Which player (in the last 25 or so years) played the highest level ever in a particular match?

Which player played the highest level ever in a particular match?

  • Federer

    Votes: 32 36.0%
  • Nadal

    Votes: 21 23.6%
  • Djokovic

    Votes: 23 25.8%
  • Davydenko

    Votes: 2 2.2%
  • Wawrinka

    Votes: 3 3.4%
  • Agassi

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sampras

    Votes: 2 2.2%
  • Del Potro

    Votes: 2 2.2%
  • Safin

    Votes: 4 4.5%
  • Tsonga

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    89

zill

Hall of Fame
And which match was it? Let’s say any surface. So if a surface ‘encourages’ higher level of tennis then so be it.
 
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arvind13

Professional
depends on the surface. for me the best hardcourt performance I ever saw in the last 25 years was safin beating sampras at the 2000 US Open final. but in terms of clay court tennis the best performance I ever saw was nadal at 2008 french open. and the best grass court performance I ever saw last 25 years was sampras in 1999 wimbledon final
 

zill

Hall of Fame
depends on the surface. for me the best hardcourt performance I ever saw in the last 25 years was safin beating sampras at the 2000 US Open final. but in terms of clay court tennis the best performance I ever saw was nadal at 2008 french open.
Highest level regardless of surface!! Or on any surface!!
 

arvind13

Professional
Highest level regardless of surface!! Or on any surface!!
can't say which was better. because each required a different style and skill set. each was amazing in its own way. in terms of raw tennis skill, i would put sampras and safin's performance over nadal.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
can't say which was better. because each required a different style and skill set. each was amazing in its own way. in terms of raw tennis skill, i would put sampras and safin's performance over nadal.
Was it really that good that match?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
He can play insanely good for a period of time I think. Perfect groundies and movement.
He's not in the running for best of the last 25 years - half your list isn't tbh, some other players definitely would deserve to be in there over the likes of Davy and Del Potro IMO.
 

arvind13

Professional
both matches. wimbledon 1999 final and US Open 2000 final. watch them both
sampras vs safin at their respective peaks on indoor carpet would be the ultimate match imo. even better than becker vs sampras indoors, because safin at his peak was a better player than becker. could move better. could return better. had better groundstrokes than becker. becker had advantage in serve and net play.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
He's not in the running for best of the last 25 years - half your list isn't tbh, some other players definitely would deserve to be in there over the likes of Davy and Del Potro IMO.
Give us some examples of players who deserve to be on the list.
 

Turing

Rookie
By surface:
Clay - Nadal 2008 RG SF/F

Grass - Fed 2003 WB SF or Sampras 1999 F

Indoor HC/carpet - Sampras 1999 YEC F

Slow HC - lots of choices, could go with Djoker 2011 AO SF/F, 2013 SF, 2016 SF; Fed 2007 AO SF; Nadal's last two matches in 2009; Safin in the late rounds of 2005; probably some of Agassi's matches in 2000/2001; then there's performances like Tsonga 2008 AO SF, Verdasco 2009 AO SF, Gonzalez 2007 AO SF. Really hard to choose just one.

Fast HC - again several to choose from, Safin 2000 USO F; Hewitt 2001 USO F; Fed 2003 YEC F, 2004 USO F, 2006 USO F; Nadal 2010 USO F; Djoker 2011 USO SF/F; Delpo 2009 USO SF; maybe even Cilic in the last rounds of 2014. I feel more confident in Fed's best level here than in any player on slow HC, so I'll probably go with his 2004 USO F
 

Kralingen

Legend
Nadal has been making players look like God's at the AO for like 14 years lol.
And PETE was making every baseliner with competent passing shots look good from late 2000-2002. Yet for some reason Safin's USO '00 performance (which was actually less dominant than Hewitt's USO '01 performance) is somehow this unbeatable GOAT peak lol?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
And PETE was making every baseliner with competent passing shots look good from late 2000-2002. Yet for some reason Safin's USO '00 performance (which was actually less dominant than Hewitt's USO '01 performance) is somehow this unbeatable GOAT peak lol?
Except Agassi? lol. Sampras actually played decently in the 00 final tbf. I do agree that Tsonga's level in that AO SF is arguably up there with anyones, Nadal does have a hand in making some of these players look that good though.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
And PETE was making every baseliner with competent passing shots look good from late 2000-2002. Yet for some reason Safin's USO '00 performance (which was actually less dominant than Hewitt's USO '01 performance) is somehow this unbeatable GOAT peak lol?
For starters, Sampras probably wasn't running on fumes by the 2000 final as opposed to 2001.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Except Agassi? lol. Sampras actually played decently in the 00 final tbf. I do agree that Tsonga's level in that AO SF is arguably up there with anyones, Nadal does have a hand in making some of these players look that good though.
I was making a facetious point tbh lol. Although the Hewitt thing is actually a real belief of mine, the fact that Hewitt destroyed Pete the next year takes a little luster off the '00 final in retrospect.

I felt Pete was playing directly into Safin's hands in the '00 match when I watched it awhile back. Surely a great performance by Safin but let's not act like this was peak Pete, his explosiveness was noticeably lacking. My point is that Safin mainly just had to hit good passing shots over and over again and serve well. It was very much a man out of time in Sampras being introduced to the new age by a young baseliner.

Tsonga on the other hand had a lot more to do and had an insane volleying/touch performance, and he straight up bullied peak/prime HC Nadal from the baseline.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
I was making a facetious point tbh lol. Although the Hewitt thing is actually a real belief of mine, the fact that Hewitt destroyed Pete the next year takes a little luster off the '00 final in retrospect.

I felt Pete was playing directly into Safin's hands in the '00 match when I watched it awhile back. Surely a great performance by Safin but let's not act like this was peak Pete, his explosiveness was noticeably lacking. My point is that Safin mainly just had to hit good passing shots over and over again and serve well. It was very much a man out of time in Sampras being introduced to the new age by a young baseliner.

Tsonga on the other hand had a lot more to do and had an insane volleying/touch performance, and he straight up bullied peak/prime HC Nadal from the baseline.
Pete was definitely worse in 2001 than 2000, but for sure I think his pure S&V style in later years wasn't ideal against the New Balls Gen. He would have been better served hanging back and blasting the forehand, waiting for his chance to come in - he was too predictable in those match-ups.

While we're talking match ups I definitely think there's a reason three different guys GOAT'd in back to back to back years against Nadal at the AO. He didn't hit a penetrating enough ball and it meant those guys could tee off on his shots and take the racket out of his hands. It still required a great level to execute it to that degree but I don't think it's more impressive than what Safin did - similar is probably fair as per your original post.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Pete was definitely worse in 2001 than 2000, but for sure I think his pure S&V style in later years wasn't ideal against the New Balls Gen. He would have been better served hanging back and blasting the forehand, waiting for his chance to come in - he was too predictable in those match-ups.

While we're talking match ups I definitely think there's a reason three different guys GOAT'd in back to back to back years against Nadal at the AO. He didn't hit a penetrating enough ball and it meant those guys could tee off on his shots and take the racket out of his hands. It still required a great level to execute it to that degree but I don't think it's more impressive than what Safin did - similar is probably fair as per your original post.
Perhaps the question is less about Safin and more about why Hewitt’s 01 performance doesn’t get enough credit? ;)
 

arvind13

Professional
Hewitt's laser like passes made him feel his age 8-B
safin's performance is regarded more highly than hewitt for a reason. sampras wasn't gassed in the 2000 us open final. sampras was serving much better in the us open 2000 final compared to the 2001 final, and safin still beat him.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
safin's performance is regarded more highly than hewitt for a reason. sampras wasn't gassed in the 2000 us open final. sampras was serving much better in the us open 2000 final compared to the 2001 final, and safin still beat him.
Sampras's serve was definitely slower than average in the final, Hewitt had already shown the ability to pick off the Sampras serve even on grass though so I wonder if some of it was tactical to give himself more time to make it to net. Maybe that type of tactical adjustment isn't really like Pete though, more likely to just back himself and go big.
 

Fedforever

Hall of Fame
As a Nadal fan, I ruefully write in Robin Soderling.
I'm always amazed rewatching the highlights how Soderling plays as if he has no awareness of what he's doing. It's like he's in any other fourth round match.

I doubt Nadal was at peak fitness that day but he would still have beaten most other players even if they were playing great, simply because of the pressure situation.
 
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