very good analysis of 2018 Wimbledon Semi: Nadal vs Djokovic (from Quora)

DRII

G.O.A.T.
Why did Rafael Nadal lose to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2018 semifinals?


Anurag Patankar
, Data Analyst at Cognizant Technology Solutions
Answered Jul 15
https://www.quora.com/#


"Before writing an answer on why Rafael Nadal lost, let me tell you, Novak Djokovic deserved the victory and he held his nerve well during all the match.

There are few reasons I want to list down because of which I feel Rafael Nadal lost :

  1. Match was player under the roof : Men's 1st semifinal between Kevin Anderson and John Isner went on for 6 and half hours which delayed second semifinal. As a result, match was decided to be played under the roof giving Djokovic an advantage. Under the roof, conditions are usually humid than outdoors, ball bounces low, not good for Rafael Nadal's heavy topspins. However, I understand as 1st semifinal was delayed, no one can help but match had to be played under the roof. However, when match resumed on next day, why the roof was closed? What is this stupid rule to have same conditions like previous day. Wimbledon is an outdoor tournament and only when there is a rain or some other genuine reason, roof should be used.
  2. Rafael Nadal's serve let him down : Djokovic started the match very aggressively leaving Rafael Nadal confused with his speed of strokes and dominated the first set and a half of second set. However, Rafa picked up from there and started playing really aggressive tennis. He was hitting down the line forehands and cross court backhands with an authority. He was so dominant in rallies and put Djokovic under constant pressure. He had a set point in 3rd set tiebreak on his own serve however he was unable to close it out. Simple reason, his serve isn't as good as Djokovic or other top guys. Rafael Nadal just doesn't get free points on his own serve, he hit only 9 aces as compared to 24 from his rival. Djokovic served clearly better especially to get lot of free points on his own serve, while Rafael Nadal was consistently serving under the pressure, point by point winning rallies, getting only few free points. With a better serve, he would have closed the 3rd set but he could not. Djokovic grabbed it despite Rafael Nadal dominated the entire set with his masterful striking on both the wings.
  3. In the final set, Djokovic was serving 1st : In the final set, Nadal still served well to keep Djokovic away from breaking his serve for 8 games. However, when Rafael Nadal got break points opportunity during two games in the final set, those were only break points. When Djokovic got an opportunity in two games to break Rafa's serve, they were match points. Untimately putting more pressure on Rafa and Djoker closed it out at 10–8 in the final set.
Match was really close and could have gone either way. However, credit to Djokovic. Despite of Rafael Nadal giving his best effort, he showed nerves of steel and served really really well which made a slight difference in the end.

We can safely say now, Djokovic is back now to his very best. Congratulations to him for his 13th grand slam title. Not a good news for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer fans however, this will only make tennis even more interesting in coming tournaments."
 

DRII

G.O.A.T.
only thing this guy failed to highlight was Nadal's large number of UEs (for him), especially on relatively easy put-aways (some on very important points).
 

Wander

Professional
A very obvious analysis, more like, and doesn't really go into any detail on what Djokovic did right apart from serving quite well. His returns were often devastatingly good too for one thing.
 
C

Charlie

Guest
Nadal won far more easy points with his serve than that Quora guy suggests he did. Wasn't broken a lot in a marathon match, which apart from him being strong in that department also clearly suggests that Djokovic has more room for improvement, both in his return of serve and his backhand which is still far from being a deadly weapon it used to be before against Nadal and in general.
 

Jonas78

Legend
Well it isnt exactly big news that indoor doesnt favour Nadal and that he can be vulnerable on his own serve. Falstaff posted this before W18:



Nadal doesnt hit many aces. This is career stats from HC which shows he hits fewer aces than Nishikori:



I dont know if who served first in the last set was important. It was a very close match which both could win. Indoor almost certainly helped Djokovic more than Nads.
 
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falstaff78

Hall of Fame
Well it isnt exactly big news that indoor doesnt favour Nadal and that he can be vulnerable on his own serve. Falstaff posted this before W18:



Nadal doesnt hit many aces. This is career stats from HC which shows he hits fewer aces than Nishikori:



I dont know if who served first in the last set was important. It was a very close match which both could win. Indoor almost certainly helped Djokovic more than Nads.
This.

Nadal faced BP in 11/29 service games (39%)
Djoker faced BP in 6/30 service games (20%)

There's almost no coming back from that.

Nadal was lucky to push the match as long as he did.
 
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Sport

G.O.A.T.
This.

Nadal faced BP in 11/29 service games (39%)
Djoker faced BP in 6/30 service games (20%)

There's almost coming back from that.

Nadal was lucky to push the match as long as he did.
Stop being biased BP is not a synonym with point. If Nadal was able to keep his serve with BP, it's his merit, not demerit of the rival.

Also, I could go on how Nadal "choked" the set point serving in the tie-break for the 3th set and say "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

I could also remember how Djokovic was serving with 15-40 down twice in the final set and claim "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

If we stop being biased Nadal haters we will recognize that it was an extremelly close match that could have gone either way. Djokovic deserved the victory but it was still close.
 
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Zeref

Professional
Quora is crap...most answers given by people who don't know ****. No in depth analysis here either.

Tennis isn't my expertise,if I m talking about the fields of my expertise i can say with 100% certainty most top voted answers make me laugh as how much they deviate from facts due to bias.
 
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tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Cannot believe how Nadal lost this match . Except for a bad first set, he literally called the shots for the next 4 sets
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Quora is crap...most answers given by people who don't know ****. No in depth analysis here either.

Tennis isn't my expertise, I m talking about the fields of my expertise where few top voted answers make me laugh as how much they deviate from facts due to bias.

This is like a blog and lacks insight.. I have seen plenty of analysis in TTW which are far better than this
 

Jonas78

Legend
Stop being biased BP is not a synonym with point. If Nadal was able to keep his serve with BP, it's his merit, not demerit of the rival.

Also, I could go on how Nadal "choked" the set point serving in the tie-break for the 3th set and say "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

I could also remain how Djokovic was serving with 15-40 down twice in the final set and claim "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

If we stop being biased Nadal haters we will recognize that it was an extremelly close match that could have gone either way. Djokovic deserved the victory but it was still close.
Analyzing a match isnt synonym with Nadal hating either:). All players have weapons and weaknesses, and you arent a hater by stating that.

Nadals serve is much discussed, and im one of those who definelty dont think its underrated. He probably has the best ground game on tour, so when he faces that many BP's on serve, and also hits very few aces (for his heigth), i think it supports the view that he generally has a rather weak serve.

Now he is a mental and physical beast, and has a huge ground game, so he gets out of an amazingly high % of deuces and BP's. But either way, when you face BP's in a lot if your serve games, you will get broken. And this is probably the most important factor for his results at W sinse 2011.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
More UEs than even your favourite woman on 'relatively easy put-aways'?

only thing this guy failed to highlight was Nadal's large number of UEs (for him), especially on relatively easy put-aways (some on very important points).
 

ADuck

Hall of Fame
15-40.. 2BP's
Djokovic 2 aces...
That's why he won
Djokovic serve beat Nadal's ground game.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
Analyzing a match isnt synonym with Nadal hating either:). All players have weapons and weaknesses, and you arent a hater by stating that.

Nadals serve is much discussed, and im one of those who definelty dont think its underrated. He probably has the best ground game on tour, so when he faces that many BP's on serve, and also hits very few aces (for his heigth), i think it supports the view that he generally has a rather weak serve.

Now he is a mental and physical beast, and has a huge ground game, so he gets out of an amazingly high % of deuces and BP's. But either way, when you face BP's in a lot if your serve games, you will get broken. And this is probably the most important factor for his results at W sinse 2011.
You @Jonas78 didn't say anything wrong. Is @falstaff78 the one and only who showed hate for Nadal. Subsequently, his comment was 100% biased.

He said "Nadal faced BP in 11/29 service games (39%). Djoker faced BP in 6/30 service games (20%). Nadal was lucky to push the match as long as he did."

As I replied to him: BP is not a synonym with point. If Nadal was able to keep his serve with BP, it's his merit, not demerit of the rival.

Also, I could go on how Nadal "choked" the set point serving in the tie-break for the 3th set and say "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

I could also remember how Djokovic was serving with 15-40 down twice in the final set and claim "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

If we stop being biased Nadal haters we will recognize that it was an extremelly close match that could have gone either way. Djokovic deserved the victory but it was still close.
 
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Sport

G.O.A.T.
And this is probably the most important factor for his results at W.
Of course, Nadal's weakness is his seve not his return. But I wasn't talking about his performance at Wimbledon in general, but his match against Djokovic in particular. See above. What the hell is that "Nadal was lucky to push the match that long" when he choked the three set points of the third set tie-break and almost broke Djokovic in the 5th set.
 

Jonas78

Legend
You @Jonas78 didn't say nothing wrong.

Is @falstaff78 the one and only who showed hate for Nadal. Subsequently, his comment was 100% biased.

He said "Nadal faced BP in 11/29 service games (39%). Djoker faced BP in 6/30 service games (20%). Nadal was lucky to push the match as long as he did."

As I replied to him:

BP is not a synonym with point. If Nadal was able to keep his serve with BP, it's his merit, not demerit of the rival.

Also, I could go on how Nadal "choked" the set point serving in the tie-break for the 3th set and say "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

I could also remain how Djokovic was serving with 15-40 down twice in the final set and claim "Djokovic was lucky to push the match as long as he did".

If we stop being biased Nadal haters we will recognize that it was an extremelly close match that could have gone either way. Djokovic deserved the victory but it was still close.
I agree it was a close match. Djokovic has ususally been the one player that didnt allow Rafa to get away with too many BP's, so im a little surprised Djoker converted that few. Now Nadal saves a lot of BP's vs many players, so its mostly because of his mental abilities. But i do think the pressure of the moment got a little to Djokovic too, he hasnt been in a SF slam vs a top player in a long time. But surely, Rafa had surprising moments of chokes too, both vs Delpo and Djoker. After all, its his first SF sinse 2011 too.
 
I think the biggest take away from this match is related to Djoker.

Nadal may not be at his Peak, but he is and has definitely been playing well. On the other hand, for many of us this is a fast return to form for Djokovic. I was hopeful for this year but anticipated longer given previous year and half performance because it was both mental and physical.

This match showed his mental is really back, and the physical is coming. He has made some significant changes to his game, especially the serve. But other subtle changes - racket, forehand swing I think looks a little different. The real point being that if this is his "true new form" it is going to be good and put a lot of pressure on Nadal/Fed/NextGen. If (more likely) he is still on the rise we may some ultronesq playing in the next year or two, and perhaps with this recovery he will know how to maintain that higher level longer.
 

Mark jd

Rookie
15-40.. 2BP's
Djokovic 2 aces...
That's why he won
Djokovic serve beat Nadal's ground game.
That can't be used as an excuse. Nadal had a setpoint on serve in the third set and had a break point in the fifth set which he lost himself by rushing the net without any reason to do that. Nadal has only himself to blame for losing this match.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
That can't be used as an excuse. Nadal had a setpoint on serve in the third set and had a break point in the fifth set which he lost himself by rushing the net without any reason to do that. Nadal has only himself to blame for losing this match.
1. Tennis is a sport of errors. No single player in the history of humankind has ever performed a genuinely perfect match with no single error or mistake.
2. To be fair, Djokovic played great the 3 Nadal's set points of the tie-break.
3. I do remember that BP in the 5th set where Nadal approached the net. I don't think it was a "dumb" decision. Nadal approached the net 50 times during the match and got a lot of points with volleys. Djokovic just made an INCREDIBLE passing shot. All the merit to him.
 

Mark jd

Rookie
1. Tennis is a sport of errors. No single player in the history of humankind has ever performed a genuinely perfect match with no single error or mistake.
2. To be fair, Djokovic played great the 3 set points of the tie-break.
3. I do remember that BP in the 5th set where Nadal approached the net. I don't think it was a "dumb" decision. Nadal approached the net 50 times during the match and got a lot of points with volleys. Djokovic just made an INCREDIBLE passing shot. All the merit to him.
There was no reason to rush the net when he wasn't 100% ready on such an important point. Worst thing is that he did EXACTLY the same mistake last year against Muller. He had a break point in the fifth set, rushed the net from the baseline, got passed and lost the match. And now a year later he did the same mistake and again on a break point. What I don't like about Nadal is that he never learns. You will never see Djokovic make the same mistake twice. But Nadal does it all the time.
 

King No1e

Legend
Nadal lost because he capitulated at the end. The match played out exactly like the typical movie fight scene. He was up 2 break points at 8-8 and ready to win, but Djokovic somehow made that amazing passing shot and won 8 points in a row to take it. So during the match Nadal wasn't having much trouble.
 

fundrazer

Legend
Yeah...so this analysis doesn't really touch how the match was actually played.

I also don't think Novak played that great or is "back to his best," but it feels like I'm in the minority on that. There will be more competition on hard courts, and the summer should be a better gauge of his form.
 

sarmpas

Hall of Fame
This is like a blog and lacks insight.. I have seen plenty of analysis in TTW which
are far better than this
Give the article credit for canonizing Nadal's heroic performance against Djokovic back now to his very bestmy ass. Read it for what it is then it succeeds.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Why did Rafael Nadal lose to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2018 semifinals?


Anurag Patankar
, Data Analyst at Cognizant Technology Solutions
Answered Jul 15


"Before writing an answer on why Rafael Nadal lost, let me tell you, Novak Djokovic deserved the victory and he held his nerve well during all the match.

There are few reasons I want to list down because of which I feel Rafael Nadal lost :

  1. Match was player under the roof : Men's 1st semifinal between Kevin Anderson and John Isner went on for 6 and half hours which delayed second semifinal. As a result, match was decided to be played under the roof giving Djokovic an advantage. Under the roof, conditions are usually humid than outdoors, ball bounces low, not good for Rafael Nadal's heavy topspins. However, I understand as 1st semifinal was delayed, no one can help but match had to be played under the roof. However, when match resumed on next day, why the roof was closed? What is this stupid rule to have same conditions like previous day. Wimbledon is an outdoor tournament and only when there is a rain or some other genuine reason, roof should be used.
  2. Rafael Nadal's serve let him down : Djokovic started the match very aggressively leaving Rafael Nadal confused with his speed of strokes and dominated the first set and a half of second set. However, Rafa picked up from there and started playing really aggressive tennis. He was hitting down the line forehands and cross court backhands with an authority. He was so dominant in rallies and put Djokovic under constant pressure. He had a set point in 3rd set tiebreak on his own serve however he was unable to close it out. Simple reason, his serve isn't as good as Djokovic or other top guys. Rafael Nadal just doesn't get free points on his own serve, he hit only 9 aces as compared to 24 from his rival. Djokovic served clearly better especially to get lot of free points on his own serve, while Rafael Nadal was consistently serving under the pressure, point by point winning rallies, getting only few free points. With a better serve, he would have closed the 3rd set but he could not. Djokovic grabbed it despite Rafael Nadal dominated the entire set with his masterful striking on both the wings.
  3. In the final set, Djokovic was serving 1st : In the final set, Nadal still served well to keep Djokovic away from breaking his serve for 8 games. However, when Rafael Nadal got break points opportunity during two games in the final set, those were only break points. When Djokovic got an opportunity in two games to break Rafa's serve, they were match points. Untimately putting more pressure on Rafa and Djoker closed it out at 10–8 in the final set.
Match was really close and could have gone either way. However, credit to Djokovic. Despite of Rafael Nadal giving his best effort, he showed nerves of steel and served really really well which made a slight difference in the end.

We can safely say now, Djokovic is back now to his very best. Congratulations to him for his 13th grand slam title. Not a good news for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer fans however, this will only make tennis even more interesting in coming tournaments."
Wow, what a load of nonsense
  1. Ah, the roof. I knew this was going to be here. Why was the roof closed? Because the rules state that once closed, the roof cannot be reopened unless both players agree to it.
    .
  2. Au contraire. Nadal's serve repeatedly bailed him out of tight spots. Before the fifth set, Nadal was 4/6 on break points while Djokovic was 3/16.
    In games, it's even more telling: Nadal faced BPs in 9 games but was only broken 3 times. Djokovic faced BPs in 4 games and was broken in all 4

    It was only in the fifth set that these stats regressed to the mean a little.
    .
  3. Once again, the "serving first" myth is perpetuated. Statistically speaking, there is no disadvantage to serving second. Heck, even in this very tournament we had 4 matches go to a fifth set after the QFs. This was the only one where the player serving first won:

    1. Federer vs Anderson: Federer served first and lost
    2. del Potro vs Nadal: del Potro served first and lost
    3. Anderson vs Isner: Isner served first and lost
    4. Djokovic vs Nadal: Djokovic served first and won
 
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tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Yeah...so this analysis doesn't really touch how the match was actually played.

I also don't think Novak played that great or is "back to his best," but it feels like I'm in the minority on that. There will be more competition on hard courts, and the summer should be a better gauge of his form.
Djokovic will never get back to his peak level, don't think it matters, though.
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
Nadal’s serve did not let him down, it was pretty good and 9 aces is about what you’d expect from him. I believe their % of unreturnable serves were close to equal.
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
only thing this guy failed to highlight was Nadal's large number of UEs (for him), especially on relatively easy put-aways (some on very important points).
73W/42UFE over 386 points and 5 sets is a pretty good output. Definitely not an error-ridden performance.
 
3. I do remember that BP in the 5th set where Nadal approached the net. I don't think it was a "dumb" decision. Nadal approached the net 50 times during the match and got a lot of points with volleys. Djokovic just made an INCREDIBLE passing shot. All the merit to him.
Definitely not 'dumb', but I do think that, considering Djokovic's court positioning in that specific instance, Nadal should've approached to the backhand (like he should've approached to the forehand on that 4th set TB match point in Wim 08). I sensed a bit of uncertainty in him on that point, he seemed anxious to take it and wrap up the match - I guess Nadal was wary that his level was going to dip (because of fatigue or nerves or whatever) soon enough unless he took the match right there, and sure it happened.
 

BringBackWood

Professional
The more I think about it, the dumber the rule of 'roof stays closed' seems to me. Its an outddor tournament, the roof should be open whenever possible. If a match starts with no roof, they still finish the match with the roof closed if it rains, so where is the consitency in that?
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
There has never been a match in professional tennis history that I am aware of in which a match started under a roof and finished outdoors...why should they start now?

When a match moves indoors, it is officially an indoor match, period. It is meant to be completed indoors.
 
73W/42UFE over 386 points and 5 sets is a pretty good output. Definitely not an error-ridden performance.
Wimbledon statisticians are known for their fairly lax approach to UEs, so the median reasonable count is probably a bit higher - still a strong ratio, considering the frequency of baseline rallies.

I am going to chart it myself eventually for tennisabstract, as I've been doing, which means in a couple weeks since I'd like to chart all four Wimbledon epics chronologically, and this is the last one as well as the best one. So you should have a detailed chart to consult with soon enough ;)
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
There has never been a match in professional tennis history that I am aware of in which a match started under a roof and finished outdoors...why should they start now?

When a match moves indoors, it is officially an indoor match, period. It is meant to be completed indoors.
And Djokovic is great outdoors and indoors while Nadal has only historically been great outdoors. Why should Djokovic agree with Nadal so that he can play in conditions that he wants and give him an edge? I would say playing indoors helped Federer against Djokovic in 2012 but I don't see many complaints about that. Nadal has gotten very lucky at times in his career with delays and conditions favorable for his game but this is one time that it didn't really work out in his favor.
 
And Djokovic is great outdoors and indoors while Nadal has only historically been great indoors. Why should Djokovic agree with Nadal so that he can play in conditions that he wants and give him an edge? I would say playing indoors helped Federer against Djokovic in 2012 but I don't see many complaints about that. Nadal has gotten very lucky at times in his career with delays and conditions favorable for his game but this is one time that it didn't really work out in his favor.
Quick, correct the bolded typo to outdoors before someone mocks you for it :p
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
And Djokovic is great outdoors and indoors while Nadal has only historically been great outdoors. Why should Djokovic agree with Nadal so that he can play in conditions that he wants and give him an edge? I would say playing indoors helped Federer against Djokovic in 2012 but I don't see many complaints about that. Nadal has gotten very lucky at times in his career with delays and conditions favorable for his game but this is one time that it didn't really work out in his favor.
It is what it is. Djokovic deserved to win because he adapted to conditions better than Nadal. Simple.
 
And Djokovic is great outdoors and indoors while Nadal has only historically been great outdoors. Why should Djokovic agree with Nadal so that he can play in conditions that he wants and give him an edge? I would say playing indoors helped Federer against Djokovic in 2012 but I don't see many complaints about that. Nadal has gotten very lucky at times in his career with delays and conditions favorable for his game but this is one time that it didn't really work out in his favor.
Why would indoor conditions help Fed against Djoko if the latter is also great indoors?
 

Fedeonic

Hall of Fame
When you get Lon Shapiro's answer on Quora, call me, all those other guys barely know about tennis (and that includes myself too).
 
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