Which active player is a natural matchup nightmare for Nadal?

Federev

Hall of Fame
Which one?
Well, I just wondered if it was a kind of obvious - that right now Fed is the match up problem for Nads.

Historically no, but as it is he's not beaten Fed since 2014 I think. Which is only 5 matches. but still...Fed's the clearest problem the last year right?
 

yokied

Hall of Fame
Ever since Nadal's passing shots have gone with his age the defensive pressure he puts on Fed has been minimal.
Agree with the rest of your post but this smacks of VB logic. Rafa's groundstrokes are largely unchanged - speeds, spin rates as always. The difference is mostly on the other side of the net. Fed is now breaking Rafa down from the baseline without even giving Rafa a chance to pass. Rafa might have lost a step in his court speed but Roger has clearly demonstrated this year that he now has Rafa covered in short, medium and long rallies on a variety of court speeds.
 

Charlemagne

Hall of Fame
I don't think Rafa handles players taking time away from him as well as he did in the past. Which is why Federer has troubled him so much this year.
 

merlinpinpin

Hall of Fame
Um...in Djokovic's case, the problem solved itself due to Djoko's injury. The same thing will happen in Federer's case too as he is 36 and injured half the time. Let's see Nadal solve Djokovic 2.0 if he comes back at his peak level.
Yep, just like Sampras "solved" Kracijek when he had surgery on his shoulder. Just like Nadal solved Davydenko when he got old. Waiting until the other guy's level drops or he gets injured/retires sure is a great way of "solving" his game... ;)
 
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serve

Rookie
Agree with the rest of your post but this smacks of VB logic. Rafa's groundstrokes are largely unchanged - speeds, spin rates as always. The difference is mostly on the other side of the net. Fed is now breaking Rafa down from the baseline without even giving Rafa a chance to pass. Rafa might have lost a step in his court speed but Roger has clearly demonstrated this year that he now has Rafa covered in short, medium and long rallies on a variety of court speeds.
It is not that easy. Nadal loves playing with a very clear pattern, to the point that he can become quite predictable. The one shot that breaks that pattern and keeps the opponent guessing is his forehand down the line. He did not need that one against Federer after 2010 though, pounding the backhand was mostly enough. Weirdly enough, the solution against Federer is the same as against Djokovic, break the pattern and play the forehand down the line consistently.
 

serve

Rookie
Agree with the rest of your post but this smacks of VB logic. Rafa's groundstrokes are largely unchanged - speeds, spin rates as always. The difference is mostly on the other side of the net. Fed is now breaking Rafa down from the baseline without even giving Rafa a chance to pass. Rafa might have lost a step in his court speed but Roger has clearly demonstrated this year that he now has Rafa covered in short, medium and long rallies on a variety of court speeds.
It is not that easy. Nadal loves playing with a very clear pattern, to the point that he can become quite predictable. The one shot that breaks that pattern and keeps the opponent guessing is his forehand down the line. He did not need that one against Federer after 2010 though, pounding the backhand was mostly enough. Weirdly enough, the solution against Federer is the same as against Djokovic, break the pattern and play the forehand down the line consistently.
 

SQA333

Hall of Fame
Um...in Djokovic's case, the problem solved itself due to Djoko's injury. The same thing will happen in Federer's case too as he is 36 and injured half the time. Let's see Nadal solve Djokovic 2.0 if he comes back at his peak level.
I don't think Nadal ever fully solved Djokovic since 2011. Sure he had his purple patch in 2013, but that was more due to Djokovic's mental fragility at that point. Even this year in Madrid, Novak was the one who had control of the rallies and was pushing Nadal back behind the baseline more often than not. Problem is he couldn't finish most of these points.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
I don't think Nadal ever fully solved Djokovic since 2011. Sure he had his purple patch in 2013, but that was more due to Djokovic's mental fragility at that point. Even this year in Madrid, Novak was the one who had control of the rallies and was pushing Nadal back behind the baseline more often than not. Problem is he couldn't finish most of these points.
Yes. But the issue we are discussing here is Djokovic solving Rafa, and not the other way round.
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
Right now?

It's Federer. Nadal has been made to look clueless against him this year. I can't believe I am saying this, but Nadal's game now falls right into Federer's hands. Federer knows exactly how to play Nadal now and looks super comfortable, while you can see the strain and confusion on Nadal's face...the exact opposite of what it was like pre-AO 2014.

Lets see what happens with Djokovic returns.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
Right now?

It's Federer. Nadal has been made to look clueless against him this year. I can't believe I am saying this, but Nadal's game now falls right into Federer's hands. Federer knows exactly how to play Nadal now and looks super comfortable, while you can see the strain and confusion on Nadal's face...the exact opposite of what it was like pre-AO 2014.

Lets see what happens with Djokovic returns.
I would like to see WHETHER Djokovic returns
 

sarmpas

Hall of Fame
Right now?

It's Federer. Nadal has been made to look clueless against him this year. I can't believe I am saying this, but Nadal's game now falls right into Federer's hands. Federer knows exactly how to play Nadal now and looks super comfortable, while you can see the strain and confusion on Nadal's face...the exact opposite of what it was like pre-AO 2014.

Lets see what happens with Djokovic returns.
Nadal can't rundown 99.999% of Federer's shots anymore so with his brickwall defense gone it's game vs game and not fitness vs game anymore.
 

fedtennisphan

Hall of Fame
Used to be mostly red clay at some point. It's about time to make some correction to fix the heavy skew towards one surface. It will have to be 25% clay and 75% non-clay, so we need to have 10 more non-clay encounters from now.
I love that Federer is giving Nadal the satisfaction of not playing on clay. Nadal fans are all pressed and trying to pretend to be Federer fans. They can’t stand that Federer has gotten Nadal.
 

peakin11mugs

Semi-Pro
None exists. He's one of the greatest problem solvers, eventually he would figure the other guy out.
Great champion no doubt at all but don’t agree with that specific statement. He never solved Djokovic out. He waited for him to dip in form or get injured. He went 7-0 against djoker lost 7 finals 3 slams in a row. Then he went 7-0 a separate time even worse not winning a single set in 7 matches m!

Same thing will happen with fed. Nadal won’t work him out but at 36 there’s only a matter of time before fed is injured or dips in form or permenantly declines due to age. Nadal won’t solve the problem or outplay him he will wait for a natural decline.

Nadals 2013 was basically after a 2012 dip by fed, 2010 after 2009. 2017 was supposed to be nadals next big swing after djokovics post 2016 decline but surprisingly Federer of all people came and stopped it

Like his playing style it will simply be a war of attrition for nadal. Fed is aged and aging fast
 
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Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Agree with the rest of your post but this smacks of VB logic. Rafa's groundstrokes are largely unchanged - speeds, spin rates as always. The difference is mostly on the other side of the net. Fed is now breaking Rafa down from the baseline without even giving Rafa a chance to pass. Rafa might have lost a step in his court speed but Roger has clearly demonstrated this year that he now has Rafa covered in short, medium and long rallies on a variety of court speeds.
We can agree to disagree. We cannot test this by bringing back the variable which is Nadal's speed. And I certainly don't agree on "a variety of court speeds" point. A hardcourt is a hardcourt, and Fed has always been a better player than Nadal on hard. Now it's just that the superiority is magnified.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
Trying to refocus the discussion, I was talking about natural matchup problems for Nadal.
That would be playing styles that trouble him most, and the players involved.
 

peakin11mugs

Semi-Pro
None exists. He's one of the greatest problem solvers, eventually he would figure the other guy out.
Great champion no doubt at all but don’t agree with that specific statement. He never solved Djokovic out. He waited for him to dip in form or get injured. He went 7-0 against djoker lost 7 finals 3 slams in a row. Then he went 7-0 a separate time even worse not winning a single set in 7 matches m!

Same thing will happen with fed. Nadal won’t work him out but at 36 there’s only a matter of time before fed is injured or dips in form or permenantly declines due to age. Nadal won’t solve the problem or outplay him he will wait for a natural decline.
 

yokied

Hall of Fame
Nadal loves playing with a very clear pattern, to the point that he can become quite predictable. The one shot that breaks that pattern and keeps the opponent guessing is his forehand down the line.
After IW, he tried going after Fed's FH from every conceivable angle in Miami. The result was the same.

And I certainly don't agree on "a variety of court speeds" point. A hardcourt is a hardcourt, and Fed has always been a better player than Nadal on hard. Now it's just that the superiority is magnified.
Again, it's pretty well documented just how fast AO and Shanghai HC were compared with IW in particular. Huge difference in court speeds.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
In a similar way that Nadal has been a matchup problem for Federer?
RF hasn't beaten Rafa consistently enough for it to be a huge matchup problem. I'd have to go with Nikolay Davydenko. Consistent flat hitter who hugs the baseline. Djokovic is also one like that, but Nadal has more or less kept even with him.
 

Vrad

Professional
None exists. He's one of the greatest problem solvers, eventually he would figure the other guy out.
This is the exact opposite of what Nadal is. He digs in even deeper when he faces someone who can solve his problems.

A really good grass court player on normal grass (not 2nd week if Wimbledon where it’s reduced to clay) would be a natural nemesis of Nadal. We’d recognize this if (a) there were more grass tournaments, (b) they weren’t slowed down specifically to encourage certain types of play.

Low bouncing, skidding courts would allow a player to exploit Nadal’s weaknesses the way slow, high bouncing clay courts allow Nadal to exploit Federer’s.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
In a similar way that Nadal has been a matchup problem for Federer?
RF hasn't beaten Rafa consistently enough for it to be a huge matchup problem. I'd have to go with Nikolay Davydenko. Consistent flat hitter who hugs the baseline. Djokovic is also one like that, but Nadal has more or less kept even with him.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
In every year they faced each other twice or more, federer won at least one match (with the exceptions being 2008 and 2013).
I mean Fed didn't dominate him. Nadal has always had the upper hand except for this year. Djokovic on the other hand didn't get absolutely dominated the way Fed did
 

BlueClayGOAT

Semi-Pro
Among active players, Djokovic on mostly anything off clay, and sometimes even on clay.

Federer on any fast surface. This gets overlooked a bit amid the H2H and clay stats, but Federer is nearly as dominant over Rafa on fast courts as Rafa is over Federer on clay.

Off the top of my head, Rafa has only won these matches over Fed on fast surfaces:
2008 Wimby, 2013 Cincy, 2013 WTF.
 
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