Why Federer was not as dominant at Wimbledon than Nadal at Roland Garros ?

RoS

Rookie
Nadal except his 2015dal form has been only beaten by Soderling, and even that was no really Peak Nadal (exhausted from his insane clay court season)

While Federer has been beaten fair and square by Nadal, Djokovic (3 times in finals), Berdych, Tsonga, Sthakovski, Raonic, Henman and Anderson.

Federer on grass has his ultimate serve and variety
Nadal on clay has his ultimate topspin FH.

Nadal is really stronger than Federer or because Federer had more competition ? Nadal is still dominant as ever at Roland Garros with his physical game at 35, while Federer with his more economical and complete game at the same age couldn't defeat Djokovic and Anderson.

The surface is more relevant too. Grass reward first strike tennis and variety while clay reward defensive abilities and topspin.

Nadal is better than Federer or the clay surface is the most difficult to earn ?
 

GhostofPetros

Semi-Pro
If this were the 90s, we'd say, "because grass is a fast, irregular surface, which lends itself to more upsets." Since Fed has dominated the era of green clay, I'm not really sure what you'd say
 

RoS

Rookie
If this were the 90s, we'd say, "because grass is a fast, irregular surface, which lends itself to more upsets." Since Fed has dominated the era of green clay, I'm not really sure what you'd say
Grass is still fast and the surface nullified topspin and reward slice (low bounce)
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Grass is harder to dominate in this sense because it's harder to stop your opponents getting momentum and running with it sometimes. It's much easier on grass to get momentum and keep it, but that also goes for the opponent.

On clay, momentum tends to swing all over the place a lot more, and it's harder to maintain the momentum once you have it. Nadal knows he is better over the long haul and can trust he'll get the job done.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
A few reasons:
  1. grass is a more volatile surface than clay meaning when an opponent gets hot and starts serving big, they can cause upsets
  2. Federer ran into a peak grass ATG later in his career. Nadal didn't have one on clay unless you include Djokovic and Federer on clay which I don't because it's their weakest surface
  3. The gap between Nadal and the field on clay is bigger than the gap between Federer and the field on grass
 
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GhostofPetros

Semi-Pro
Grass is harder to dominate in this sense because it's harder to stop your opponents getting momentum and running with it sometimes. It's much easier on grass to get momentum and keep it, but that also goes for the opponent.

On clay, momentum tends to swing all over the place a lot more, and it's harder to maintain the momentum once you have it. Nadal knows he is better over the long haul and can trust he'll get the job done.
Don't be silly, grass hasn't been a first strike surface in over 15 years.
 

Aabye5

Rookie
Nadal except his 2015dal form has been only beaten by Soderling, and even that was no really Peak Nadal (exhausted from his insane clay court season)

While Federer has been beaten fair and square by Nadal, Djokovic (3 times in finals), Berdych, Tsonga, Sthakovski, Raonic, Henman and Anderson.

Federer on grass has his ultimate serve and variety
Nadal on clay has his ultimate topspin FH.

Nadal is really stronger than Federer or because Federer had more competition ? Nadal is still dominant as ever at Roland Garros with his physical game at 35, while Federer with his more economical and complete game at the same age couldn't defeat Djokovic and Anderson.

The surface is more relevant too. Grass reward first strike tennis and variety while clay reward defensive abilities and topspin.

Nadal is better than Federer or the clay surface is the most difficult to earn ?
Rafa may be the best there ever was on clay. He grew up play on it. He uses the space to its full extent. His serve and lefty forehand carve out the perfect spots on clay. He slides perfectly into his shots. There was once an Onion (or something similar) article, about how he eats clay (jk).

Roger on the other hand did not have as much exposure to grass, because he grew up on clay. He had to grow accustomed to it, the same as the rest. Once he adapted, however, he too found the perfect surface for his game. Had he grown up on grass, maybe he would have won his first Slam at as a teen.
 

RoS

Rookie
A few reasons:
  1. grass is a more volatile surface than clay meaning when an opponent gets hot and starts serving big, they can cause upsets
  2. Federer ran into a peak grass ATG later in his career. Nadal didn't have one on clay unles you include Djokovic and Federer on clay which I don't because it's their weakest surface
  3. The gap between Nadal and the field on clay is bigger than the gap between Federer and the field on grass
Yes, but without Nadal, Federer and Djokovic would have even more FO than Kuerten each other.
And if Federer was stronger, Djokovic would have only 1 or 2 Wimbledon and wouldn't be considered as a grass ATG.
It's why Nadal has maybe more weapons than Federer (despite his Goat serve, his footwork, his variety), and maybe yes because clay reward the defense, and no one is better than Nadal on defense on clay.
 

Le Master

Professional
He said "its not that slow" and mostly faster than hard courts, except for Cincy and Shanghai. Not sure how Wimbledon compares to those hards, but its definitely not a fast court anymore.
I'm well aware what he said about the speed of clay this year in his presser last week, but he didn't compare it grass.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes, but without Nadal, Federer and Djokovic would have even more FO than Kuerten each other.
And if Federer was stronger, Djokovic would have only 1 or 2 Wimbledon and wouldn't be considered as a grass ATG.
It's why Nadal has maybe more weapons than Federer (despite his Goat serve, his footwork, his variety), and maybe yes because clay reward the defense, and no one is better than Nadal on defense on clay.
They wouldn't in the 90s though. The clay field was much deeper then and more competitive at the top. You had great players back then who lived and breathed clay, and relished the opportunity everytime that season rolled around. Not many in this era so they made it deeper in RG more often than they would have back then.

But Djokovic is very strong himself on grass. His peak was also very high. It's no knock on Federer that he couldn't beat a grass ATG at the peak of his powers.

Yea Nadal is the best at what he does on clay by a mile which is why he is so dominant on it.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
1) Federer was never the physical specimen that Nadal was and is.
2) Clay has always been about endurance and tenacity. Lower ranked players who consistently bombed out of the other 3 slams have always done well at Roland Garros because they were supremely fit.
3) Federer does not have half of Rafa's tenacity and typically has won as the front runner. Fed especially now is more prone to choke at important points or to lose when he isn't
having his best day. Fed plays defensively and chokes every time he plays Djokovic. It's sad to watch. He plays scared the entire time.
4) Rafa can win when he's totally off because he's a grinder, while Fed plays pretty boy tennis, and does not grind, gross.
5) Note: Fed is my favorite player.
 

RoS

Rookie
1) Federer was never the physical specimen that Nadal was and is.
2) Clay has always been about endurance and tenacity. Lower ranked players who consistently bombed out of the other 3 slams have always done well at Roland Garros because they were supremely fit.
3) Federer does not have half of Rafa's tenacity and typically has won as the front runner. Fed especially now is more prone to choke at important points or to lose when he isn't
having his best day. Fed plays defensively and chokes every time he plays Djokovic. It's sad to watch. He plays scared the entire time.
4) Rafa can win when he's totally off because he's a grinder, while Fed plays pretty boy tennis, and does not grind, gross.
5) Note: Fed is my favorite player.
You don't think it was the level of Djokovic who is a part of this ? You don't think simply that the game of Djokovic give Federer more trouble than the likes of Roddick, Philippoussis and Cilic ?
Same thing about Fedal rivalry. The truth is Federer has always been able to beat Nadal on clay (as Rome 2006 and the FO 2006/2007 proved it) but the problem is that Federer was maybe less mentally stronger than Nadal. The FH betrayed more Federer than his BH. Federer is basically a front-runner who is comfortable when he is destroying his opponent, much less when he is pushed by tough opponent except the AO 2017 Final and the Wimbledon 2007 Final.
 

Incognito

Legend
They wouldn't in the 90s though. The clay field was much deeper then and more competitive at the top. You had great players back then who lived and breathed clay, and relished the opportunity everytime that season rolled around. Not many in this era so they made it deeper in RG more often than they would have back then.

But Djokovic is very strong himself on grass. His peak was also very high. It's no knock on Federer that he couldn't beat a grass ATG at the peak of his powers.

Yea Nadal is the best at what he does on clay by a mile which is why he is so dominant on it.
Had federer been the same age as the other two, he would still rule wimbledon today. Lets be honest his best on grass is better than Rafole’s.
 

Kralingen

Professional
Because clay is inherently a more defensive and less serve oriented surface. Nadal’s deep return style levels out the highs and lows and keeps matches on the ground where he can run and retrieve and go defense to offense. To an extent he is unbeatable because of the inability of his opponents to get into a rhythm and peak. But I think it has to be said that he has never faced a clay player as good as Djokovic is on grass as well.

Nadal and Djokovic are plainly better athletes with better defensive movement. This raises their floor in a way that Federer cannot, he will never be able to really suffocate a big serving opponent to death on grass due to the nature of the surface and his body.

I didn’t see Federer’s loss to Mario Ancic but almost all of his losses have followed the same pattern no? Berdych, Tsonga, Anderson, Raonic, all were huge powerful players who got into rhythm offensively and have a power level that old Federer just didn’t have the legs to suffocate. On clay these players don’t get the same winner potential, even if they hit the exact same shots - and of course Federer’s movement defensively declined a lot after age 30. Plus a lot happened after going up 2-0 or 2-1 and not having as much in the tank.. Anderson, Raonic, Tsonga, and sort of Stakhovsky in that his fitness was worse than ever in his career in 2013. Still should have won all 4.. but the variance is just higher on grass. The first 3 reached a special zone serving that only a prime Djokovic or Nadal could have disrupted that day.

The 3 Djokovic losses and Nadal loss are the ones that I blame on his mental game falling apart slightly on big points, and the fact that all had a major athletic advantage over him and thus could play unreal defensive points with tireless endurance.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
You don't think it was the level of Djokovic who is a part of this ? You don't think simply that the game of Djokovic give Federer more trouble than the likes of Roddick, Philippoussis and Cilic ?
Same thing about Fedal rivalry. The truth is Federer has always been able to beat Nadal on clay (as Rome 2006 and the FO 2006/2007 proved it) but the problem is that Federer was maybe less mentally stronger than Nadal. The FH betrayed more Federer than his BH. Federer is basically a front-runner who is comfortable when he is destroying his opponent, much less when he is pushed by tough opponent except the AO 2017 Final and the Wimbledon 2007 Final.
I'm not taking anything away from the Joker, but Fed plays afraid when he plays him. He's not the same Fed. I believe he dislikes Djokovic sooooo much that he wants to beat him so bad that he's plays tentative and not to lose.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Well, without Djokovic, Federer would have 11 at Wimbledon, which is not that far away from Nadal's 13 at RG. So there's your answer!
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
  1. Federer ran into a peak grass ATG later in his career. Nadal didn't have one on clay unless you include Djokovic and Federer on clay which I don't because it's their weakest surface
Nadal did not allow Federer and Djokovic to become ATGs on clay. It is unfair to dismiss Federer and Djokovic as claycourters to attempt to make Nadal's competition look worse. Federer and Djokovic would each have won 5+ RG titles without Rafa.

Federer did not stop Nadal and Djokovic in multiple Wimbledon finals (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2019), while Nadal never lost a RG final to Federer and Djokovic (or anybody for that matter). It proves Nadal is a superior clay player than Federer a grass player, regardless of the competition excuse.

Nadal is better on clay than Federer on grass. That is something you avoided to mention in your analysis.
 
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GhostofPetros

Semi-Pro
Nadal did not allow Federer and Djokovic to become ATGs on clay, so your argument is, I believe, not a valid reason. Federer did not stop Nadal and Djokovic in multiple Wimbledon finals (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2019), while Nadal never lost a RG final to Federer and Djokovic (or anybody for that matter).

Nadal is better on clay than Federer on grass. That is something you avoided to mention in your analysis.
He really has no excuse. If this were the 90s and it were Pete, we could reasonably say, "grass is extremely fast, with irregular bounces consistently affecting play on big points its much harder to defend against upsets, especially as reflexes decline." But this is not the 90s, and it is not Pete. This is the 00s, and Fed, who dominated a grass court that was not much faster than RG, and bounced very regularly, moreso every year in fact. So the only explanation is that Nadal is better on clay than he is on grass. And not by a bit, or a reasonable amount. But vastly, hilariously, monumentally better.
 

GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
1. Nadal is greater on clay than Fed is on grass
2. Grass is a harder surface to dominate
3. Pete dominated 90s grass; Roger could’ve done even better had it stayed that way
4. To Roger’s credit he adapted from S&V to a baseline game and even won it that way; Petros couldn’t have done that.
 

Sephiroth

Hall of Fame
1. Nadal is better on clay than Federer is on grass
2. He messed up winnable chances (2011, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 etc), Nadal doesn't do that at RG. He locks it down when the going gets tough
3. Less freak losses, Federer has lost to Berdych, Tsonga, Stakhovsky, Anderson at what is supposed to be his pet slam. Nadal's only had 1 freak loss and that was against Soderling.

So no one can say Federer didn't have chances to have 10 Wimbledon titles or something, he did and blew them
 

Sephiroth

Hall of Fame
Maybe if Federer knew his GS count was gonna be in danger like this he may have tried harder against some of those players where had freak losses against...but as @Sport says, Untestable, therefore unprovable, therefore irrelevant
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Nadal and Djokovic are both baseliners. But Nadal prefers it slow and hi bouncing, whereas Djokovic prefers it fast and low bouncing. That explains why Djokovic took over Wimbledon and AO from Federer, but could barely challenge Nadal at RG.

So in a sense, it was unlucky for Federer that the 3rd member of the club prefers the same kind of surfaces, that he does! What if that 3rd member had the same taste for clay that Nadal has!
 
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NoleIsBoat

Hall of Fame
1. Djokovic is better than him on modern grass, hence the 0-3 in Wimbledon finals.
2. Nadal is better on clay than Fed on grass
3. Fed’s balls SHRUNK to the size of marbles when he faced his daddy again in 08 for the 3rd year running
4. He blew very good chances to win, 2011, 2018 and 2019 obviously. Lacking clutch.
 

Aabye5

Rookie
Had federer been the same age as the other two, he would still rule wimbledon today. Lets be honest his best on grass is better than Rafole’s.
Yes and no. If Roger was the same age as them, the Slams might be more even. He might have more RGs, Rafa maybe one more Wimbledon (especially if Novak is on Roger's side).

However, when Roger lost to Nadal, it wasn't because of age.
 

Aabye5

Rookie
Nadal and Djokovic are both baseliners. But Nadal prefers it slow and hi bouncing, whereas Djokovic prefers it fast and low bouncing. That explains why Djokovic took over Wimbledon and AO from Federer, but could barely challenge Nadal at RG.

So in a sense, it was unlucky for Federer that the 3rd member of the club prefers the same kind of surfaces, that he does! What if that 3rd member had the same taste for clay that Nadal has!
It does not, however, explain the USO.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Margins are closer on grass even today after the grass has been slowed down and made to play more consistently. When Nadal won Wimbly in 2008 the grass was quite different vs when Federer first won in 2003. A 120 mph serve bounced 8 inches higher and was 18 inches slower to get to the opposite baseline in 2008 vs 2003. Court was slower and the ball bounced higher which both helped Nadal and other baseline players. That's why clay court players hardly ever won Wimbledon until they changed the grass.
 

AceSalvo

Legend
1. Fedr's back injury along with the untimely change in his racket derailed his Wimbledon career.

2. ITF had to slow down courts more than before to help Djokdal get where they are today. Wimbledon and USO court conditions were impacted in that sense. They bet their money on Djkodal and got the results they wanted.

3. Risky game when compared to dirt. Anyone with a huge consistent serve and decent FH/volley can take out the top guy.

4. Nadal runs like a Energizer bunny every clay season. Can't beat that.
 
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BGod

Legend
Cause Fed's a choker. I say that as a fan since 01.

2008 okay you call that toss up but he did choke the 2nd set go look. And 1/13 on BP?

2011 major choke but Novak too good.
2014 had chances, Novak just better.
2015 had chances, Novak GOAT season.
2018, bad choke, might win but Novak.
2019, historical choke.

Nadal meanwhile should have lost 2011, 2013 & 2014 but he was massively clutch and held through.

Overall though Fed should be at 10 Wimbledons, Nadal at 11 French.
 

Zoid

Professional
Nadal except his 2015dal form has been only beaten by Soderling, and even that was no really Peak Nadal (exhausted from his insane clay court season)

While Federer has been beaten fair and square by Nadal, Djokovic (3 times in finals), Berdych, Tsonga, Sthakovski, Raonic, Henman and Anderson.

Federer on grass has his ultimate serve and variety
Nadal on clay has his ultimate topspin FH.

Nadal is really stronger than Federer or because Federer had more competition ? Nadal is still dominant as ever at Roland Garros with his physical game at 35, while Federer with his more economical and complete game at the same age couldn't defeat Djokovic and Anderson.

The surface is more relevant too. Grass reward first strike tennis and variety while clay reward defensive abilities and topspin.

Nadal is better than Federer or the clay surface is the most difficult to earn ?
If this were the 90s, we'd say, "because grass is a fast, irregular surface, which lends itself to more upsets." Since Fed has dominated the era of green clay, I'm not really sure what you'd say
Tough answer: I'd say this. Federer's game is a little more balanced than rafa's - it works well in all conditions (5 french finals besides rafa is an amazing clay career). He isn't as extremely suited to grass as Pete was or Kyrgios is. That is, if fed had more power and a slightly flatter hitter he would have been more successful on grass I think.

Fed has wins indoors, outdoors, clay, grass, carpet, slower courts, faster courts, low bouncing, high bouncing.

Rafa genuinely struggles indoors. His game isn't suited for it and that's why I think he only has the 1 title in his whole career indoors (not sure of exact stat, madrid 05 from memory)

Rafa is extremely well suited to clay:
- huge spin
- left handed (always handy on any surface, but given his main rivals are right handed its especially true on clay with the bounce into the backhand)
- amazing athlete; fitness and strength unmatched.

Secondly. clay's surface has remain unchanged. Clay is clay. grass changed in 02 and is slower and higher bouncing. So some of the help grass gave to servers and flat attackers was taken away. Rafa would have done worse on old grass. As an aside, I think Fed would have lost just as much on fast grass, but more so to big servers. I think Raonic and Isner and Kyrgios would be deadly on a real piece of grass. So Fed would beat rafa and djok more on fast grass but I think he would be upset by big servers.

An analysis of Fed's h2h v djok and rafa at fast-rated venues (cincy, shanghai, basel etc ) shows him having a very good record.
 

Russeljones

G.O.A.T.
Nadal except his 2015dal form has been only beaten by Soderling, and even that was no really Peak Nadal (exhausted from his insane clay court season)

While Federer has been beaten fair and square by Nadal, Djokovic (3 times in finals), Berdych, Tsonga, Sthakovski, Raonic, Henman and Anderson.

Federer on grass has his ultimate serve and variety
Nadal on clay has his ultimate topspin FH.

Nadal is really stronger than Federer or because Federer had more competition ? Nadal is still dominant as ever at Roland Garros with his physical game at 35, while Federer with his more economical and complete game at the same age couldn't defeat Djokovic and Anderson.

The surface is more relevant too. Grass reward first strike tennis and variety while clay reward defensive abilities and topspin.

Nadal is better than Federer or the clay surface is the most difficult to earn ?
Because SW19 is bastardised grass. He does very well on it, comparatively speaking. Old grass would maybe have seen him achieve silly dominance. People just don't see how predictable bounces have become.
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
Besides Nadal is clearly superior on his favorite surface than the Swiss on his, we can also say that Spaniard is better at Wimbledon than Federer was at RG.
:D
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
On grass someone like Tsonga can come out zoning for 3 hours and can beat you no matter of your form. On clay it almost never happens. Soderling loss was once in century upset. Still credit to Nadal for maintaining such high level of play for 16 years. There are years when Fed played awful Tennis at Wimbledon - like 2010,13,16, 18 etc. Nadal had just one such year - 2015. Nadal made breakthrough at French when he was 19. Federer took it 22 to win first Wimbledon. So Nadal is just superior on his favorite surface.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Because, unlike Nadal at RG, at Wimbledon Federer played against a player, who has similar player profile as him, and also was on an ATG level and 6 years younger than Federer.

Other than that Fed's stats at Wimbledon are very comparable with Nadal's at RG.

:cool:
 
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