Reasons Why Nadal Dominated Federer During Their Prime?

REKX

Rookie
So I am a Federer and Nadal fan, originally just a Federer fan but then I learnt to appreciate what Nadal has done over time.

So this is a comparison from when they were in their best years. I think around 2010 onwards, Federer's greatest form had gone for good, and Nadal was beating him all during 2011-2015 easily but that was after Federer had lost his greatest form. Similarly now in 2017, Nadal over 30, he has lost half a step of one of his greatest assets - his speed. So this is a comparison when they were both in their prime.

It was quite amazing when Nadal emerged, Federer was dominating everyone, yet somehow from the very start Nadal was winning against Federer. Most interesting was Nadal was able to compete and beat Federer on Federer's best surface.

Consider Wimbledon 2007 and 2008. 2007 was probably Federer's greatest ever form in his best years, and Nadal was able to play to 5 sets in 2007, and beat him in 2008. This is the greatest grass court player of all time in his greatest years we are talking about which Nadal managed to beat.

2008 Wimbledon Federer was playing amazing, I was watching the whole tournament. He hadn't lost a set till the final and I don't think any player in the history of tennis could have beat 2008 Federer at Wimbledon. No Sampras, Borg or Prime Djokovic because he was playing that good. This is the reason why most experts in the world of tennis consider Wimbledon 2008 as the greatest final of all time, because of the level of tennis being played by both players - and the game still amazes me to this day from both players.

So what were the reasons that Nadal was so comfortable during their best years?

I think Federer's game matched up well for Nadal, Federer hits with amazing amounts of spin (just a bit below Nadal's spin rates), which is why he dominated the field except Nadal. But the combination of Nadal's amazing speed, and his extreme low to high racquet action meant he was always in the rally even when Federer would go for his classic winners - which Nadal could get back into play.

The Nadal forehand to Federer backhand was a factor of course. Federer did not have a weak backhand, he won many grand slams because of his backhand, neat, powerful and deadly accurate. Nadal would target around 70% of his shots to Federer's backhand and it gave him good success.

Nadal's passing shots were crucial as well. I have never seen a player in history hit passing shots like Nadal did in his prime. Federer for some reason approach the net against Nadal at the worst times and would always get passed during those years. It was painful to watch at times as a Federer fan. We have to remember Federer is probably the greatest at serve and volley in this current generation.

What do you think?
 

sarmpas

Hall of Fame
Nadal's huge physical superiority over Fed gave him the edge, a physical edge, to beat Fed more than not. This year though past his prime Nadal no longer gains much if any physical advantage over Federer so the contest between them has shifted to being decided by predominately tennis skill and in that equation Federer wins more than not.
 

REKX

Rookie
Nadal's huge physical superiority over Fed gave him the edge, a physical edge, to beat Fed more than not. This year though past his prime Nadal no longer gains much if any physical advantage over Federer so the contest between them has shifted to being decided by predominately tennis skill and in that equation Federer wins more than not.
Interesting. I would say Federer is the more clean and efficient out of the two players.

But would you not say that physical ability is a part of tennis skill?
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
So I am a Federer and Nadal fan, originally just a Federer fan but then I learnt to appreciate what Nadal has done over time.

So this is a comparison from when they were in their best years. I think around 2010 onwards, Federer's greatest form had gone for good, and Nadal was beating him all during 2011-2015 easily but that was after Federer had lost his greatest form. Similarly now in 2017, Nadal over 30, he has lost half a step of one of his greatest assets - his speed. So this is a comparison when they were both in their prime.

It was quite amazing when Nadal emerged, Federer was dominating everyone, yet somehow from the very start Nadal was winning against Federer. Most interesting was Nadal was able to compete and beat Federer on Federer's best surface.

Consider Wimbledon 2007 and 2008. 2007 was probably Federer's greatest ever form in his best years, and Nadal was able to play to 5 sets in 2007, and beat him in 2008. This is the greatest grass court player of all time in his greatest years we are talking about which Nadal managed to beat.

2008 Wimbledon Federer was playing amazing, I was watching the whole tournament. He hadn't lost a set till the final and I don't think any player in the history of tennis could have beat 2008 Federer at Wimbledon. No Sampras, Borg or Prime Djokovic because he was playing that good. This is the reason why most experts in the world of tennis consider Wimbledon 2008 as the greatest final of all time, because of the level of tennis being played by both players - and the game still amazes me to this day from both players.

So what were the reasons that Nadal was so comfortable during their best years?

I think Federer's game matched up well for Nadal, Federer hits with amazing amounts of spin (just a bit below Nadal's spin rates), which is why he dominated the field except Nadal. But the combination of Nadal's amazing speed, and his extreme low to high racquet action meant he was always in the rally even when Federer would go for his classic winners - which Nadal could get back into play.

The Nadal forehand to Federer backhand was a factor of course. Federer did not have a weak backhand, he won many grand slams because of his backhand, neat, powerful and deadly accurate. Nadal would target around 70% of his shots to Federer's backhand and it gave him good success.

Nadal's passing shots were crucial as well. I have never seen a player in history hit passing shots like Nadal did in his prime. Federer for some reason approach the net against Nadal at the worst times and would always get passed during those years. It was painful to watch at times as a Federer fan. We have to remember Federer is probably the greatest at serve and volley in this current generation.

What do you think?
I don't think Fed was in his prime in 2008.

I think his prime was 2003-2007.

Fed was still not over the residual effects of mono in 2008 at Wimby - either still in his system or maybe more likely he was still paying the price in terms of overall training and stamina for 7 matches over 2 weeks. I think you saw that at RG even more so where his loss to Rafa looked shameful rather than typical for him.

Ironically - Fed did finally win RG in Rafa's prime years - though Rafa did not make it to the final.

Meanwhile Nadal is an amazing player and 2007 showed he could be quite competitive on grass in Fed's prime - though not better.

But I dont actually think "thier prime" is really a thing- I dont think their respective primes had a great deal of overlap.

Other than that - we've seen endless analysis that shows Rafa is the king of Clay and Fed is pretty much the king of everything else.

I don't know if there is much to more it than this.
 
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cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
No I am a Federer and Nadal fan, I watch their matches on TV and in real life when they play in the UK.

I actually didn't like Nadal until about 2012-2013, before that I was a Federer fan only.
I'm like you, a Federer fan who didn't start to appreciate and respect Nadal until after that W 2008 final.
Nadal was a highly motivated, young, and bullish player who wasn't afraid of Federer and he had the game pattern to take it to Federer in those days, i.e. lefty high forehand to Federer's weaker backhand wing. Plus, Nadal had incredible movement and was one of the best athletes if not the best the game has ever seen. Throw in the fact that Nadal really gained a mental advantage over Federer because they met on Nadal's preferred surface (clay) so many times early on and that's that.

It was what it was and Nadal really knew how to take it to Federer in those days. It's as simple as that and people have to accept it. However, things have changed more recently because Nadal doesn't have the cushion of those clay beatdowns as they are only meeting off clay and Federer has FINALLY changed his backhand strategy against Nadal. It only took 10 years! :rolleyes:
 

Devin

Semi-Pro
Nadal didn't "dominate" Federer except on clay because they played a large proportion of matches there.

Federer beat Nadal elsewhere (Miami 2005, indoors, Wimbledon 2006/2007, etc.) Nadal often got knocked out at the USO and AO before facing a prime Federer. Peak Federer would've beaten even peak Nadal in both of those slams in 4.

Nadal fanboy (or man...), learn to understand what a skewed H2H is.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
Only on clay. And mainly because of 1. his insane defensive skills/movement and 2. his topspin FH to Fed's BH which was a predictable but effective pattern of play.

Federer had the edge on faster surfaces.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Let's just hope the old pattern has reversed finally and forever off clay if the two meet. The only problem is, Federer is getting older by the minute and who knows how long he can keep up the stellar form we saw from him this year?
 

sarmpas

Hall of Fame
But would you not say that physical ability is a part of tennis skill?
We can't talk about the differences between anything if we change the meaning of verbs and expressions to all mean and encompass the same thing when originally the words/expressions were created so that we could talk about differences.
 

Wander

Professional
Federer did fine against Nadal during his peak on non-clay surfaces:
Between 2004 and 2007:
3-2 on hard courts
2-0 on grass
But
1-6 on clay

For 6-8 total. It wasn't until 2008 that Nadal started dominating the H2H in general. Nadal had reached his peak while Roger had slid past it. And then there's the match-up problem and all that stuff we've heard a billion times.
 
Nadal is not, and hasn't been, better than Federer outside of clay and slow outdoor HC - which makes a good part of the tour, but less than half. He was very clutch in the biggest matches, though, and would exploit any weakness opponents showed, Federer no exception. Dubai 06 (certainly a very big match for Nadal at the time), Wimbledon 08, AO 09, even AO 12 all share this story of Nadal performing better on key points. Were Nadal truly the better player in those conditions, he would have beaten Federer more convincingly given the mental differential, rather than edging out close matches.

The above four are the only non-clay/Miami matches Nadal won against peak/prime/late prime Federer. It's amazing that three of them were GS encounters, but far too close to boast any real dominance. No contest that he is by far the better player on clay, and had a higher peak/prime level in Miami as well, despite remaining titleless at that venue so far.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Nadal is not, and hasn't been, better than Federer outside of clay and slow outdoor HC - which makes a good part of the tour, but less than half. He was very clutch in the biggest matches, though, and would exploit any weakness opponents showed, Federer no exception. Dubai 06 (certainly a very big match for Nadal at the time), Wimbledon 08, AO 09, even AO 12 all share this story of Nadal performing better on key points. Were Nadal truly the better player in those conditions, he would have beaten Federer more convincingly given the mental differential, rather than edging out close matches.

The above four are the only non-clay/Miami matches Nadal won against peak/prime/late prime Federer. It's amazing that three of them were GS encounters, but far too close to boast any real dominance. No contest that he is by far the better player on clay, and had a higher peak/prime level in Miami as well, despite remaining titleless at that venue so far.
When was Nadal even better on slow outdoor HC? Beat post-prime Fed a few times from 11-14 sure, but in a few of those matches Fed was terrible/injured in 13. When Nadal himself declined and the playing field was level we saw what happened this year.

Nadal definitely had some matchup/mental advantages against Fed for a time but he was never the better player outside of clay.
 

YellowFedBetter

Hall of Fame
Main reason: lack of lubed job.
As I’ve said numerous times Ivan has had little to nothing to do with Fed’s success. Fed got the rest he needed late 2016 and made some key on the fly adjustments like he had in the past. I don’t think Ljubicic is anymore than a tour buddy for Fed just like his previous “coaches”. He does fine without any instruction.

But then again I lost all respect for Ivan as a person after he made those dumbass comments about Fish a few years ago so maybe I’m too blinded here to say..
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
As I’ve said numerous times Ivan has had little to nothing to do with Fed’s success. Fed got the rest he needed late 2016 and made some key on the fly adjustments like he had in the past. I don’t think Ljubicic is anymore than a tour buddy for Fed just like his previous “coaches”. He does fine without any instruction.

But then again I lost all respect for Ivan as a person after he made those dumbass comments about Fish a few years ago so maybe I’m too blinded here to say..
What comments did he make about Fish?
 

YellowFedBetter

Hall of Fame
What comments did he make about Fish?
Sorry for the wait. I don’t remember exactly what it was but it was during that time Fish wasn’t playing much 2012-2014. He tweeted something criticizing Mardy (I think maybe his work ethic) and Roddick reamed him for it. Come to find out later Fish had been battling heart trouble and severe anxiety disorder during that time.
 

justasport

Professional
It's very simple. Rafa has the best and heaviest lefty forehand in the history of tennis, and until this year the one handed backhand was Roger's weakness. Rafa used that pattern
to win many matches on clay against Roger which in turn increased his confidence against Roger on all surfaces and shattered Roger's confidence whenever and on whatever
surface he played against Nadal. Those two reasons are why Rafa up unitl 2017 has had the upper hand in this rivalry.
 

justasport

Professional
Which in turn is one of the reasons I rank this year from Roger up close to the very top of his best seasons of his career. To be able at 36 to totally change the course of history against
Rafa, and find a way to win 5 consecutive matches (4 in 2017) is maybe one of Roger's greatest achievements! He probably wouldn't admit it, but he feels it I can promise you that.
 

Shank Volley

Hall of Fame
The 2008 Wimbledon final wasn't some miracle of shotmaking. I'd take the 2009 Australian open final over it. Wimbledon was two sets of below par Federer, then two sets of below par Nadal. Take the first four sets of the AO 09 and the last set of Wimbledon 08 and then you can talk about the greatest match of all time.

And anyone who claims that Federer's Wimbledon 07 campaign was his best form from his best years either isn't a fan of Federer, or just didn't watch him enough in the early days of his dominant period.
 

Tennisanity

Legend
2008 was one of Fed's worst years ever. Check out the stats. Just because he didn't lose a set before the final is meaningless. He also didn't lose a set at Wimbledon at age 36. Nadal also didn't lose a set before being destroyed by Soderling. That it happened in the 4th round is irrelevant, because no version of Nadal was ever going to beat Soderling playing at that level.

Fed's form in 2008 was horrendous compared to his peak. Fed even had said the Wimbledon loss was influenced by the loss at the FO. You'd think Nadal with his form that year would have beaten Fed even more easily, yet it still took 9-7 in the 5th to take out Federer, and required darkness.
 

every7

Hall of Fame
Nadal didn't "dominate" Federer except on clay because they played a large proportion of matches there.

Federer beat Nadal elsewhere (Miami 2005, indoors, Wimbledon 2006/2007, etc.) Nadal often got knocked out at the USO and AO before facing a prime Federer. Peak Federer would've beaten even peak Nadal in both of those slams in 4.

Nadal fanboy (or man...), learn to understand what a skewed H2H is.
To be fair, Nadal did beat Federer on their first match off clay (which was their first ever match). The 2005 Miami match you cite (a phenomenal comeback win by Federer) was a fascinatingly close encounter and went to five sets. But that was essentially the rematch of Nadal's 2004 win.
 

Tennease

Hall of Fame
Easy:

Too much clay.

Nadal always lose in WTF finals against Federer.

There are not many indoor hardcourt ATP 1000, and too many on clay and none on Grass.

Halle and Basel should be made ATP 1000.
 

Devin

Semi-Pro
To be fair, Nadal did beat Federer on their first match off clay (which was their first ever match). The 2005 Miami match you cite (a phenomenal comeback win by Federer) was a fascinatingly close encounter and went to five sets. But that was essentially the rematch of Nadal's 2004 win.
Federer was sick in 2004.

Miami 2005 in general was not all of Federer's best tennis. It was inevitable that Federer would wear down Nadal. Federer should've won in 4 as he choked that second set. If he had the momentum from winning the 2nd set, Federer should've taken the third more convincingly and won the 4th.
 

every7

Hall of Fame
Federer was sick in 2004.

Miami 2005 in general was not all of Federer's best tennis. It was inevitable that Federer would wear down Nadal. Federer should've won in 4 as he choked that second set. If he had the momentum from winning the 2nd set, Federer should've taken the third more convincingly and won the 4th.
I don't care if he was sick (and don't agree with the assertion), I am just correcting your error saying Federer beat Nadal elsewhere.
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
Federer is better than Nadal
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
No - Nadal is better
Nope, Fed is better
No way - Nadal is better
Whatever, Fed all the way
What?? Nadal is better
Gimme a break, Fed is better
 

fundrazer

Legend
As I’ve said numerous times Ivan has had little to nothing to do with Fed’s success. Fed got the rest he needed late 2016 and made some key on the fly adjustments like he had in the past. I don’t think Ljubicic is anymore than a tour buddy for Fed just like his previous “coaches”. He does fine without any instruction.

But then again I lost all respect for Ivan as a person after he made those dumbass comments about Fish a few years ago so maybe I’m too blinded here to say..
You don't have respect for Lube, I don't have respect for Mardy. Guy likes picking fights with French players for no reason. Maybe that's just how he dealt with his "anxiety," but your guess is as good as mine.
 
I am all for having the same conversation on multiple occasions: when we venture into topics new, we never know whether they'll be worth the effort or, even if they are once, whether they will really stick and become something to chew the fat over for years into the future. A reasonable risk aversion enjoins a moderate degree of repetition in one's choice of topics.

That said, there are surely only so many times that this particular discussion needs to be had.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I read the article, including an analysis of events skipped. Interesting that in this article the French were better represented in Canada, Americans more at Wimbledon, the French more at RG. No surprise for the last two.

I don't think Ivan did anything horrible. He was just guilty of very unfortunate timing. Don't accuse a player of skipping events when he is in the hospital!!!
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
As I’ve said numerous times Ivan has had little to nothing to do with Fed’s success. Fed got the rest he needed late 2016 and made some key on the fly adjustments like he had in the past. I don’t think Ljubicic is anymore than a tour buddy for Fed just like his previous “coaches”. He does fine without any instruction.

But then again I lost all respect for Ivan as a person after he made those dumbass comments about Fish a few years ago so maybe I’m too blinded here to say..
What did he say about Fish?
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
It's very simple. Rafa has the best and heaviest lefty forehand in the history of tennis, and until this year the one handed backhand was Roger's weakness. Rafa used that pattern
to win many matches on clay against Roger which in turn increased his confidence against Roger on all surfaces and shattered Roger's confidence whenever and on whatever
surface he played against Nadal. Those two reasons are why Rafa up unitl 2017 has had the upper hand in this rivalry.
You can't give 2015 and 2016 to Nadal since he didn't beat Roger in those years.
 

moonballs

Hall of Fame
So I am a Federer and Nadal fan, originally just a Federer fan but then I learnt to appreciate what Nadal has done over time.

So this is a comparison from when they were in their best years. I think around 2010 onwards, Federer's greatest form had gone for good, and Nadal was beating him all during 2011-2015 easily but that was after Federer had lost his greatest form. Similarly now in 2017, Nadal over 30, he has lost half a step of one of his greatest assets - his speed. So this is a comparison when they were both in their prime.

It was quite amazing when Nadal emerged, Federer was dominating everyone, yet somehow from the very start Nadal was winning against Federer. Most interesting was Nadal was able to compete and beat Federer on Federer's best surface.

Consider Wimbledon 2007 and 2008. 2007 was probably Federer's greatest ever form in his best years, and Nadal was able to play to 5 sets in 2007, and beat him in 2008. This is the greatest grass court player of all time in his greatest years we are talking about which Nadal managed to beat.

2008 Wimbledon Federer was playing amazing, I was watching the whole tournament. He hadn't lost a set till the final and I don't think any player in the history of tennis could have beat 2008 Federer at Wimbledon. No Sampras, Borg or Prime Djokovic because he was playing that good. This is the reason why most experts in the world of tennis consider Wimbledon 2008 as the greatest final of all time, because of the level of tennis being played by both players - and the game still amazes me to this day from both players.

So what were the reasons that Nadal was so comfortable during their best years?

I think Federer's game matched up well for Nadal, Federer hits with amazing amounts of spin (just a bit below Nadal's spin rates), which is why he dominated the field except Nadal. But the combination of Nadal's amazing speed, and his extreme low to high racquet action meant he was always in the rally even when Federer would go for his classic winners - which Nadal could get back into play.

The Nadal forehand to Federer backhand was a factor of course. Federer did not have a weak backhand, he won many grand slams because of his backhand, neat, powerful and deadly accurate. Nadal would target around 70% of his shots to Federer's backhand and it gave him good success.

Nadal's passing shots were crucial as well. I have never seen a player in history hit passing shots like Nadal did in his prime. Federer for some reason approach the net against Nadal at the worst times and would always get passed during those years. It was painful to watch at times as a Federer fan. We have to remember Federer is probably the greatest at serve and volley in this current generation.

What do you think?
What I think is you will keep looking for excuses for Nadal not able to reach Fed’s slam record.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
I don't care if he was sick (and don't agree with the assertion), I am just correcting your error saying Federer beat Nadal elsewhere.
Federer was sick, it was well documented around the time. You might as well not agree with the assertion that the Earth is a sphere :p

Federer was 5-2 against Nadal off clay during 04-07. So he clearly had the upperhand but was of course not untouchable for Nadal in that period.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Let's just hope the old pattern has reversed finally and forever off clay if the two meet. The only problem is, Federer is getting older by the minute and who knows how long he can keep up the stellar form we saw from him this year?
Let's hope not boo-bear ;)
 

YellowFedBetter

Hall of Fame
Fed’s prime: 2004-2009 (one slightly off year)

Nadal’s prime: 2008-2013 (one off year as well)

Most overrated Fed season: 2005

Most underrated Fed season: 2007

Most overrated Nadal season: 2008

Most underrated Nadal season: 2011

If Djokovic can win win a couple more slams (a HUGE if) I’ll honestly consider him better than either.
 
Because Nadal on clay is arguably the GOAT of a single surface of any player in history. Meaning on clay he is better than anyone else on their best surfaces, arguably, except for a select few where you could make a debate. Him and Fed being #1 and 2 met a lot on clay, and therefore that helped the H2H in Rafa's favor. Rafa however, has never been as consistent as Federer across all surfaces, so he was never as likely to meet Fed off of clay as he was on it. Rafa at his absolute best on each surface is a match for Fed and can beat him, but he is never at his best consistently off of clay, where as Fed is consistent and usually at his best everywhere. In an ideal world if they met for 10 matches, say, on every surface, Fed would likely lead the H2H on all but clay, but it does say something for Rafa that he was able to dominate a GOAT candidate on any surface at all in terms of matches won.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Fed’s prime: 2004-2009 (one slightly off year)

Nadal’s prime: 2008-2013 (one off year as well)

Most overrated Fed season: 2005

Most underrated Fed season: 2007

Most overrated Nadal season: 2008

Most underrated Nadal season: 2011

If Djokovic can win win a couple more slams (a HUGE if) I’ll honestly consider him better than either.
Can you explain why you think these? And how come Djoko doesn't have an overrated season?
 

YellowFedBetter

Hall of Fame
Can you explain why you think these? And how come Djoko doesn't have an overrated season?
I didn’t get into him, I’ll post that another time.

I say both Fed’s 2004 & 05 were overrated because in ‘04 he was beaten by a 17 year old, he got schooled by Guga at the French, & didn’t beat Roddick convincingly at Wimbledon. It was also one of the weakest fields ever. I think his beatdown of Hewitt at the USO distorts peoples’s views of that year. Remember Agassi was threatening him at the same event.

I say ‘05 is overrated because he didn’t win the AO, got handily beat by Nadal at RG, again took advantage of a weak field at Wimbledon, and had trouble against a 35 year old Agassi at the USO. Also he didn’t win the TMC either that. Yet many anoint it as Fed at his very best. I think 2006 is his proper best year, and 2007 is his most impressive.

In ‘07 he ended Nadal’s clay streak. He then had his most impressive win over Rafa ever IMO at Wimbledon when Nadal’s prime wasn’t far off, and Nadal was VERY hungry at that point. He then topped it off by beating a chokey but dangerous Djokovic in a tough USO final (his most difficult straight set win ever). He easily beat Rafa at the TMC as well. Only things that go against that year is losing to Canas & Nalbandian twice. But that year represented some of his best competition and that fact that he had that success despite not playing quite as well makes it his proudest to me.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I didn’t get into him, I’ll post that another time.

I say both Fed’s 2004 & 05 were overrated because in ‘04 he was beaten by a 17 year old, he got schooled by Guga at the French, & didn’t beat Roddick convincingly at Wimbledon. It was also one of the weakest fields ever. I think his beatdown of Hewitt at the USO distorts peoples’s views of that year. Remember Agassi was threatening him at the same event.

I say ‘05 is overrated because he didn’t win the AO, got handily beat by Nadal at RG, again took advantage of a weak field at Wimbledon, and had trouble against a 35 year old Agassi at the USO. Also he didn’t win the TMC either that. Yet many anoint it as Fed at his very best. I think 2006 is his proper best year, and 2007 is his most impressive.

In ‘07 he ended Nadal’s clay streak. He then had his most impressive win over Rafa ever IMO at Wimbledon when Nadal’s prime wasn’t far off, and Nadal was VERY hungry at that point. He then topped it off by beating a chokey but dangerous Djokovic in a tough USO final (his most difficult straight set win ever). He easily beat Rafa at the TMC as well. Only things that go against that year is losing to Canas & Nalbandian twice. But that year represented some of his best competition and that fact that he had that success despite not playing quite as well makes it his proudest to me.
Thank you for taking the time to list your opinion with full details. :)

I don't think 2004 had a weak field. Not even 2005 to be quite honest.

Fed did lose to an over the hill Kuerten at the FO, but that was because his clay game wasn't yet fully developed. On HC and grass he was top notch. Roddick at Wimb played one of his best matches against Roger in a GS, only 2009 Wimb topping that level. You can't fault Roger for not easily beating him, given the level Roddick was playing at. Also Fed only lost sets to Hewitt an Roddick, the other 2 best grass courters of that time which shows that Roger was solid. And his draw was not exactly a cupcake. In form Roddick and Hewitt and in between Johansson, who would reach the 2005 semi, Karlovic and Grosjean who was in his second straight Wimb SF. Agassi also played one of his best matches at the USO. And Roger went through a pretty tough draw to win the AO.

In 2005, Fed faced a top 5 player in each of his GS semis. No surprise he won "only" 2 slams. I don't think Nadal or Djokovic have ever faced exclusively top 5 players in all 4 GS semis in a season. Hewitt played one of his best matches against him in the USO SF and Agassi fought to the very end thanks to crowd support.

I agree 2007 is an underrated year as far as Fed is concerned. It doesn't get talked as much as his previous seasons, so good to see you value it.

2004, 2005 and 2007 IMO were stronger years than 2006. That is something even Fed fans agree upon. Federer was brilliant that year and it was his best season ever, but the competition in his other years of domination was superior.
 

yokied

Professional
If you really have to keep avoiding the importance of the RHBH to LHFH in this rivalry, you're gonna have a bad time with the Djoko-Nadal rivalry as well. Nadal's weakness is the court positioning he adopts deep and slightly to his BH side to run around it and hit FH. Djoko exploits that with his BH crosscourt, now Fed exploits it with his BH crosscourt and the results tell the story. In a rivalry against players as consistent as Federer and Djokovic, it is irrelevant to the ultimate result whether Nadal runs down 10, 11 or 12 of these balls based on whatever you think his physical level is at any particular time.

The weird thing is Nadal's backhand is really not that bad that it needs protection to the extent that he does. The even weirder thing is Nadal has never really even tried to evolve to test alternative strategies.

Speaking as a vaguely realistic Fed fan, Fed's coaches from 2016 onward must have had some impact and deserve some credit for 2017. You only have to look at Roger's rather clumsy previous efforts with slice backhands under Roche and SABRs under Edberg to see that Roger's tactical nous in these rivalries with Nadal and Djokovic is rather limited. There is no way on this multicoloured earth that after this many years and this many losses with such a giant ego that Federer would have admitted to himself that he needed to really work on his BH AND borrow tactics from Djokovic to win against Nadal. They somehow got him to admit it and actually do it.
 

YellowFedBetter

Hall of Fame
Thank you for taking the time to list your opinion with full details. :)

I don't think 2004 had a weak field. Not even 2005 to be quite honest.

Fed did lose to an over the hill Kuerten at the FO, but that was because his clay game wasn't yet fully developed. On HC and grass he was top notch. Roddick at Wimb played one of his best matches against Roger in a GS, only 2009 Wimb topping that level. You can't fault Roger for not easily beating him, given the level Roddick was playing at. Also Fed only lost sets to Hewitt an Roddick, the other 2 best grass courters of that time which shows that Roger was solid. And his draw was not exactly a cupcake. In form Roddick and Hewitt and in between Johansson, who would reach the 2005 semi, Karlovic and Grosjean who was in his second straight Wimb SF. Agassi also played one of his best matches at the USO. And Roger went through a pretty tough draw to win the AO.

In 2005, Fed faced a top 5 player in each of his GS semis. No surprise he won "only" 2 slams. I don't think Nadal or Djokovic have ever faced exclusively top 5 players in all 4 GS semis in a season. Hewitt played one of his best matches against him in the USO SF and Agassi fought to the very end thanks to crowd support.

I agree 2007 is an underrated year as far as Fed is concerned. It doesn't get talked as much as his previous seasons, so good to see you value it.

2004, 2005 and 2007 IMO were stronger years than 2006. That is something even Fed fans agree upon. Federer was brilliant that year and it was his best season ever, but the competition in his other years of domination was superior.
Thanks for your detailed thoughts as well! Appreciate the rational discussion.
 
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