Why are ...

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
 

pj80

Hall of Fame
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
they well rounded enough to beat feddy on both surfaces including grass
 

Imperator

Hall of Fame
Things were different when they were in their prime, the loser was able to put up a good fight and give the other one a run for his money regardless of the surface. But now that age has caught up with them, their weaknesses are exposed more easily. Nadal's knees became even frailer, his movement and explosiveness declined significantly which makes it especially hard for him to win on HC because it's the most demanding surface physically. Djokovic's serve significantly improving from 2015 onwards made it even more difficult for Nadal to beat him on HC.

On clay, a 33 years old Djokovic has to deal with Nadal's crazy FH on a slow and high bouncing surface that gives him enough time to apply heavy topspin on the ball. If his extremely good defense in his prime wasn't enough to win more than a few best of 3 matches, it won't be enough now that he lost speed and endurance.
 

Linelicker

Rookie
All players have a preferred surface, no?

Big3 have all profited from less difference over the surfaces as opposed to former champs.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Just a gentle reminder: I am not putting that into the context of why Nadal or Djokovic are able to hold their own more often than not against the other on their respective favourite surfaces, but that it comes to absolute trouncing when they meet. That is at odds with their supposed well-roundedness which is here so loudly touted, including the mentioning of such constructs as Golden Masters, DCGS etc etc.

I guess the larger context would be then, are they really the competition to each other as some here suggest?

:cool:
 

nov

Semi-Pro
There is nothing weird here. Djokovic is complete universal player on all surfaces and without Nadal he could have won many more FO's. Nadal's game and everything based on clay and hes dominating clay, thats it.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
Because both are declining and the decline is more obvious on their least fav surface of the two. Rafa will hold the adv at all clay events and Novak will hold the adv at all HC events.
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Prime Federer took beatings from Rafa on clay too. Whats your point ?

It was only Nadal who was able to beat his prime rival in a slam not favoured to him.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
It has been said before but it is only Australian hard courts and greenset hard courts where Djokovic thrashes Rafa, i.e when the ball keeps low.
As other posters have said it is all down to physical attributes. Djokovic has stamina issues so get him on any court, clay or hard where the ball spits up and he will lose as his BH nowadays struggles with the ball rearing up over and over again as it wears him out physically. Thiem also exploits this as it happens. It seems Djokovic has lost a lot of upper body strength but reasons are unknown.
Flip onto low bouncing courts and Nadals knees are the problem. He struggles to bend now like in his hey day especially on his FH side and so the Djokovic BH cross court where he can hit consistently in his hit zone gets through the court low resulting in short replies from Rafa which Djokovic cleans up.
They are actually tailor made opponents for each other depending on conditions.
It is why have said before they start at the moment as favourites for 2 of the 4 Majors.
Grass however is more interesting if it is hot and dry. Take 2019 for example wimbledon final. As many predicted federer was exhausted after almost 4 hours against Nadal in hot weather in the SF yet at 39 was 2 points away from beating Djokovic and in 2 of the sets really showed the comparative grass court skills shot making wise. But due to fatigue he could not keep it up.
Nadal would likely have beaten that Djokovic if fresh. The ball would still keep lower than clay or say USO hardcourts but on grass by 2nd week it is very dusty which is not too bad for Nadals knees so he can deal with the lower bounce better.
But the premise of you post is a good one. It is not a great rivalry anymore sadly. And as it happens both are very vulnerable to federer on a quicker court even though he is almost 40. I still feel if Federer comes back playing well he has a shot at W and next years AO is that court is as fast as this year.
 

ND-13

Professional
Just a gentle reminder: I am not putting that into the context of why Nadal or Djokovic are able to hold their own more often than not against the other on their respective favourite surfaces, but that it comes to absolute trouncing when they meet. That is at odds with their supposed well-roundedness which is here so loudly touted, including the mentioning of such constructs as Golden Masters, DCGS etc etc.

I guess the larger context would be then, are they really the competition to each other as some here suggest?

:cool:
Historically only Djokovic - Federer is the consistent competition

Rest all are one sided from time to time, with occasionally sprinkled competitive matches
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
Simple. Rafa is dominant on dirt, over everyone. Has nothing to do with Djoker.
 
It's the fav surfaces thing like others have said. It's the last to go.Too bad Federer had to deal with Peak Djokovic on his fav surface in his mid- late 30's instead of the likes of Lucas frickin Pouille, Glassikori, Permanently injured Delpo, Blowed out Asics Karetsev, and Over hyped flat baller Medvedev :sneaky:
 
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
In my view, it is because of this:

1. The closer to the very top of the ability curve a player is, the longer they are likely to continue to be competitive for major titles. This is because ability is distributed along a bell curve, and so the very top players have a bit of a cushion from the rest that even the second tier players don't have. As a result, an X% decline is far less detrimental to the very top players' results than to anyone else's. We should therefore expect top players to have more longevity than anyone else. Indeed, many of the players with the greatest longevity in tennis history are among the best of their generation (Rosewall, Connors, Agassi, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic being among the players with the most longevity in the open era).

2. This argument applies in particular to players on their favorite surface, where their cushion is greatest. Thus, as a player declines, that decline is more noticeable on their weaker surfaces than on their stronger ones, because they don't have as much of a cushion on weaker surfaces, and this makes the decline affect their results. Thus, top players should be able to continue at the highest level for longer on their favorite surfaces than on any other, as we see with Nadal and Djokovic still being the top player at Roland Garros and the Australian Open, respectively, while not being as much of a challenge for the other at the other's favorite event as in the past. We also see it with Agassi being competitive at the Australian and US Opens deep into his 30s but not making even the quarter-finals of Wimbledon after 2001 and not making the semi-finals of Roland Garros after 1999. Similarly, Connors had several deep runs at the US Open long after he ceased to be effective on clay, and while he maintained his grass-court form a little longer, his last noticeable run there was in 1987, four years before his last great run at the US Open.

3. Hence when Nadal and Djokovic were at their very best, they were occasionally able to beat the other despite a surface disadvantage and often able to make it close. But now that they are older, it becomes increasingly hard to maintain their best level on their weaker surfaces.
 

NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
Because they’re the clay and HC GOATs who shut down the surface completely... not go 0-3 to a main rivals in finals :whistle:
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Just a gentle reminder: I am not putting that into the context of why Nadal or Djokovic are able to hold their own more often than not against the other on their respective favourite surfaces, but that it comes to absolute trouncing when they meet. That is at odds with their supposed well-roundedness which is here so loudly touted, including the mentioning of such constructs as Golden Masters, DCGS etc etc.

I guess the larger context would be then, are they really the competition to each other as some here suggest?

:cool:
Other than the rose tinded nostalgia goggles dudes, everyone knew that Djokodal still being competition to each other is a complete myth.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
A better question: if all surfaces are the same now (something very wrong that it harped on in this forum), why are the results so extremely different when moving from surface to surface?

To me it suggests that results are almost as polarized as ever, but it's hard to see when the rackets and strings have neutralized net play.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
They're both well past their primes, despite what the rankings suggest. Djokovic has declined massively on clay, Nadal has declined massively outside of clay.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Lol oh yeah!
Lol but Arthur Ashe does play to Nadal's strengths among all big hard court tournaments these days. Probably because of the medium speed and high bounce, and the huge NYC crowd support. Everywhere else, he needs to be in great form and work twice as hard against great players.
 
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
Also consider that across the 2019 and 2020 editions of AO and RG: Absolutely shagged Fed won more games against Djokovic than Nadal did at AO and he also won more games against Nadal at RG (lol) than Djokovic did, with a low margin game and gale force winds.

ROFLMAO.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?
Both have the CGS, which indicates significant prowess across all surfaces. In addition, Rafa beats everyone like a drum on clay and has been doing it unabated since 2005. The reason they still dominate if obvious: every player under the age of 33 is a POS compared to them in talent and mental strength.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
.. two ATGs with 18 or more Majors each that are one year apart in age not able to provide for a better competition vs the other on their rival's best surface nowadays?

Nadal beats Djokovic like a drum on clay. Djokovic beats Nadal like a drum on HC.

Aren't those players supposed to be well rounded, as their resumes suggest?

:cool:
Looks like no one can answer your question? :unsure:

Interesting to see them try though.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
In my view, it is because of this:

1. The closer to the very top of the ability curve a player is, the longer they are likely to continue to be competitive for major titles. This is because ability is distributed along a bell curve, and so the very top players have a bit of a cushion from the rest that even the second tier players don't have. As a result, an X% decline is far less detrimental to the very top players' results than to anyone else's. We should therefore expect top players to have more longevity than anyone else. Indeed, many of the players with the greatest longevity in tennis history are among the best of their generation (Rosewall, Connors, Agassi, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic being among the players with the most longevity in the open era).

2. This argument applies in particular to players on their favorite surface, where their cushion is greatest. Thus, as a player declines, that decline is more noticeable on their weaker surfaces than on their stronger ones, because they don't have as much of a cushion on weaker surfaces, and this makes the decline affect their results. Thus, top players should be able to continue at the highest level for longer on their favorite surfaces than on any other, as we see with Nadal and Djokovic still being the top player at Roland Garros and the Australian Open, respectively, while not being as much of a challenge for the other at the other's favorite event as in the past. We also see it with Agassi being competitive at the Australian and US Opens deep into his 30s but not making even the quarter-finals of Wimbledon after 2001 and not making the semi-finals of Roland Garros after 1999. Similarly, Connors had several deep runs at the US Open long after he ceased to be effective on clay, and while he maintained his grass-court form a little longer, his last noticeable run there was in 1987, four years before his last great run at the US Open.

3. Hence when Nadal and Djokovic were at their very best, they were occasionally able to beat the other despite a surface disadvantage and often able to make it close. But now that they are older, it becomes increasingly hard to maintain their best level on their weaker surfaces.
Your point #1 is a something I thought about, and I think that most are in agreement that players like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are a cut above the rest not only now, but would have been in almost all generations, bar very few. However distance between them and the current chasers is not the issue here. The issue is the competition between themselves, and, moreover, one of players from virtually the same age, mileage, experience etc. The argument that they are the best compared to all the others does't quite apply between those two, or at least it shouldn't, going by their overall resumes.

Your point #2 is more in the direction of what I was thinking. What you say is fundamentally true, players will always have a career that is reminiscent of a bell curve (including such on their preferred surfaces which might or might not be overlapping with the general trend). I can also accept that the best players on the surface can hold their career form better than all the rest in decline. What is shocking to me (and I am saying this without exaggeration) is that the difference between Nadal and Djokovic is so pronounced. I understand that they hold actual advantages over the other on their respective favourite surfaces (as in parts of their game that give them decisive advantages to win over the other: I have always held the view, that mental strength is simply an extension of the knowledge of the player that he holds such advantages vs a particular opponent in particular circumstances, if he himself executes well. Something that is referred to as "the match being on his racquet")), but we are witnessing literal destructions of the other. Something that shouldn't be happening, if those players are all they are described to be (ultimate fighters, well rounded games with no obvious weaknesses, tactically astute, physically on the highest possible level etc). Something doesn't quite add up.

Additionally, they are reaching the latest stages of the tournaments, and think about it: when Connors lost to McEnroe in the 1984 USO he didn't go down on a straight set trouncing, despite of being already 32. He lost to a player that convincingly trashed the other player in the finals. Rosewall did very well everywhere in old age, I am not sure what the thinking is behind mentioning his name in that regard. He beat 8 years younger Newk for his USO F qualification in 1974, and USO was hardly his best tournament (although, to be fair, it is hard to say which was his weakest, he was that good).

To your third point: it appears that in that frame of thinking we have more a case of establishing that such disparities indicate that those players have not been the level of competition that was originally thought in the first place. Their steep decline on their "weaker" (or is it weakest?) surface/conditions/whatever, to the point of not being able to hold even a respectable level of competition against the other competitor, despite of being held in highest regard on multiple points as far as tennis ability goes, indicate that the few times of them going toe to toe has created the wrong impression of that rivalry.

:cool:
 
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Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Because both are declining and the decline is more obvious on their least fav surface of the two. Rafa will hold the adv at all clay events and Novak will hold the adv at all HC events.
I hear what you say, but I have a bit of a hard time with the following: Federer was able to hold his own better at the RG 2019 at the age of 37.5 + with a game that is said to be a worse match up with Nadal for him than is Nadal's to Djokovic's game for Djokovic. I understand that Nadal is the player that he is on clay, but what about the other one? Djokovic, one year apart with Nadal, with a game that is supposedly not as susceptible to Nadal's strongest weapon on clay his lefty FH, ate a bagel and nearly a breadstick.

:cool:
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
It has been said before but it is only Australian hard courts and greenset hard courts where Djokovic thrashes Rafa, i.e when the ball keeps low.
As other posters have said it is all down to physical attributes. Djokovic has stamina issues so get him on any court, clay or hard where the ball spits up and he will lose as his BH nowadays struggles with the ball rearing up over and over again as it wears him out physically. Thiem also exploits this as it happens. It seems Djokovic has lost a lot of upper body strength but reasons are unknown.
Flip onto low bouncing courts and Nadals knees are the problem. He struggles to bend now like in his hey day especially on his FH side and so the Djokovic BH cross court where he can hit consistently in his hit zone gets through the court low resulting in short replies from Rafa which Djokovic cleans up.
They are actually tailor made opponents for each other depending on conditions.
It is why have said before they start at the moment as favourites for 2 of the 4 Majors.
Grass however is more interesting if it is hot and dry. Take 2019 for example wimbledon final. As many predicted federer was exhausted after almost 4 hours against Nadal in hot weather in the SF yet at 39 was 2 points away from beating Djokovic and in 2 of the sets really showed the comparative grass court skills shot making wise. But due to fatigue he could not keep it up.
Nadal would likely have beaten that Djokovic if fresh. The ball would still keep lower than clay or say USO hardcourts but on grass by 2nd week it is very dusty which is not too bad for Nadals knees so he can deal with the lower bounce better.
But the premise of you post is a good one. It is not a great rivalry anymore sadly. And as it happens both are very vulnerable to federer on a quicker court even though he is almost 40. I still feel if Federer comes back playing well he has a shot at W and next years AO is that court is as fast as this year.
I am having a bit of a trouble getting behind the idea that Djokovic "has stamina issues". He is not as durable as before in that regard, but hardly something that indicates such a steep drop in the level of performance. He certainly wasn't gasping for air against Dummy Timmy. It was more the other way around, and after this year's AO heroics (still not sure what to make out of his bizarre injury and his extraordinary recovery after that, especially with the extent of the claimed tear (in which I simply have hard time to believe, just like I never believed Nadal, when he claimed that he played with similarly sized tear at the USO in 2009)), I am even less convinced. It is a well known fact that the stamina is put to a big test, if a player is carrying an injury, as his body has to compensate for that as well as the stress from the playing itself.

What makes you think that Djokovic's performance is influenced by his "upper body strength", and what indication are there that that is so?

Also, obviously Nadal's weakness with low bouncing courts has been known, but are the AO courts really that low bouncing? Also, Nadal's performance in the 2018 and 2019 Wimbledon's suggest that he is not half bad in even more treacherous conditions, as wasn't the relatively quick AO 2017. Granted, 2017 was a long time ago, but similar things are seen on several occasions, including in 2018 at the AO, where he was doing OKish at the tournament.

The point I am perhaps making is, whether if that rivalry is not up for reevaluation not only in the last couple of years, but as a whole. It looks like there are some indications that more proof is gathering for coincidental close matches than for consistently great similar levels in several venues.

:cool:
 
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Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I hear what you say, but I have a bit of a hard time with the following: Federer was able to hold his own better at the RG 2019 at the age of 37.5 + with a game that is said to be a worse match up with Nadal for him than is Nadal's to Djokovic's game for Djokovic. I understand that Nadal is the player that he is on clay, but what about the other one? Djokovic, one year apart with Nadal, with a game that is supposedly not as susceptible to Nadal's strongest weapon on clay his lefty FH, ate a bagel and nearly a breadstick.

:cool:
Well lets look at it like this, both Federer and Djokovic have been dominating Nadal off of clay after having their last losess to him approximately the same time. Djokovic at USO 2013, Federer a few months later at AO 2014. Nadal doesn't hold a match up advantage over Federer anymore, that all changed with the tactical switch, combined with the new racket. Federer's game has been just as effective as Djokovic's has been, and you would also need to factor in Nadal's own decline, Federer and Djokovic are the GOATs of HC any way you put it, they occupy the top two spots, a declined Nadal on his less favored surface, with the match up not in his favor anymore isn't going light it up as he would have back during his true physical peak/prime years.

Now on clay, the tactics can still be used, but Nadal's greatness on clay has certainly helped his decline on clay to be far less perceptible than on HC, plus there is a role reversal, he is the GOAT on clay, the other two are challengers, Rafa can still get balls back on clay that he cannot on HC anymore. At RG 2019, Federer held is own in the windier conditions, yes, but in the slower damper conditions of RG 2020, Novak simply couldn't hit the ball with enough power to get it past Nadal, who had plenty more time to get to the ball. These things happen, Nadal came out and put on a master class, something I am not sure even he could do in the blustery conditions of RG 2019, where there was more caution with the ball striking.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
I am having a bit of a trouble getting behind the idea that Djokovic "has stamina issues". He is not as durable as before in that regard, but hardly something that indicates such a steep drop in the level of performance. He certainly wasn't gasping for air against Dummy Timmy. It was more the other way around, and after this year's AO heroics (still not sure what to make out of his bizarre injury and his extraordinary recovery after that, especially with the extent of the claimed tear (in which I simply have hard time to believe, just like I never believed Nadal, when he claimed that he played with similarly sized tear at the USO in 2009)), I am even less convinced. It is a well known fact that the stamina is put to a big test, if a player is carrying an injury, as his body has to compensate for that as well as the stress from the playing itself.

What makes you think that Djokovic's performance is influenced by his "upper body strength", and what indication are there that that is so?

Also, obviously Nadal's weakness with low bouncing courts has been known, but are the AO courts really that low bouncing? Also, Nadal's performance in the 2018 and 2019 Wimbledon's suggest that he is not half bad in even more treacherous conditions, as wasn't the relatively quick AO 2017. Granted, 2017 was a long time ago, but similar things are seen on several occasions, including in 2018 at the AO, where he was doing OKish at the tournament.

The point I am perhaps making is, whether if that rivalry is not up for reevaluation not only in the last couple of years, but as a whole. It looks like there are some indications that more proof is gathering for coincidental close matches than for consistently great similar levels in several venues.

:cool:
AO is lowest bouncing court at Major level. Watch where the ball bounces at back of court when it hits the fence.
Grass is easier for Nadal to move on if he makes it to 2nd week as its more like a clay court movement wise. And i do feel Nadal is better on 2nd week grass than Djokovic if it is a baked court under sun. Obviously for Nadal at Wimbledon he needs a good summer weather wise.
Djokovic is nowadays getting owned in long rallies by many players. At USO and cincinatti. RBA and PCB were killing him in longer rallies. They are no Nadal.
Djokovic has recognised his legs have gone by his new ultra aggressive game. His serve is retooled and his 2nd serve is perhaps hardest on tour amongst top 20. On a very fast slick court like Australia his game is fantastic. But here lies the rub. On fast courts Djokovic may well beat Rafa. He will beat pretty much everyone. Except Federer. This is where Federer has a great chance. In Australia thisnyear hardly any rallies went over 25 shots. There were lots of aces. More winners across the event than usual. Even 5 set matches were rarely 4 hours. Physical endurance was not a major factor. All good news for Federer.
And the bottom line is put even 40 year old Federer up against Djokovic on a fast court Federer if fit is going to utterly beat down on djokovic. He is simply a far better offensive player. By far. So this retooled Djokovic game i foresee may dump him in between two schools. Make him vulnerable on slow courts as his UFE count goes up as he has to hit extra shots, and on fast courts works well until meeting Federer.
Federer for me more likely to be on 21 Majors than Djokovic on 19 by start of USO and i have repeatedly said that since last USO.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
Well lets look at it like this, both Federer and Djokovic have been dominating Nadal off of clay after having their last losess to him approximately the same time. Djokovic at USO 2013, Federer a few months later at AO 2014. Nadal doesn't hold a match up advantage over Federer anymore, that all changed with the tactical switch, combined with the new racket. Federer's game has been just as effective as Djokovic's has been, and you would also need to factor in Nadal's own decline, Federer and Djokovic are the GOATs of HC any way you put it, they occupy the top two spots, a declined Nadal on his less favored surface, with the match up not in his favor anymore isn't going light it up as he would have back during his true physical peak/prime years.

Now on clay, the tactics can still be used, but Nadal's greatness on clay has certainly helped his decline on clay to be far less perceptible than on HC, plus there is a role reversal, he is the GOAT on clay, the other two are challengers, Rafa can still get balls back on clay that he cannot on HC anymore. At RG 2019, Federer held is own in the windier conditions, yes, but in the slower damper conditions of RG 2020, Novak simply couldn't hit the ball with enough power to get it past Nadal, who had plenty more time to get to the ball. These things happen, Nadal came out and put on a master class, something I am not sure even he could do in the blustery conditions of RG 2019, where there was more caution with the ball striking.
so funny. Before FO2020 the damp conditions were supposed to be fatal for Nadal. Comedy gold reversal of tactical analysis by some people after the Lord Major show.
 

JustMy2Cents

Semi-Pro
All players have good and bad days... anyone who has played sport will have no reservation admitting that.

Surprise, surprise, a champion also has bad days which unfortunately can coincide with a peaking opponent, resulting in lop sided matches.

Interviews given by champions reiterate the fact that they can't execute PLAN A every day, and some times even PLAN B, C don't work. Add to it, scores don't tell the whole story. A couple of close calls going the other way may change the match or at least give a respectable score line!
[ to illustrate about the FO 2020 you are harping on, Djoko could easily have won the 3rd set if things went his way a little. For that matter even the famous bagel was a 45 min tight 1st set when Djoko had 40-15 in 2 games to make it a respectable score. I'm sure one can argue the same about Rafa's score in AO final, I'm just not inclined to go see it now. I just enjoy Rafa's triumphs and move on if/when he has a bad day! It's as simple as Rafa said in his victory speech....it was Rafa's day at the FO just as Djoko had his day at AO ]

Viewers can pick on few lop sided matches and draw a conclusion that a champion is overhyped or is just a one trick pony.
OR they can look at umpteen other instances of close matches and conclude the lop sided ones are the anomaly!


Whatever floats your boat!
 
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Your point #1 is a something I thought about, and I think that most are in agreement that players like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are a cut above the rest not only now, but would have been in almost all generations, bar very few. However distance between them and the current chasers is not the issue here. The issue is the competition between themselves, and, moreover, one of players from virtually the same age, mileage, experience etc. The argument that they are the best compared to all the others does't quite apply between those two, or at least it shouldn't, going by their overall resumes.

Your point #2 is more in the direction of what I was thinking. What you say is fundamentally true, players will always have a career that is reminiscent of a bell curve (including such on their preferred surfaces which might or might not be overlapping with the general trend). I can also accept that the best players on the surface can hold their career form better than all the rest in decline. What is shocking to me (and I am saying this without exaggeration) is that the difference between Nadal and Djokovic is so pronounced. I understand that they hold actual advantages over the other on their respective favourite surfaces (as in parts of their game that give them decisive advantages to win over the other: I have always held the view, that mental strength is simply an extension of the knowledge of the player that he holds such advantages vs a particular opponent in particular circumstances, if he himself executes well. Something that is referred to as "the match being on his racquet")), but we are witnessing literal destructions of the other. Something that shouldn't be happening, if those players are all they are described to be (ultimate fighters, well rounded games with no obvious weaknesses, tactically astute, physically on the highest possible level etc). Something doesn't quite add up.

Additionally, they are reaching the latest stages of the tournaments, and think about it: when Connors lost to McEnroe in the 1984 USO he didn't go down on a straight set trouncing, despite of being already 32. He lost to a player that convincingly trashed the other player in the finals. Rosewall did very well everywhere in old age, I am not sure what the thinking is behind mentioning his name in that regard. He beat 8 years younger Newk for his USO F qualification in 1974, and USO was hardly his best tournament (although, to be fair, it is hard to say which was his weakest, he was that good).

To your third point: it appears that in that frame of thinking we have more a case of establishing that such disparities indicate that those players have not been the level of competition that was originally thought in the first place. Their steep decline on their "weaker" (or is it weakest?) surface/conditions/whatever, to the point of not being able to hold even a respectable level of competition against the other competitor, despite of being held in highest regard on multiple points as far as tennis ability goes, indicate that the few times of them going toe to toe has created the wrong impression of that rivalry.

:cool:
My point #1 was only meant as background to my point #2, which was the key argument. 1 was just meant to illustrate it in broader context.

I agree with you that they are not physically on the highest possible level anymore - hence my acknowledgement that they are in decline on their weaker surfaces.

As for Connors v McEnroe in 1984, I think it rather illustrates my point fairly well. When they played at Wimbledon, on a surface that favored McEnroe, he was able to take advantage of the age and surface advantage so as to demolish Connors 6-1 6-1 6-2. But when they played at the US Open, although McEnroe still had the age advantage, he no longer had the surface advantage and they played in almost neutral conditions. As a result, Connors was able to hold his own and almost won. So, when Connors was 31/32, he was similar to Nadal and Djokovic now in that his form on his favorite surface (hardcourt) was almost as good as ever, whereas his form on other surfaces was far below his very best. After all, Connors had actually beaten McEnroe in the 1982 Wimbledon final, and while I think most would agree that McEnroe wasn't on such good form then as in 1984, Connors getting older also played a part in making the 1984 final so one-sided.

Don't you think one could make the same argument about Federer, by the way? (That his form has held up much better on courts that suit him than on courts that don't suit him). After all, he usually still does very well at Wimbledon: in the last six versions of the tournament, he has won the event once, made three other finals (losing two in five sets), one semi-final (which he'd likely have won were he not injured), and one quarter-final (in which he might also have been hampered by injury). Injury, stamina, and slight loss of confidence are all that held him back from winning multiple times there. But his results at Roland Garros and the US Open are not on a par with that.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
My point #1 was only meant as background to my point #2, which was the key argument. 1 was just meant to illustrate it in broader context.

I agree with you that they are not physically on the highest possible level anymore - hence my acknowledgement that they are in decline on their weaker surfaces.

As for Connors v McEnroe in 1984, I think it rather illustrates my point fairly well. When they played at Wimbledon, on a surface that favored McEnroe, he was able to take advantage of the age and surface advantage so as to demolish Connors 6-1 6-1 6-2. But when they played at the US Open, although McEnroe still had the age advantage, he no longer had the surface advantage and they played in almost neutral conditions. As a result, Connors was able to hold his own and almost won. So, when Connors was 31/32, he was similar to Nadal and Djokovic now in that his form on his favorite surface (hardcourt) was almost as good as ever, whereas his form on other surfaces was far below his very best. After all, Connors had actually beaten McEnroe in the 1982 Wimbledon final, and while I think most would agree that McEnroe wasn't on such good form then as in 1984, Connors getting older also played a part in making the 1984 final so one-sided.

Don't you think one could make the same argument about Federer, by the way? (That his form has held up much better on courts that suit him than on courts that don't suit him). After all, he usually still does very well at Wimbledon: in the last six versions of the tournament, he has won the event once, made three other finals (losing two in five sets), one semi-final (which he'd likely have won were he not injured), and one quarter-final (in which he might also have been hampered by injury). Injury, stamina, and slight loss of confidence are all that held him back from winning multiple times there. But his results at Roland Garros and the US Open are not on a par with that.
I try not to forget what we are talking about here: it is not whether one player would simply hold advantage over his rival on his favourite surface as they become older, but that he would hold a massive advantage over him and that at a surface where the two players are doing relatively well overall, and being of virtually the same age (in the big picture anyway).

The example with Connors was to illustrate that he managed to make it very competitive on a surface that one could say both players were good at. In that sense for example HC for Mac and Jimbo is what it is for Djokovic and Nadal (Djokovic's first, Nadal's second best surface), yet Djokovic is literally trashing Nadal everywhere in the last almost 8 years, despite of them being of similar stature and age.

McEnroe's 1984 is a bit of a misleading example, if looked at as a whole, as we all know what an unplayable player McEnroe was in that year, and it is a bit of a problem that they never played in the Majors again after that to follow the potential development there. Despite of that Connors played Mac harder than anyone (who Mac didn't lost to that year, obviously).

Even more confusing is the fact that on grass (Nadal's worst surface) they had a much more contested match than anything that they had on HC in recent times (Nadal nearly won that match). If the theory that the deterioration is most visible on the weakest surface, then that is also a strange occurrence.

:cool:
 
I try not to forget what we are talking about here: it is not whether one player would simply hold advantage over his rival on his favourite surface as they become older, but that he would hold a massive advantage over him and that at a surface where the two players are doing relatively well overall, and being of virtually the same age (in the big picture anyway).

The example with Connors was to illustrate that he managed to make it very competitive on a surface that one could say both players were good at. In that sense for example HC for Mac and Jimbo is what it is for Djokovic and Nadal (Djokovic's first, Nadal's second best surface), yet Djokovic is literally trashing Nadal everywhere in the last almost 8 years, despite of them being of similar stature and age.

McEnroe's 1984 is a bit of a misleading example, if looked at as a whole, as we all know what an unplayable player McEnroe was in that year, and it is a bit of a problem that they never played in the Majors again after that to follow the potential development there. Despite of that Connors played Mac harder than anyone (who Mac didn't lost to that year, obviously).

Even more confusing is the fact that on grass (Nadal's worst surface) they had a much more contested match than anything that they had on HC in recent times (Nadal nearly won that match). If the theory that the deterioration is most visible on the weakest surface, then that is also a strange occurrence.

:cool:
Nadal should certainly have done better against Djokovic on hard courts than he has since the US Open 2013. Mind you, Djokovic won four straight matches against Nadal on outdoor hard court, all in straight sets, as early as 2007-08 (Miami 2007, Canada 2007, Indian Wells 2008, Cincinnati 2008).

I think Nadal doing so much better at Wimbledon 2018 than in most hard-court matches is largely a function of Djokovic being weaker on grass courts than on hard courts and Djokovic not being quite back to full fitness yet at that point. It'd be interesting to see whether Nadal could do better than he has in most of their recent hard court matches should they play at the US Open this year (or possibly in Canada or Cincinnati).
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Nadal should certainly have done better against Djokovic on hard courts than he has since the US Open 2013. Mind you, Djokovic won four straight matches against Nadal on outdoor hard court, all in straight sets, as early as 2007-08 (Miami 2007, Canada 2007, Indian Wells 2008, Cincinnati 2008).

I think Nadal doing so much better at Wimbledon 2018 than in most hard-court matches is largely a function of Djokovic being weaker on grass courts than on hard courts and Djokovic not being quite back to full fitness yet at that point. It'd be interesting to see whether Nadal could do better than he has in most of their recent hard court matches should they play at the US Open this year (or possibly in Canada or Cincinnati).
At Wimbledon 2018, Djokovic was not hitting his BH DTL as much as he normally does, that shot came back into flow around USO 2018. Not having to deal with that shot, helped Nadal with his court positioning.
 
At Wimbledon 2018, Djokovic was not hitting his BH DTL as much as he normally does, that shot came back into flow around USO 2018. Not having to deal with that shot, helped Nadal with his court positioning.
Kind of reminiscent of how, back in the days when Djokovic used to Major in Minors, Bull would lull him into a false sense of security by not playing his UNBEATABLE forehand DTL in clay-court MS events, thus leading Djokovic to the mistaken belief that he had actually beaten Bull, when in fact no such thing is possible, only for Bull to DEMOLISH him when he really wanted to.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Kind of reminiscent of how, back in the days when Djokovic used to Major in Minors, Bull would lull him into a false sense of security by not playing his UNBEATABLE forehand DTL in clay-court MS events, thus leading Djokovic to the mistaken belief that he had actually beaten Bull, when in fact no such thing is possible, only for Bull to DEMOLISH him when he really wanted to.
Djokovic wasn't a very good big match player back then as he would go onto become. He's often said that matches with Federer, Nadal, Murray in big moments helped mould him into the player he is now and he owes it to them.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Kind of reminiscent of how, back in the days when Djokovic used to Major in Minors, Bull would lull him into a false sense of security by not playing his UNBEATABLE forehand DTL in clay-court MS events, thus leading Djokovic to the mistaken belief that he had actually beaten Bull, when in fact no such thing is possible, only for Bull to DEMOLISH him when he really wanted to.
I never saw an ATG who bases his game on the idea that his opponent will not use a shot that he otherwise has, and so I don't believe in such explanations. It is only my opinion, though.

:cool:
 
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