What was Federer's best chance against Nadal at Roland Garros ?

RoS

Rookie
As I'am thinking, Federer was a true opponent at Roland Garros and had always chances against Younger Nadal, more than Thiem who if often designed as the Prince of Clay, and against Older Nadal.

What was for your the Federer's best chance against Nadal at Roland Garros

Let's try to analyze the matches

2005 :

It was the first FO of Nadal and Federer was the undisputed number 1 at this time. There was no mental advantage from Nadal against Federer either no aura of invincibility. Federer was leading 3-2 40-15 (again a 40-15...) in the fourth set then his forehand betrayed him. Lost 4 games in a row
Nadal was still a pure retriever then. He was faster than ever but his backhand and serve were weak and Federer 2005 forehand was very flat and brutal . Federer was maybe too confident at the time and maybe underestimated Nadal a lot (with his Miami come-back). I think he should have prepared better.

2006 :

Federer was at his absolute peak this year. He gave Nadal hard and tight matches in Monte-Carlo and espiecially Rome. He never played so well on clay.
Federer took the first set 6-1 against Nadal with commanding play. He was leading 40-0 at 0-1 and then Nadal broke him by good play and then Federer lost the plot . Had 4 BP for a 3-1 lead in the third set. Didn't take his opportunities (at 30-40, Federer missed a forehand finish after having dominated the rally, the others were very good saved by Nadal). Lost the fourth in a tie-break.

For me, it was the best chance of Federer this year , as Nadal hasn't became the monster he will be. I'am still convinced that the infamous 2 MP missed by Federer at Rome changed the rivalry and sealed the aura of invincibility of Nadal on clay. If Federer, I'am sure that Federer would have won the 2006 FO Final.

2007 :

Federer has beaten Nadal at the Hambourg Final, even bageled him. You could think that Federer was getting closer to beating Nadal.
Story of the final : the terrible Federer's break point conversion during the match :

1/17 (5,8%)

1) 0/10 for the first set (7 for a 4-2 lead, 3 for level the match at 4-4). Nadal was 2/2 on BP
2) 2 BP to take the second set 6-3 and serve in first in the third set
3) 1 BP for a 2-0 lead in the fourth set

( Gold Medal : the AO 4R 2019 with 0/12 (0%) against Tsitsipas)
( Silver Medal : the Wimbledon 2008 F with 1/13 (7,69%) against Nadal)
( Bronze Medal : the USO 2015 Final with 4/23 (17,3%) against Djokovic)

With more temerity, he should have won the first set.
In terms of quality, it was his best match. Federer played two excellent first sets, even making great winners with his backhand and then couldn't keep his level for the rest of the match.

2011 :

Federer had stopped the invincible winning streak of Djokovic and was playing his best FO ever. Nadal was shaky during this FO (pushed to the brink by Isner, laborious against Andujar) . The balls were lighter this year and Federer offense was more rewarded . It was almost Hardcourt tennis on clay.

Federer quickly stormed Nadal in the first. Had a set point at 5-2, barely missed with a drop-shot. Then Federer dropped his level and Nadal raised his. Federer lost 7 games in a row.
Federer saved 1 (or 2 ?) SP at 5-4 on the Nadal serve. But played an putrid tie-break (TWO second serve missed returns, a forehand into the net, complacent smash)
Federer has 3 BP for a 1-0 lead in the fourth set. Well saved by Nadal. Then Federer completely collapsed and lost the set 6-1

2019 :

Rejunevated Federer has turned the tables of the rivalry. He has won the four last matched against Nadal (with the most important one : the AO 2017 Final) and maybe Federer was in Nadal's head. People were wondering if Federer could apply his new succesfull playing pattern against Nadal on clay (the Néo-Backhand for exemple). The answer was : No.
Federer was leading 2-0 40-30 on the second set. He was 40-15 (again !) at 4-4 on his serve. Lost it and the set. Tamely lost the third set 6-2
The windy conditions have sabotaged Federer.

No need to put the 2008 beatdown in the chances list.
 
T

TheNachoMan

Guest
2011. It was Wimby19esque choking that stopped him there
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Federer is a master of wasting leads like no one. His unclutchness against Nadal is unparalleled.
Amazing this pathetic Bozo won 20 slams. Epic analysis too:

"His unclutchness against Nadal is unparalleled."

And yet he's 7-1 against Nadal since 2017 when he was older than Nadal is now, playing a guy 5 years his junior. And that one single loss was on clay at the FO.

You wanna defend your "thesis," genius? We await it with bated breath. Go ahead....
 
2006 probably. That Rome final is one of my top 3( if not #1) favorite matches of all time. Federer was ajust a Monster then, and had that Aura of invincibility. Unfortunately for him, Rafa was not cooperating. Best match they have imho.

Fed would have won (probably) the 2006 FO if he beat Rafa in that 2006 Rome Open.
 

RoS

Rookie
Amazing this pathetic Bozo won 20 slams. Epic analysis too:

"His unclutchness against Nadal is unparalleled."

And yet he's 7-1 against Nadal since 2017 when he was older than Nadal is now, playing a guy 5 years his junior. And that one single loss was on clay at the FO.

You wanna defend your "thesis," genius? We await it with bated breath. Go ahead....
Good Federer has turned the tables against Nadal since 2017 (and when Nadal's speed declined), but from 2005 to 2017, except the Wimbledon 2007 Final, Federer was yes, generally unclutch against Prime Nadal.
He has lost plenty matches against him in the past he should have won.

How many winnable matches Federer lost against Djokovic too ? (and I'am a Djokovic fan)

Djokodal are simply mentally tougher than Federer. It's a fact. It always has been. It's not a thesis...
 

Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
Surface distribution of slams:

Djoker - 67% HC, 28% grass, 5% clay

Nadal - 65 % clay, 25 % HC, 10 % grass

It's about the same.

When it comes to slam distribution, Djoker has two more slams outside the AO than Nadal has outside of RG. When you are talking 20, 21 slams and beyond, that's nothing.

Djoker, the HC GOAT, also has a losing record in slam finals at one of the HC slams. If there were a second clay slam, you could bet your existence Nadal wouldn't have a losing slam finals record at it.
Good Federer has turned the tables against Nadal since 2017 (and when Nadal's speed declined), but from 2005 to 2017, except the Wimbledon 2007 Final, Federer was yes, generally unclutch against Prime Nadal.
He has lost plenty matches against him in the past he should have won.

How many winnable matches Federer lost against Djokovic too ? (and I'am a Djokovic fan)

Djokodal are simply mentally tougher than Federer. It's a fact. It always has been. It's not a thesis...
It also has a lot to do with age and play-style. In big moments Djokovic and Nadal often go into pusher mode. They know they’re younger, can retrieve almost anything and have more margin in their game. Federer by contrast has to try to win the point outright by pushing the envelope. He’s not going to ousteady either of them from the baseline on a slow court. It’s a lot harder to continuously place pinpoint shots on a slow court than it is to run side to side and just put the ball back in play. If the slams were played on a Dubai or Cincy like court speed Federer would be rewarded far more. None of the slams are played on a court that truly rewards first strike tennis which is the type of tennis Federer grew up playing.
 
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Feather

Legend
2006 probably. That Rome final is one of my top 3( if not #1) favorite matches of all time. Federer was ajust a Monster then, and had that Aura of invincibility. Unfortunately for him, Rafa was not cooperating. Best match they have imho.

Fed would have won (probably) the 2006 FO if he beat Rafa in that 2006 Rome Open.
Rome 2006 is one of my top favourite matches of all time too. I watch it once in a while. The points were amazing. In my opinion, it was the best Roger Federer played on clay.

I too think that 2006 RG Roger Federer had the best chance to beat Rafa Nadal
 
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duaneeo

Legend
Roger had learned on the hard courts how damaging the lefty FH was of this young newcomer (with a loss at 2004 Miami, and a near loss at 2005 Miami). But the mental hold that Rafa would eventually have over Roger hadn't yet formed at 2005 RG, so IMO this was Federer's best chance against Nadal. By the time 2006 RG came along, Federer had suffered yet another HC loss to Rafa at Dubai, followed by losses at MC and then Rome (where Roger threw everything at Nadal but the kitchen sink). The mental block was now in full force, and Federer's RG chances against Rafa were forever gone.
 

RoS

Rookie
Roger had learned on the hard courts how damaging the lefty FH was of this young newcomer (with a loss at 2004 Miami, and a near loss at 2005 Miami). But the mental hold that Rafa would eventually have over Roger hadn't yet formed at 2005 RG, so IMO this was Federer's best chance against Nadal. By the time 2006 RG came along, Federer had suffered yet another HC loss to Rafa at Dubai, followed by losses at MC and then Rome (where Roger threw everything at Nadal but the kitchen sink). The mental block was now in full force, and Federer's RG chances against Rafa were forever gone.
Maybe...

Rome 2006 was the defining moment of the Fedal rivalry and the history of tennis. It's with this win that Nadal truly became the monster on clay.
If Federer won Rome 2006, he would have won the FO 2006 and Nadal's aura of invincibility wouldn't have existed (or not yet). Federer would have the mental advantage against Nadal.
 

Yugram

Legend
Amazing this pathetic Bozo won 20 slams. Epic analysis too:

"His unclutchness against Nadal is unparalleled."

And yet he's 7-1 against Nadal since 2017
when he was older than Nadal is now, playing a guy 5 years his junior. And that one single loss was on clay at the FO.

You wanna defend your "thesis," genius? We await it with bated breath. Go ahead....
LOL

This take of yours isn’t becoming less ridiculous, is it? :sneaky:

Let’s try learning how to count again.

Since 2017:

Federer def Nadal at AO, IW, MI, SH, WB

Nadal def Federer at RG

That’s 5-1

FIVE-ONE
 

Yugram

Legend
It also has a lot to do with age and play-style. In big moments Djokovic and Nadal often go into pusher mode. They know they’re younger, can retrieve almost anything and have more margin in their game. Federer by contrast has to try to win the point outright by pushing the envelope. He’s not going to ousteady either of them from the baseline on a slow court. It’s a lot harder to continuously place pinpoint shots on a slow court than it is to run side to side and just put the ball back in play. If the slams were played on a Dubai or Cincy like court speed Federer would be rewarded far more. None of the slams are played on a court that truly regards first strike tennis which is the type of tennis Federer grew up playing.
Pre-HC prime Nadal defeated peak Federer in fast Dubai of 2006. ;)
 

MadariKatu

Professional
I'll say 2017. It was then that Federer could get rid of his mental block against him, and his backhand was working better against him. I don't think I'll ever understand him skipping clay that year.
 

Krish0608

Legend
I'll say 2017. It was then that Federer could get rid of his mental block against him, and his backhand was working better against him. I don't think I'll ever understand him skipping clay that year.
Bad decision in hindsight. But NOBODY was stopping Rafa that year anyway. It was his highest clay level after 2008 and 2012
 

RoS

Rookie
I'll say 2017. It was then that Federer could get rid of his mental block against him, and his backhand was working better against him. I don't think I'll ever understand him skipping clay that year.
No.

The Neo-Backhand is irrelevant on clay against the Nadal forehand topspin. Federer would have done nothing.
Federer barely beat him on a fast hardcourt in the AO, and he would have beaten him on Philippe Chatrier ?
 
2006 is the best one for me, he found a level to win a set 6-1 against Nadal in the RG final but just couldn’t maintain it. If he had stayed within himself and not let the moment and Nadal get to him then I think he wins that final.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
fraudsters aka fedlovers know nothing........easily it is 2006 final and he was never close to winning it before or after it.........
 

MadariKatu

Professional
No.

The Neo-Backhand is irrelevant on clay against the Nadal forehand topspin. Federer would have done nothing.
Federer barely beat him on a fast hardcourt in the AO, and he would have beaten him on Philippe Chatrier ?
Well, I'm not saying he would have beaten him. I'm just saying it could have been his best chance at that in RG. I think he got rid of his mental block because he beat him in Australia. He beat him in straights in Miami and IW right after that. You do have a point with the neao-backhand vs Nadal's topspin, and it's still Nadal at RG, and like @Krish0608 said, 2017 was a very dominant year for Nadal on the parisian clay. But I still think it could have been a very interesting match.
 

RoS

Rookie
Well, I'm not saying he would have beaten him. I'm just saying it could have been his best chance at that in RG. I think he got rid of his mental block because he beat him in Australia. He beat him in straights in Miami and IW right after that. You do have a point with the neao-backhand vs Nadal's topspin, and it's still Nadal at RG, and like @Krish0608 said, 2017 was a very dominant year for Nadal on the parisian clay. But I still think it could have been a very interesting match.
It's true that Federer would have been the favorite to make the final (although not sure after all : Murray or Wawrinka would have been very difficult for him, and of course Thiem if he was in his half).
The only chance for Federer would have been storming Nadal as soon as possible.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Honestly I think I missed a trick with my first post, should have said.

"He never had a chance."
 

topher

Hall of Fame
His best chances were to draw Nadal in his quarter at the 2015 RG or to play a burnt out Nadal in the 2009 final. Although the 2009 final would’ve been far from sure, Soderling did very well to best Rafa and Roger wasn’t exactly peaking that year either.
 

duaneeo

Legend
Federer is a master of wasting leads like no one. His unclutchness against Nadal is unparalleled.
Federer was rarely in a leading position against Rafa on clay because of the matchup. He's 3-1 vs Rafa at Wimbledon, and though Rafa is 3-1 at the AO, they're 1-1 in finals.
 

RoS

Rookie
2011. The first three sets could have gone either way.

But in reality, he wasn't close.

And no, if he had won Rome 2006, he still was not going to win RG 2006. There is a big difference between Rafa at Rome and Rafa at RG.
Rome 2006 was on Bo5. What a difference there really is ? Federer had Nadal on the ropes on Bo5. The only differences are the dimensions on PC.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Rome 2006 was on Bo5. What a difference there really is ? Federer had Nadal on the ropes on Bo5. The only differences are the dimensions on PC.
You don't know the difference between the height of the bounce and the angles that Nadal can produce that are exclusive to PC? Or the extra space he has to do better diagnal defense in?

If you actually look closely, you will see there is a world of difference.
 

pointbreak

New User
He was the better player prob 05 -07 , Nadal even says so in his book, the pressure of chasing the slam record got to him and also just the matchup and the maniac on the otherside of the net Always amazed by the level of feds clqycourt game but to beat a gladiator and the best mental athlete ever in a final over 5 alot of things needed to come together
 

RoS

Rookie
You don't know the difference between the height of the bounce and the angles that Nadal can produce that are exclusive to PC? Or the extra space he has to do better diagnal defense in?

If you actually look closely, you will see there is a world of difference.
True

But Federer was even with Nadal in this famous Rome Final , even often outplaying him. Already in Monte-Carlo Federer was pushing Nadal hard (lost the match in a fourth set tie-break by only 2 points). The 2006 FO Final was very tight (Federer breadsticked Nadal and almost went to a fifth set).
Imagine a more confident Federer and inversely a less confident Nadal who has to defend his first GS and the outcome would be different IMO.

And if Federer had won the FO 2006, he would have had already the GSC and would play more freely against Nadal in the next FO Finals.

Rome 2006 was truly the turning point of the Fedal rivalry, like the USO 1995 Final was for the Sampras-Agassi rivalry.
 
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ElisRF

Hall of Fame
2011. The first three sets could have gone either way.

But in reality, he wasn't close.

And no, if he had won Rome 2006, he still was not going to win RG 2006. There is a big difference between Rafa at Rome and Rafa at RG.
I think Nadal played better in the Rome 2006 final than the RG 2006 final.
 
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Hitman

G.O.A.T.
True

But Federer was even with Nadal in this famous Rome Final , even often outplaying him. Already in Monte-Carlo Federer was pushing Nadal hard (lost the match in a fourth set tie-break by only 2 points). The 2006 FO Final was very tight (Federer breadsticked Nadal and almost went to a fifth set).
Imagine a more confident Federer and inversely a less confident Nadal who has to defend his first GS and the outcome would be different IMO.

And if Federer had won the FO 2006, he would have had already the GSC and would play more freely against Nadal in the next FO Finals.

Rome 2006 was truly the turning point of the Fedal rivalry, like the USO 1995 Final was for the Sampras-Agassi rivalry.
Do you think Djokovic was beating Nadal at RG 2011, having beaten him back to back in Madrid 2011 and Rome 2011?
 
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