Why are so few players from Spain chokers?

tex123

Professional
That's not choking, that's just losing to a better player.
I would agree. Federer has so many plans to choose from. Most other players struggle to execute their one and only plan.

However, Fed losing to Novak at USO and Wimbledon was one of biggest chokes (if not bigger than Jana Novotna's choke against Steffi Graf). I don't know how he lost at Wimbledon - maybe an effect of his age. All he had to do was take two first serves and go big. Maybe USO was playing on his mind but this was Wimbledon with him on serve at 40-15. Novak had no business winning that Wimbledon. Sorry to derail the thread and it may start a war between Novak and Fed fans but since we are discussing "chokes", it was important to mention that.
 

tex123

Professional
He chokes too, if we are going to apply the same standards; it's just that his fist pumping persona has created an image of an invincible mentality.

5th set AO 2017 he was game up with AD if I remember correctly and dumped an easy shot into the net.
I remember that match quite clearly and I was incensed by Djokovic's shirt tearing antics as it was so disrespectful. But Djokovic won it fair and square. Nadal was always second best on hard and even in that match. They could barely manage to stand when the awards were being presented and they were offered chairs as the organisers spoke. No way that was a choke. It was won by Djokovic.

In the same breath, Djokovic touching the net at RG was not a choke. Even if he had won that point, he would not have won RG. Rafa plays on your mind esp. on clay in the same way Djokovic does on hard at AO.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
I think a part of it may be the cultural tendency to live more in the moment, be less concerned about things like punctuality-- players may get less tight because of this, in addition to the training and placing emphasis on hard work and grit over inherent talent.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
On the subject of Verdasco, I like the fact that he has both recovered from 2 sets to love deficits and relinquished 2 sets to love leads at each of the 4 majors.

Australian Open:
2011 vs. Tipsarevic (2 sets to love down and won)
2012 vs. Tomic (2 sets to love up and lost)
2019 vs. Cilic (2 sets to love up and lost)

Roland Garros:
2005 vs. Soderling (2 sets to love up and lost)
2014 vs. Cuevas (2 sets to love down and won - as a Cuevas fan I wasn't happy with that)

Wimbledon:
2008 vs. Ancic (2 sets to love up and lost - what an epic)
2011 vs. Stepanek (2 sets to love down and won)
2013 vs. Murray (2 sets to love up and lost)
2019 vs. Edmund (2 sets to love down and won)

US Open:
2007 vs. Mathieu (2 sets to love down and won)
2010 vs. Ferrer (2 sets to love down and won - what a comeback and what an ending)
2019 vs. Chung (2 sets to love up and lost)

He has played in an insane number of 5 setters during his career.

In terms of chokes, his one against Soderling at Rome in 2011 was pretty big.
Looking at most of those matches, the favored player won the majority of them. Which makes the chokes seem less chokey.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I don't think that Big 3 are clean, I think they all take some substances that help them enhance their performance, Rafa included
but that is my opinion only, without any evidence
so as long as they are not caught, you can safely consider me a big mouth
I agree. They are doping. You would need to test under the bumper strip of their racquets to catch them.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Anyone remember that AO match between Verdasco and Cilic a couple of years ago where the former blew a 2-0 lead and DF'd on match point up in the fourth set tiebreaker? Has to be one of the more brutal ways to lose a match, that one.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
Looking at most of those matches, the favored player won the majority of them. Which makes the chokes seem less chokey.
Yes I agree. I’ve also never liked the idea of assuming that every time a player loses a 2 sets to love lead that's a choke. Of course of those matches will be chokes, but not all of them. Sometimes the momentum switches, sometimes fitness levels are a major factor, sometimes the player that is 2 sets to love down has played terribly and gets their act together / improves dramatically / swings freely etc. For example I've long argued against the ridiculous myth that the 1984 RG final was a choke, when it was certainly wasn't and was in fact one of the best grand slam finals of the open era.

I just think that Verdasco has one of the most fascinating 5 set records around; 25-23 overall (that's a large number 5 setters played during his career and a very even record), at least one 5 setter at a major every year for 17 consecutive seasons from 2003-2019 (with multiple 5 setters in many of those years), 6 matches won from 2 sets to love down across all 4 majors, 6 matches lost from 2 sets to love up across all 4 majors etc.
 
J

joohan

Guest
A more boring explanation is that players are encouraged to develop a clay-oriented game, which makes the player seem mentally stronger in several ways:

- Low risk, reliable topspin groundstrokes.
- Defensive skills.
- Fitness.
- Being prepared for grinding.

Note that none of these are technically mental strength, but it's often perceived as such.

There's also a certain culture of glorification of the "gritty hard worker" over the "mercurial talent" in Spanish sports, which may have a psychological effect as well, but that has more to do with the public's expectations than the players themselves.
This surely doesn’t apply to the most popular game (not only in Spain).

And no, it’s not water polo.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Yes I agree. I’ve also never liked the idea of assuming that every time a player loses a 2 sets to love lead that's a choke. Of course of those matches will be chokes, but not all of them. Sometimes the momentum switches, sometimes fitness levels are a major factor, sometimes the player that is 2 sets to love down has played terribly and gets their act together / improves dramatically / swings freely etc. For example I've long argued against the ridiculous myth that the 1984 RG final was a choke, when it was certainly wasn't and was in fact one of the best grand slam finals of the open era.

I just think that Verdasco has one of the most fascinating 5 set records around; 25-23 overall (that's a large number 5 setters played during his career and a very even record), at least one 5 setter at a major every year for 17 consecutive seasons from 2003-2019 (with multiple 5 setters in many of those years), 6 matches won from 2 sets to love down across all 4 majors, 6 matches lost from 2 sets to love up across all 4 majors etc.
I think his low swingweight forces him to adopt a higher risk style of play, which is in turn very streaky. He can’t grind easily against the heavyweights, but he can overpower them for a set or two on occasion when he’s feeling it. On the other hand, his physical gifts keep him in matches that other low swingweight players would lose in straight sets.
 
Make that one dope test for Federer in Dubai in 15 years ...


It's like a guaranteed free winter pass. It might be unkind to note that he always looks so lean, fit, well and prepared in Australia every year ....
A Vamosalaplayan using tu quoque RE this topic always makes me chuckle.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
I thought that Robredo was very mentally tough (despite the fact that he lost those 2 finals against Murray in late 2014 in which he had 5 match points) as well as a huge fighter (the 2010 Hopman Cup final vs. Murray was a big example of that) and with superb fitness levels. I think he came from 2 sets to love down to win 7 times, including of course those 3 consecutive matches at RG in 2013, and he had a 17-5 record in 5 set matches.

He seized his opportunity to win his home tournament at Barcelona in 2004 (still a more important tournament than Madrid for numerous Spanish players) before Nadal's domination of it started, and also to win the masters series title at Hamburg in 2006 when both Nadal and Federer withdraw, including winning 7 points in a row after trailing 6-1 in the 1st set tiebreak against Ferrer in the quarter-finals.

His combined 0-7 record on clay against Roddick, Rusedski, Isner and Karlovic was pretty hilarious. I always thought he was one of the more fortunate players to play in an era with fewer attacking players, serve-volleyers, players volleying in general etc., as I think that elite attackers / serve volleyers would spell a lot of trouble for him on clay let alone other surfaces.
 
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aldeayeah

Legend
Yes I agree. I’ve also never liked the idea of assuming that every time a player loses a 2 sets to love lead that's a choke. Of course of those matches will be chokes, but not all of them. Sometimes the momentum switches, sometimes fitness levels are a major factor, sometimes the player that is 2 sets to love down has played terribly and gets their act together / improves dramatically / swings freely etc. For example I've long argued against the ridiculous myth that the 1984 RG final was a choke, when it was certainly wasn't and was in fact one of the best grand slam finals of the open era.

I just think that Verdasco has one of the most fascinating 5 set records around; 25-23 overall (that's a large number 5 setters played during his career and a very even record), at least one 5 setter at a major every year for 17 consecutive seasons from 2003-2019 (with multiple 5 setters in many of those years), 6 matches won from 2 sets to love down across all 4 majors, 6 matches lost from 2 sets to love up across all 4 majors etc.
What the Ferdasco giveth, the Ferdasco taketh away. He truly was the Chosen One, bringing balance to the Choke.
 

Raiden

Hall of Fame
Make that one dope test for Federer in Dubai in 15 years ...


It's like a guaranteed free winter pass. It might be unkind to note that he always looks so lean, fit, well and prepared in Australia every year ....
So Roger has been doing Dubai since 2003. Except here's a pesky little fact: it's only in 2009 that out of competition testing was implemented by WADA.

That's when it become worldwide and mandatory. In 2003 even the initial voluntary ITF-led experiments did not exist anywhere in tennis.

Now off you go — construct another crackpot theory to hang your hateful garbage on

Next time make sure your math adds up before you realease your concoction.
 
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GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
I remember that match quite clearly and I was incensed by Djokovic's shirt tearing antics as it was so disrespectful. But Djokovic won it fair and square. Nadal was always second best on hard and even in that match. They could barely manage to stand when the awards were being presented and they were offered chairs as the organisers spoke. No way that was a choke. It was won by Djokovic.

In the same breath, Djokovic touching the net at RG was not a choke. Even if he had won that point, he would not have won RG. Rafa plays on your mind esp. on clay in the same way Djokovic does on hard at AO.
AO 2017 final between Nadal and Fed is what I was referring to.

Djokovic lost early to Istomin I believe in that tournament.

Not sure which Nad v Djok encounter you're referring to ...
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
So Roger has been doing Dubai since 2003. Except here's a pesky little fact: it's only in 2009 that out of competition testing was implemented by WADA as something worldwide and mandatory. In 2003 even the initial voluntary trial did not exist in tennis.

Now off you go — construct another crackpot theory to hang you hateful garbage on

Next time make sure your math adds up before you realease your concoction.
since when trolls let facts to prevent their narrative?
:-D
 

Pablo1989

Professional
They're tough where ever they come from, Catalonia or Castile. Nadal and Ferrer are Catalonian from birth, for example!

I remember Nadal, speaking French from Court Chartier, said French was easy to him, because of its similarity to Catalonian. Ferrer is a typical French name; Nadal is one also!
WTF did you say, FACEPALM

Nadal is from the Balearic Island and Ferrer from Alicante (Valencia)





 
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GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
He was probably exhausted that 5th set, after the long 5 hours SF and having one day less to rest before the final.

Besides, he didn't have any match point, nor was he serving for the match, so I wouldn't call it a choke sensu stricto. A choke is when you are in a clear winning position. That 5th set was far from over, only 4 games had been played.
Why should match point alone determine choking?

Plenty players who get a lead comfortably suddenly start to play conservative when the prospect of winning/closing out looms. If that's not mental I don't know what is.

Having match points and going on to lose is also not necessarily a choke - depends on the case. Seen plenty cases where a player makes boneheaded decisions and the other player is swinging freely and the match turns on that point.
 

octobrina10

Talk Tennis Guru
So Roger has been doing Dubai since 2003. Except here's a pesky little fact: it's only in 2009 that out of competition testing was implemented by WADA.

That's when it become something worldwide and mandatory. In 2003 even the initial voluntary ITF-led experiments did not exist anywhere in tennis.

Now off you go — construct another crackpot theory to hang you hateful garbage on

Next time make sure your math adds up before you realease your concoction.
I wonder why you don't react to 'hateful garbage' posted by your comrades. :unsure:
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
WTF did you say, FACEPALM

Nadal is from the Balearic Island and Ferrer from Alicante (Valencia)


what do you expect from a Nole fan that has witnessed a Roddick vs Pioline GS final?
Because Pioline was the only Slam finalist that Roddick could ever beat for a Slam title!

I also find it fascinating that Pioline is a stronk competitor when defeated by Sampras, and yet weak era when some folks here dream Roddick vs Pioline or Federer vs Pioline GS finals
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
They're tough where ever they come from, Catalonia or Castile. Nadal and Ferrer are Catalonian from birth, for example!

I remember Nadal, speaking French from Court Chartier, said French was easy to him, because of its similarity to Catalonian. Ferrer is a typical French name; Nadal is one also!
If it's so easy for him why doesn't he speak it fluently? Time after time after speaking a few phrases in French he reverts to Spanish or English after being interviewed at Roland Garros.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Even the second tier guys have throughout history seemed to be incredibly mentally tough.
Not even close.

The following Spanish players were proven to have been MASSIVE chokers in many big matches:

Alex Correjta -- was leading Sampras 5-3 in the fifth set of the USO in 1996 and couldn't defeat Pete even when Sampras was vomiting on court during points.

Tommy Robredo -- choked so often it's impossible to list all those matches

Verdasco, Pablo Carreño Busta and RBA are also all chokers.
 

octobrina10

Talk Tennis Guru
If it's so easy for him why doesn't he speak it fluently? Time after time after speaking a few phrases in French he reverts to Spanish or English after being interviewed at Roland Garros.
That's what Rafa said about his level of French:

 
Many a chokin' have I seen
Some expected, some unforeseen
But never one quite as pristine
As 8-7 40-15.
You thought that you can put me into frame
Rapping about that infamous theme
Alas, no shame doesn't equal awesome game
Your hitting' just misses proper rhyme
Yo

:cool:
 

Thriller

Hall of Fame
So Roger has been doing Dubai since 2003. Except here's a pesky little fact: it's only in 2009 that out of competition testing was implemented by WADA.

That's when it become worldwide and mandatory. In 2003 even the initial voluntary ITF-led experiments did not exist anywhere in tennis.

Now off you go — construct another crackpot theory to hang your hateful garbage on

Next time make sure your math adds up before you realease your concoction.
LOL construct what? Federer literally says himself in the article that he has been drug tested once in 15 years in Dubai. You've gotta admit that's the perfect place to set up a winter training base if you want to dope. The weather's not bad either.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
LOL construct what? Federer literally says himself in the article that he has been drug tested once in 15 years in Dubai. You've gotta admit that's the perfect place to set up a winter training base if you want to dope. The weather's not bad either.
How do you explain Novak losing to the youngsters at BO3 time and again, just to defeat them, usually in straight sets at GS?

I have as well a some thoughts about Nadal.
But let's see what you will say about Novak first.

P.S.
Not defending Roger here, as his 2 pair of twins might be a hint at certain things.
 
LOL construct what? Federer literally says himself in the article that he has been drug tested once in 15 years in Dubai. You've gotta admit that's the perfect place to set up a winter training base if you want to dope. The weather's not bad either.
The perfect place is somewhere where you couldn't be found. Like in international waters or at sea in general.

:cool:
 

Thriller

Hall of Fame
How do you explain Novak losing to the youngsters at BO3 time and again, just to defeat them, usually in straight sets at GS?
All other tournaments are mere preparations for the slams and Djokovic doesn't play them with anything like the same committment, whereas the younger players hungry for ranking points play all tournaments like their lives depend on it. Then they pay for it when they run out of steam in the 2nd week. Sampras was the same, he used to lose matches to all and sundry but come the slams, his game was ready.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
All other tournaments are mere preparations for the slams and Djokovic doesn't play them with anything like the same committment, whereas the younger players hungry for ranking points play all tournaments like their lives depend on it. Then they pay for it when they run out of steam in the 2nd week. Sampras was the same, he used to lose matches to all and sundry but come the slams, his game was ready.
or there can be some alternative versions

I mean, he wanted the OG medal so badly, yet he missed all the editions.
it's kind of weird, isn't it?
and you are the one who brought some possible reasons why Fed performance dropped at the OG. So, why wouldn't it work in pistol case?
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
LOL construct what? Federer literally says himself in the article that he has been drug tested once in 15 years in Dubai. You've gotta admit that's the perfect place to set up a winter training base if you want to dope. The weather's not bad either.
Yeah, nothing like blowing up your own spot. Totally normal move for a guy on the juice.
 

Thriller

Hall of Fame
Yeah, nothing like blowing up your own spot. Totally normal move for a guy on the juice.
A) he's on the verge of retirement it makes no difference now.

B) Like the UAE is suddenly going to invest heavily in OOC antidoping and scare off all the foreign athletes who go there for their winter 'camps'. And watch these millionaire athletes up sticks and head to The Seychelles or other destinations where they won't be bothered. Just because Roger noted that which is already widely known.
 
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