Somewhat controversial opinion:2007 WB F Nadal was more ferocious and slightly better from the baseline than 2015 F Djokovic

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
Was watching 2015 F after a Long time. Novak of course was fantastic. Out of curiosity watched some parts of 2007 WB F afterwards.

I am biased towards the 2007 match and how Rafael played in it, but I personally really thought that if you count out the slow start, and some not so frequent mishits (prompted more by Federer going deep or shanking up an acute angle) Nadal commanded the baseline more than Djokovic.

Nadal's FH tbh is the key, but it's Nadal's cross court BH which he rips more. TBH, the easy depth that Djokovic gets ,Nadal gets that too. But Djokovic is way more consistent with it.

However Nadal has more pace and better angles tbh. He takes the initiative a bit more.

Tbf, this take in my eyes also has an influence of 2018 WB SF where from baseline I think Rafael outdid Djokovic.(Though of course that Djokovic wasn't close to 2015)


Djokovic was better on Serve and return no doubt.

But from baseline I might lean towards Nadal.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
I don't think that's controversial. Novak's superior serve is the biggest part of what makes him a better grass court player. Nor should it be a surprise that Nadal can construct a point better than him with different angles from the baseline, in large part due to his superior movement which lets him run around more balls.
 

BackhandDTL

Hall of Fame
It’s not very controversial to say that Nadal had a higher peak on grass.

Return was quite close. Actually Nadal won a greater fraction of return games and return points in W 2007 relative to Novak 15 at Wimbledon.

I think Djokovic had the better serve obviously, but I think Nadal wins in most other categories.

Despite what the stats say I’ll still edge the return to Novak, because it’s Novak and he does a better job of clipping the lines, but it’s gotta be atleast close if you are comparing those two years.
 
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BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Rafa’s level in the 2007 Wimbledon final through 4 sets was equal or superior to his 2008 level Wimbledon (he himself said this in his autobiography). But he blew four BP’s in the deciding fifth set and his level clearly declined the last 25 minutes of the match.

Djokovic was dealing with an inferior opponent with 34 year old Fed, so it was easier for him to play brutal baseline tennis. Had he been playing young Fed, it would have been a vastly different story.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
2007 Djokovic took a set from that Nadal. If he plays 2015 Djokovic I have doubts it would even go 5 sets.
But that's a different scenario tbh. I don't think Nadal would beat Djokovic on grass at peak to peak, Queens 2008 was decided by a hair line and Nadal played as well as the WB but Djokovic wasn't as a mature on the surface as he would be later.

I just personally thought Nadal looked more commanding in general.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
But that's a different scenario tbh. I don't think Nadal would beat Djokovic on grass at peak to peak, Queens 2008 was decided by a hair line and Nadal played as well as the WB but Djokovic wasn't as a mature on the surface as he would be later.

I just personally thought Nadal looked more commanding in general.
He always looks more commanding against Federer, the same reason Wawrinka always looks more commanding against Djokovic than Fedal. Yes 2007 Nadal was great from the baseline but we are talking about Djokovic at his highest peak on grass. I also the think the conditions were different in 2007 than 2015 and the ball was bouncing higher in 2007 and the conditions were slower. All of those things make it better for Nadal on grass.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
I think 2007 was certainly slightly better from the baseline, but 2015 Djoker had the serve in his arsenal as well as his comparable groundstrokes. I say Djoker takes this hypothetical in five.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal upped his level in the final. I would be confident to bet Nadal 07/08 finals vs Djokovic 15 final at Wim is a 5 setter regardless of who wins.
2008 would be a 5 setter for sure but not sure about 2007. I would pick Djokovic in 4 tight sets.
 

RS

Legend
2008 would be a 5 setter for sure but not sure about 2007. I would pick Djokovic in 4 tight sets.
That’s similar to how he beat Fed in the 15 final who wasn’t as good as Nadal in the 07 final. Fair enough I guess though I see it going 5 all three cases (including 10 final Nadal too)
 

PilotPete

Semi-Pro
2007 was Nadal's absolute peak on grass. But Djokovic's peak on grass > Nadal's peak on grass. That doesn't mean Nadal's peak wouldn't give Fed more trouble than Djokovic.

Proof:
W2011 Peak Djokovic def. Peak Nadal relatively easily.
W2012 post-peak Fed def. Peak Djokovic relatively easily.
W2007 peak Fed. def peak Nadal barely.
 

BackhandDTL

Hall of Fame
Ned was basically at 2008 level or better in the 2007 final, minus the second half of the fifth set. I say if 2008 goes 5, then 2007 will also.
Ned in 2007 wasn’t better. Not in the big points when he had a chance to break Fed in the 5th and clearly declined in that final set.
 

aditya123

Hall of Fame
I watched 2007 match and was heartbroken. The difference in the 5th set was fed was acing his way and Nadal couldn't deliver a single ace if am not wrong
 

BackhandDTL

Hall of Fame
2007 was Nadal's absolute peak on grass. But Djokovic's peak on grass > Nadal's peak on grass. That doesn't mean Nadal's peak wouldn't give Fed more trouble than Djokovic.

Proof:
W2011 Peak Djokovic def. Peak Nadal re easily.
W2012 post-peak Fed def. Peak Djokovic relatively easily.
W2007 peak Fed. def peak Nadal barely.
ahaha.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
That’s similar to how he beat Fed in the 15 final who wasn’t as good as Nadal in the 07 final. Fair enough I guess though I see it going 5 all three cases (including 10 final Nadal too)
I think Djokovic has a higher grass peak than Nadal albeit slightly. I can't see Nadal besting that Djokovic from the baseline. He did in 2018 but that was a declined version and one that had been struggling up to that point. That's my opinion.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
I think Djokovic has a higher grass peak than Nadal albeit slightly. I can't see Nadal besting that Djokovic from the baseline. He did in 2018 but that was a declined version and one that had been struggling up to that point. That's my opinion.
I too don't think head on Nadal would outdo Djokovic from baseline.

He doesn't do that sometimes on Clay even.
 

RS

Legend
I think Djokovic has a higher grass peak than Nadal albeit slightly. I can't see Nadal besting that Djokovic from the baseline. He did in 2018 but that was a declined version and one that had been struggling up to that point. That's my opinion.
Fair enough I wasn’t saying Nadal would win but if he lost it would be in 5. We can slightly agree to disagree.
 

mehdimike

Semi-Pro
I just went and watched 2007 F highlights again. He was not better than 2008 F by any means. In 2008 some of his shots and his shot selection in general were way better. He displayed higher levels of grass skills like movement, anticipation and going big in crucial points.
 
I know you’re probably trolling, but you know as well as I do that Djoker peaked for the final.
Only difference is him being clutch in F as befits the stage vs careless attitude in 4R expecting Anderson to fold in the tiebreaks, which didn't happen so a long comeback had to be performed.
Point is, hypothetically elevating Djokovic on the basis of 07 SF 1st set, of all things, approaches proclaiming Philippoussis as the hypothetical 1999 WB winner if he didn't get injured. Hypotheticality to the max.
 

ForehandCross

Hall of Fame
I just went and watched 2007 F highlights again. He was not better than 2008 F by any means. In 2008 some of his shots and his shot selection in general were way better. He displayed higher levels of grass skills like movement, anticipation and going big in crucial points.
I haven't watched the 2008 F in a long time, would definitely watch it in this off season
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Only difference is him being clutch in F as befits the stage vs careless attitude in 4R expecting Anderson to fold in the tiebreaks, which didn't happen so a long comeback had to be performed.
Point is, hypothetically elevating Djokovic on the basis of 07 SF 1st set, of all things, approaches proclaiming Philippoussis as the hypothetical 1999 WB winner if he didn't get injured. Hypotheticality to the max.
Yeah, it's clear Nadal was also a different beast in the final compared to earlier rounds.
 

Krish872007

G.O.A.T.
2007 Wimbledon Final is still one of the highest quality affairs I've seen for 4.5 sets. I was there on the day and a stat came up at the beginning of the fourth set which showed that both men hit at least twice as many winners as unforced errors, a phenomenal achievement given the number of rallies involved. For me, Nadal played an extraordinary match at a level way beyond anything he had shown up to that point in that tournament and in previous years. Federer came into the match a tad undercooked but with the confidence from previous wins and used his clutchness to fire forehand winners in the middle of the fifth set to break serve. That inside-in FH winner to break for 4-2 really deflated Nadal in my view, but he managed to come back even stronger the following year and take the crown anyway.
In 2008 he improved some of his decision-making and came in with a clear plan and had the mental edge; Federer didn't really hit his stride until it was too late. Good he did though, made it an instant classic. If given the choice I would combine first 3 sets of 2007 final with the last 2 sets of 2008 to create the greatest Wimbledon match of the post-2000 era.

2015 - a great contest for the first 2 sets or so, and these could have gone either way. As it happens, they were split. Most impressed by Djokovic's response to losing the second set as he really put his foot down and played great. Good read of the Fred serve, deep returns and generally solid decision-making. Putting Novak and Nadal against each other would make for an interesting debate, and certainly a great match.
 
2007dal was clearly better for four sets than 2008dal and it's fascinating how this is routinely protested. 2007dal went toe-to-toe with a much mentally better Fred on merit while 2008dal relied on choking extraordinaire in the form of constant pressure errors and choice paralysis. 07dal cracked a bit in the end but Fred applying confidence had as much to do with it, while 08dal knew he could wait Fred out before he eventually UE'd himself off.
 

RS

Legend
2007dal was clearly better for four sets than 2008dal and it's fascinating how this is routinely protested. 2007dal went toe-to-toe with a much mentally better Fred on merit while 2008dal relied on choking extraordinaire in the form of constant pressure errors and choice paralysis. 07dal cracked a bit in the end but Fred applying confidence had as much to do with it, while 08dal knew he could wait Fred out before he eventually UE'd himself off.
That means you think 07dal was clearly better in the final than 08dal.....
 

Azure

Legend
Rafa’s level in the 2007 Wimbledon final through 4 sets was equal or superior to his 2008 level Wimbledon (he himself said this in his autobiography). But he blew four BP’s in the deciding fifth set and his level clearly declined the last 25 minutes of the match.

Djokovic was dealing with an inferior opponent with 34 year old Fed, so it was easier for him to play brutal baseline tennis. Had he been playing young Fed, it would have been a vastly different story.
That 2007 match was so good. I felt Fred tanked the fourth set especially towards the end. He was right in doing so. He was maximizing his chances in the fifth.
 

Azure

Legend
2007dal was clearly better for four sets than 2008dal and it's fascinating how this is routinely protested. 2007dal went toe-to-toe with a much mentally better Fred on merit while 2008dal relied on choking extraordinaire in the form of constant pressure errors and choice paralysis. 07dal cracked a bit in the end but Fred applying confidence had as much to do with it, while 08dal knew he could wait Fred out before he eventually UE'd himself off.
Don't recall stats like a lot of guys here do but this is what I felt watching 2008 - Rafa came there with no doubt in his mind that he was winning that day. The 2007 match was close but I felt Rafa improved his serve considerably in 2008 (more astute guys here can add to this or correct) and also 'doubted' himself a bit in 2007. He had more in the tank too in 2008.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
2007 Djokovic took a set from that Nadal. If he plays 2015 Djokovic I have doubts it would even go 5 sets.
And peak 2011 Djokovic was breadsticked by 2011 Nadal who was much worse than 2007 Nadal. We can play these games all day. It makes no sense to compare how many sets each player lost.
 

JaoSousa

Hall of Fame
Was watching 2015 F after a Long time. Novak of course was fantastic. Out of curiosity watched some parts of 2007 WB F afterwards.

I am biased towards the 2007 match and how Rafael played in it, but I personally really thought that if you count out the slow start, and some not so frequent mishits (prompted more by Federer going deep or shanking up an acute angle) Nadal commanded the baseline more than Djokovic.

Nadal's FH tbh is the key, but it's Nadal's cross court BH which he rips more. TBH, the easy depth that Djokovic gets ,Nadal gets that too. But Djokovic is way more consistent with it.

However Nadal has more pace and better angles tbh. He takes the initiative a bit more.

Tbf, this take in my eyes also has an influence of 2018 WB SF where from baseline I think Rafael outdid Djokovic.(Though of course that Djokovic wasn't close to 2015)


Djokovic was better on Serve and return no doubt.

But from baseline I might lean towards Nadal.
At one point Fedal hit 13 straight winners in that match (2 only were aces). The match was incredibly high-quality for the first 3 sets.
 
Don't recall stats like a lot of guys here do but this is what I felt watching 2008 - Rafa came there with no doubt in his mind that he was winning that day. The 2007 match was close but I felt Rafa improved his serve considerably in 2008 (more astute guys here can add to this or correct) and also 'doubted' himself a bit in 2007. He had more in the tank too in 2008.
The mental battle goes both ways, Federer was missing a lot of confidence which helped. The service improvement, while true, was offset by more tentative strokes considering Federer pressured Nadal's serve a lot more in the first four sets but was paralysed on BPs so the net result was the same, one break.
 

Azure

Legend
The mental battle goes both ways, Federer was missing a lot of confidence which helped. The service improvement, while true, was offset by more tentative strokes considering Federer pressured Nadal's serve a lot more in the first four sets but was paralysed on BPs so the net result was the same, one break.
Oh yes. I was merely analysing Rafa's game. :)
 

JaoSousa

Hall of Fame
Was watching 2015 F after a Long time. Novak of course was fantastic. Out of curiosity watched some parts of 2007 WB F afterwards.

I am biased towards the 2007 match and how Rafael played in it, but I personally really thought that if you count out the slow start, and some not so frequent mishits (prompted more by Federer going deep or shanking up an acute angle) Nadal commanded the baseline more than Djokovic.

Nadal's FH tbh is the key, but it's Nadal's cross court BH which he rips more. TBH, the easy depth that Djokovic gets ,Nadal gets that too. But Djokovic is way more consistent with it.

However Nadal has more pace and better angles tbh. He takes the initiative a bit more.

Tbf, this take in my eyes also has an influence of 2018 WB SF where from baseline I think Rafael outdid Djokovic.(Though of course that Djokovic wasn't close to 2015)


Djokovic was better on Serve and return no doubt.

But from baseline I might lean towards Nadal.
Great post. I think we definitely need more of this on TTW. Good job with the analysis, especially with the depth comparison. Nadal was hitting super deep from around 2007-2011 at Wimbledon, and for some reason, he stopped doing that all the way till 2018 and the match with Novak.
 
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