Who else thought Rafa would finish the year No. 2???

timmyboy

Professional
VamosRafa said:
I may agree with you if he was 24 or 25. Given what he's accomplished at age 18/19, it's hard to overestimate his potential. Most players who enjoy such success at that age go on to have great careers. The odds are in his favor, and time is on his side. He has to play more than 2 Wimbly's and 3 U.S. Opens, all as a teenager, before we conclude he's mincemeat at either event.

BTW, Rafa's knees are recovered. What kept him out of Shanghai was acute arthritis in an area of his left foot. He is being treated for that, and expects to be back training on December 5. That injury was not as serious as originally thought.
look at Chaeng though. a couple titles including a frech when he was 16, and then sorta just... went away. and in my opinion, chang had tougher competition than Nadal.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
timmyboy said:
look at Chaeng though. a couple titles including a frech when he was 16, and then sorta just... went away. and in my opinion, chang had tougher competition than Nadal.
Did Chang really go away? He didn't win another major, but check your stats?
 
VamosRafa said:
That was my point. And although many people want to say Nadal is a Chang, I just don't see it. They are both known for their speed and tenacity, but Nadal has much more firepower, is taller and is a lefty. And although Nadal has to compete with Federer; Chang had to compete with Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Rafter, Martin and others. I think Nadal is at least in the Courier category, if not better. Time will tell -- as his career is just beginning.
Just curious if you consider an unfocused Agassi(years 93, 96, 97, 2000 this would apply, 98 he was commited but it took a full year to get back to top level form again so add that year too), Todd Martin, Patrick Rafter, and Courier(atleast Courier after 1992)better players than Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, and even an aging Agassi currently are? I am not saying which is right, just curious based on the context of your statement.

One thing some might also point out is Nadal won his first Grand Slam at the French Open, so might be just a "clay courter" to the extent of winning Slam titles even with his Masters wins on hard courts; but Wilander and Borg were teenagers who both won their first slams at the French Open, and were considered first and foremost to have a clay-court oriented game as well, and we saw how great both were on other surfaces as well.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
federerhoogenbandfan said:
Just curious if you consider an unfocused Agassi(years 93, 96, 97, 2000 this would apply, 98 he was commited but it took a full year to get back to top level form again so add that year too), Todd Martin, Patrick Rafter, and Courier(atleast Courier after 1992)better players than Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, and even an aging Agassi currently are? I am not saying which is right, just curious based on the context of your statement.

One thing some might also point out is Nadal won his first Grand Slam at the French Open, so might be just a "clay courter" to the extent of winning Slam titles even with his Masters wins on hard courts; but Wilander and Borg were teenagers who both won their first slams at the French Open, and were considered first and foremost to have a clay-court oriented game as well, and we saw how great both were on other surfaces as well.
Rafa's career is just beginning. We don't have the luxury of hindsight with him, as we do with the others. We can only look at his remarkable career to date.

Which would be remarkable in most years. Federer won 11 titles this year, and 11 titles last year. Rafa won that this year as well. Who else has done that in recent years???

As one media source said, Federer is making 11 titles look common-place. I guess Rafa isn't helping that any. And to be honest, without Rafa, Fed likely would have at least one more.

Rafa played his first Roland Garros and won it. Perhaps it was good luck, rather than bad luck, that allowed him to win it in his debut. Some folks were picking him to win it in 2003. If he had played before, he may have disappointed and reached the second and third round, and then be declared a claycourt dud -- as he has been declared on hardcourts and grasscourts.

But he's young, he'll rebound -- hopefully on ace. ;-)
 

kbg

Rookie
The reason I disagree is that at age 18/19, no player is complete. He is still learning and improving. And for Rafa to win RG, on his first try no less, and to dominate clay and co-dominate the Masters events at age 18/19, and win 11 titles in one year, says something about his present skill level, while saying nothing about what he'll be at his peak level

With all due respect, Safin, Hewitt and Federer were missing from the draws of the hardcourt MS that he did win. Winning a hardcourt semifinal against Lleyton Hewitt is way more impressive than taking out David Ferrer or an aging Andre Agassi. And don't forget, his losses to Tomas Berdych and James Blake also say a lot about his present skill level.

I think with the distribution of points right now, Nadal's number 2 standing is somewhat overinflated. Does anybody honestly believe that this guy is second only to Federer when you look at Nadal's other Slam results this year and how many of his points come from a dependency on clay? In my mind Lleyton Hewitt is the real #2 player in the world, it's just that his limited schedule and his misfortune of running into Fed means his ranking took a dive.
 

SydW

Rookie
kbg said:
The reason I disagree is that at age 18/19, no player is complete. He is still learning and improving. And for Rafa to win RG, on his first try no less, and to dominate clay and co-dominate the Masters events at age 18/19, and win 11 titles in one year, says something about his present skill level, while saying nothing about what he'll be at his peak level

With all due respect, Safin, Hewitt and Federer were missing from the draws of the hardcourt MS that he did win. Winning a hardcourt semifinal against Lleyton Hewitt is way more impressive than taking out David Ferrer or an aging Andre Agassi. And don't forget, his losses to Tomas Berdych and James Blake also say a lot about his present skill level.

I think with the distribution of points right now, Nadal's number 2 standing is somewhat overinflated. Does anybody honestly believe that this guy is second only to Federer when you look at Nadal's other Slam results this year and how many of his points come from a dependency on clay? In my mind Lleyton Hewitt is the real #2 player in the world, it's just that his limited schedule and his misfortune of running into Fed means his ranking took a dive.
No such thing as real #2 or not. Nadal earned his no.2 this year and don't forget he did give Hewitt a very tough match in AO and I will not be at all surprise if he does well in coming AO but I do agree he still has lots to prove on surfaces other than clay till then he is not ready to take over Federer no1(please don't jump in and tell me he is only 19 and where was Federer at 19 here VamosRafa). Tennis is very much a mental game and Nadal has it although it will be interesting to see if he also has it to defend a great year like this next.
 

kbg

Rookie
There's a reason why I'm quite skeptical of Nadal's #2 ranking and why I think that it's inflated. Look at this list of eleven titles that everybody keeps going on and on about:

1. Feb 14, 2005 Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil Clay Alberto Martín
2. Feb 21, 2005 Acapulco, Mexico Clay Álbert Montañés
3. Apr 17, 2005 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Guillermo Coria
4. Apr 24, 2005 Barcelona, Spain Clay Juan Carlos Ferrero
5. May 2, 2005 Rome, Italy Clay Guillermo Coria
6. Jun 5, 2005 French Open, Paris, France Clay Mariano Puerta
7. Jul 4, 2005 Båstad, Sweden Clay Tomas Berdych
8. Jul 18, 2005 Stuttgart, Germany Clay Gaston Gaudio
9. Aug 14, 2005 Montréal, Canada Hard Andre Agassi
10. Sep 18, 2005 Beijing, China Hard Guillermo Coria
11. Oct 23, 2005 Madrid, Spain Hard (I) Ivan Ljubicic

There are 9 claycourt titles and 3 hardcourt titles. Not surprisingly, the three hardcourt titles were also the ones with severely depleted draws, and one of the finals played against a claycourt specialist.

Nadal's official #2 ranking proves his proficiency on a particular surface but in my mind it's not a reflection of his skill level in comparison to the other players in the top 5 when you take him out of clay. Which is why I say that Hewitt is "the real #2" this year--because he doesn't turn into a pumpkin when you take him out of his favorite surface.
 

SydW

Rookie
kbg said:
There's a reason why I'm quite skeptical of Nadal's #2 ranking and why I think that it's inflated. Look at this list of eleven titles that everybody keeps going on and on about:

1. Feb 14, 2005 Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil Clay Alberto Martín
2. Feb 21, 2005 Acapulco, Mexico Clay Álbert Montañés
3. Apr 17, 2005 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Guillermo Coria
4. Apr 24, 2005 Barcelona, Spain Clay Juan Carlos Ferrero
5. May 2, 2005 Rome, Italy Clay Guillermo Coria
6. Jun 5, 2005 French Open, Paris, France Clay Mariano Puerta
7. Jul 4, 2005 Båstad, Sweden Clay Tomas Berdych
8. Jul 18, 2005 Stuttgart, Germany Clay Gaston Gaudio
9. Aug 14, 2005 Montréal, Canada Hard Andre Agassi
10. Sep 18, 2005 Beijing, China Hard Guillermo Coria
11. Oct 23, 2005 Madrid, Spain Hard (I) Ivan Ljubicic

There are 9 claycourt titles and 3 hardcourt titles. Not surprisingly, the three hardcourt titles were also the ones with severely depleted draws, and one of the finals played against a claycourt specialist.

Nadal's official #2 ranking proves his proficiency on a particular surface but in my mind it's not a reflection of his skill level in comparison to the other players in the top 5 when you take him out of clay. Which is why I say that Hewitt is "the real #2" this year--because he doesn't turn into a pumpkin when you take him out of his favorite surface.
Yes all true but he is not exactly that cluelss on other surfaces except perharps grass. He did beat Ivan the then hottest player on his favourite surface in Madrid. We also know he was very close to beating Federer in Miami and Hewitt at AO. Hewitt hardly even show up 2nd half of the year, you cannot say he is the real no2 when he had skipped half of the year.
 

kbg

Rookie
Hewitt hardly even show up 2nd half of the year, you cannot say he is the real no2 when he had skipped half of the year.

My point exactly. He didn't show up half the year and he still finished #4. And when he did show up, he went very deep at every tournament. If he hadn't lost to Fed this year he was in a good position to win Wimbledon and the US Open too. You can't say the same for Nadal who, the rankings dictate, is supposedly a superior player.

Everything will settle down again next year, I'm sure.
 

SydW

Rookie
kbg said:
My point exactly. He didn't show up half the year and he still finished #4. And when he did show up, he went very deep at every tournament. If he hadn't lost to Fed this year he was in a good position to win Wimbledon and the US Open too. You can't say the same for Nadal who, the rankings dictate, is supposedly a superior player.
But you disregard the huge gap among the top 5 players. He may be still no.4 but the distant with the top 2 is big. No If, why not if Nadal did close off the win in Miami vs Federer?

Nadal cannot beat players who didn't show up, you discrediting his titles because the draw is weak has as much flaws as saying Hewitt will be no.2 if he didn't miss the half year.
 

kbg

Rookie
Look SydW, I just have a very different way of interpreting the situation from you. Obviously, you think that Nadal is the second best player in the world using the ATP ranking system. And just as obvious, I'm offering another opinion, saying that there are other players better than him who, by dint of constantly playing Fed and being unproficient on clay, have not been able to accrue as many points. Maybe we can agree to disagree amiably?


It's like, say, Nikolay Davydenko having a higher ranking than Marat Safin. Because he's #5 in the world does it mean that Davydenko is a better player than Marat, a two-time Grand Slam winner? No, it doesn't, because Marat was injured for most of the year. Roddick has 5 titles this year but does it make him a better player than Marat, a GS winner who took out an in-form Federer on hardcourt and stretched him to three close sets on grass this year? Or what about when Roddick was year-end #1 in '03 even though he had his butt thoroughly kicked by Fed?

The numbers are a reflection of a player's performance throughout the year and I'm saying that Nadal performed well because a) half the tour is played on clay and b) the other members of the Big Four were sidelined with injuries, babies and losing points from previous performances the year before whereas he has nothing to defend. Numbers can be really deceiving, they don't really take into account all the intangibles/hypotheticals.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
kbg, if it's so easy for a guy who is 18/19 to amass 11 titles in one year, including a slam, why aren't more of them doing it?

The only one who is coming close right now is Fed, and we all know how good he is.

If Hewitt was the real No. 2 this year, he would be it, or he would be close to it. He isn't.

Hewitt is 37-9 this year, with 1 title, and Rafa is 79-10, with 11, and you think that Hewitt is the real No. 2????

Go figure.

And Hewitt didn't start this year No. 51 in the world. I think that makes Rafa's year-end finish even more impressive.
 

kbg

Rookie
VamosRafa, what do you think Nadal's ranking would be if more of the tour was played on grass? Or fast hardcourt? Like, say, 80% of the tour.

Could you honestly say that he'd beat Hewitt, Roddick and Safin on a surface that isn't clay or slower than molasses? He couldn't even beat James Blake. Even his uncle Toni said that Rafa isn't in the top 15 when it comes to faster surfaces.

I'll take the guy who won Wimbledon and the US Open over the kid any day.

Put it this way: I'd put my money on Hewitt making it to the second week of a non-clay slam than Nadal at this point.
 

Noelle

Hall Of Fame
kbg said:
VamosRafa, what do you think Nadal's ranking would be if more of the tour was played on grass?
But it's not.

Hypotheticals are a difficult way of determining who excels at a sport. The rankings system is a concrete way of determining who played the best within a given year. Some of who you consider "better" players were injured and couldn't play and thus couldn't maintain ranking, we'll acknowledge that. But you can't say Hewitt is "the real #2" because we really don't know what would have happened anyway if he had been able to play a full season this year. He just wasn't able to cut it in actuality and that's what the rankings tell us. Same goes for Safin.
 

kbg

Rookie
Rankings are never "concrete", they're always theoretical. On paper the second seed shouldn't lose to an unseeded player or a lower-seeded player yet it happens all the time. I think a large part of the problem too is that rankings don't take into account the results for specific surfaces.

And to harp for a little bit on Hewitt's W/L record this year, I believe 5 of those came from Federer, 1 from Safin, 1 from Roddick, 1 from Nalbandian. (Can't account for the other one.)

Whereas Nadal lost to Hewitt, Blake, Muller, Berdych, Hrbaty. Decidedly a second-tier group on surfaces that aren't clay.
 

janipyt05

Professional
Noelle said:
But it's not.

Hypotheticals are a difficult way of determining who excels at a sport. The rankings system is a concrete way of determining who played the best within a given year. Some of who you consider "better" players were injured and couldn't play and thus couldn't maintain ranking, we'll acknowledge that. But you can't say Hewitt is "the real #2" because we really don't know what would have happened anyway if he had been able to play a full season this year. He just wasn't able to cut it in actuality and that's what the rankings tell us. Same goes for Safin.
well said i second that :D
 

Noelle

Hall Of Fame
kbg said:
Rankings are never "concrete", they're always theoretical.
They're more stable than interpretations of a player's talent (which are subjective vary from person to person). Ranking is based off the points earned from reaching certain rounds of a tournament, regardless of whether the player's overachieved OR underachieved for his level of talent.
 

kbg

Rookie
Ok, believe what you want but don't say I didn't warn you when he goes out to some Big Four member or other top 30 player in the early stages of a non-clay/non Rebound Ace Slam.

Agassi's view on things, or the way points are awarded with the proliferation of claycourts. And this was already a problem in '94. He'd just bagelled some claycourter at the year end championships.

Q. That is the second point. This is a case in point, in your opinion, how the ratings are compiled?

ANDRE AGASSI: I personally don't feel like he should be able to play a bunch of small clay court tournaments to get your ranking high enough to come into an event. I know a lot of guys that I'd rather not play over Alberto on a surface like this, but I mean, it is easy to ***** about the problems. To come up with the solution is something that I think the ATP is responsible for, and hopefully they are making some progress. I think they are talking about a new way of ranking, so it is not quite as easy just to play 35 tournaments.


Q. You really feel he doesn't have a place here, Andre, in a sense?

ANDRE AGASSI: He has a place here under the system because he is here - period. He does have a place here. He has a 7th place here. But I am just saying that, you know, you shouldn't be playing small clay court tournaments right before you come here. I don't believe that that is the way the Tour should be structured. There is something not right about that. Todd Martin I played twice in Stockholm and in Paris, and, you know, a guy like that is out there, you know, playing the big tournaments; playing all the surfaces and doing as best, you know, to make it, and I mean, I think it is great that Alberto is great on clay and I know he is, but there should be some stipulation as to the different surfaces that you have to play, and certain penalties for, you know, you just can't play 35 tournaments and take your best 14. I don't like that.
 

Noelle

Hall Of Fame
There is ALWAYS a chance, however small, for upsets. (I'm talking about Federer too, you know.)

I'm no Nadal fan, by the way (I'd rather that Roddick finished at #2, but it's just not possible with his performance relative to Federer's or Nadal's). I'm just tired of the talk about "who's the REAL #2?" that happens every year.
 

rhubarb

Hall of Fame
kbg said:
Ok, believe what you want but don't say I didn't warn you when he goes out to some Big Four member or other top 30 player in the early stages of a non-clay/non Rebound Ace Slam.
...which is what Roddick did this year in the clay/fast hardcourt slams. Doesn't disqualify him from being considered a top player, does it, so why would it apply differently to Nadal?
 
I wont say Nadal was lucky to win this events neccessarily, but I will say it will be interesting to see him play the top players on surfaces other than clay-Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, more often in the coming year. The way the draws worked out this year it did not happen, it is not Nadal's fault though that Hewitt could not stay healthy, Roddick fell victim to upsets in alot of events he was in Nadal's path, and Safin is a headcase who also had bad luck with injuries this year. Federer was the only one he played a fair number of times-2-this year. I guess you could point out his one match with Agassi. If Nalbandian emerges even stronger next year it will be interesting to see he and Nadal play too.
 

Rataplan

Semi-Pro
Nadal earned his number 2 ranking by winning a lot of matches. Simple fact. The ATP ranking is what it is. Nadal could not exactly pick and select his opponents. It's just the same as any other player out there.
Like the poster above says: it's not Nadal's fault that one player hardly showed up in the second part of the season, that another player fell victim to upsets, that the next player wasn't as consistent as he is. Being able to be consistent is part of what it takes to be a top player. Every single player has periods of what you could perceive as good luck and bad luck.

Hewitt was able to get to number 1 by gaining less points in a season than Nadal has earned within this season (and it's not just Hewitt who got to number one with less points than the total amount that Nadal has gathered in one year). Was that luck for Hewitt & co and bad luck for Nadal?

Hewitt did what he had to do to get to number 1 and Nadal has to try and get to number one or at least try to hold on to a top ranking in a time when a masterful Federer is competing.

As far as the future is concerned: using a lot of IF's and BUT's is all nice and fantastic but it doesn't have a lot to do with reality. We'll see what happens.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
kbg's post with the Agassi interview is a good point. Nadal played a lot of claycourt tournaments. I went into detail in another post with respect to the quality of opponent he faced. The average world ranking Nadal faced was considerably lower than the same for Federer. This, as Agassi indicates, would substantiate that playing "a bunch of small clay court tournaments" can skew the ranking of a player. The same hoopla surrounded Muster a few years ago. Let me note right here that I understand and acknowledge that Nadal had nothing to do with the other players who entered the tournament, but the competition he bested was not as highly ranked as Federer's. And, Federer is the name for comparison that keeps getting thrown around in these threads.

This is not to say that Nadal is not a great player. However, his coming out party is over now. The down side of all his success from 2005 is that he has to defend these points in 2006. I think that will be a harder task for him. I also think he'll have to do better on other surfaces to legitimize any ranking that he has. In other words, being #2 based primarily on clay court results isn't going to make a career for him. He'll have to at least be respectable in the grasscourt season and do even better during the US hardcourt season all the way through 2007 Australian. I'm not saying he won't do it, but this is the task ahead of him in 2006. IMO, Nadal needs to reach at least the 4th round at Wimbledon this year, and the Quarters next if he's to be mentioned in the same breath with other phenoms. To be mentioned with the greats, he's got to win at least 6 Grand Slams. So, IMO, we're still about 4 years away from even being close to this, given that Nadal can win 2 Slams in at least one year. He's got Federer to contend with and anyone who comes up in the future, so this may be more daunting task than some realize. Add to that the realization that the other pros will figure out how to play him, ala Roddick, and his results may not be as good in the future. And finally, it would take a superhuman effort to maintain the type of intensity that he had in 2005 for his entire career.

I think a good indication will be his 2006 Australian Open tournament. This surface should suit him even better than the DecoTurf II since it has higher bounces and slows the ball some. If he does well at the Oz, it might bode well for him if he can keep the injury monster away.

Hell, I hope he wins the Oz. He wins the Oz, I win a set of natural gut.
 

NalboRulz

New User
Rabbit said:
This is not to say that Nadal is not a great player. However, his coming out party is over now. The down side of all his success from 2005 is that he has to defend these points in 2006. I think that will be a harder task for him. I also think he'll have to do better on other surfaces to legitimize any ranking that he has. In other words, being #2 based primarily on clay court results isn't going to make a career for him. He'll have to at least be respectable in the grasscourt season and do even better during the US hardcourt season all the way through 2007 Australian.
Why, oh why do people feel the need to doubt great players who don't fit their own homemade standard of what a great player is?

Look, the tennis season is what it is and so are the rankings. All sports have variable conditions, and they all have a specific awards/championship/points system which some like and some don't, but the rules are what they are and are the same for everybody. Back to tennis, any player can enter any surface he wants, and it's pretty obvious Nadal is the best clay courter today. Still, it's particularly unfair to hit him for "lack of diversity" since he had a very strong end of season showing at hard surfaces. The guy won 11 tournaments -11 ! And he is still doubted because he is not a great grass court player? As Hewitt the Grass Guy would say, c'mawn !!! By applying the same narrow-minded criteria, wouldn't Sampras be an incomplete player because he sucked on clay? Shouldn't we say he never deserved to be #1?
 
I think am not a big Nadal fan by any means, but I think his doubters will be in for a rude awakening in 2006 and beyond. This kid is the real deal, he still may be overrated by some people who say he can even win Wimbledon right now(he cant, probably not atleast for another couple years, or atleast until adapting certain parts of his game while playing on grass), however he has the talent, intensity, hunger, work ethic, and skills to stay at the very top, continue to be the guy to beat at the French, continue to challenge for Masters titles on hard courts, and contend for slam titles on hard courts as well. Players like Roddick and Hewitt will have a time time ever getting over him again, they already seem to have maxed out their abilities in alot of ways, Hewitt especialy, while Nadal still can grow and develop. The player who might benefit from having more opportunity to play him to figure out his game is Federer, Hewitt has won all his meetings with Nadal so understands his game quite well, it is Nadal who is getting closer to figuring out how to beat Hewitt based on their Australian Open match IMO, Roddick and Nadal have not played since 2004 and their two matches were a green Nadal on hard courts in the U.S, and Nadal vs Roddick in Spain on clay, both rather obscure situations to what a meeting between them now would be, so it is not as if Roddick has been able to learn much up to now how to play him.

I think he will learn from the scare near the end of the year of getting injured, and the brief fear it might force him to miss a longer period of time.
He will learn to be careful with scheduling, and how to take the right precautions in physical training and preparations, to mantain his great intensity and work ethic, without overworking and causing injuries.

The players most likely to give Nadal the hardest time in the near future are Federer, and Berdych who is the most likely of the other up and comers to crack the upper echelon soon IMHO. Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Gasquet, Monfils, Nalbandian, Ljubicic, all have a huge challenge, not impossable for some of them, but huge nonetheless, ahead of them to keep up with Nadal.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
NalboRulz said:
Why, oh why do people feel the need to doubt great players who don't fit their own homemade standard of what a great player is?

-- followed by this double-standard comment
--​

... wouldn't Sampras be an incomplete player because he sucked on clay?
Nadal is the best clay courter today. Still, it's particularly unfair to hit him for "lack of diversity" since he had a very strong end of season showing at hard surfaces....
He had a "pretty good" hard court showing. I think "very strong" is a bit over-stated.

And as Rabbit already pointed out ... the other guys will be gunning for Rafa in '06. Nadal has impressed me (Okay ... "surprised me") with his more-rapid-than-I-expected adaptation to hard courts. Let's have fun seeing who else will rise to the top this coming year....

- KK
 

Brettolius

Professional
Nadal will NEVER win Wimbledon. He won't do it. And while it's true that he can't choose who he plays, he CAN choose to play tourney's other than the small South American clay events that are happening at the same time. I'm curious, out of the 11 titles he one this year, how many weren't smallish clay events?
 

rhubarb

Hall of Fame
One grand slam, two clay masters, the biggest optional clay tournament, one outdoor hardcourt masters, one indoor hardcourt masters, one small outdoor hardcourt tournament. So that leaves four "small" claycourt tournaments (two Latin American in Feb, two European in July).

He is not playing the Latin American claycourt tournies next year.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
And I would just point out that he played those two smallish South American clay events in February because his ranking was No. 50ish and he wanted to improve that ranking so he would be seeded at Roland Garros. So playing them kind of made a lot of sense at the time. ;-)
 

timmyboy

Professional
VamosRafa said:
Did Chang really go away? He didn't win another major, but check your stats?
k fine. go away wasn't the right term. i'm just saying, i think nadal might win more majors, but i seriously doubt that he can win on the faster surfaces, at least for the next 2 years, unless he creates a different game for fast courts. I think his carreer is what we all expected of chang when he was 16.
 

PollACk

New User
nadal

To me it feels like nadal just sorta poped out of nowhere, but that may just be me. Anyway i think Nadal will cont to be domient on clay next year. As for his chances on hard surfaces ...well he will be good but nothing like Rog.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
More info on Rafa's plans for 2006. This is translated from Spanish from elmundo-eldia.com.

BTW, Rafel is the Mallorcan spelling of Rafa's name.

Rafel Will Not Play In Spanish National Masters

It was an open secret. Rafel Nadal will not play in the Tennis National Masters which will be played in Valladolid over the next weekend in the Polideportivo Pisuerga. Toni Nadal, confirmed yesterday that they do not want to risk with the recovery of the Mallorcan tennis player. "We are not going to force, so the first match will be, possibly, the one in Chennai", the world number two's uncle explained. Therefore, Rafel Nadal would return to the competition as of 3 of January in India.

The loss of Nadal in Valladolid does not do more than to confirm that the planning of the season will be very different from the last campaign. The physical problems derived from the fatigue forces Nadal to think very well which are the matches he must go to. The player recognizes that his objective is to be number one, although his uncle and trainer recognizes that he has an uphill task. "He cannot be number one because Federer is quite superior. Although it is necessary to work to obtain it someday, because Rafel can continue improving", explained Toni Nadal. The trainer of the Mallcorcan tennis player praised the tribute that the town of Manacor had made for his two relatives. "It must be a sensational day for them. Rafel very will be moved, although I suppose that he's not as nervous as he was when he won the Roland Garros. That yes, it is always nice to receive the support of your own people", he said.
 

kbg

Rookie
I think Kaptain Karl raises a good point that people just can't compare Nadal to Federer. For all that Nadal has accomplished the fact is right now he's nowhere near the league of Federer, just as Federer is nowhere near Sampras at this present time. Yeah, so Fed didn't win as many titles when he was 19 but so what? The fact remains that his current accomplishments still outshine Nadal's by a very very very wide margin. It annoys me when Nadal fans keep saying that Nadal is an equal of Fed's when the fact of the matter is that he isn't even the equal of Guga or Hewitt and Safin as this point, let alone Federer.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
kbg said:
I think Kaptain Karl raises a good point that people just can't compare Nadal to Federer. For all that Nadal has accomplished the fact is right now he's nowhere near the league of Federer, just as Federer is nowhere near Sampras at this present time. Yeah, so Fed didn't win as many titles when he was 19 but so what? The fact remains that his current accomplishments still outshine Nadal's by a very very very wide margin. It annoys me when Nadal fans keep saying that Nadal is an equal of Fed's when the fact of the matter is that he isn't even the equal of Guga or Hewitt and Safin as this point, let alone Federer.
I don't think anyone here said he was Fed's equal. I agree that we can't compare them right now -- Fed is almost 5 years older than Rafa. He has a lot more experience than Rafa, and has, of course, had more time to amass titles -- as have Kuerten, Hewitt and Safin. It will be interesting to see where Rafa's career is at in 5 years.
 

Rataplan

Semi-Pro
I don't think that a lot of people are claiming that Rafael Nadal is on the same level as Federer, actually.

Applauding his achievements in 2005 and looking back at this amazing year he has had at his young age is NOT the same thing as claiming that he is on the same level as Fed. Of course Federer is head and shoulders above the rest most of the time and yes, people are aware that a good season 2005 is not a garantee for a great 2006.:rolleyes:

It's silly to assume that Rafael Nadal - at this stage in his career at least - can compete with Federer on every possible level.
At the same time, it's also rather pointless to me to always feel the need to remind people of the supremacy of Fed ("how dare people compare Rafael with Federer") whenever people say something positive about Nadal.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
VamosRafa said:
I don't think anyone here said he was Fed's equal. I agree that we can't compare them right now -- Fed is almost 5 years older than Rafa. He has a lot more experience than Rafa, and has, of course, had more time to amass titles -- as have Kuerten, Hewitt and Safin. It will be interesting to see where Rafa's career is at in 5 years.
The difference between Federer and Nadal has been and will always be the ability to play on faster surfaces. Nadal is not scared of them, doesn't complain about them (Uncle Tony handles that department), but IMO will never have the results on them. Federer may suffer the same fate as Sampras, he'll win all of the other Grand Slams and never the French. Nadal may suffer the same fate as Breguera and Kuerten and win the French and nothing else. If I had to bet right now, I'd bet on Nadal winning 2 more French titles and one Australian. I think there are too many floaters right now, like Dent, who could take Nadal out on a faster surface.

I think the next wave of players coming up will produce a player or players who are more in the mold of Federer. The pendulum may be begun its return trip.
 
Bruguera and Kuerten did not win two Masters events on fast hard court/indoor courts, and come within 2 points of a straight set win in a Masters final on even slower-paced hard courts, at the age of 19. I would be surprised if Nadal did not win more than 1 Australian, and atleast 1 U.S Open in his career.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
And Nadal has not had the clay court success that these two had. Point being, there's a lot of tennis left to play. IMO, he doesn't have a great chance at success in the faster Slams, IYO, he does. We'll see.
 
he can really compete at the Aussie open and will defend the french he wants to get better he dealt with aggassi and ivan he will sooon challenge fed on all surfaces
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
Rabbit said:
And Nadal has not had the clay court success that these two had. Point being, there's a lot of tennis left to play. IMO, he doesn't have a great chance at success in the faster Slams, IYO, he does. We'll see.
Sorry to keep repeating myself, but it seems necessary. We can look at Kuerten and Bruguera's careers in hindsight. If both careers had stopped when they were age 19, 6 months -- Rafa's current age -- I think the consensus would be that Rafa's career is greater. And certainly the same would be said of Rafa's career vs. Roger's, if Roger had stopped playing at the same age. In fact, it would be Roger Who?

To say that Rafa will never be good on faster surfaces is a bit short-sighted given how well he did on faster surfaces this past year. His Montreal and Madrid titles were no flukes. He has things to improve certainly, but the fact that he has been able to post these type of results notwithstanding these "liabilities" is a testament to how good he really is -- and to the "intangible" aspects of his game that separate the good from the great. And he's only going to get better.
 

Hops

Rookie
federerhoogenbandfan said:
Bruguera and Kuerten did not win two Masters events on fast hard court/indoor courts, and come within 2 points of a straight set win in a Masters final on even slower-paced hard courts, at the age of 19.

throwing out the 'age 19', Guga did win Cinci and indoor MC at Lisbon. Players who reached final at all four North American hardcourt MS:

Agassi
Kuerten
Chang
Edberg
Federer
Sampras

granted Kuerten made final only once at each event, but it's still good company for supposed claycourter.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
VamosRafa said:
Sorry to keep repeating myself, but it seems necessary. We can look at Kuerten and Bruguera's careers in hindsight. If both careers had stopped when they were age 19, 6 months -- Rafa's current age -- I think the consensus would be that Rafa's career is greater. And certainly the same would be said of Rafa's career vs. Roger's, if Roger had stopped playing at the same age. In fact, it would be Roger Who?

To say that Rafa will never be good on faster surfaces is a bit short-sighted given how well he did on faster surfaces this past year. His Montreal and Madrid titles were no flukes. He has things to improve certainly, but the fact that he has been able to post these type of results notwithstanding these "liabilities" is a testament to how good he really is -- and to the "intangible" aspects of his game that separate the good from the great. And he's only going to get better.
No, you clearly don't need to repeat yourself.

However, I can just as easily say that had we compared Chang at 16 and Nadal at 16 than Chang was the better player. Likewise, Borg and Wilander both won their first Grand Slam at 17, the French. You're doing the same thing by taking a snapshot of one year. Nadal's year at 17 was nowhere near as good as Borg's or Wilander's. Now, all of a sudden you want to take '05 and extrapolate it into some comparison against the all-time greats. There is no arguing that Nadal had a great year. The test is going to be whether he can do so on a consistent basis against the world's best. Nadal's number of wins in '05 was the same as Federer's. I keep repeating this, but the problem is, Nadal didn't play the same class of competition that Federer did, so your headline may be a bit skewed.

If you read my post, I clearly state that Nadal has a lot of tennis left to play. Further, and history is on my side here, after their first great year, players find it harder and harder to maintain the same level. The rest of the field figures out what they do well and what they don't do well. Most players find it more difficult to repeat than to do it the first time. Defending points is tougher than earning them. Nadal's tactics won't be as fresh against the field next year. Nadal will begin to feel the pressure that he didn't as a teenager. His injuries may start to creep up on him. The latest example was Andy Roddick. He had a great '03 winning every hardcourt event in site and has tapered off since. The field figured him out. Roddick has been the most blatant example of someone trying to find a formula.

Pete Sampras, after winning the U.S. Open at 19 said he felt a tremendous amount of pressure, more than when he won it. I remember that so clearly because of Jim Courier's response. Courier said "What pressure? If the guy quit today, he'd never have to work a day in his life!"

I'm not denigrating Nadal's year. But, like the argument's of Federer being GOAT, I think you're a bit premature. Nadal may go on to great things, or he could fall of the face of the tennis earth. We have to wait and see. I don't think he'll have as good an '06 as he did '05. Statistically, it's nearly impossible to do. We'll see.
 
Rabbit said:
The latest example was Andy Roddick. He had a great '03 winning every hardcourt event in site and has tapered off since. The field figured him out. Roddick has been the most blatant example of someone trying to find a formula.
This is true, but keep in mind Roddick still was World #2 in 2004, and World #3 in 2005. That is still staying very much at the top of the game IMHO(although my personal belief is his movement will continue to be downward, but that is another topic) He did not win another slam, but was the victim of Federer's unbelievable play, and some inspired opponents in a few quarterfinals (Johansson in the 2004 U.S Opens quarters, and Safin in the 2004 Australian Open quarters both played some sick tennis, and those matches were exceptional quality). I wouldnt say he went sharply downhill after his 2003 season, just found it hard to quite mantain the same dominance he had the summer of 2003. It seems pretty clear had it not been for a Federer-caliber player Roddick would have won atleast a couple more slams those two years, and still be fighting for #1. Nadal does not have an opponent on clay that poses the same obstacle to him, that Federer does to Roddick on faster hard courts and grass. Coria on clay is great, but not the equilavent of Federer on faster surfaces. Also with Nadal's game being better suited to rebound ace, and the slower hard court events, and Federer, Hewitt, and Roddick all prefering the faster surfaces, this provides Nadal with more opportunity on those as well.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Rabbit said:
I think the next wave of players coming up will produce a player or players who are more in the mold of Federer. The pendulum may [have] begun its return trip.
I hope! I hope!

(The numerous baseline blasters bore me.)

- KK
 

Deuce

Banned
Arguing with Susan over Nadal is like arguing with Henry Ford about Ford cars.

When there is such an obvious bias and utter lack of objectivity, argument - even discussion - is absolutely futile.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
Unfortunately for Deuce and everyone else here my contract with Nadal has been renewed. ;-)

Rabbit, I appreciate your points, but I think it's more wishful thinking than anything else. Yes, some of the things you cited could happen to him. But they also may not. He obviously is a big match player, and if he stays healthy, there is no reason he can't improve and keep amassing titles the wey other teenage prodigies have done. I do agree that it will be difficult for him to repeat next year what he did this year -- and I don't think it will happen anyway because (1) he is cutting down on tournaments and (2) is foregoing clay events to try to improve his play on other surfaces. But I think overall the next five years look bright and that he will try to find a way to overcome/avoid the obstacles you have mentioned.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
VamosRafa said:
Unfortunately for Deuce and everyone else here my contract with Nadal has been renewed. ;-)

Rabbit, I appreciate your points, but I think it's more wishful thinking than anything else. Yes, some of the things you cited could happen to him. But they also may not. He obviously is a big match player, and if he stays healthy, there is no reason he can't improve and keep amassing titles the wey other teenage prodigies have done. I do agree that it will be difficult for him to repeat next year what he did this year -- and I don't think it will happen anyway because (1) he is cutting down on tournaments and (2) is foregoing clay events to try to improve his play on other surfaces. But I think overall the next five years look bright and that he will try to find a way to overcome/avoid the obstacles you have mentioned.
Wishful thinking? GrannyNadal, you misread entirely. I hope Nadal has a great career. My point, however belabored it is becoming, is that you are trying to expand one season into an entire career. You're making projections 5 years down the road on what he did last year. Last year is in the books, dead and gone. You can't say squat about his play in '06 until he actually does it.

His claycourt play is not impervious, he did go 4 sets with Puerta. His fast court play is far from world's best. You don't know how he''l react to new competition. You have, taken one year and compared it to other pros at the same age. My point was/is that Borg, Wilander, and Chang all had better years younger. Two of those three went on to great careers. Chances are, so will Nadal, but there is always the Chang factor which you're completely disregarding. Sampras came into form later, around 19.

Nadal has one big roadblock to winning on faster courts now, Federer. While Federer has said he doesn't match up well with lefties, that's by far no guarantee that he'll lose to Nadal on a faster court. As he gets older and a newer generation of players comes up, there will be more roadblocks. You're trying to level him with Borg & Sampras. He ain't there. He isn't on par with Federer. Let's see him pass that guy and then you can break out the brass band.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
RogerRabbit, the reason I am extending it to other years is because players who post these results at this young age tend to be at the threshold of a great career. He's among the greats in terms of his statistics -- they are better than most, not quite as good as one or two others (yet), but nonetheless he's in elite company.

You may recognize some of them, and I think you should double-check your own stats. ;-)

Info posted by the ATP after Rafa won 5 titles this year:

FIVE TITLE TEENS
Nadal is the first teenager to win five ATP titles in a season since Andre Agassi won six in 1988. Here is a list of players who won five or more titles in a season as a teenager:

Mats Wilander 9 1983 [NB: Rafa eventually beat this with 11, so he has the record]
Bjorn Borg 7 1974
Andre Agassi 6 1988
Boris Becker 6 1986
Rafael Nadal 5 2005
John McEnroe 5 1978
Bjorn Borg 5 1975
Jimmy Connors 5 1972

MOST TITLES WON BY TEENAGERS
Nadal captured his sixth career ATP title as a teenager by winning Rome The most titles won by teens:
Bjorn Borg 16 [NB: Rafa will match this if he gets 4 more titles by June 3, 2006]
Mats Wilander 13 [NB: Rafa needs one more to tie, by June 3]
Boris Becker 12 [NB: Rafa is tied]
Andre Agassi 10 [NB: Now Exceeded; and ditto for rest of teen prodigies on this list]
Andrei Medvedev 8
Lleyton Hewitt 7
Rafael Nadal 6
Michael Chang 6
So when Rafa won Roma this year, when he was 18, he matched Chang's accomplishments in terms of titles won by a teenager, and then doubled it by the end of the year. Since they each won RG as a teen, I have to look at this and say Rafa has done much better than Chang as for the teen years -- particularly when you consider the 4 MS titles on 3 different surfaces. Why do you think Chang's was better? And Rafa is still a teen - he has six more months to win another title or two. ;-)

But more importantly, just look at the names in the first list -- re teens who have won 5 to 11 titles in a single season.

Can you honestly say that any of them (Wilander, Borg, Agassi, Becker, McEnroe and Connors) didn't continue to do well and become legends? So why would Rafa, who even beat their teenage records, not be favored to do likewise? If nothing else, stats are on his side. And I do know from prior threads here, that many people love stats.
 
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