Who's greater: Nole or Rafa?

Who is greater - Nole or Rafa?


  • Total voters
    118
As the boisterous Balkan draws within two slams of the supreme Spaniard, the question must once again be asked.

Who is currently the greater of these two champions?
This may have changed recently, but in terms of percent total matches won, Nadal was ahead of Djoker a couple months ago. Due to the fact that they are the same age roughly, I would give a slight edge to Nadal.
 

Arak

Professional
Interesting that poll results show a clear advantage for Rafa. The discussion however would make you believe the opposite.
 

TheAssassin

Legend
Well, at this point it's like let's just settle with 2008~2015 since it can't be proven otherwise. If not, we will have another 10 page thread. Lol
The way I see it, many points that people use for Nadal being better at the US Open speak even more favorably for Djokovic at Wimbledon. And personally I'm not going to elevate Nadal to mythical grass status just based on the 2008 final, as stunning as it was. But that's just me I guess.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
The way I see it, many points that people use for Nadal being better at the US Open speak even more favorably for Djokovic at Wimbledon. And personally I'm not going to elevate Nadal to mythical grass status just based on the 2008 final, as stunning as it was. But that's just me I guess.
Well I think I've laid out what I think about peak to peak on grass, but today I will settle with 50-50 because I don't want to do this debate all over again today. Lol
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
On different years or the best runner ups as well not just that lol.
Best runner ups? Nadal 2007, Roddick 2009, Federer 2008 and 2019 come to mind. Worst runner ups? Nalbandian has to be #1. Djokovic 2013 has a strong case for top 5. Lol
 

Biotic

Semi-Pro
Anyway, IMO, it doesn't matter who the better player is between them because Rafa will end up greater anyway. He is a bigger lock at RG than Novak at any slam and as long as he doesn't decline terminally on clay, he is a lock for 3 more RG titles at least. Novak won't win 2 slams/year forever to keep up.
You make it sound so easy. All it takes is one slip from Nadal this year or 2022 (something like 2015 or 2016) and he could very well run out of opportunities to add more.
 

RS

Legend
Best runner ups? Nadal 2007, Roddick 2009, Federer 2008 and 2019 come to mind. Worst runner ups? Nalbandian has to be #1. Djokovic 2013 has a strong case for top 5. Lol
Some good shouts in that list. Actually I done a similar thread not sure if it is deleted or not.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
You make it sound so easy. All it takes is one slip from Nadal this year or 2022 (something like 2015 or 2016) and he could very well run out of opportunities to add more.
I'll believe it when I see it. Nadal last year still won it without dropping a set despite having little practice beforehand.

There's just no one today to even make a match with Rafa close, let alone beat him.
 

PETEhammer

Professional
Sampras ahead of Djokovic with just 14 slams and no french open. Are you serious? :-D:-DPlus Djokovic has won every big event in the game unlike Sampras.

I agree nadal and federer are still slightly above Novak but it’s very close and Novak has the time still to overtake them. More likely to overtake Fed in the slams than Rafa but both still a possibility.
Yes, Pete's era was the toughest, deepest era in history. ATGs at top, slam champion specialists on every surface in middle and specialists who contended for their specific slams/surface events at bottom. 16 seed slams. Every playing style under the sun from Rafter serve and volley on first and second serves to Thomas Muster whipping topspin loopers from 6 feet behind the baseline. True fast courts where playing a break point poorly could cost you the match because you could never guarantee getting another one. Surfaces all playing differently. No poly. No modern medicine. Pete with thalassemia minor still dominating.

The vast difference in conditions is what makes it so hard to compare across eras, but what can be compared right now is that Pete was King of his while Nole is still fighting with Rafa over his. Obviously Fed is still slam king but likely to he surpassed by both.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I think this is a crucial year. If Novak gets 3 slams this year he will catch nadal in my opinion. I think djoko needs 1 more 3 slam year and then even if Rafa gets RG he’d be just 1 behind with AO next.
Sure, but Rafa will always have RG the following year and so on and so forth. He is a constant moving target.

And even with the current field as it is, I still think Novak at 34 winning 3 slams this year is not very likely to happen, IMO.
 

DIMI_D

New User
Better and greater are synonyms according to dictionary definitions. Rafa is greater/better, would but Djokovic ahead if he ties the Slam count.

The Slam count is the #1 GOAT criterion. Other criteria are just tie-breakers un case two players are tied in Slams.
Agree
 

Biotic

Semi-Pro
I'll believe it when I see it. Nadal last year still won it without dropping a set despite having little practice beforehand.

There's just no one today to even make a match with Rafa close, let alone beat him.
Well there's a reason why both Fed and Nole have benefited way more from faster courts since turning 30. No matter what they say, his stamina is not what it used to be 10 years ago, and someone like Sinner could catch him on a non-goating day. This last RG, apart from the finals, he was far from convincing.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Well there's a reason why both Fed and Nole have benefited way more from faster courts since turning 30. No matter what they say, his stamina is not what it used to be 10 years ago, and someone like Sinner could catch him on a non-goating day. This last RG, apart from the finals, he was far from convincing.
And he still won it without dropping a set. That should tell you how doomed the field is.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Sampras ahead of Djokovic with just 14 slams and no french open. Are you serious? :-D:-DPlus Djokovic has won every big event in the game unlike Sampras.

I agree nadal and federer are still slightly above Novak but it’s very close and Novak has the time still to overtake them. More likely to overtake Fed in the slams than Rafa but both still a possibility.
How many would Sampras have if AO had stayed on grass?
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
nadal used to be a hardcourt mug around 2005 - 2007 and still beat djokovic a superior hardcourter with his tremendous physical ability and athleticism........just watch their indian wells 07 final played under the sun in faster conditions, rafa drops the forehands with pin-point precision and heavy topspin leaving djokovic still in his tracks.........it was like djokovic knew what was coming but he also knew there is nothing he could do about it........

the following week or two weeks later djokovic got a night match in relatively cooler (albeit humid) and slower conditions in miami and immediately takes advantage, beating rafa in straight sets........i remember all those finals like yesterday........
Djokovic fans will be irate you posted some facts. They like hypotheticals better lol.
 
Sure, but Rafa will always have RG the following year and so on and so forth. He is a constant moving target.

And even with the current field as it is, I still think Novak at 34 winning 3 slams this year is not very likely to happen, IMO.
Obviously it’s tough to do but not outside the realms of possibility. As he’s probably a massive favourite at Wimbledon if he stays fit. At Wimbledon he could dominate now like he does at Australia especially as the next gen can’t step up, Fed probably too old and had 2 knee surgeries and Rafa declined on grass.

The us open is the tough one but djoker is still capable winning it at least once more. He’s had some unfortunate things happen there last 2 years with DQ and injury and I admit he doesn’t like the conditions there as much as Wimbledon or AO. Still it’s a hard court and he’s had plenty of success on Ashe that I feel he can have another deep run and maybe get another.

Yes Rafa, would keep adding if he gets RG but my point is if Novak say got 3 this year to Rafa RG and next year got 2 to Rafa RG he’d catch him. I get that’s difficult to do and obviously Novak’s task would be made much easier if rafa finally faltered at RG. It appears Novak may have to do it the hard way and while tough you can’t count him out.
 

Nole_King

Professional
Better and greater are synonyms according to dictionary definitions. Rafa is greater/better, would but Djokovic ahead if he ties the Slam count.

The Slam count is the #1 GOAT criterion. Other criteria are just tie-breakers un case two players are tied in Slams.
You mean to say that good and great are synonyms?
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Obviously it’s tough to do but not outside the realms of possibility. As he’s probably a massive favourite at Wimbledon if he stays fit. At Wimbledon he could dominate now like he does at Australia especially as the next gen can’t step up, Fed probably too old and had 2 knee surgeries and Rafa declined on grass.

The us open is the tough one but djoker is still capable winning it at least once more. He’s had some unfortunate things happen there last 2 years with DQ and injury and I admit he doesn’t like the conditions there as much as Wimbledon or AO. Still it’s a hard court and he’s had plenty of success on Ashe that I feel he can have another deep run and maybe get another.

Yes Rafa, would keep adding if he gets RG but my point is if Novak say got 3 this year to Rafa RG and next year got 2 to Rafa RG he’d catch him. I get that’s difficult to do and obviously Novak’s task would be made much easier if rafa finally faltered at RG. It appears Novak may have to do it the hard way and while tough you can’t count him out.
Much of what you say is true and by the way you are by far the best Djokovic fan on here and just for you i am happy he got no.9.
The only caveat is this 25 mm tear. Not much is being said about that. At 33 i think it is a bigger deal than we think. At say 25 not such a big deal but in the 30s muscle tears take much longer to heal.
He may feel ok in a month but i wonder if that tears again.
 
Much of what you say is true and by the way you are by far the best Djokovic fan on here and just for you i am happy he got no.9.
The only caveat is this 25 mm tear. Not much is being said about that. At 33 i think it is a bigger deal than we think. At say 25 not such a big deal but in the 30s muscle tears take much longer to heal.
He may feel ok in a month but i wonder if that tears again.
Thanks for the comment. We will see what happens. I’m confident he will be okay but time will tell in 6-8 weeks.

The priority now is for him to rest and spend time with his family which he’s missed. The good news for him is there is no Indian wells this year anyway so he’s only really missing Dubai, Miami and Monte Carlo (well he may or may not play that we will see)
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Add 2004 Roddick to the mix too. Better than vast majority of runner-ups since 2010.
He was great but wouldn't be at the top though because he wasn't as great after that rain delay. He was great for 2 sets and really good for 2 sets. The others were great for longer periods.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Thanks for the comment. We will see what happens. I’m confident he will be okay but time will tell in 6-8 weeks.

The priority now is for him to rest and spend time with his family which he’s missed. The good news for him is there is no Indian wells this year anyway so he’s only really missing Dubai, Miami and Monte Carlo (well he may or may not play that we will see)
Every player is gutted about Indian Wells. Absolute disaster really. Best event outside slams by a mile.
 
How many would Sampras have if AO had stayed on grass?
True but that’s all hypothetical. Like you said we can only go on numbers and records. In that regard 18 > 14 and Novak has the Career slam and NCYGS that Pete doesn’t have.

Pete was awesome and easily best of his era but when looking at records he’s been overtaken by the big 3 in many ways.

Plus I admit still Djokovic is behind federer and nadal. 20 > 18 and until that changes I admit he’s still 3rd wheel but the gap closing.
 

Hitman

Legend
Yes, Pete's era was the toughest, deepest era in history. ATGs at top, slam champion specialists on every surface in middle and specialists who contended for their specific slams/surface events at bottom. 16 seed slams. Every playing style under the sun from Rafter serve and volley on first and second serves to Thomas Muster whipping topspin loopers from 6 feet behind the baseline. True fast courts where playing a break point poorly could cost you the match because you could never guarantee getting another one. Surfaces all playing differently. No poly. No modern medicine. Pete with thalassemia minor still dominating.

The vast difference in conditions is what makes it so hard to compare across eras, but what can be compared right now is that Pete was King of his while Nole is still fighting with Rafa over his. Obviously Fed is still slam king but likely to he surpassed by both.
I would have to agree here. It was crazy how brutal it was during that period.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
True but that’s all hypothetical. Like you said we can only go on numbers and records. In that regard 18 > 14 and Novak has the Career slam and NCYGS that Pete doesn’t have.

Pete was awesome and easily best of his era but when looking at records he’s been overtaken by the big 3 in many ways.

Plus I admit still Djokovic is behind federer and nadal. 20 > 18 and until that changes I admit he’s still 3rd wheel but the gap closing.
Sampras biggest negative was the FO and i wonder if he regrets not focussing more on it now. I remember in his peak he used to say often his year is built around W and USO.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Cilic is #1 lol.
Juat because it was more recent. Nalbandian definitely for me and he only won 5 games. Cilic won 8 games and was playing someone with a phenomenal serve unlike Nalbandian. No reason he should have been destroyed like that.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
WTF is the 5th most important tournament of the calendar and shows that a player can do well indoors which Rafa has failed at.

Keep your head in the sand Bud.
Indian wells is 5th bud. Many players say that. None refer to WTF as 5th. In any event best of 3 set matches do not mean anything.
Lets just accept Nadal is better than Djokovic and move on. 20-18 all you need to know.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Juat because it was more recent. Nalbandian definitely for me and only won 5 games. Cilic won 8 games and was playing someone with a phenomenal serve unlike Nalbandian. No reason he should have been destroyed like that.
Both were poor, kinda splitting hairs really (yes I know I started it lol). I feel like Nalbandian would beat limping Cilic though - I think Hewitt destroys Cilic as well tbh, better return than Fed so potentially a more lopsided scoreline considering despite his weaker serve Cilic was too poor to threaten on return regardless.
 
Top