Rafael Nadal: ´Novak Djokovic the Toughest Opponent I Ever Had´

joekapa

Legend
http://www.**************.org/Rafael-Nadal-Novak-Djokovic-the-Toughest-Opponent-I-Ever-Had-articolo25800.html

""To me, playing against Roger Federer has been a honour. There has always been a lot of respect between us. We lived together some of the most important moments in our careers. Our rivalry made us grow up and improve" revealed the Spaniard."

In other words, I am trying to say it nicely, that Federer has been my ***** for some time now.


Asked if Federer has been the toughest player Rafael has ever met on the tour, the Spaniard responded honestly.

"To be honest, the toughest opponent I ever had on a tennis court has to be Novak Djokovic. Against Novak there has always been a lot of balance in terms of results, a strong equilibrium. We played some very close matches in our careers. At the same time I don't forget the battles played against Andy Murray or David Ferrer. There are a lot of tough players on the tour" confessed the Spaniard.

Cannot be more honest.
 

joekapa

Legend
He's looking into the past,does this mean his days at the top echelon of tennis are numbered?
Maybe, maybe not. But he said something, that we have been saying for a while now.

The real rivalry from 2010 onwards has been "Nadal vs Novak". Federer has been playing second fiddle for a while now.
 
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Deleted member 307496

Guest
Maybe, maybe not. But he said something, that we have been saying for a while now.

The real rivalry from 2010 onwards has been "Nadal vs Novak". Federer has been playing second fiddle for a while now.
Nadal from 2008 or 2010 would be ranked 10 today, it makes little difference. The game has evolved.
 

RanchDressing

Hall of Fame
Nadal from 2008 or 2010 would be ranked 10 today, it makes little difference. The game has evolved.
I'm just curious, how exactly do you feel the game has evolved?

Nadal's game has undeniably dropped, that's the ranking difference. From tactics, to serve, to forehand, to mental edge, to endurance, to strength and size... Everything about 15 nadal is weaker. I'm not even close to a fan of his, but c'mon now.
 
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
I'm just curious, how exactly do you feel the game has evolved?

Nadal's game has undeniably dropped, that's the ranking difference. From tactics, to serve, to forehand, to mental edge, to endurance, to strength and size... Everything about 15 nadal is weaker. I'm not even close to a fan of his, but c'mon now.
Players today are fitter, stronger and more eager to win matches than 5 or 10 years ago.

Players that would be lucky to break the top 50 today were in the latter part of majors making things difficult for Nadal.

The ranking difference can be attributed to a difference in level of the competition.. not Nadal declining. Nadal's technique and shot selection has improved a boatload over the last 2 or 3 years and right now he's at his best. Even his forehand is a force to be reckoned with.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal just admits that the match up and the surface distribution has played an important role when it comes to matches between him and Federer/ Djokovic.

Nothing that we already don't know.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
The nefarious KIA water bottle aligner strikes again. Why can’t the horrible shorts-adjuster just admit the truth that the legendary Roger Federer has been the greatest challenge of his entire career?
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Did he really use the word "equilibrium"?

Anyway, what difference does it make who he thinks was his toughest opponent? What does it change?

Btw Nadal had 5 years on Federer, when Federer was beginning to decline in 2008 Nadal started to reach his peak, he beat him in a few very close matches. Now in 2011 Djokovic reached his peak and Nadal began to slightly decline. You can't really make a fair comparison unless all 3 played against each other at their peaks.
 

joekapa

Legend
The nefarious KIA water bottle aligner strikes again. Why can’t the horrible shorts-adjuster just admit the truth that the legendary Roger Federer has been the greatest challenge of his entire career?
Well the H2H doesn't show that. He made Federer look like a player outside the top 10.
 

joekapa

Legend
Did he really use the word "equilibrium"?

Anyway, what difference does it make who he thinks was his toughest opponent? What does it change?

Btw Nadal had 5 years on Federer, when Federer was beginning to decline in 2008 Nadal started to reach his peak, he beat him in a few very close matches. Now in 2011 Djokovic reached his peak and Nadal began to slightly decline. You can't really make a fair comparison unless all 3 played against each other at their peaks.
Well maybe change people's perceptions.
 

joekapa

Legend
Nadal just admits that the match up and the surface distribution has played an important role when it comes to matches between him and Federer/ Djokovic.

Nothing that we already don't know.
I don't think he mentioned surface distribution. Where do you see this ? He simply said that Djokovic is the only player who gave him a run for his money.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Well maybe change people's perceptions.
About what? We all know that Djokovic was the toughest for him as evidenced by the h2h and multiple baseline battles they had against each other. Anyway, all 3 (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) peaked in different years but Federer being by far the oldest of the 3 is obviously at an disadvantage. It's all what ifs of course but if Federer was the same age as Nadal Nadal would have a far harder time beating him on grass and hard courts.

You all laughed at Federer for losing to peak Nadal when he was in his late 20's, well who's laughing now? What has Nadal done lately other than get bludgeoned by just about every top 10 player he faces even on clay?
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
Even when Federer is well behind in their h2h and in the twilight in his career Nadal seeks validation by referring to him and their rivalry.

Make whatever you want from that.

:cool:
 

Minion

Hall of Fame
Did he really use the word "equilibrium"?

Anyway, what difference does it make who he thinks was his toughest opponent? What does it change?

Btw Nadal had 5 years on Federer, when Federer was beginning to decline in 2008 Nadal started to reach his peak, he beat him in a few very close matches. Now in 2011 Djokovic reached his peak and Nadal began to slightly decline. You can't really make a fair comparison unless all 3 played against each other at their peaks.
I like what you said here, it makes sense. It would be quite something to see all 3 of them compete against each other at their respective peaks:)
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't think he mentioned surface distribution. Where do you see this ? He simply said that Djokovic is the only player who gave him a run for his money.
Anyone, who can read between the lines, can see that Nadal is making an apples to oranges comparison.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
I like what you said here, it makes sense. It would be quite something to see all 3 of them compete against each other at their respective peaks:)
It's fair to say that Federer would win the most Wimbledons and US Opens, Nadal would win almost every FO and Djokovic would win the majority of the AO's but of course we'll never know. People can't assume that because Nadal beat Federer in 2008 and 2009 he would've done the same against a 23-25 year old Federer when he was in a league of his own. Even 1 year makes a huge difference. Nadal dominated 2013. Had a huge decline in 2014 when he basically just won the FO (found his form in the last 3 matches) and an even bigger one in 2015.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
i dont think hes saying anything shocking.. all one needs to do is look at his h2h records with federer and djokovic respectively. djokovic gives him more trouble. but i dont think that means djokovic is a better player..
 

joekapa

Legend
It's fair to say that Federer would win the most Wimbledons and US Opens, Nadal would win almost every FO and Djokovic would win the majority of the AO's but of course we'll never know. People can't assume that because Nadal beat Federer in 2008 and 2009 he would've done the same against a 23-25 year old Federer when he was in a league of his own. Even 1 year makes a huge difference. Nadal dominated 2013. Had a huge decline in 2014 when he basically just won the FO (found his form in the last 3 matches) and an even bigger one in 2015.
Nadal is not saying this in his interview.

Nadal played Federer at Federer's peak. He has also played Djokovic at his peak. So he is basically saying that between the two, Djokovic is a harder player to play against. Simple.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Nadal is not saying this in his interview.

Nadal played Federer at Federer's peak. He has also played Djokovic at his peak. So he is basically saying that between the two, Djokovic is a harder player to play against. Simple.
For him, not that he's a tougher player per se. As I said, it doesn't mean anything, just that for Nadal PERSONALLY Djokovic was tougher. But once again, different peaks for different players, different match-ups etc. Nadal got to play Djokovic in 2011-2015 when he was beginning to decline while Djokovic was at his peak. Nadal beat Federer in Slam finals in 2008-2009 when he was at his peak and Federer was beginning to decline.

There's also one thing which I think was the main factor. Nadal was determined to do anything to beat Federer, he was willing to sacrifice anything to take him down so he ALWAYS gave it his 150%, that's how much it meant to him. I haven't seen the same fire in Nadal when facing Djokovic, he has actually played a couple of suckers against him. Never against Federer.
 

Minion

Hall of Fame
Nadal is not saying this in his interview.

Nadal played Federer at Federer's peak. He has also played Djokovic at his peak. So he is basically saying that between the two, Djokovic is a harder player to play against. Simple.
Seems about right to me. With Rafa's style being more physical, and with Djoko's fairly decent;) return game, insane speed, and getting more balls back in play than most other players - its easy to see why he would say it.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
For him, not that he's a tougher player per se. As I said, it doesn't mean anything, just that for Nadal PERSONALLY Djokovic was tougher. But once again, different peaks for different players, different match-ups etc. Nadal got to play Djokovic in 2011-2015 when he was beginning to decline while Djokovic was at his peak. Peak Nadal beat Federer in Slam finals in 2008-2009 when he was at his peak and Federer was beginning to decline.
Djokovic has beaten prime Nadal and Nadal has beaten prime Federer so why the need to even take it there but to make yourself feel better?
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Djokovic has beaten prime Nadal and Nadal has beaten prime Federer so why the need to even take it there but to make yourself feel better?
Because the OP is trying to spin Nadal's comment around to make him sound like Djokovic is better than Federer (if not, what else is he trying to achieve?). Making a big fuss out of nothing.
 

joekapa

Legend
For him, not that he's a tougher player per se. As I said, it doesn't mean anything, just that for Nadal PERSONALLY Djokovic was tougher. But once again, different peaks for different players, different match-ups etc. Nadal got to play Djokovic in 2011-2015 when he was beginning to decline while Djokovic was at his peak. Nadal beat Federer in Slam finals in 2008-2009 when he was at his peak and Federer was beginning to decline.

There's also one thing which I think was the main factor. Nadal was determined to do anything to beat Federer, he was willing to sacrifice anything to take him down so he ALWAYS gave it his 150%, that's how much it meant to him. I haven't seen the same fire in Nadal when facing Djokovic, he has actually played a couple of suckers against him. Never against Federer.
Make any excuses you want. Nadal is simply stating what HE lived through, and what HIS experience says. And I think he is a better judge than any of us couch potato coaches.
 

joekapa

Legend
Because the OP is trying to spin Nadal's comment around to make him sound like Djokovic is better than Federer (if not, what else is he trying to achieve?). Making a big fuss out of nothing.
Read into it what you will.

And yes, I believe both Nadal and Djokovic ARE better players than Federer, and would have made minced meat of him if they were at their peak in 2003-2008. Simple.

I am not saying they are as beautiful to watch though. But tougher opponents they almost certainly are.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
Toughness of an opponent is not just about H2H. It is mainly about inside feeling when you play. As an example, Djokovic:Murray or Djokovic:Wawrinka H2H look pretty lopsided, but I suppose these 2 bring a lot of suffering to Novak. What Rafa said is certainly a compliment for Djokovic.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Read into it what you will.

And yes, I believe both Nadal and Djokovic ARE better players than Federer, and would have made minced meat of him if they were at their peak in 2003-2008. Simple.

I am not saying they are as beautiful to watch though. But tougher opponents they almost certainly are.
Really? Why does Djokovic's h2h record against a 33-34 year old Federer stand at 5-5 in 2014-2015, then? And you think that the same Djokovic would've made minced meat out of a 22-25-year old Federer?
 

AngryBirds

Semi-Pro
Thank you for supplying the statistical data on this “rivalry”. Were those 2 slam losses by Nadal on clay, hardcourts, or some other high-quality common tennis court surface?
The 2 victories Federer had over Nadal only occurred on grass and believe me, it was not easy for Fed.
 
Because the OP is trying to spin Nadal's comment around to make him sound like Djokovic is better than Federer (if not, what else is he trying to achieve?). Making a big fuss out of nothing.
Sometimes,it's better to give the benefit of the doubt, and just take it for what it is. In plain truth, Rafa has a harder time with Djoker compared to your Idol. Nothing more, nothing less. It is what it is. It's not to take any spite on your Idol.

Sorry mate, sometimes the truth might rub you in the wrong way, but you just have to accept it.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Sometimes,it's better to give the benefit of the doubt, and just take it for what it is. In plain truth, Rafa has a harder time with Djoker compared to your Idol. Nothing more, nothing less. It is what it is. It's not to take any spite on your Idol.

Sorry mate, sometimes the truth might rub you in the wrong way, but you just have to accept it.
I never denied it. The OP is making a big fuss out of the obvious for no reason.
 

joekapa

Legend
I never denied it. The OP is making a big fuss out of the obvious for no reason.
You are making the fuss out of this, because you don't like what Nadal said. It gives credence to that little man in your head, who you have been ignoring for so long. You know who I am talking about right ? It's the little man, who late at night, or after Fed's crucial losses tells you "he ain't what he is cracked up to be".......
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
You are making the fuss out of this, because you don't like what Nadal said. It gives credence to that little man in your head, who you have been ignoring for so long. You know who I am talking about right ? It's the little man, who late at night, or after Fed's crucial losses tells you "he ain't what he is cracked up to be".......
No, I don't like you trolling and trying to make a big deal out of nothing. What was your purpose in the first place?
 

joekapa

Legend
Oh and by the way, of the 11 times they have played in 2014-2015, 8 were finals in slams and grand slams. Of those 8 finals, 6 were won by Djokovic.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Ah yes, this was Federer's "injury", which he was able to overcome in a few days and play Davis Cup.

It's a win sunshine, any way you put it.
The official h2h between them in 2014-2015 is FIVE WINS FOR BOTH. You can create your own stats and rankings if you like but in the real world Djokovic has officially lost half of his matches against an old man.

And btw who cares if it's a SF of a F. Federer beat Djokovic in Dubai in 2014 - went on to win the title. Beat him in Shanghai - went on to win the title. And he beat him twice in finals in Dubai and Cincinnati very comprehensively - the dominant player who barely loses matches got owned in 2 finals against an old man this year.
 
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