Rank Nadal's best clay seasons level-wise from 2005 to 2019.

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
I would go
2008
2007~2010~2012
2006
2005~2017
2013
2011
2018
2019
2014
2016
2015
Don’t know were to put 2009. Very high level at D.C,MC and Rome. Still good at Madrid before the final and decent at RG for a general play standard. Maybe around and near 2011.
2012 could have been as high as 2008 but even if not for the rain drizzle making the conditions different. I doubt 2008 Nadal drops 8 games in a row to Nole even with the drizzle.
 
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The Blond Blur

Professional
I would say 09 goes just above 2011. That Madrid match which was played after Rome in 09-10 is what did the damage for RG. Both RAFA and Joker performed well below their nromal level there (Joker out in the 3rd round Rafa out in the 4th). Without that 4 hr grueling battle I think RAFA goes undefeated in his prime at RG. The only thing I would change is 2012 is definitely above 2007 and 2007 is slighty above 2010.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
I would say 09 goes just above 2011. That Madrid match which was played after Rome in 09-10 is what did the damage for RG. Both RAFA and Joker performed well below their nromal level there (Joker out in the 3rd round Rafa out in the 4th). Without that 4 hr grueling battle I think RAFA goes undefeated in his prime at RG. The only thing I would change is 2012 is definitely above 2007 and 2007 is slighty above 2010.
I think the 2007 final was a higher level than the 2012 final for Nadal. He was crushing before the final in both with a better draw in 2007 IMO. Barcelona was similar in both. MC crushing in both and a loss in Hamburg whole not at his bear countered by the loss on blue clay while not at his best.
I was finding it hard to separate those 3 I was actually gonna put 2007 2nd.
 

BVSlam

Professional
This is really difficult. Most of his clay seasons are copycats consisting of two M1000's titles, Barcelona and RG. These include 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018. 2006 and 2010 he went unbeaten, and in 2011, 2014 and 2019 he had 1 M1000 and RG (although 2011 also includes Barcelona). In 2009 he was basically having another 2 M1000, Barcelona + RG run until his knees gave out (or something happened, I dunno) and he lost to Sod playing too many ineffective short balls. That leaves 2015 and 2016 as the real anomalies, where he was out of form (2016 much less so, though).

I'd say 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019 are the only seasons in which he played clearly worse overall. The others do have differences in overall levels, but not to the same extent, and even 2009 and 2011 seemed mostly situational (physical problems at RG 2009, problems with Djokovic in 2011). And actually, even in 2019 I felt like he was basically his normal self again in Rome and RG, and in 2014 he was fairly dominant again at RG aside from a slow start in the final.
 

ForehandRF

Professional
I think the 2007 final was a higher level than the 2012 final for Nadal. He was crushing before the final in both with a better draw in 2007 IMO. Barcelona was similar in both. MC crushing in both and a loss in Hamburg whole not at his bear countered by the loss on blue clay while not at his best.
I was finding it hard to separate those 3 I was actually gonna put 2007 2nd.
I would say that 2007 is up there with 2008 :)People tend to consider 2008 even better because of the beatdown he gave to Fed in the final, but Rog played much worse than in 2007.With the level from 2007, I believe Fed would have won again one set in 2008.
 

Slightly D1

Professional
In my opinion 2017 was the most critical for Nadal. He got his mojo back and hasn't looked back on clay after a disappointing 2015 and 2016.
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
I would say that 2007 is up there with 2008 :)People tend to consider 2008 even better because of the beatdown he gave to Fed in the final, but Rog played much worse than in 2007.With the level from 2007, I believe Fed would have won again one set in 2008.
I think the last two sets of the 2007 final was some of Nadal's best tennis, up there with the 2008 final. The thing is, though, Nadal was able to sustain that level throughout the whole tournament in 2008.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
2012
2008
2010
2013
2007
2018
2006
2011
2017
2009
2005
2019
2016
2014
2015
Interesting ranking of the clay seasons. You rate 2018 quite high. He seemed shakier early on at RG IMO and his level in Madrid and even Rome which he was 1-3 behind was not the highest. I would have 2007 ahead of 2013 he didn’t raise his level until the last 4 rounds of RG 13 IMO. I don’t think 2007 RG Nadal would have missed his chance to close the match out in 4.
Excluding the blue clay 2012 was probably the most dominating in M1000s and it was his highest games won percentage. I think the 8 games lost in a row ruins it a bit though.
 
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Rafa24

Hall of Fame
I know he has had a lot and I don't have time to rank them right now but one that really sticks out to me was one of the years he won monte carlo and barely dropped any games. I know there was a lot of years like that but this one was absurd.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
I know he has had a lot and I don't have time to rank them right now but one that really sticks out to me was one of the years he won monte carlo and barely dropped any games. I know there was a lot of years like that but this one was absurd.
That was 2010. He dropped 14 games in the whole tourney in MC 10.
 

Start da Game

Professional
let me tell you something......his level on clay in 2008 is insurmountable.......

2008
2012
2007

easily his three greatest clay seasons.......his clay peak ended in 2012......
 

Start da Game

Professional
2018 Roland Garros final was off the charts good. Was that his highest level in a RG final?
it was great but still the 2007, 2008 and 2012 finals were of higher quality......the first two sets of 2012 was out of this world tennis......and then he never played again like that on clay......
 

Rafa24

Hall of Fame
That was 2010. He dropped 14 games in the whole tourney in MC 10.
That was it! I can't believe how fast time goes I remember that like it was yesterday.:( Just looked it up and in 3 of the matches he only lost 1 game in each of them. And one was the final and the shortest masters 1000 final in history in terms of games. :oops: If I remember right the rest of that season he demolished the clay courts and of course won wimby and uso!

By the points 2010 and 2013 were his best clay seasons but points don't tell the whole story.
 

Rafa24

Hall of Fame
2008 FO serving one of the greatest of all time a bagel and a breadstick in the final is unreal too. fed is no chump on clay. if not for nadal he'd have 5+ FOs likely.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
In 2008 he might have done the same. He lost a match due to blisters in Rome I think.
Could have but ultimately he went undefeated in 2010 with an unprecedented fear. Although I agree his level at RG 2008 was his highest ever on clay
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
Could have but ultimately he went undefeated in 2010 with an unprecedented fear. Although I agree his level at RG 2008 was his highest ever on clay
Fair enough. Also I think Federer and Djokovic were generally better on clay in 2008 than 2010 so he got pushed harder in clay masters IMO and had better competition in 2008. Skipping Barcelona helped Nadal a lot as well in 2010 to save energy. I think 2007-2008/2010/2012 were the peak years which ever one we choose.
Nadal was actually unbeaten in 2006 as well and that was one of his toughest clay years with a peak Federer.
 

duaneeo

Hall of Fame
1. 2005
.
.
.
The rest.

I think this because of 8 titles won (Brazil, Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros, Bastad, Stuttgart), five BO5 finals, and a diverse group of opponents (including Federer, Gaudio, Ferrero, Coria, Ferrer, Robredo, Canas).
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
1. 2005
.
.
.
The rest.

I think this because of 8 titles won (Brazil, Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Roland Garros, Bastad, Stuttgart), five BO5 finals, and a diverse group of opponents (including Federer, Gaudio, Ferrero, Coria, Ferrer, Robredo, Canas).
2005 and 2006 was a amazing clay field with a lot of depth. IMO his serving and FH offensive wise were not at the top yet. Made up for it with his great speed and court coverage/defence. His DR ratios started to improve massively from 2007 at that supports this.
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
Fair enough. Also I think Federer and Djokovic were generally better on clay in 2008 than 2010 so he got pushed harder in clay masters IMO and had better competition in 2008. Skipping Barcelona helped Nadal a lot as well in 2010 to save energy. I think 2007-2008/2010/2012 were the peak years which ever one we choose.
Nadal was actually unbeaten in 2006 as well and that was one of his toughest clay years with a peak Federer.
Yeah. I feel like if Nadal never had those blisters in 2008, that would have been his best clay season IMO. But he did, so we'll never know how good he was. It's safest to put 2008 just below 2010.
 

StrongRule

Hall of Fame
That was right up their with peak level. Even though Stan didn’t play well.
To be honest I doubt there exists a version of Wawrinka that could do much better against this Nadal. He doesn't really have the weapons to hurt an in-form Nadal on clay. So I really had the impression that Wawrinka tried his best that day, but Nadal simply had an answer for everything. The scoreline was exactly the same as in their RG 2013 meeting.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
To be honest I doubt there exists a version of Wawrinka that could do much better against this Nadal. He doesn't really have the weapons to hurt an in-form Nadal on clay. So I really had the impression that Wawrinka tried his best that day, but Nadal simply had an answer for everything. The scoreline was exactly the same as in their RG 2013 meeting.
I agree. I think RG 15 Wawrinka his best version would be more dangerous. A outside chance of getting a set (50-50).
 

Sabrina

Rookie
2008
2007~2012
2010
2017
2005
2006
2013
2009
2011
2018
2014~2019
2016
2015

To be honest 2008 top mainly because of his 2008 RG god-like performance.
 

Start da Game

Professional
if people haven’t watched or don’t remember, do watch his roland garros semifinal against novak in 2007.......incredible hitting on the dirt......
 

Start da Game

Professional
2008
2007~2012
2010
2017
2005
2006
2013
2009
2011
2018
2014~2019
2016
2015

To be honest 2008 top mainly because of his 2008 RG god-like performance.
he simply could not be taken down that year on clay......djoko and fed along with others threw everything they had at him and still couldn’t take more than a set......lost rome to ferrero due to blisters.....

he just bludgeoned everyone in his way at almost every event and just forget about roland garros, words can’t describe how brutal it was......
 

Raphael Nadal

Professional
I would go
2008
2007~2010~2012
2006
2005~2017
2013
2011
2018
2019
2014
2016
2015
Don’t know were to put 2009. Very high level at D.C,MC and Rome. Still good at Madrid before the final and decent at RG for a general play standard. Maybe around and near 2011.
2012 could have been as high as 2008 but even if not for the rain drizzle making the conditions different. I doubt 2008 Nadal drops 8 games in a row to Nole even with the drizzle.
2012 wasn't drizzle, it was heavy rain, and the balls were absolutely soaked.....and whoever the match referee was should be fired for letting them play for so long.
Actually when they resumed the next day in sunshine, there actually was some drizzle and Rafa came back from a break down in the 4th Set and won :)
Rafa has no problem with drizzle, but actual RAIN is a problem.
The 2012 referee should have watched the 2011 Roland Garros Final, because in 2011 they left the court before everything became soaked.
 

Sabrina

Rookie
he simply could not be taken down that year on clay......djoko and fed along with others threw everything they had at him and still couldn’t take more than a set......lost rome to ferrero due to blisters.....

he just bludgeoned everyone in his way at almost every event and just forget about roland garros, words can’t describe how brutal it was......
Outside of RG, I think he was a tad better in 2007/2012 than in 2008. I still put 2008 on top, considering his RG performance though.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
2012 wasn't drizzle, it was heavy rain, and the balls were absolutely soaked.....and whoever the match referee was should be fired for letting them play for so long.
Actually when they resumed the next day in sunshine, there actually was some drizzle and Rafa came back from a break down in the 4th Set and won :)
Rafa has no problem with drizzle, but actual RAIN is a problem.
The 2012 referee should have watched the 2011 Roland Garros Final, because in 2011 they left the court before everything became soaked.
Thanks for clarifying.
 
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