Who's greater: Nole or Rafa?

Who is greater - Nole or Rafa?


  • Total voters
    118

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
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.
Nalbandian was horrid. I remember that match well. Couldn't even keep the ball in the court, errors all over the place, missing routine shots, couldn't hold serve, etc. It was just a pathetic performance. He made Hewitt look like Sampras.
 
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.
I think he will. Although maybe if he’d invested in it more he wouldn’t have had the great success at Wimbledon and us open. We will never know but it is what it is. Still an amazing career for Pete.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Nalbandian was horrid. I remember that match well. Couldn't even keep the ball in the court, errors over the place, missing routine shots, couldn't hold serve, etc. It was just a pathetic performance. He made Hewitt look like Sampras.
Fair enough, he did really suck. No tears at least ;)
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
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.
You're ridiculous. Many many players have referred to WTF as the 5th biggest and talk about it as the goal of the season to reach it.

Your 20-18 thing just shows you can parrot a mindless argument centered around 4 tournaments totally ignoring everything else. Rafa's resume is so clay-heavy and with zero WTF titles it's a joke to think he's overall GOAT. In terms of overall game Nole destroys Rafa.
 

PETEhammer

Professional
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.
I think the French was just seen as a resume filler back then, and not highly coveted the way Wimbledon and the Open were. Pete's approach to it was very unprofessional. Hell, he changed his game up more between grass and hard than he did hard and clay, which is saying something.

Anyways, what's done is done. Nobody can take away from Pete that he dominated the toughest, most diverse field and era in history. The French will always be the missing link though.
 

PETEhammer

Professional
Djokovic has completely dominated his era, even more than Sampras. 20-18 does not begin to tell the full story.
No. Djokovic won way more Masters (which is insanely impressive in this era) but you can't compare Pete's performance in the Masters to Nole's because they were out of 5, which meant players prepped for and around them much differently. And the focus was much more on Slams in that time, because wear and tear was a much more real liability in the 90s and prior than it is now with modern medicine.

Nole still trails Rafa in the slam h2h. Pete owned every one of his main rivals. For right now, Pete is more dominant in his own era, although Nole can certainly change that.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
I think the French was just seen as a resume filler back then, and not highly coveted the way Wimbledon and the Open were. Pete's approach to it was very unprofessional. Hell, he changed his game up more between grass and hard than he did hard and clay, which is saying something.

Anyways, what's done is done. Nobody can take away from Pete that he dominated the toughest, most diverse field and era in history. The French will always be the missing link though.
I could make a compelling case for Sampras as GOAT given his era but too many fanboys and girls on here will derail such a thread with contradictory posts such as he only has 14 slams (yet Djokovic is now GOAT etc etc).
All i say is the best level of.tennis i have ever seen is Sampras. And that was on a clay court in 1995 in a Davis Cup match which prompted Boris Becker no.less to literally bow down to Sampras at another event
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
You're ridiculous. Many many players have referred to WTF as the 5th biggest and talk about it as the goal of the season to reach it.

Your 20-18 thing just shows you can parrot a mindless argument centered around 4 tournaments totally ignoring everything else. Rafa's resume is so clay-heavy and with zero WTF titles it's a joke to think he's overall GOAT. In terms of overall game Nole destroys Rafa.
The irony of your post. Djokovic has a much more lopsided resume. He is a hard court specialist using your criteria.
The WTF is not the 5th slam . Sorry to break that to you. It is best of 3 sets. Not best of 5.
20-18 is just how it is. There are 4 slams.
 

PETEhammer

Professional
I could make a compelling case for Sampras as GOAT given his era but too many fanboys and girls on here will derail such a thread with contradictory posts such as he only has 14 slams (yet Djokovic is now GOAT etc etc).
All i say is the best level of.tennis i have ever seen is Sampras. And that was on a clay court in 1995 in a Davis Cup match which prompted Boris Becker no.less to literally bow down to Sampras at another event
See the match you're talking about is one of my Sampras favorites, not just because of level, but because of his spirit. Agassi later said, "Pete had no business pulling that weekend off". It was his worst surface, Agassi couldn't compete due to injury, and Courier was out, so Pete after literally collapsing due to cramps in his first singles match took it on himself to play doubles and then singles again against Kafelnikov and got it done.

Pete was as champion as you get in this sport.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
See the match you're talking about is one of my Sampras favorites, not just because of level, but because of his spirit. Agassi later said, "Pete had no business pulling that weekend off". It was his worst surface, Agassi couldn't compete due to injury, and Courier was out, so Pete after cramping took it on himself to play doubles and then singles again against Kafelnikov and got it done.

Pete was as champion as you get in this sport.
Agassi once said that while Federer is the best he has played consistently Sampras had the best highest level he ever faced. He has played all the modern ATGs bar Borg.
Agassis view resonates. And he is right.
 

PETEhammer

Professional
Agassi once said that while Federer is the best he has played consistently Sampras had the best highest level he ever faced. He has played all the modern ATGs bar Borg.
Agassis view resonates. And he is right.
I would agree. He might have to change that "best consistently" to Djoker when its all said and done though.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
To me, Nadal probably has the highest level of anyone. Fed, Sampras, Djokovic have all put beatdowns on other greats but it's amazing to me how Nadal has annihilated both Federer and Djokovic in RG finals where it just looked like a superhuman against mere humans, and so many years apart (2008 and 2020).
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Djokovic has completely dominated his era, even more than Sampras. 20-18 does not begin to tell the full story.
Nadal is one year older than Djokovic. 20-18 shows Nadal best of his era. Federer not really same era as too big an age gap.
Slams tell us everything. If not then Sampras arguably is GOAT as he early dominated by far the hardest era of all time. Just compare how many ATGs he played.
Djokovic has a problem in that whatever metric is used he is not close to GOAT. Nadal Federer Sampras Laver all have arguments. Djokovic would fail against any of them depending on metrics used.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
I would agree. He might have to change that "best consistently" to Djoker when its all said and done though.
Federer v Djokovic is something we will never know. 6 year age gap for me is too big to say they ever played peak v peak. Personally i think Federer at his best was a superior player both at his best level and consistently to Djokovic but that is an opinion not anything substantive.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
The irony of your post. Djokovic has a much more lopsided resume. He is a hard court specialist using your criteria.
The WTF is not the 5th slam . Sorry to break that to you. It is best of 3 sets. Not best of 5.
20-18 is just how it is. There are 4 slams.
I never said it was the ''5th slam''. Keep lying to yourself but don't put lies in my mouth.

Nole is the greatest overall player, just how it is. He kicks ass on outdoor hard, indoor hard, clay and grass. Anywhere you put him he can win.
Nadal is an ATG and Eternal Clay GOAT but his inability to win indoors keep[s him from overall GOAT.
 

AlexM

Rookie
As of now Raga is 'greater' but as to who is better... well djoker takes that title in my book. Once the big three retire my prediction goes two ways...

Scenario one: rafa 21 roger 20 djoker 19

rafa wins his final slam at RG 2021 and takes the slam crown. fed stays at 20. djoker makes several more granny finals but only manages to capatalize of either 2021 US or 2022 AO. maybe 2021 WM even.

Scenario two: djoker 22 rafa 21-20 roger 20


djoker wins multiple more slams and continues to out-mental game next-gen. Nadal either wins 2021 RG or doesn't but in the end, it doesn't matter. fed stays at 20 .



Notes: I always will think djoker is the goat and admire him because he still managed to become a contender for goat while growing up in an eastern European country during Soviet times. (like my parents) the fact he is at the level he is without unlimited resources much like nad and fed earns him my unlimited respect
 

daphne

Semi-Pro
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........
Why didn't you take Djok as an example from year 2000? Or perhaps when he was 7 yrs of age.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
No. Djokovic won way more Masters (which is insanely impressive in this era) but you can't compare Pete's performance in the Masters to Nole's because they were out of 5, which meant players prepped for and around them much differently. And the focus was much more on Slams in that time, because wear and tear was a much more real liability in the 90s and prior than it is now with modern medicine.

Nole still trails Rafa in the slam h2h. Pete owned every one of his main rivals. For right now, Pete is more dominant in his own era, although Nole can certainly change that.
Djokovic outperformed Pete in Slams, Masters, weeks at #1, and equaled him at YE# 1 and ATP finals. Plus he was much better on clay and rivaled even the greats with his consistency on the surface and ability to win big titles. Djokovic's 4 in a row, 2011 and 2015 seasons just seals it in any comparison with Pete in who dominated more.

Slam head to head is completely arbitrary because it's mainly based on Rafa being far better on clay. Djokovic is 5-3 outside clay and leads the overall head to head with Rafa.
 
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PETEhammer

Professional
Djokovic outperformed Pete in Slams, Masters, weeks at #1, and equaled him at YE# 1 and ATP finals. Plus he was much better on clay and rivaled even the greats with his consistency on the surface and ability to win big titles. Djokovic's 4 in a row, 2011 and 2015 seasons just seals it in any comparison with Pete in who dominated more.

Slam head to head is completely arbitrary because it's mainly based in Rafa being far better on clay. Djokovic is 5-3 outside clay and leads the overall head to head with Rafa.
But you don't get to discount clay, as your statement above the bolded shows. If you're going to say Nole>Pete because of clay, then you have to accept Rafa leads h2h over Nole on clay, and overall slam count therefore Rafa>Nole
He hasn't sealed the lead over his rival (yet).
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal is one year older than Djokovic. 20-18 shows Nadal best of his era. Federer not really same era as too big an age gap.
Slams tell us everything. If not then Sampras arguably is GOAT as he early dominated by far the hardest era of all time. Just compare how many ATGs he played.
Djokovic has a problem in that whatever metric is used he is not close to GOAT. Nadal Federer Sampras Laver all have arguments. Djokovic would fail against any of them depending on metrics used.
Nadal doesn't really have an era like Djokovic does. Before Djokovic began his ascension, he was 8 Slams behind Nadal and 16 behind Federer. Since that time he is within 2 of each. He has won 6/10 Slams since the middle of 2018 which is why this is still his era. He has won 17 Slams since January 2011, while Nadal won 11, Federer won 4, and Murray and Wawrinka won 3. All great players but Djokovic has been the leader for 10 years. He is something like 44-22 against Fedal in that timeframe, held all the Slams, won all Masters multiple times, more then 300 weeks at #1, 6 YE #1 and 3 other times finished #2, etc. so to say those players all have arguments and Djokovic doesn't is ludicrous.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
But you don't get to discount clay, as your statement above the bolded shows. If you're going to say Nole>Pete because of clay, then you have to accept Rafa leads h2h over Nole on clay, and overall slam count therefore Rafa>Nole
He hasn't sealed the lead over his rival (yet).
How is that discounting clay? Of course Djokovic > Sampras on clay and it's not close. I also already said Nadal is still greater being that he is 2 Slams ahead. To reply to your other point, Nadal has 13 RGs and Djokovic has 1. We already know Nadal is better and the Slam head to head is skewed because of Djokovic's consistency to reach Nadal on his best surface and Nadal's failure to do the same on the flip side against Djokovic on his best surfaces. This stat is not that important.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Nadal doesn't really have an era like Djokovic does. Before Djokovic began his ascension, he was 8 Slams behind Nadal and 16 behind Federer. Since that time he is within 2 of each. He has won 6/10 Slams since the middle of 2018 which is why this is still his era. He has won 17 Slams since January 2011, while Nadal won 11, Federer won 4, and Murray and Wawrinka won 3. All great players but Djokovic has been the leader for 10 years. He is something like 44-22 against Fedal in that timeframe, held all the Slams, won all Masters multiple times, more then 300 weeks at #1, 6 YE #1 and 3 other times finished #2, etc. so to say those players all have arguments and Djokovic doesn't is ludicrous.
Nadal has an era. He is the dominant player of his era. He took the baton on from federer. Djokovic has no era. He is behind Nadal his generational rival. From 2017-2020 Nadal won more Majors as well so where exactly is the Djokovic era?
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
I never said it was the ''5th slam''. Keep lying to yourself but don't put lies in my mouth.

Nole is the greatest overall player, just how it is. He kicks ass on outdoor hard, indoor hard, clay and grass. Anywhere you put him he can win.
Nadal is an ATG and Eternal Clay GOAT but his inability to win indoors keep[s him from overall GOAT.
What Majors are played indoors over 3 sets.
You have just admitted Nadal is GOAT. He is only player with more than one Major on each surface.
Personally i think Nadal v Federer is a debate. Djokovic is irrelevant until he gets to Fedal. I mean if Nadal winning the FO every year does.not add to his legacy how does Djokovic just winning AO every year add to his? I mean Nadal won outside his pet slam more recently than Djokovic.
All i have seen for two days now is Djokovic fans make arguments that mean by their logic Nadal.is GOAT.
As i say it is premature as Federer has a strong claim. Djokovic simply does not have one today.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal has an era. He is the dominant player of his era. He took the baton on from federer. Djokovic has no era. He is behind Nadal his generational rival. From 2017-2020 Nadal won more Majors as well so where exactly is the Djokovic era?
Nadal doesn't have a 2006 or 2015. Not trying to be negative towards him but these are facts. He didn't dominate the game to the extent those two did. He didn't win 6 out of 7 Slams like Federer or 5 out 6 Slams like Djokovic, which is why they are way ahead at time at #1. You're right Nadal did win more majors from 2017-2020, when Djokovic was irrelevant for 2 years, but the since mid 2018, Djokovic has won 6 and Nadal has won 3.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Nadal doesn't have a 2006 or 2015. Not trying to be negative towards him but these are facts. He didn't dominate the game to the extent those two did. He didn't win 6 out of 7 Slams like Federer or 5 out 6 Slams like Djokovic, which is why they are way ahead at time at #1. You're right Nadal did win more majors from 2017-2020, when Djokovic was irrelevant for 2 years, but the since mid 2018, Djokovic has won 6 and Nadal has won 3.
The 2nd part of your post is too arbitary. Why discount 2017?
Your first part is a good point. I would though counter Nadal 2010. But i suspect you are looking at match wins in an entire year which would.mean there is more to tennis than the majors.
Problem is the media tend to make out tennis is a 4 event a year sport. Djokovic hates that view which was why he trolled his enemies in the media about slams only mattering when he got no.18.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
As a fan who prefers Nadal, it’s clear that Djokovic will finish with the better resume. Peak Nadal was as peaky as Djokovic and Federer but much less consistent and declined quite early. He’s been very opportunistic since 2017 to bolster his resume.

I’m unwilling to declare any of these 3 guys GOAT though, rather they go into the bucket of tier 1 greats along with Borg, Lendl, Sampras. GOATs should clearly separate themselves from their peers where these guys have not.

Their gaudy resumes owe a lot to the generational age shift they lived through as well as surface homogenization.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
As a fan who prefers Nadal, it’s clear that Djokovic will finish with the better resume. Peak Nadal was as peaky as Djokovic and Federer but much less consistent and declined quite early. He’s been very opportunistic since 2017 to bolster his resume.

I’m unwilling to declare any of these 3 guys GOAT though, rather they go into the bucket of tier 1 greats along with Borg, Lendl, Sampras. GOATs should clearly separate themselves from their peers where these guys have not.
Is it clear? Djokovic has not won outside Australia at a Major since 2019 at Wimbledon. And he almost lost to a 38 year old past his prime. Does just winning AO add to his legacy?
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Things could change when it's all said and done, tho.

If you think he's got some catching up to do now... :sneaky:
Right now i have Nadal a smidgen ahead of Federer on top of pile if Majors are the be all and end all. If not Federer is. I have Djokovic a fair way behind currently. I suppose the Nole Slam could get him about level but i always read it was the CYGS that was the holy grail ala Graf 1988.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Is it clear? Djokovic has not won outside Australia at a Major since 2019 at Wimbledon. And he almost lost to a 38 year old past his prime. Does just winning AO add to his legacy?
Cant make this argument vs Nadal frankly. And who’s gonna beat him at Wimbledon? Post prime Fed has been his only comp for years outside of that one Nadal match
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Cant make this argument vs Nadal frankly. And who’s gonna beat him at Wimbledon? Post prime Fed has been his only comp for years outside of that one Nadal match
Nadal could as if they meet it would be in the final or semi but either way whem courts are dusty not grassy. If the weather is hot id back Nadal as Djokovic in heat wilts. One reason he does so well in Australia is most if not all his matches are nighttime and in Melbourne at night the temperature drops quickly even on hot days .
Djokovic is favourite of course and lets be honest in UK it is more likely to be cool and damp anyway.
 

Beckerserve

Hall of Fame
Djokovic at Slams in 2020 and 2021.

AO 2020 - Won
USO 2020 - DQ
FO 2020 - Final
AO 2021 - Won

His consistency at Slams is still there if we exclude that moment when he knocked out some blonde woman with a tennis ball.
Didnt say he is not consistent. That is a different argument altogether..i just.mentioned winning.
Rafa is definitely now less consistent across his weaker events than he used to be. He either wins or goes out before the final.
When i do GOAT analysis i just look at wins and majors really. I do it how media do it. Lazy and simple. As it happens it puts Nadal top of the tree.
Who had the best year in 2016 for you and why?
 

Hitman

Legend
As of now Raga is 'greater' but as to who is better... well djoker takes that title in my book. Once the big three retire my prediction goes two ways...

Scenario one: rafa 21 roger 20 djoker 19

rafa wins his final slam at RG 2021 and takes the slam crown. fed stays at 20. djoker makes several more granny finals but only manages to capatalize of either 2021 US or 2022 AO. maybe 2021 WM even.

Scenario two: djoker 22 rafa 21-20 roger 20


djoker wins multiple more slams and continues to out-mental game next-gen. Nadal either wins 2021 RG or doesn't but in the end, it doesn't matter. fed stays at 20 .



Notes: I always will think djoker is the goat and admire him because he still managed to become a contender for goat while growing up in an eastern European country during Soviet times. (like my parents) the fact he is at the level he is without unlimited resources much like nad and fed earns him my unlimited respect
Raga... :unsure:
 
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