Thought experiment: respective slam success if Djokovic is six years older and replaces Federer / Federer is six years younger and replaces Djokovic

Do you find this comparison telling as to who the better player really is?


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AnOctorokForDinner

Talk Tennis Guru
Assuming slam performances stay identical with respect to age for the sake of comparison, of course.

Which slams does Djokovic win in this hypothetical?

2007 Djokovic in 2001:
AO, RG, WB - obviously no
USO - no (loses to pre-final Sampras or Hewitt)

2008 Djokovic in 2002:
AO - obviously yes
RG - probably yes (beats Costa, probably beats pre-final Ferrero)
WB - obviously no
USO - no (loses to Sampras, probably Agassi and Hewitt too)

2009 Djokovic in 2003:
AO, RG, WB - obviously no
USO - probably no (I think he loses to Roddick but let's count it as a possibility to be generous)

2010 Djokovic in 2004:
AO - no (given he wilted vs Tsonga, Hewitt/Nalbandian/pre-final Safin/Agassi/Roddick should be too much)
RG - no (loses to pre-final Coria/Gaudio)
WB - no (loses to Roddick/Hewitt)
USO - probably no (I think he loses to Agassi but let's count this as a possibility)

2011 Djokovic in 2005:
AO - yes (beats Safin in epic 5)
RG - no (Nadal is already there and too strong)
WB - yes
USO - yes

2012 Djokovic in 2006:
AO - yes
RG - no
WB - yes (should beat Greendal in a competitive match)
USO - yes (no wind in this scenario and pre-wind Djokovic was peak)

2013 Djokovic in 2007:
AO - yes
RG - no
WB - no
USO - I think yes (struggles against Roddick and his younger self but beats them like he beat Wawrinka)

2014 Djokovic in 2008:
AO - no (loses to his younger self)
RG - no
WB - no (if Aulderer takes him to five there's no beating peakdal)
USO - maybe (given 2014 Noel lost to Nishikori, a loss to pre-final Murray or Djoko's younger self is on the cards)

2015 Djokovic in 2009:
AO - probably no (peakdal too good for strugglevic I reckon)
RG - probably yes (should beat del Potro in five aided by matchup)
WB - yes (roddick no slouch but peakovic too good)
USO - yes (beats Delpo again)

2016 Djokovic in 2010:
AO - yes
RG - no
WB, USO - obviously no (can't compete with peakdal in that form)

2017 Djokovic in 2011:
no slams obviously

2018 Djokovic in 2012:
AO, RG - obviously no
WB - maybe (50/50 vs Murray perhaps)
USO - maybe (loses to his 2012 self pre-final but if he's in the other half he could beat Murray and his younger self in the wind perhaps)

2019 Djokovic in 2013:
AO - maybe? (comes to 2013 vs 2019 Djokovic, far tougher draw in 2013 but the way he thumped Nadal in 19 was quite impressive so I don't know)
RG - no
WB - no (given the messy 2019 final he's not beating Murray there)
USO - no

2020 Djokovic in 2014:
AO - no (loses to his 2014 self, Wawrinka or pre-final Nadal)
RG - no
WB - doesn't exist in 2020 but likely no anyway
USO - not if he gets DQ'd

2021 Djokovic in 2015:
AO - no (loses to his 2015 self)
RG - no (loses to his 2015 self or Wawrinka most likely)
WB - no (loses to his 2015 self)
USO - no (loses to his 2015 self)

2022 Djokovic in 2016:
AO - would play without the vaccine debacle but loses to his 2016 self anyway
RG - no (loses to his 2016 self, possibly pre-final Murray/Wawrinka also)
WB - no (loses to Murray)
USO - would play without the vaccine debacle and may or may not win against his 2016 self and Wawrinka

2023 Djokovic in 2017:
AO - yes (beats Wawrinka/Nadal in a competitive match as Fed did)
RG - no
WB - yes (2017 field was quite weak, think none barring Fed - who is replaced here - were even up to Karl's level)
USO - probably no (I think he loses to 2017 Nadal but let's consider this a possibility)

Result:
6-8 AO
0-2 RG
4-5 WB
4-10 USO (what a wild range, speaks to Djoko's consistency but lack of sustained peak)
total: 14-25

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Now which slams does Federer win in this hypothetical?

2003 Federer in 2009:
AO, RG - obviously no
WB - yes (beats his 09 self and Roddick)
USO - obviously no

2004 Federer in 2010:
AO - probably yes (I think he beats his 2010 self)
RG - no
WB - yes (beats Nadal in a tough match)
USO - probably yes (I think he beats Nadal but let's consider this a possible loss)

2005 Federer in 2011:
AO - yes (beats his 2011 self and Murray easy)
RG - no
WB - yes
USO - yes

2006 Federer in 2012:
AO - probably no (loses to Nadal in that up-and-down form I suppose, but a win is possible)
RG - no
WB - yes
USO - yes

2007 Federer in 2013:
AO - yes
RG - no
WB - yes
USO - probably yes (suppose a loss to Nadal is also possible)

2008 Federer in 2014:
AO - maybe (Wawrinka and pre-final Nadal tough obstacles)
RG - no
WB - yes (beats his 2014 self)
USO - yes (beats Cilic and co)

2009 Federer in 2015:
AO - yes (beats Wawrinka and Murray)
RG - probably yes (should beat Wawrinka)
WB - yes (beats his 2015 self)
USO - yes (beats his 2015 self)

2010 Federer in 2016:
AO - yes (beats his 2016 self and Murray)
RG - maybe (may lose to pre-final Murray/Wawrinka but beats final Murray and co, I think)
WB - no (loses to Murray)
USO - maybe (I think he beats 2016 Djokovic and Wawrinka, but not a given)

2011 Federer in 2017:
AO - yes (beats his 2017 self and Nadal, there I said it)
RG - no
WB - yes (no peak tsonga to upset him in the 2017 field)
USO - yes (beats 2017 Nadal)

2012 Federer in 2018:
AO - yes (beats his 2018 self)
RG - no
WB - yes (beats 2018 Nadal)
USO - maybe (may or may not beat 2018 del Potro)

2013 Federer in 2019:
AO - maybe (even that Federer could probably wear down 2019 AO Nadal)
RG, WB, USO - obviously no

2014 Federer in 2020:
AO - probably yes (I think he beats Thiem and co, but not an autowin probably)
RG - no
WB - N/A (sad)
USO - probably yes (may lose to Thiem pre-final but beats him in the final and beats the rest)

2015 Federer in 2021:
AO - obviously no
RG - no (though I imagine the Nadal match would be actually competitive)
WB - yes
USO - yes

2016 Federer in 2022:
AO - yes (Med/Nadal wouldn't be getting a set off peakovic I bet)
RG - absent
WB - maybe (the 2022 field is so poor even Hobblerer could beat it unless he collapses, which is possible I suppose)
USO - absent

2017 Federer in 2023:
AO - yes
RG - absent (though I imagine he may play knowing that Nadal is absent, but let's keep the comparison clean)
WB - yes
USO - maybe (don't trust Medvedev/Alcaraz here)

TBD:
2018 AO in 2024, 2019 RG/WB in 2025, other post-2017 showings are not slam-winning forms in any case

Result:
8-13 AO
0-2 RG
11-12 WB
6-12 USO
total: 25-39 + 0-3 TBD (massive range here, speaks to Federer's consistency and being tough to put away)

Nice to have the difference spelled out so clearly. I didn't engineer the results before I did the count, if you're wondering. Looks like Djokovic is trailing pretty strongly in this age-adjusted hypothetical. What it tells us, hmm?
 

RS

Bionic Poster
So let's say 25-39 really means 35 for Fed
14-25 really means 19 for Djokovic
 
Federer having the most high level slam runs, in totality, shouldn't be controversial though I know it will be.

Yes, it should. If he had the most high level slam runs, he would have managed at least one victory over Bull, rather than getting beaten like a hollow drum every single time. Now, admittedly, Djokovic has fared no better, but the fact is that they have always been playing for second and they both know it. The poll thus needs at least one extra option.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Yes, it should. If he had the most high level slam runs, he would have managed at least one victory over Bull, rather than getting beaten like a hollow drum every single time. Now, admittedly, Djokovic has fared no better, but the fact is that they have always been playing for second and they both know it. The poll thus needs at least one extra option.
Of course morally Nadal has the most high level runs, but I thought that went without saying.
 

SonnyT

Legend
In reality, we agreed that Djokovic took 5 slams and Nadal took 4 from Federer. So in hypothetical case. Older 'Djokovic' would've 20+5+4=29. And Nadal would've 22-4=18 slams, and younger 'Federer' would've 20-4=16.
 

fedfan24

Hall of Fame
It’s pretty clear Federer had more high level runs than the other two, but some of the lower levels ran into a peak Djokovic or peak Nadal. Djokovic had the luxury of cleaning up today’s mug field with lower levels, Fed never really had the chance to do that.
 

Jonesy

Legend
Yes, give us those tears.

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The Sinner

Semi-Pro
My guess is they'd finish on a similar amount of slams (i.e. Fedr = 24, Djoker = 20), however, Djoko has aged better, so i'm assuming he'd still win slams post 35/36 years.
 

SonnyT

Legend
It’s pretty clear Federer had more high level runs than the other two, but some of the lower levels ran into a peak Djokovic or peak Nadal. Djokovic had the luxury of cleaning up today’s mug field with lower levels, Fed never really had the chance to do that.
By my account, Federer had only 4 matches that he legitimately prevailed over Nadal & Djokovic. Against Nadal, he won '17 AO and '19 WB. Against Djokovic, he won '11 RG and '12 WB. Two of the 4 wins didn't even result in slams.

Each of them had a lot more meaningful wins against Federer. Most of Federer's slam wins were against lesser players. Times each won slams by defeating B3 member: Federer 5/20, Nadal 12/22, Djokovic 13/24.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
Djokovic is only one year younger than Nadal. Hardly a significant factor.
Nadal’s physical and tennis peak came a lot earlier in life than Novak’s though, and his significant injury record has made him a lot older in tennis years than Djokovic. After his 2014 injuries he essentially became persona non grata on every surface but clay, as a result. Novak has compiled 2/3rds of his entire Slam count after Wimbledon 2014, when Federer turned 33 and Nadal suffered a series of injuries. In 2021 and 2023 he was the only player to play a full season. In effect, both literally and figuratively, he is the last man standing.
 

SonnyT

Legend
Yeah, Nadal certainly took advantage of Djokovic's absence to win '22 AO. After '14, he won an AO & two UO's.

When Djokovic meets Alcaraz, the two are assumed to be on an equal playing field, the separation of 16 years deemed inconsequential. So why assume Federer & Djokovic were on an unequal playing field, given their separation of only 6 years? I might add Connors and Mac are separated by 7 years.
 
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soldat

Semi-Pro
I like the part where Fed magically gets up to 40+ Slams

It's why I think these hypotheticals add little value. You can never know what would happen on match day, should a 30 year old Djokovic meet a 24 year old Federer, you can't even know what would happen in the present, like when Djokovic played Alcaraz in Wimbledon, or in Cincinatti. I thought for sure Djokovic was going to win Wimbledon after the first set, and it looked like Djokovic was going to lose Cincinatti completely, then boom, the opposite happens. I didn't think Medvedev could beat Alcaraz at USO, then boom, he does it. Thought Medvedev vs Djokovic USO Finals would go 5 sets, but Djokovic crushed him in 3.

And It's like anyone can make a hypothetical, if Novak discovered his gluten allergy earlier he'd have 10 more slams, see I can do it too. But at the end of the day he has 24. Better to put it all behind you and go for the next slam and look to the future. At least Nadal is back, so I'm hoping Djokovic meets and defeats Nadal at the FO final for the first time in history and become the new king of clay at the "new 27" age of 37.
 

Emydura

New User
Nadal’s physical and tennis peak came a lot earlier in life than Novak’s though, and his significant injury record has made him a lot older in tennis years than Djokovic. After his 2014 injuries he essentially became persona non grata on every surface but clay, as a result. Novak has compiled 2/3rds of his entire Slam count after Wimbledon 2014, when Federer turned 33 and Nadal suffered a series of injuries. In 2021 and 2023 he was the only player to play a full season. In effect, both literally and figuratively, he is the last man standing.

The physical nature of Nadal's style of tennis certainly had its impact. He was never going to be able to sustain that over a long time like Novak. Novak's ability to continue to play at a very high level in his mid to late 30's is not just good luck. He works extremely hard on his fitness and health. He is obsessed with his diet and training regime. This is all part of Djokovic's greatness that sets him apart from the rest. It should not be held against him or used to diminish his achievements.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
The physical nature of Nadal's style of tennis certainly had its impact. He was never going to be able to sustain that over a long time like Novak. Novak's ability to continue to play at a very high level in his mid to late 30's is not just good luck. He works extremely hard on his fitness and health. He is obsessed with his diet and training regime. This is all part of Djokovic's greatness that sets him apart from the rest. It should not be held against him or used to diminish his achievements.
Can the last man standing argument, the fact that he won 16 Slams after Federer and Nadal exited their primes, at least be acknowledged and used to contextualize his achievements?
 

Fabresque

Legend
The truth is being the youngest of the Big 3 was always the golden ticket in the Slam race.
You people act as if Rafa is Fed’s age or much older than Djokovic. He’s literally only a year older than Djokovic. In fact not even a year, 11 months.

If anyone had the age disadvantage, it 100% would be Federer. Nadal faced no such adversity, no sir.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
No one interacting seriously with the arguments presented in the OP and just throwing weak insults, I wonder why :whistle:
Respectfully, what is there to say: to counter with more hypotheticals and wishful thinking?
At least in an individual sport where their careers largely overlapped, we saw many great showdowns between the two and among the three (and others).
There is no way to equalize every single variable, even if the Big 3 were all born on the same day.
And there's no way to assert any hypotheticals with any degree of certainty.
Whether I was happy about the results or not, I prefer reality when analyzing players' careers.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
Respectfully, what is there to say: to counter with more hypotheticals and wishful thinking?
At least in an individual sport where their careers largely overlapped, we saw many great showdowns between the two and among the three (and others).
There is no way to equalize every single variable, even if the Big 3 were all born on the same day.
And there's no way to assert any hypotheticals with any degree of certainty.
Whether I was happy about the results or not, I prefer reality when analyzing players' careers.
It seems to me that birthdate and just a few years difference in competition can change quite a bit, judging off OP’s analysis. Obviously it is a hypothetical but it isn’t a huge leap really.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
You people act as if Rafa is Fed’s age or much older than Djokovic. He’s literally only a year older than Djokovic. In fact not even a year, 11 months.

If anyone had the age disadvantage, it 100% would be Federer. Nadal faced no such adversity, no sir.
Nadal is frankly not as good of an overall player as Djokovic but his injuries have cost him a lot.
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
It seems to me that birthdate and just a few years difference in competition can change quite a bit, judging off OP’s analysis. Obviously it is a hypothetical but it isn’t a huge leap really.
That's analysis?! Yes, no, obviously no, maybe.
Even if this were golf, and you matched up scorecards, this would be a fool's errand.

Oh no, it's not a huge leap really that the player who has 4 more slams (24-20) and still playing at a very high level in earth-based reality, would trail the other player by (taking the midpoints of the ranges) by 12, a count of 32-20.
Yes, this is the perfect confluence of intellectual honesty, cold-blooded objective analysis, religion and morality.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
That's analysis?! Yes, no, obviously no, maybe.
Even if this were golf, and you matched up scorecards, this would be a fool's errand.

Oh no, it's not a huge leap really that the player who has 4 more slams (24-20) and still playing at a very high level in earth-based reality, would trail the other player by (taking the midpoints of the ranges) by 12, a count of 32-20.
Yes, this is the perfect confluence of intellectual honesty, cold-blooded objective analysis, religion and morality.
The exercise is not a huge leap. We’re not comparing Tsonga to Laver, or asking whether Steph Curry would be better than Bill Russell.

Federer played in all of these years, vs all of these fields, in reality. He would simply be younger in this hypothetical, largely playing the 2010s in his prime and Novak would be older, largely playing the mid 2000s and early 2010s in his.

It’s as arbitrary as anything, but isn’t it worth asking how one player would do in another’s shoes? Isn’t that the entire point of comparing players? Going a step slightly beyond just reality?
 

Biotic

Hall of Fame
Last few years of torture have dismembered and disfigured fedfans and their thought process beyond repair and recognition.
 

AnOctorokForDinner

Talk Tennis Guru
That's analysis?! Yes, no, obviously no, maybe.
Even if this were golf, and you matched up scorecards, this would be a fool's errand.

Oh no, it's not a huge leap really that the player who has 4 more slams (24-20) and still playing at a very high level in earth-based reality, would trail the other player by (taking the midpoints of the ranges) by 12, a count of 32-20.
Yes, this is the perfect confluence of intellectual honesty, cold-blooded objective analysis, religion and morality.
Apparently it's not much of a leap if you actually adjust for age/competition. No wonder you're indignant 'cause it irks your fan allegiance.
 
Can the last man standing argument, the fact that he won 16 Slams after Federer and Nadal exited their primes, at least be acknowledged and used to contextualize his achievements?
You can make the same argument for all.

Fed won like 16 Slams before Novak entered his prime and Nadal won so many Slams because Fed is a far weaker player at RG than he is at the other 3 Slams and he only started winning non-clay Slams when Fed exited his peak.

Mixing Federer and Nadal together is just disingenuous. Nadal's absence only really influenced Djokovic at RG 15-16 when he finally got a deserved RG title. That aside, Djoko deserved his 2015-2016 Slams by coming closer to his 2011 level again.

And since 2017 it's an even playing field. Nadal was a top player from 2005 to 2022, which is the equivalent of Novak's 2007-2024.

You can say Djoko broke free from Nadal because of 2023, even though Djokovic of this year was considerably stronger than post pandemic Nadal, but still, 2023 was a very weak year and RG and USO were sketchy wins.

With Fed it's a different story, he proved he could take Novak head on when they were younger and that he is always there, especially in AO and Wimbledon, unlike Nadal. And the 6 years difference is far more significant given Fed was already semi-done by 2019 and old by 2014, while the age difference between Nadal and Djoko translates into a 2-3 years maturity difference (2005 to 2007-2008). The rest is Novak keeping himself fitter and being more consistent across the 4 Slams.
 
Another pathetic thread from eternally salty fan. But he doesn't know what he wishes for. This would be a catastrophy for Federer. He would have to fight through established ATG Novak who would be full of confidence Don't think he would ever overcome Sampras (maybe even Borg) in this scenario.
 
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