Strongest Mental Display at Grand Slams in the Past Decade?

TJfederer16

Hall of Fame
The Candidates.

RG 09' Federer - Missed out against Nadal the previous four years. Nadal's loss early on placed a huge pressure on Federer's shoulders to finally make it. Fought through brutal matches all the way through to the final and produced an amazing performance in the final.

AO 12' Djokovic - Played two incredible back to back Semi and Final against Murray and Nadal, beating Nadal in the longest GS final ever and being a break down in the 5th.

Wimby 08' - Roger & Rafa - Both showed incredible mental strength at stages of the greatest match of all time - Roger nearly coming back from two sets down to win and Rafa bouncing back after dropping the 3rd and 4th sets and missing match point in fourth to win in 5th.

USO 12' - Murray - After losing in his first four grand slam finals, the pressure to win a grand slam was becoming even more immense than it already was. Faced Novak again in a final and after losing a two sets lead, Murray came out and played an amazing 5th set to finally win his first grand slam.

Other notable mental performances;
- Robredo RG 2013 - Came back from two sets to love down in three consecutive matches to reach the QF's.
- USO 10' & 11' - Djokovic - Saved match points against Roger in 2010 to reach first GS final since his AO 08' win and came back from two sets to love down and match points against Roger the very next year to go on to beat Nadal in the final.
- Wimbledon 13' Murray - Always huge amounts of pressure put on Andy at Wimbledon and produced an amazing display in final to beat Novak.
- RG 13' & 14' - Nadal - Came back to beat Novak in 5 after being break down in 5th to go to win the title in 2013. After losing their previous four meetings and last meeting on clay in Rome, Nadal came back from a set down in the final to beat Novak in four in 2014.
AO 17' - Despite Roger not having much to lose and little expectations early in the tournament it was clear his game was very much on after wins against Berdych, Nishikori and Stan to reach the final. After having such a torrid time against Nadal in slams throughout the years, amazingly he came back from a break down in the fifth to win his 18th slam and first slam in 5 years.

These are the ones that come immediately to my mind when I think of mental strength shown in slams anymore you think I have missed?
 

TJfederer16

Hall of Fame
Forgot Stan's performances - showed amazing mental strength against Novak in French and USO finals, and also the AO final with Nadal being injured made it somewhat tricky.
Also Delpo's win against Roger in USO 09' final was huge after being two set to one down.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
In a single match - Federer

Over the last decade as a whole - Djokovic.

I was watching replay of Wimb 15 yesterday and Fed started on fire. But Novak had the belief and kept coming back repeatedly. You feel so bad for Fed the way the majors have turned out in his duel with Novak - USO 10, 11, Wimb - 14,15
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
Should be Wawrinka or Cilic. Wawrinka because he was able to overcome his demons at an age where nobody expected him to do + for all of his Slams he was able ot overcome a terrible H2H record against Nadal, Nole and Roger.
Cilic because, lets face it, untill Us 14 he folded/choked in most of his biggest matches in his career and continue to do so till Cincinnati. For a guy constanly losing those kind of battles to come out and put a display like Us 14 ... that is a mental challenge of a highest degree.

Federer, Djokovic and Nadal won many tight matches but they are tennis ATG since very early age and they are used to do so. Someone like Nadal, everywhere where he goes people tell him how great he is. Its like American Gods .. if you believe in the god, the god exist !
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic TBH. USO 10 and 11, both times down two match points and managed to win. But USO 11 was more impressive considering he was receiving feds serve and then of course that return of the century can never be forgotten. He was down 5-3 40-15 in the 5th, goes on to win 5 games in a row to win the match.

Against Tsonga in FO 12, same thing, losing 2-1 in sets 4-5 15-40 on his serve, and then I think he faced a third match point if im not mistaken, manages to win the 4th set and wins the 5th pretty easily.

Oh and that match against Murray in Shanghai 2012 aswell. Down 1 set and Murray serving for the match at 5-3, saves a match point and then saves several more match points in the TB. In the end he wins the TB, and then wins the third set.

In the last decade I cannot remember anyone being in this position several times in such important tournaments against elite opponents aswell and then go on to win. It takes such resilience and mmental strength to do this all. He also has that match against verdasco in Qatar this year when he was down 1 set and in the tiebreak he was losing 6-2 to turn everything around.

My vote goes to djokovic.
 

Rago

Hall of Fame
Nadal. Lost count of the number of times he's come back from 0-40 down on his serve in a big final.

The candidates (makes me sick to my stomach to have to be reminded of them again):
RG'06 against Federer - Pivotal third set at 1-2; breaks in the next game and serves out the set
AO'09 against Federer - Pivotal third set at 4-4; saves another couple of break points at 5-5 and takes the set after a tie breaker
USO'13 against Djokovic - Pivotal third set at 4-4; wins 4 straight points in the next game and the set 6-4

Honorable mentions (in losses):
AO'12 against Djokovic - Fourth set at 3-4; wins the tie breaker and almost pulls through in a fifth

Federer with his arsenal of weapons. Nadal with his clutch play. Djokovic with his overall tenacity. Doubt we'll see a trio like this play in the same era again.
 
D

Deleted member 742196

Guest
I'm a Fed lover, but oh boy - AO 2009 was ridiculous fortitude from Nadal. He crushed Federer on will power alone. You knew as it was unfolding it would be Fed getting tight in the more important moments - from the get go Nadal wouldn't give an inch, even though he'd just come from that brutal 5 setter with Verdaso. Fed threw everything at him and Nadal would not relent.

When it comes to mental fortitude there's nothing more intimidating than prime Nadal across the net. A guy that plays every point with the utmost intensity irrespective of the score, stage or moment has stupendous amounts of fortitude.

As a lifelong Fed fan AO 2017 was vindication after a decade of torment at the hands of Nadal. I needed it more than Fed probably did.
 

wy2sl0

Hall of Fame
I mean, there are too many to list. Djokovic to me has been the best at saving match points against the biggest guys. USO vs Roger is just so painful. And to do it back to back (years)...yikes...
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
Honorouble mention should go to Djokovic in the 2014 Wimbledon final. Up 5-2 in the 4th set and looked to be cruising, then suddenly he started faltering, Fed went into the zone and won five games in a row to take it to a decider and rip his heart out in the process. When you also take into account all the close GS matches Novak had lost in the previous 18 months he really did require nerves of steel to come through that 5th set and over the finishing line, especially against a Federer serving out of his mind. So proud and tearful as a fan that he continued believing in himself that day and didn't allow another golden opportunity for his 7th major to slip through his fingers yet again. Amazing.
 
D

Deleted member 742196

Guest
I mean, there are too many to list. Djokovic to me has been the best at saving match points against the biggest guys. USO vs Roger is just so painful. And to do it back to back (years)...yikes...
Yeah. It hasn't been easy for Federer fans the last five years. Sometimes when I think of my own heartbreak at the losses Fed has endured I gain even more respect for Federer for not having given up. A lesser mortal would have done so many years back. They're all mental giants in such different ways - Fed, Nadal and Djokovic.

It will be interesting to see how, or if, Djokovic gets through his current mental slump. How these guys find the level of motivation to keep challenging each other is well beyond me.
 

rjms

Semi-Pro
As a lifelong Fed fan AO 2017 was vindication after a decade of torment at the hands of Nadal. I needed it more than Fed probably did.

:awesome:
 
Nadal-AO 09, RG 13 SF

Fed- RG 09, AO 17

Djok- AO 12, USO 11 SF

AM - USO 12

And no Wimbledon 2008 F for Nadal ? The Australian Open 2009 might be a more physical contest and with better quality, with back to back SF and Final matches being as they were. But as far as the OP's question is, the strongest mental display in a GS, I think the 2008 Wimbledon is a far better showcase of mental strength for Rafa, with it being Nadal's 3rd Final at Wimbledon, failing 2x, and with Rafa losing the 3rd and 4th set.

If it was anybody else, one might have crumbled in the 5th set, easily. But Rafa gathered himself up and was just unmoved by it all . A Really, really fine display of mental fortitude
 
D

Deleted member 716271

Guest
And no Wimbledon 2008 F for Nadal ? The Australian Open 2009 might be a more physical contest and with better quality, with back to back SF and Final matches being as they were. But as far as the OP's question is, the strongest mental display in a GS, I think the 2008 Wimbledon is a far better showcase of mental strength for Rafa, with it being Nadal's 3rd Final at Wimbledon, failing 2x, and with Rafa losing the 3rd and 4th set.

If it was anybody else, one might have crumbled in the 5th set, easily. But Rafa gathered himself up and was just unmoved by it all . A Really, really fine display of mental fortitude
Yeah, W 08 could be there too
 

6august

Hall of Fame
Djokovic USO 15. Defeat not only Fedr but also the whole madly hostile crowd.

Veni vidi vici!

Nadal Wimby 08 and RG 13, Murray USO 12 and Fed Ao 17 should be mentioned too.
 

ibbi

Legend
I don't know that I'd call some of these strongest mental displays. I don't think just playing awesome tennis is necessarily indicative of an incredible display of mental fortitude. Federer in the final in Australia this year for example. That match in general I'd declare as about as fine a victory as he's ever had in his career, and just generally a fine mental display from him, but for the most part I'd say it's a case of him finally getting it tactically dead on, and executing to perfection. What he did in Paris in 2009? Definitely one of the greatest mental displays probably ever, not just in the past decade. That match against Haas was just a rollercoaster of human emotion. I'd also throw one to his win over Roddick at Wimbledon a couple of months earlier. Roddick threw the kitchen sink at him in that match, it was like man vs machine, and the machine just kept on holding serve and kept on holding serve, and the man fought and fought and fought until he had nothing left. It was Sampras like.

I'd say Murray's 2013 Wimbledon would rank over his US Open in 2012. Those Verdasco and Djokovic victories were triumphant.

Speaking of Novak, the 2015 US Open might not generally have been much to write home about, but that final? Inside that cauldron of stupidity with that idiot crowd, and Roger Federer's family as linespeople? For him to keep it together in that environment given his long and storied history with crowds that don't like him... That was a gigantic turning point for him for me (assist to the mighty Eva Asderaki, true MVP of that final). The Wimbledon one a couple of months earlier was also impressive, but that crowd was not quite so abhorrent, and he didn't have 3 blind mice making line calls.

Also, Davis Cup is all about this. How about Del Potro beating Murray in Glasgow from 2 sets to 1 down? Actually Del Potro in that 09 USO final too. His turning that around should not have been possible.

Rafa's greatest one for me is that 2013 USO final. 0-40 down at 4-4 in the 3rd set? His celebration at the end of the 3rd shows you how tough that was.

Also, just to step outside the past decade for a moment! :D Chang against Lendl at Roland Garros, Sampras against Kafelnikov and Hewitt against Guga in the Davis Cup.
 

Gazelle

Legend
Probably Nadal at RG 17. Titanic mental effort to overcome all the doubts, nerves, and epic opponents to win it for the first time in three years.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
Nadal in Wimbledon 08 and Djokovic in US open 2011. Nadal had just given away a 2 set lead including a match point against someone he had lost the last 2 finals to and takes immense fortitude to fight back from that point.
Djokovic in 2011 USSI was special as he first fought back from 2 sets down and then 2 match points down on his return. Probably the greatest big match comeback I have seen
 
The Candidates.

RG 09' Federer - Missed out against Nadal the previous four years. Nadal's loss early on placed a huge pressure on Federer's shoulders to finally make it. Fought through brutal matches all the way through to the final and produced an amazing performance in the final.

AO 12' Djokovic - Played two incredible back to back Semi and Final against Murray and Nadal, beating Nadal in the longest GS final ever and being a break down in the 5th.

Wimby 08' - Roger & Rafa - Both showed incredible mental strength at stages of the greatest match of all time - Roger nearly coming back from two sets down to win and Rafa bouncing back after dropping the 3rd and 4th sets and missing match point in fourth to win in 5th.

USO 12' - Murray - After losing in his first four grand slam finals, the pressure to win a grand slam was becoming even more immense than it already was. Faced Novak again in a final and after losing a two sets lead, Murray came out and played an amazing 5th set to finally win his first grand slam.

Other notable mental performances;
- Robredo RG 2013 - Came back from two sets to love down in three consecutive matches to reach the QF's.
- USO 10' & 11' - Djokovic - Saved match points against Roger in 2010 to reach first GS final since his AO 08' win and came back from two sets to love down and match points against Roger the very next year to go on to beat Nadal in the final.
- Wimbledon 13' Murray - Always huge amounts of pressure put on Andy at Wimbledon and produced an amazing display in final to beat Novak.
- RG 13' & 14' - Nadal - Came back to beat Novak in 5 after being break down in 5th to go to win the title in 2013. After losing their previous four meetings and last meeting on clay in Rome, Nadal came back from a set down in the final to beat Novak in four in 2014.
AO 17' - Despite Roger not having much to lose and little expectations early in the tournament it was clear his game was very much on after wins against Berdych, Nishikori and Stan to reach the final. After having such a torrid time against Nadal in slams throughout the years, amazingly he came back from a break down in the fifth to win his 18th slam and first slam in 5 years.

These are the ones that come immediately to my mind when I think of mental strength shown in slams anymore you think I have missed?
Where is Nadal 2009 AO? That was a heroic performance against Fed.

Djokovic 2011 against Fed at the USO takes the cake though. The very definition of clutch play.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
1. Nadal 2008 Wimbledon.

He had two MP's in the fourth set and then lost the set. Any other player would have come out in the fifth and been mowed over. Instead he triumphed over the GOAT and never wavered with his mental determination.

2. Djoker 2014 Wimbledon
.

Served for the match in the fourth, lost his serve and then lost the set. Fed then had a BP at 4-3 in the fifth set and would have served for it. Djoker held on and prevailed.

3. Federer 2017 AO.


Came back for a break down in the fifth against his greatest nemesis and he did it at the age of 35.
 
D

Deleted member 716271

Guest
Definitely USO '11 but I actually think his RG '16 deserves a mention as well. Playing 4 consecutive days in clay that was basically mud at that point was pretty difficult when you're trying to win your first RG title. Bautista Agut gave him all he could handle in those conditions.
yeah, man oh man I was nervous in that period. It seems like maybe he was destined to always come up short. So glad he finally got the win there, before his slump.
 
C

Charlie

Guest
Del Potro did really well to win the 2nd and the 4th set of the US Open final. I really thought Federer had him but the Tandil giant proved me wrong.
 

dh003i

Legend
Federer 2012 Wimbledon. Being two points from going to benneteau. Then being hobbled by back injuries vs Malisse. Then being a set down vs Murray.

Also Federer 2017 AO. Being 3-1 down in fifth set to his nemesis in the final.
I agree with Federer 2017 AO. At 35, after so many close matches against Nadal where Nadal was able to pull it out, coming back from 3-1 down in the fifth set and playing some of the best tennis of his career against Nadal (accounting for age), that was remarkable. All the more mental strength because everyone knew it was an enormous match, probably the most important one of their careers, the legacy match; no other match had such a large impact on their standing as ATGs. Federer now has 18 and Nadal 15 (!), but had Nadal won the 2017 AO, it would be 17-16 right now. That is a huge swing.

However, I'd say Andy Murray's first Major victory comes in very high too, because he faltered against Djokovic and because of losing his first 4 (?) Major finals.

Nadal 2008 and Djokovic 2014 were giants in the 5th when the momentum was arguably against them. Honestly, Federer would have kind of stolen the match had he won either of those and you would have to say Nadal/Djokovic collapsed. Painful as it is, certainly 2008 was deservedly Nadal's Wimbledon: Federer couldn't break his serve (of course, Federer would have had to break his serve in the 5th to win, but that was exactly why I thought he'd lose the match going into the 5th). Federer was big in 2007 Wimbledon. Del Potro great mental strength and fearlessness in USO 2009.

Of course Federer FO 2009, because of the 5 setters he had to fight through and because there was enormous pressure on him. That FO was also career defining for him especially with Nadal out, because had he not won it, the story would have been that he choked and was mentally weak. I'm sure he knew that too.
 
And no Wimbledon 2008 F for Nadal ? The Australian Open 2009 might be a more physical contest and with better quality, with back to back SF and Final matches being as they were. But as far as the OP's question is, the strongest mental display in a GS, I think the 2008 Wimbledon is a far better showcase of mental strength for Rafa, with it being Nadal's 3rd Final at Wimbledon, failing 2x, and with Rafa losing the 3rd and 4th set.

If it was anybody else, one might have crumbled in the 5th set, easily. But Rafa gathered himself up and was just unmoved by it all . A Really, really fine display of mental fortitude
You said it yourself, he lost the 3rd and 4th sets in a lovely chokey way. Barely averting what would have been the choke of the century doesn't make it mental GOATing. That would be playing 100% in the clutch from first to last point and beating fedmug in straights - he deserved it with that pathetic performance, but rafito wasn't good enough to deliver.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
You said it yourself, he lost the 3rd and 4th sets in a lovely chokey way. Barely averting what would have been the choke of the century doesn't make it mental GOATing. That would be playing 100% in the clutch from first to last point and beating fedmug in straights - he deserved it with that pathetic performance, but rafito wasn't good enough to deliver.
the 3rd set was not a choke from nadal.

federer lost more BPs than nadal did.
 
not sure if you are being tongue in cheek or unnecessarily harsh
There is no such thing as overly harsh when the match is constantly lauded as the 'greatest ever'. This sets a standard of absolute scrutiny - was it truly superior to every other match in tennis history? Lol no.

Which reminds me of why I understand being disgruntled at those who insist Federer absolutely is the undisputed goat, period. The man isn't the high god of tennis or whatever, the most that should be said is that he got a bit closer to sacred perfection than other great players. (Obviously that doesn't excuse opposite overreactions and proclaiming nadal as the unassailable goat instead - or laver, for that matter, shout out to former pro section.) The players themselves are down-to-earth, though, even Djoko - they know perfectly well what they are, and what they are not. Which adds a lot to my respect to their personalities. But I digressed. It was a great match, for sure, but it's impossible to analyse it neutrally so long as the fan wars are still in action, because there isn't a strong enough push for objectivity that would drive a group of people to develop an impartial assessment together.

Really, though, when you watch any big match intently, the complexity of play is stunning. And then I think, what is even the point of critical approach? Why not enjoy it like music or art, as raw experience, produced by amazing skill, that need not be dissected? But then what would one talk about around here, hmm?
 

duaneeo

Hall of Fame
Strongest mental display at Grand Slams in the past decade by the Big-4:

Federer 2017 AO. A long absence, a killer draw, and really, didn't everyone etch Rafa's name on the trophy once he got that break in the 5th?

Nadal 2014 RG. Nadal had lost Monte Carlo to Ferrer, Barcelona to Almagro, Rome to Djokovic, and was being schooled by Nishikori (before injury) at Madrid. His mental game won him the FO title.

Djokovic 2011 USO. To pull off that save on match point in the SF against Federer, then to back it up with a win over Nadal in the final.

Murray 2013 Wim. He had the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders.
 
You said it yourself, he lost the 3rd and 4th sets in a lovely chokey way. Barely averting what would have been the choke of the century doesn't make it mental GOATing. That would be playing 100% in the clutch from first to last point and beating fedmug in straights - he deserved it with that pathetic performance, but rafito wasn't good enough to deliver.

What ever you say "everybody will die anyway, type of guy " :D:D:D
 

merwy

Legend
For me the most notable are Djokovic USO 10 & 11, and Federer beating Nadal this year after being a break down in the fifth. Very un-fedlike to show resilience like that against the Nadal;)
 

kabob

Hall of Fame
Federer 2012 Wimbledon. Being two points from going to benneteau. Then being hobbled by back injuries vs Malisse. Then being a set down vs Murray.

Also Federer 2017 AO. Being 3-1 down in fifth set to his nemesis in the final.
For real, Federer wearing that black undershirt the entire '12 tournament to keep his back muscles warm so that he didn't cool off and tighten up was eye-opening.
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
Strongest mental display at Grand Slams in the past decade by the Big-4:

Federer 2017 AO. A long absence, a killer draw, and really, didn't everyone etch Rafa's name on the trophy once he got that break in the 5th?

Nadal 2014 RG. Nadal had lost Monte Carlo to Ferrer, Barcelona to Almagro, Rome to Djokovic, and was being schooled by Nishikori (before injury) at Madrid. His mental game won him the FO title.

Djokovic 2011 USO. To pull off that save on match point in the SF against Federer, then to back it up with a win over Nadal in the final.

Murray 2013 Wim. He had the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders.
Good list.
 
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