Which player is mentally the strongest?

Most toughest player mentally


  • Total voters
    164

Pantera

Hall of Fame
Djokovic better than Federer at being clutch is quite easy to proof(if someone needs it lol).
Tie-Breaks
63.9% (242-137)
Deciding Set Tie-Breaks
72.7% (16-6)

Him being much better in deciding set Tiebreakers than at normal tiebreakers is testament to his mental strength.

Nadal on the other hand:-
Tie-Breaks
60.9% (232-149)
Deciding Set Tie-Breaks
51.4% (18-17)

Deciding Set Tie Breaks record is an interesting one for Nadal.


Novak way better than Rafa at deciding set matches as well... as well as 5th set matches too.... better than Rafa at saving match points too... better than Rafa after taking the 1st set too....
Have u the stats for Majors? Because with Rafa there is a massive difference between what he does at Majors and 500 events...acapulco being a good example.

I have noticed Rafa loses alot of tie breaks in 500 events.
 

Eren

Semi-Pro
Those monumental victories against the likes of Safin, Philippoussis, Roddick, Gonzales, Hewitt, Cilic and Baghdatis put Federer way above the rest of the players in the poll in terms of mental toughness.
Djokovic's monumental victories against an old weak era inflater put Djokovic way above the rest of the players in the poll in terms of mental toughness ;)

If he was so mentally tough why did he lose 9 Slam finals already lol, Fedr as a choker has lost 11. Djokovic is coming close and what was his competition? Clay Courter Nadal, Weak era inflater Fraud (ROFL), Wawrinka (no explanation needed), Mugray lol.
 

Eren

Semi-Pro
Poll result: Djokovic.

Reality: Djoko is 2 away from Fed 11 slam finals lost.

Say what???
Yes and the only reason he is at 9 and not a historical choking 11 like Fedr and Lendl is because he has faced Rafael Nadal only twice in a FO final. If, however, he would have faced Nadal 4 times in a FO final between 05-14, 17-19 he would have had 11 RUs as well LOL.

Fedr has 4 FO finals against Nadal, Djokovic only two. That's the mentally strongest player in the history of tennis. losing to the likes of Wawrinka and Murray lol.
 
Young Nadal, peak Djokovic, prime Pete are all pretty close. Not old enough to have seen the older ATGs.

Mental peaks fluctuate just like physical ones though.
 

SaintPetros

Professional
I cannot really make a ranking, but I try to say something about anyone here.

Djokovic:
- Yes, he has proven it for the third time against Federer after 2 match points down. That is unprecedented in tennis history I think. I also remember many other tough situations he handled on his way to Slam titles.
- The only restriction is when he refuses to play serious tennis and is only interested in other things (discussions with referees or the crowd etc.) Then he is quite absent from the game and cannot activate his mental strength on the court (like in the Thiem match at RG, and even there he almost saved everything in the end).

Sampras:
- Despite being a fan and having watched many of his matches in my childhood and youth I must admit that I don’t remember that many close AND meaningful matches. He is way behind the big 3 in terms of being included in those matches, so it’s hard to judge. Many of his 5-setters were just early round struggles on clay or later in his career.
- His greatest remembered moments came when he was psychologically (crying at AO 1995) or physically (vomiting at US Open 1996) down and still somehow prevailed.
- He was generally great in quickly saving 0-30 or break point situations with service winners, but he could be shaky with the volley if it mattered most (for example against Federer 2001).
- He lacked the mentality of choosing the right shot selection on a court where attacking immediately wasn’t right. And it got worse when the match became closer with desperate chip-and-charge on clay etc.
- He would have never saved a decisive RETURN game in Djokovic style.
- All in all as I said, there are too few situations to really judge. It’s like Borg a bit mythical ("Sampras would just serve 5 aces when being 0-40 down to save a match, and if needed he even does it with the 2nd serve"). But where are these moments (apart from the one big match point save against Corretja 1996)?

Nadal:
- Absolutely great mental strength when the conditions generally favour him and he just has to come back into top form (like the 5th set against Djokovic at RG 2013).
- Significantly lesser when there is more needed than just bring his usual patterns back into play. If he tries to do something different, he tends to make crucial double faults or other mistakes. It was not only the strength of his opponents that he lost all those close grass matches in the last years.

Borg:
- It was before my time, but I have watched his Slam finals and a few other big matches on Youtube etc. Due to some occasions, especially the 1980 US Open final, I see his mental toughness as overrated (not so sure by which extent though).
- If we look at that match, he failed to serve out a set 3 times and hit crucial double faults in the 5th set. At a time he totally lost it and conceded 6 service games in a row! And that happened while trying to win the big title that eluded him. His mythical “ice-cold” mental toughness should have looked different.

Federer:
- Unfortunately he is shaky in tough situations, and visibly so. Some people will say ("but he has 20 Slams"). Yes, but he would have many more with ATG mental strength against big opponents. If mentality were just EVEN between him and Djokodal, he would have at least 25 Slams.
- Another kind of mentality is great though: He seems to have no doubt BETWEEN matches or before the start (or even after a loss he seems to always think he’ll beat that opponent next time). This is what some people call "arrogance", but I think with his abilities that is justified and it helped him a lot.
- He is quite good in beating lesser opponents after 0-2, IF none of the next 3 sets gets really close. Then he seems to just think: "Okay, I should beat that guy 3-0 anyway, so why not start now?" He also can turn it around from match point down against bigger chokers like Cilic or Monfils.

Laver:
- I cannot really say anything here, because there are very few of his matches watchable. But completing the CYGS 2 times (no matter how much 1962 really meant in the history of the game) and overcoming critical situations on the way definitely requires mental toughness.
He could be, but the Federer match is a bad example. He won the 4th set tiebreaker purely on mental strength as he was being outplayed in that set, and hit an outstanding backhand volley at one point in the tiebreaker that prompted Mac to say "that's a champion's volley". It was only in the last game of the match that he got tight, and that's probably because of how poorly he was playing throughout the match, the year, and Fed's incredible shotmaking.
 

SaintPetros

Professional
Those monumental victories against the likes of Safin, Philippoussis, Roddick, Gonzales, Hewitt, Cilic and Baghdatis put Federer way above the rest of the players in the poll in terms of mental toughness.
Don't forget Grandpa Agassi, toddler Murray, mercurial Soderling
 
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tonylg

Rookie
Borg is the winner here, by a looong way .. but the majority of posters here weren't born were still in nappies when he was playing.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Right now it's Djokovic but overall Nadal. Djokovic is mentally strong right now because he knows he is better than Federer or Nadal (outside clay) at this point in their careers. When they were all playing at their best, Nadal was stronger mentally than Djokovic. Nadal got beat many times by Djokovic (and vice versa) but never gave up the fight like Djokovic did in some very big matches including US Open 2013, RG 2014, US Open 2016 finals. Djokovic just threw in the towel in those matches.
 

N01E

Semi-Pro
Right now it's Djokovic but overall Nadal. Djokovic is mentally strong right now because he knows he is better than Federer or Nadal (outside clay) at this point in their careers. When they were all playing at their best, Nadal was stronger mentally than Djokovic. Nadal got beat many times by Djokovic (and vice versa) but never gave up the fight like Djokovic did in some very big matches including US Open 2013, RG 2014, US Open 2016 finals. Djokovic just threw in the towel in those matches.
He looked so good in those matches. I remember when he managed to even beat Janowicz losing only one set during that USO. Some of his second serves were even over 140 km/h

 

SaintPetros

Professional
You forgot to add Djokovic's great victories against Grandpa Fed, Clay Courter Nadal, Mugray, Wawrinka (oops)
According to this site, Grandpa Fed was an ATG, at least that's how his achieving number 1 at 35 was interpreted around here when it happened, so Novak's wins against a younger version of that Fed are even more monumental. Thanks for reminding me.
If Murray was "Mugray" when Novak beat him, what was his no-forehand, no confidence, no gameplan self when Fed beat him to win slams???!!!??!! Self-owned, ROFLMAO!!!!
Clay courter Nadal? You must be confused, that's who Fed beat from 2006-2007.
 

Eren

Semi-Pro
According to this site, Grandpa Fed was an ATG, at least that's how his achieving number 1 at 35 was interpreted around here when it happened, so Novak's wins against a younger version of that Fed are even more monumental. Thanks for reminding me.
If Murray was "Mugray" when Novak beat him, what was his no-forehand, no confidence, no gameplan self when Fed beat him to win slams???!!!??!! Self-owned, ROFLMAO!!!!
Clay courter Nadal? You must be confused, that's who Fed beat from 2006-2007.
Fedr is a weak era player, beating him means nothing, so go on.

EDIT: That's it? So Djokovic is great because he is beating a weak era inflater? Okay lol
 
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UnderratedSlam

Professional
Sampras was most clutch with that serve. Djokovic used to be the weakest of this group but has become the strongest. Nadal's intensity from point to point cannot be matched, but sometimes I wonder if he's TOO wound up and that hurts him. Borg quit as soon as things got tough, so I wouldn't even consider him in the same league.
Nadal has weakened considerably since 2014. Since then he has a spectacularly bad score vs Djokovic and Federer. Nadal used to be the toughest in this regard, now he is a shadow of his former self, despite still doing very well.

He used to step on the court knowing he'll beat Novak and Fed, but since 2014 he's been afraid of playing them.
 
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skaj

Hall of Fame
Nadal has weakened considerably since 2014. Since then he has a spectacularly bad score vs Djokovic and Federer. Nadal used to be the toughest in this regard, now he is a shadow of his former self, despite still doing very well.

He used to step on the court knowing he'll beat Novak and Fed, but since 2014 he's been afraid of playing them.
But this is not because of the mental toughness. He lost the edge in the physical sense(very important aspect of their game), that's why his head to head against them has changed.
Also being fearless and being mentally tough is not the same thing. It's what you do with the fear.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
Ivanesevic.
But against Ivanisevic you knew you were safe as long as you did your thing in your own service games. And if you were the better tennis player (and Sampras was that by a large margin), you also knew you will have an advantage in a tiebreak when every point counts.

Now compare that to having Djokovic as an opponent. You are just never save, no matter the result, no matter who serves, nothing.

I don’t need to be his fan to give him a compliment here. Even as a Federer fan I had a feeling for the greatness of the moment in all those 3 Grand Slam matches when Djokovic came back from match points down against him. And yes, Federer DID choke, but at least after the first time Djokovic will partly make you choke again (and again).
 

Pantera

Hall of Fame
Nadal clearly is mentally strongest as he has the best win/loss ratio in major finals.

Djokovic is very close to Nadal, his only area of weakness is USO where he definitely struggles in finals. I have some sympathy as it is always hostile against him and against Nadal that makes it very hard given how rock like nadal is, plus Nadal over performs in New York as he loves the celebrity circus as he is so charismatic so it feeds his ego.

Weakest is Federer without a doubt. He has choked more than any player in history.
 

Pantera

Hall of Fame
Sampras' mentality was barely ever tested...and even if it was, then not many times and by the likes of Courier and Agassi for the most part...
Hannover 1996 showed how granite like Sampras was. At the time Becker was best of all time indoors and he has 12k Germans rooting for him, and he was playing his best ever tennis...Sampras stilll won.
 

UnderratedSlam

Professional
Depends on what kind of toughness you're talking about?

Recovering from tough losses? Federer by a country mile.
That's because he's had so much practice at that... at recovering from tough losses. He gets routinely beaten at the biggest moments. His only shining moment in recent years was beating Nadal at AO in 5 sets, otherwise he lost everything to Novak, whenever the stakes were at their highest. That's 5 huge slam matches since 2012. Each time he had a lot to lose by losing and worlds to win by winning, yet he failed every time, and despite the fact that he was equal to Djokovic in 3 of those 5 matches.
 

King No1e

Legend
Disappointed at only 2 votes for the GOAT. If you listen to the AO commentators, they always seem to have a new story about Laver coming back from 2 sets down. He was known to subtly change tactics midway through matches that seemed lost, and come back with the win.
Martin Mulligan had match point on him during one of his CYGS years. Laver missed his 1st serve and decided to play the riskiest possible strategy, coming in behind his 2nd. The rest is history.
Meanwhile Djokovic tried that on match point vs Wawrinka at AO14. The rest is history.

But to rank them in order:
1. Laver
2. Nadal
3. Djokovic
3T. Sampras
5. Borg
6. Federer
 

xFedal

Legend
Disappointed at only 2 votes for the GOAT. If you listen to the AO commentators, they always seem to have a new story about Laver coming back from 2 sets down. He was known to subtly change tactics midway through matches that seemed lost, and come back with the win.
Martin Mulligan had match point on him during one of his CYGS years. Laver missed his 1st serve and decided to play the riskiest possible strategy, coming in behind his 2nd. The rest is history.
Meanwhile Djokovic tried that on match point vs Wawrinka at AO14. The rest is history.

But to rank them in order:
1. Laver
2. Nadal
3. Djokovic
3T. Sampras
5. Borg
6. Federer
Laver lost to Journeyman after completing the grandslam...
 

xFedal

Legend
And Djokovic lost to Journeyman after completing the Nole Slam.
And Federer lost to Journeyman after his most dominant Slam win at AO07.
Point?
LAVER LOST TO JOURNEYMEN IN SLAMS AFTER COMPLETING THE GRANDSLAM DAMN IT.... all the slams he participated in after the grandslam he couldn't even win 1 more..... that looks very bad.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
The way that I look at mental toughness is how well a guy does in tight matches where his opponent is playing as well as he is. If Mr. X won 30 slams, all without dropping a set, I wouldn't say that Mr. X. has extreme mental toughness. I'd say that he's simply way better than everybody else.

1. Laver-you have to be tough to win an amateur slam, a pro slam, and then an Open Era slam at the age of 31. This guy was clutch late in matches. He's the King of Clutch.
2. Borg- The Iceman was incredibly tough. This guy came back from 2 sets down often. His record in the 5th set of matches is remarkable. He earned his nickname.
3. Djokovic- this guy has only lost two matches in his career where he had match points. He also has a fantastic record in 5th sets. This guy is Mr. Clutch.
 

SaintPetros

Professional
1. PETE (do NOT want this guy facing you on match point on his serve)
2. Joe (do NOT want this guy facing you on match point on your serve)
3. GOAT (Laver, 'nuff said.)
4. Nadal (point for point, this dude takes the cake)
5. Borg (Called the Ice-man for a reason)

Prior to 2010 I woulda given Fed a place in my top 10, hell maybe even top 5 since he used to be the greatest frontrunner in history, but things have uh...changed
 
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SaintPetros

Professional
Those monumental victories against the likes of Safin, Philippoussis, Roddick, Gonzales, Hewitt, Cilic and Baghdatis put Federer way above the rest of the players in the poll in terms of mental toughness.
I could use the disdain in this post to fuel the spaceship for the first manned expedition to Mars. Thank you for pushing us into the 22nd century.
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
1. PETE (do NOT want this guy facing you on match point on his serve)
2. Joe (do NOT want this guy facing you on match point on your serve)
3. GOAT (Laver, 'nuff said.)
4. Nadal (point for point, this dude takes the cake)
5. Borg (Called the Ice-man for a reason)

Prior to 2010 I woulda given Fed a place in my top 10, hell maybe even top 5 since he used to be the greatest frontrunner in history, but things have uh...changed
Who is Joe?
 

xFedal

Legend
Borg was amazing, couldn't do it on hards though.
Give Pete 3/4 majors on grass please.
Pete was the hardest player to beat at WIMBLEDON at his PEAK/PRIME.....Prime ended 1999...... 2000 he was fortunate and on his last legs ....... But I think PEAK HOAD was the most impressive grass courter.....@Dan Lobb
 
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