So if Nadal never had an era of his own, does that mean he actually had the toughest competition of the big three?

Hitman

Hall of Fame
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016, with Nadal making hay during the one year gap between those two periods. This then begs the question, does that not mean then that Nadal had the toughest time of the big three? He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also. That is basically ten years dealing with an ATG during his prime, while fighting to be an ATG himself.

And Nadal completed an epic career slam while beating the top two guys of their era for each of those wins. AO 2009 Federer, RG 2013 Djokovic, W 2008 Federer, USO 2013 Djokovic
 

Mike Sams

Legend
Most of the fanatics on this forum are clueless. First they say Federer is a joke who played in a joke era where he racked up countless Slams against scrubs. Then they say Nadal and Djokovic are the true all time greats despite the fact that they both are also winning their Slams in an equally pathetic era of scrubs! :-D No different to Federer's era. The only competition they have is old grandpa Federer who, according to them, was never that good to begin with. So where's the competition then?? :rolleyes:
 
Then they say Nadal and Djokovic are the true all time greats despite the fact that they both are also winning their Slams in an equally pathetic era of scrubs! :-D
Negative.
Last 10 years Nadal and Djokovic were worthy competitors for each other.
Imagine number of 2010-2020 Nadal slams in tour without Djokovic.
Imagine number of 2010-2020 Djokovic slams in tour without Nadal.
 

Mike Sams

Legend
Negative.
Last 10 years Nadal and Djokovic were worthy competitors for each other.
Imagine number of 2010-2020 Nadal slams in tour without Djokovic.
Imagine number of 2010-2020 Djokovic slams in tour without Nadal.
Djokovic won most of his slams between 2015-2019. Nadal was a non-factor in most of them. Nadal was mostly a rival to Djokovic in Paris. So yeah...clown era is where Djokovic has been winning most of his Slams.
 

Fridge

Semi-Pro
I have never thought of that but year he sorta did. He had prime fed from 05-09 and prime Novak from 11-15. 09-11 was also really good level from both Fed and Novak. Also had to deal with other really solid players like Delpo, Soderling and Murray
 

Fiero425

Hall of Fame
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016, with Nadal making hay during the one year gap between those two periods. This then begs the question, does that not mean then that Nadal had the toughest time of the big three? He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also. That is basically ten years dealing with an ATG during his prime, while fighting to be an ATG himself.

And Nadal completed an epic career slam while beating the top two guys of their era for each of those wins. AO 2009 Federer, RG 2013 Djokovic, W 2008 Federer, USO 2013 Djokovic
Poor R(W)afa; just a victim of his own greatness! NOT! :cautious: I guess saying his competition was tougher when Nole had to deal with the universal & nauseating love of Fedal! Get real; Djokovic is the one that had it tough from DAY 1! :unsure:
 

Fiero425

Hall of Fame
Most of the fanatics on this forum are clueless. First they say Federer is a joke who played in a joke era where he racked up countless Slams against scrubs. Then they say Nadal and Djokovic are the true all time greats despite the fact that they both are also winning their Slams in an equally pathetic era of scrubs! :-D No different to Federer's era. The only competition they have is old grandpa Federer who, according to them, was never that good to begin with. So where's the competition then?? :rolleyes:
Today's players aren't scrubs; they just can't finish when they're up on the elites! The courts and rackets have made the top players almost unbeatable; hence the record of them owning this era of pro tennis! These are some great players being called "also-rans," being led by the likes of Cilic, Murray, Wawrinka, Thiem, Zverev, Raonic, Kei, Dimitrov, & Tsitsipas! If not for Fedalovic, these people would have more majors listed under their names instead of endless "runner-ups!" :-D
 

The Blond Blur

Hall of Fame
I see RAFA as a sort of bridge between "eras" (although I really wouldn't consider 2, 5-year spans as eras). He was great during Ol' Rog's best years and during Joker's best years with the exception of 2015-2016. His record of winning 1 major a year for 10 years straight (2005-2014) really speaks for itself. The year that caused the most damage to his career IMO is 2009. If it weren't for injuries and Soderling pulling off the biggest upset in tennis history, he goes on to win RG. He'd then be holding 2 majors and most likely ends 2008-2010 as the YE#1.

Overall, I agree with the premise. He was going toe to toe with absolute peak Ol' Rog when he was still a teenager through his early 20's. Then absolute peak Joker came after him. Ol' Rog had a solid group of players in his generation, but he really didn't dethrone any ATG in their prime before him. He did have 2 GOAT candidates come after him though. On the flip side, Joker had to go through Fedal, but doesn't appear to have any younger ATG in the making coming after him. The Big 3 have basically played in the same “slow court era” with a few years not overlapping. But out of the 3, RAFA is the only one who really didn’t get to catch a break.
 

van_Loederen

Professional
Nadal is sandwitched between Feder and DJ, age wise, so in a strict sense yes of course.
DJ is however only one year younger, so Nadal's handicap against him isn't big. maybe 1.5 Slams and a some weeks at #1.
 

Sport

Legend
Nadal is epic allright, but he's no match for Imhotep 2.0
Imhotep hasn't stopped Nadal from winning more RG titles and USO titles. Imhotep is no match for Nadal at RG, and even has less USO tiles than Rafa and a losing H2H against Rafa at the USO.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Nice question.
IMO YES.
YES.
now it perhaps balances out a tad since fedovic had to lumber into the vipers pit of roland garros so many times.
The aura there is so great now he can roll in on crutches and watch the opponent fall apart.
 

Sport

Legend
To answer OP, I would say 2008-2013 are commonly refered to as Nadal's best years, so his best years also coincided with many of Federer's and Djokovic's best years.
 

nachiket nolefam

Hall of Fame
Lol. This is where the tennis reasoning leads to.

For example, Nadal had good competition vs Roger and Novak in RG final. He did beat them sometimes easily but that doesn't mean he had no competition. He was better than his best competition by a long shot. Roger and Novak were very formidable on clay and Nadal had to beat 1 or the other for 9 out of his 12 RG. And outside of RG, Nadal had to beat Roger/Novak 13 time to the slam title.

Same way, just because Nadal beat Novak and Roger on their best surface doesn't mean they didn't have good competition. They had Nadal to contend with. Roger had to beat Nadal/Djokovic 7 times to the slam title, and Novak had to beat Roger/Rafa 13 times to the slam title.

Just proves Nadal and Djokovic had faced other big 3 more times than Roger did.

Now look at some of the matches.
Federer/Djokovic AO07 - No chance Djokovic but its still counted
Djokovic/Federer AO18 - Almost injured Federer so no chance but its still counted

We can give Rafa a little brownie points because out of those 13 times, he always beat good/great either Federer/Djokovic. But out of those 13, 9 are on his beloved clay.

So no, Nadal didn't face toughest competition. He and Novak faced similar in their career. Roger did face easier in his early days but that caught up to him in his late career when he was old and had to beat 1 or 2 of them.

"He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also." And this makes not much sense. 2004-2009 Federer was at height of his power but not best on clay, and 2011-16 Djokovic was at height of his power but not on clay. Most of the matches Rafa had with them are on clay so that neutralizes everything. If you are talking about ranking points, then yes, having great game on multiple surfaces and being comparatively very bad on clay doesn't make a lot of difference in 12 month period than having great game on all surfaces. Clay being second most frequent surface can do just limited. Similarly, if one were pure grass specialist and comparatively bad on other surface, they would probably not even reach top ranking. Roger and Novak are better on more frequent surfaces and so have more domination and weeks at no1.
 
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Sudacafan

G.O.A.T.
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016, with Nadal making hay during the one year gap between those two periods. This then begs the question, does that not mean then that Nadal had the toughest time of the big three? He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also. That is basically ten years dealing with an ATG during his prime, while fighting to be an ATG himself.

And Nadal completed an epic career slam while beating the top two guys of their era for each of those wins. AO 2009 Federer, RG 2013 Djokovic, W 2008 Federer, USO 2013 Djokovic
Nadal is the ultimate denier.
 

Sport

Legend
No, it just means he usually was the 2nd toughest opponent throughout the Federer and Djokovic eras!
Nadal's overall "era" is 2008-2013. His best years coincided with some of the best years of Federer and Djokovic, but it doesn't mean he was usually the 2nd thoughest opponent during his era. Nadal was the overall thoughest opponent in 2008, early 2009, 2010 and 2013, so it's not like he usually was "the 2nd thoughest opponent" in 2008-2013. And specifically on clay, he has been the thoughest opponent from 2005 to 2019 (excluding 2015). Nadal's clay era (2005-2019) is certainly impressive, no one had a longer era of dominance on any surface.
 
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itrium84

Semi-Pro
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016, with Nadal making hay during the one year gap between those two periods. This then begs the question, does that not mean then that Nadal had the toughest time of the big three? He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also. That is basically ten years dealing with an ATG during his prime, while fighting to be an ATG himself.

And Nadal completed an epic career slam while beating the top two guys of their era for each of those wins. AO 2009 Federer, RG 2013 Djokovic, W 2008 Federer, USO 2013 Djokovic
1st of all, this is a great argument, I've never thought of it this way.
It makes it very very hard to make another conclusion, so yeah - Nadal (so far) had the toughest competition among big3.
Now, there is another important question - "was it toughest for him?".
It seems it's the same question, so the answer must be the same. But, it's not.
Because "was it toughest for him?" is not about overall competition, it's about opposition - the players you actually play against.
In GS tournament, you're not playing against every single participant, just 7 of them. These 7 are your opposition.

This is why Nadal had the toughest field, but Djokovic had the toughest path.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
 

vex

Hall of Fame
Djokovic won most of his slams between 2015-2019. Nadal was a non-factor in most of them. Nadal was mostly a rival to Djokovic in Paris. So yeah...clown era is where Djokovic has been winning most of his Slams.
Jesus these hot takes
 

duaneeo

Hall of Fame
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016...
Neither Federer nor Nadal had an era of his own. They shared an era, and the Fedal era of 2005 - 2010 is legendary...21 slams, 31 Masters, YE top-2 all six years, and both having the CGS.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Well, at least he faced a much stronger Federer in Wimbledon, compared to you know who!
:p
It is really close between nadalovic. Djokovic and murray litterally had to learn to be a pro smack dab in the middle of the start of fedal. He was lucky to not get mentally ruined. Props to the kid from serbia. Not too bad. :)
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
Why can't we say there has been a 'dual' era? E.g: 2005-2009/10 Fedal era, and 2010/11-2014/15 Djokodal era? In the past there has usually been a 'dual' era, like Rosewall/Laver, Connors/Borg, Borg/McEnroe, Lendl/McEnroe, Lendl/Becker/Wilander -hic, Sampras/Agassi. Why does it have to be a 'one-man' era?
 

duaneeo

Hall of Fame
Why can't we say there has been a 'dual' era? E.g: 2005-2009/10 Fedal era, and 2010/11-2014/15 Djokodal era?
From 2011 - 2016, Djokovic and Nadal were top-2 twice (2011, 2013)...as were Djokovic and Federer (2012, 2014), and Djokovic and Murray (2015, 2016). Number of slams won:
Djokovic: 11
Nadal: 5
Murray: 3
Wawrinka: 3
Federer: 1
Cilic: 1

Compare this to 2005 - 2010, and it's clear why we can't say there's been a 'dual' era.
 

Lew II

Legend
Djokovic is less than 1 year younger than Nadal, and they had a similar career arch, being highly competitive from the age of 19 to 33.

There's no significant difference in the competition they had.
 

irishnadalfan1983

Hall of Fame
I often read a few of Nadal's detractors saying that unlike Federer and Djokovic, Nadal didn't have an era of his own. Federer is often cited to have 2004 to 2009 and Djokovic from 2011 to 2016, with Nadal making hay during the one year gap between those two periods. This then begs the question, does that not mean then that Nadal had the toughest time of the big three? He had to deal with Federer during the 2004 to 2009 period, an ATG during the height of his powers, and then had to deal with Djokovic from 2011 to 2016 period, another ATG during the height of his powers also. That is basically ten years dealing with an ATG during his prime, while fighting to be an ATG himself.

And Nadal completed an epic career slam while beating the top two guys of their era for each of those wins. AO 2009 Federer, RG 2013 Djokovic, W 2008 Federer, USO 2013 Djokovic
He probably did but that doesn’t detract from what Nole/Fed did.....Rafa barely existed in my eyes in 2015/2016......
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
No matter how we twist things, clay has had the weakest field in the era of Big3.


:-D mmkay
You can say it's a debatable between grass and clay, but to suggest there's no conversation is asenine. Even all the servebots on grass lose well before week 2 starts. No one has a real chance besides the big 4 on grass, anymore than they do on clay, and the winners show that.
 

Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
#bullsimplytoostrong
Exactly 8-B

Sssshhhh.... Don't tell any of these couch potatoes who think clay is a marginalised surface with no competition and a "weak field" (lol) that the majority of pro tennis is played on clay.

Or that for the last 20 years any domestic/private tennis development organisation worth a **** has been developing players with clay as a priority training surface to teach best-practice stroke mechanics and point construction.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
"An era of his own"...

Younger posters forget earlier eras that were incredibly strong.

Lendl, for instance, played Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Edberg, Wilander, Becker in slam finals...

Nadal has had an era of his own on his favourite surface.
 

van_Loederen

Professional
^^it's widely known that the depth of the field was shallower in the past, that's why so often the same players made the finals.

as for Nadal's competition on clay, it's hard to think of stronger clay courters than Feder and DJ in modern times. Nadal just always defeated them. yeah it would have looked like a stronger clay era, had he let them win more often, too bad
 

itrium84

Semi-Pro
^^it's widely known that the depth of the field was shallower in the past, that's why so often the same players made the finals.

as for Nadal's competition on clay, it's hard to think of stronger clay courters than Feder and DJ in modern times. Nadal just always defeated them. yeah it would have looked like a stronger clay era, had he let them win more often, too bad
I agree, Fed was fantastic clay player, and Novak was/is too. They're both clay kings unfortunate enough to constantly fight against clay god.

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk
 

vanioMan

Legend
Djokovic is less than 1 year younger than Nadal, and they had a similar career arch, being highly competitive from the age of 19 to 33.

There's no significant difference in the competition they had.
You're wrong because Nadal was already a top player by mid-2005 and Djokovic became more relevant around 2 years later. You don't just look at a player's age, but also when they started to hit their prime.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
It is very simple. He had one of the easiest competitions on clay as none of his fellow ATGs was a true clay courter, and had one of the stiffest competitions on HC. On grass the man has had several notable runs, but his general weakness agains mediocre for his standard players leaves him in no mans land as far as his competition there goes.

 
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