Nadal elevated his game in the 5th of RG13. Also it was nice to just see these two back at a high level after Nadal’s disastrous 15-16 and Federer’s 16. Felt like gravy

RG21, who cares. He was bad all clay season and lost to a guy in better form and better shape. Nadal really has let the pandemic blow up his fitness regimen, and probably his career
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
The 2018 Wimbledon semi final between Nadal and Djokovic should have been played outdoors, in the sunshine, like every other match during that late May - late July 2018 heatwave. Instead, it started gone 8pm under the roof because of the first semi final (Anderson vs. Isner) going 6 hours and 33 minutes and 26-24 in the fifth set, Nadal blew numerous chances to go 2-1 up in sets at the end of that night's play and was 1-2 down instead. The next day, under the roof again, Nadal fights back to 2-2 in sets, had numerous chances in the fifth set and couldn't get it done. Djokovic only controlled that match in the first set. It was infuriating, and still is. I think a Nadal win here keeps Djokovic in the genie's bottle, as Djokovic hadn't won a major for 2 years prior. Instead, the genie was out and won 3 majors in a row.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
The 2018 Wimbledon semi final between Nadal and Djokovic should have been played outdoors, in the sunshine, like every other match during that late May - late July 2018 heatwave. Instead, it started gone 8pm under the roof, Nadal blew numerous chances to go 2-1 up in sets at the end of that night's play and was 1-2 down instead. The next day, under the roof again, Nadal fights back to 2-2 in sets, had numerous chances in the fifth set and couldn't get it done. Djokovic only controlled that match in the first set. It was infuriating, and still is. I think a Nadal win here keeps Djokovic in the genie's bottle, as Djokovic hadn't won a major for 2 years prior. Instead, the genie was out and won 3 majors in a row.
Have to admit, Wimbledon 2018 was a match Nadal shouldn't have lost, the same way Wimbledon 2019 was a match Federer shouldn't have lost.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Have to admit, Wimbledon 2018 was a match Nadal shouldn't have lost, the same way Wimbledon 2019 was a match Federer shouldn't have lost.
I seem to remember Boris Becker on commentary backing Nadal to win, until Djokovic starting shouting in the fifth set and then he changed his mind, while always sounding doubtful.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I seem to remember Boris Becker on commentary backing Nadal to win, until Djokovic starting shouting in the fifth set and then he changed his mind, while always sounding doubtful.
It was a dogfight, no doubt about it. IMO, it was their greatest ever match against each other. I think they won the exact amount of points also. Novak was just a little too clutch in the key moments, but overall Nadal was the better player in that match barring the serve.
 

goldengate14

Semi-Pro
Which of Nadal's losses was the toughest and most heartbreaking? Discuss and vote!
Ao 2014. After the way he goated beating Federer and Sampras who was there saying it was the best performance he had ever seen, for injury to rob him of another Ao against a guy who i think had never won a set off him was awful. Also Nadal is on record as saying hat match hurt him the most.
 

goldengate14

Semi-Pro
2009. Losing to a guy at your pet slam in the R4 was brutal considering what he did to him at Rome a few weeks prior.

Losing to Fed or Nole is never heartbreaking to me as a fan. It might bother me but never guts me
ATGs should beat each other. It goes with the territory so while its pleasing for the victor defeat also hurts less.
losses to inferior players in Major finals is to my mind crushing. Nadal and Federer have only done so once in their entire careers. Shows how dominant they are when playig well.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Ao 2014. After the way he goated beating Federer and Sampras who was there saying it was the best performance he had ever seen, for injury to rob him of another Ao against a guy who i think had never won a set off him was awful. Also Nadal is on record as saying hat match hurt him the most.
Yeah, that was a bit of a sickener. Was never really the same afterwards, despite winning the 2014 French Open. When Nadal did get back to form in 2017, he played with a bit of a different style to years earlier, more aggressive and less grinding. Since then, Nadal has stopped "owning" Federer, and no longer beats his biggest rivals on the biggest stages with the regularity that he did up to 2014.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Wim 18 - this is the one most heartbreaking to me the passing shot to break and knowing he goes on to win Wimby 18 amazing quality. Tiebreaker was crucial I knew it that night but still battled on was agonisingly close. For me the feeling was Nadal was the better player overall in this match he deserved the win.
Wow, a match score of 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 isn't an agonizingly close match by anyone's standards. Fed routined Nadal the last two sets, even though he almost choked it away twice towards the end. Rafa failed to convert numerous BP's. I guess it's blind fandom thinking he was the better player. A 6-3, 6-4 end to the match strongly indicates otherwise.
 

goldengate14

Semi-Pro
Yeah, that was a bit of a sickener. Was never really the same afterwards, despite winning the 2014 French Open. When Nadal did get back to form in 2017, he played with a bit of a different style to years earlier, more aggressive and less grinding. Since then, Nadal has stopped "owning" Federer, and no longer beats his biggest rivals on the biggest stages with the regularity that he did up to 2014.
I thought he was done in 2014 after Fo. I also did not think he would be joint leader of Slam race at end of 2021.
These last 7 years have been just the most pleasurable biggest bonus imagineable given how far he deteriorated play wise due to physical issues.
 

goldengate14

Semi-Pro
Wow, a match score of 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 isn't an agonizingly close match by anyone's standards. Fed routined Nadal the last two sets, even though he almost choked it away twice towards the end. Rafa failed to convert numerous BP's. I guess it's blind fandom thinking he was the better player. A 6-3, 6-4 end to the match strongly indicates otherwise.
That match is so irrelevant as a painful defeat i had forgot the score. It actually made W2008 more pleasing as Federer is clearly a far better grass courter so that W2008 is truly special.
Federer is that good on grass if even remotely close to fit that he does have a shot at W2022.
 

Antonio Puente

Hall of Fame
2014 AO was the only one I celebrated the night before it happened. I had no doubt in my mind..

Stan went on to win a few more slams, so there's been a reevaluation of it, but at the time it was a complete shock. Stan had never taken a set off Nadal and generally had the reputation of a choking clown.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I thought he was done in 2014 after Fo. I also did not think he would be joint leader of Slam race at end of 2021.
These last 7 years have been just the most pleasurable biggest bonus imagineable given how far he deteriorated play wise due to physical issues.
I too was on record after the 2015 French Open as saying that I didn't think Nadal would win another major. I dared to hope slightly during the 2016 clay season, only for it to end in disappointment. Indeed, during the 2017 Australian Open final between Nadal vs. Federer, the feeling amongst almost everyone at the time was like a last great big match between them, as they never expected such a final to be possible again. 2016 had been nearly all Djokovic and Murray, and then 2017 was nearly all Nadal and Federer. When Federer won the 2017 Australian Open final, so many called him "GOAT", as if the match decided it, but then they won all the 2017 majors between them.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
2014 AO was the only one I celebrated the night before it happened. I had no doubt in my mind..

Stan went on to win a few more slams, so there's been a reevaluation of it, but at the time it was a complete shock. Stan had never taken a set off Nadal and generally had the reputation of a choking clown.
That match could've really been one for the ages if Nadal wasn't injured. I reckon it would've looked something like his matches vs Berdych at AO12 or Verdasco in 09, with Nadal grinding for hours and weathering the storm until Stan drops back to reality either mentally or physically.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Wow, a match score of 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 isn't an agonizingly close match by anyone's standards. Fed routined Nadal the last two sets, even though he almost choked it away twice towards the end. Rafa failed to convert numerous BP's. I guess it's blind fandom thinking he was the better player. A 6-3, 6-4 end to the match strongly indicates otherwise.
I think you might need glasses.
 

Antonio Puente

Hall of Fame
That match could've really been one for the ages if Nadal wasn't injured. I reckon it would've looked something like his matches vs Berdych at AO12 or Verdasco in 09, with Nadal grinding for hours and weathering the storm until Stan drops back to reality either mentally or physically.
Well, that was a strange match. I believe Nadal would have lost it injury or not, but once the injury became apparent, Stan got tight and tried to choke it away. He couldn't put Nadal away. Very strange.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
Well, that was a strange match. I believe Nadal would have lost it injury or not, but once the injury became apparent, Stan got tight and tried to choke it away. He couldn't put Nadal away. Very strange.
Doubt it TBH. Nadal had a very similar situation in the QF, with Dimitrov playing the match of his life and dominating at the start. But prime Nadal was a different animal.
 
W07: hurt both Rafa and fans despite it being very early in Nadal’s carrera w/ reasonable but high expectations—Rafa was in tears. A combo of the dogmatically unwavering, corn cob up the arse Wimbledon scheduling (ie. no play on middle Sunday in spite of Rafa-Sods 5-day rain-affected, belligerent affair) and Federer’s good fortune (Haas rolling his angle over a ball, which rendered him unable to play at all) with Nadal’s late 4th set knee issue in final (of course exacerbated by two 2 sets to 1 comebacks vs. Mikael Used Knee & P. Pets. which is due to Nadal’s tactical and court positioning issues at the time). Med. timeout allowed Fedrah 10 min. to settle down after being visibly beside himself angry. Fed ultimately served his way to victory in champion- like fashion.

AO ‘12: converse of RG ‘13-Novak up 2 sets to 1 serving for it but lost 4th set TB & control of match due to GOAT-like Nadalian comeback effort. Nadal chokes BH Pass at 4-2 30-15 w/ Joker fading, whiff allowed Joker to comeback and win a close 6-hr. epic. Overall, nauseating for Nadal fans but all things considered, an acceptable loss for Nadal and
signs that Rafa had found “solutions” for this rivalry.

Imho not the heartbreaker that Nadal fans think it was compared to others

AO ‘14: Definitely a tough, unexpected loss for Rafa. Truth be told Wawa was knocking at the door vs. Rafa H2H and only “giving” at the very, very business ends of sets…. IOW, Wawa was due. The prematch injury was devastating for Nadal. What I don’t hear mentioned is that horrific mid-hand blister in Nadal’s left hand! Rafa’s perseverance given this heinous blister spoke volumes to his will and toughness. His level vs. Monfils, Dimitrov, and Federer WITH the blister was astonishing. His lowerback INJ before final was just a final and decisive jinx down under, apparently.


W’18: This was not supposed to happen. Again, W’s anal retentive, uber traditional, dogmatic scheduling reared its ugly head to alter outcomes.
.In a heat wave Nadal and Djokovic could not even play their match on a single, solitary day and had to split it into two days due to W Village 11:00pm curfew rules! Then, in a shocking turn, the convicts got to run the prison when Nadal and Djokovic each got to “vote” on whether to play indoor or not, with Wimbledon getting its own vote. Novak edged Rafa in 5 INDOORS DESPITE PERFECT OUTDOOR CONDITIONS on Sat. and went on to win W to his credit, mind you.


This was Rafa’s most gutting loss for me and, I assume, really hard to Rafa as well. W is an outdoor tournament, not indoor. Horribly unfair decision by W officials.
 
‘21 RG: Ain’t gonna lie. I hated that match after set 1 lol. Novak played brilliantly and pulled it out. After RG ‘20 final, though, this was not a disaster for anybody. Rafa chokes a FH volley late in 3rd set TB and goes up late set 4, only to fizzle away physically to a fit Novak. In retrospect, Nadal had a foot issue and Novak’s fortnight was phenomenal with multiple comebacks, so gotta give it to the Balkan.
 

Rosstour

Legend
2009. Losing to a guy at your pet slam in the R4 was brutal considering what he did to him at Rome a few weeks prior.

Losing to Fed or Nole is never heartbreaking to me as a fan. It might bother me but never guts me
There's something to this. As much as Wimbledon 08 and 19 hurt...the '14 US SF might have been the worst of them all.

Beat Cilic and he would have got Nishikori in the Final, and would have been on 18...maybe would have got the confidence to win #19 and 20 even sooner.
 

Daniel Andrade

Hall of Fame
The 2018 Wimbledon semi final between Nadal and Djokovic should have been played outdoors, in the sunshine, like every other match during that late May - late July 2018 heatwave. Instead, it started gone 8pm under the roof because of the first semi final (Anderson vs. Isner) going 6 hours and 33 minutes and 26-24 in the fifth set, Nadal blew numerous chances to go 2-1 up in sets at the end of that night's play and was 1-2 down instead. The next day, under the roof again, Nadal fights back to 2-2 in sets, had numerous chances in the fifth set and couldn't get it done. Djokovic only controlled that match in the first set. It was infuriating, and still is. I think a Nadal win here keeps Djokovic in the genie's bottle, as Djokovic hadn't won a major for 2 years prior. Instead, the genie was out and won 3 majors in a row.
While I admit that Rafa should have won that match, IMO still Djoko had a tiny edge. Yes Nadal was more agressive and hitting hard however Djoko IIRC would win his serve games easier? I think I saw somewhere Nadal won significantly less points when the serve immediately ended the point right away, in other words, even with his first serve in he had to rally to win, while Djoko won more points where his first serve ended the point right away, and I think in grass that is very important.


How I miss his 2010 serve.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
There's something to this. As much as Wimbledon 08 and 19 hurt...the '14 US SF might have been the worst of them all.

Beat Cilic and he would have got Nishikori in the Final, and would have been on 18...maybe would have got the confidence to win #19 and 20 even sooner.
Very frustrating but not one I look back on with much frustration. I wasn't shocked with the loss at the time since he struggled so much with Monfils in that late night marathon the round before. Fed coming out flat after that seemed about right. Also Cilic was simply zoning. Would've taken Roger's best performance to win that and obviously he wasn't even close to that.
 

DIMI_D

Semi-Pro
Wow, a match score of 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 isn't an agonizingly close match by anyone's standards. Fed routined Nadal the last two sets, even though he almost choked it away twice towards the end. Rafa failed to convert numerous BP's. I guess it's blind fandom thinking he was the better player. A 6-3, 6-4 end to the match strongly indicates otherwise.
Mate wasn’t talking about Fed loss SF of Wimby 19 the match I’m talking about it is 18 SF vs Djoker 5 setter. You have to be absurd to think that’s one of his most heartbreaking losses. The post had made a mistake mentioned 18 as a final not SF
 

CHillTennis

Semi-Pro
Which of Nadal's losses was the toughest and most heartbreaking? Discuss and vote!
Without question the 2012 Australian Open.

At the time it was a very disappointing outcome. But it felt like a step in the right direction since he took Djokovic to five sets instead of four (like at Wimbledon and the US Open.)

He was ultimately able to turn things around against Djokovic during the clay court season (which included changing up his serving patterns.)

But if he'd managed to win the 2012 Australian Open, it would have taken a lot of the momentum out of Djokovic's sails.

Nadal would have won two slams in 2012 and I believe it would have mitigated the damage that Djokovic did in 2011.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
aus open 2012 final

it was the most painful and a depressing loss for two reasons, one is the manner in which he lost tat final set (missed a sitter of a backhand) and two because it was the perfect setting to avenge humiliation of 2011, right in melbourne at novak's pet slam right in his peak.......an opportunity lost to reestablish his authority.......he had to wait till 2013 north american hardcourt season to get the better of novak again.......

wimbldon 2007 final

hurtful because he was clearly the better player that day and got injured in the fourth set and literally limped through the fifth.......otherwise that final was heading towards a 6-2 esque final set humiliation for fed whose spirit was broken that day by young rafa, a la delpo us open 2009.......
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
AO 12 has to be greatest non clay Slam Nadal ever played. His level was unbelievable. He came just short of beating zoning Berdych - in form prime Fed and peak Djokovic on plexicusion in succession. If he pulled it off - i would've rated it his best slam win.
 

Standaa

G.O.A.T.
AO 12 has to be greatest non clay Slam Nadal ever played. His level was unbelievable. He came just short of beating zoning Berdych - in form prime Fed and peak Djokovic on plexicusion in succession. If he pulled it off - i would've rated it his best slam win.
ffs Djokovic ruined so many great runs of Fed and Nadal
 
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