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

T007

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 ?
Grass is a surface where big servers and powerful strikers of tennis ball can take you out on their best day. The margins are very small in grass. Federer dominated grass in his peak having a 65 match winning streak and 5 titles in a row. The declining of federer federer prime was 2010 where he had shocking losses. So more of those losses you have mentionef came when Federer was in his 30s. All those matches were close ones which Federer should have won except that Berdych match where he was outpowered.

On clay big hitting guys are hardly a threat as the slowness of the surface gives enough time for Nadal to defend. On the otherhand no one else plays the game that Nadal does on clay. So basically Nadal doesn't had much threat as there are no clay specialists who can defeat him at his own game.
 

T007

Rookie
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.
Djokovic is not better than Federer on any version of grass wether slow or fast. The record is (3-1) because Federer choked on multiple ocassions in 2014 and 2019. Overall Federer outplayed djokovic even winning more return points than djokovic from the baseline but he failed to convert his chances what could have been a 9th title and 2 all Vs djokovic. And those assumptions of djokovic better than Federer on grass never could have arrived.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
1. Nadal is simply better at RG than Federer is at Wimbledon.
2. Fed's generally faced greater competition at Wimbledon than Nadal at RG. Namely Djokovic who's better on grass than he is on clay. Nadal himself was also a great opponent on grass from 2007-2008.
3. Grass is typically more upset-prone than clay. It's easier to get blown off the court in the first week against a hot opponent on grass than clay. Explains a few (but not all) of Fed's freak losses.
4. Fed blew an excellent chance to add one more to his tally in 2019. Sure, he blew two other matches (2011 and 2018 QFs) but he'd have been the underdog in the final rounds anyway even if he'd won them. If you're really reaching, you could add 2008 and 2014 to that short list, but you'd really have to be reaching.
 

Aabye5

Rookie
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.
Not quite, clay changes. Pretty much everyday, I could argue (see: SI Clay Courts, ). Most importantly, however, the balls change (hence Medvedev's successful run). I would argue that part of the reason Nadal is successful is that he adapts to change the best. But more importantly, the big 3 all adjust better than any other player I can think of during their times on tour. They can play in wind, in a dust storm, with or without a crowd.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here when using Novak as the measuring stick.

Is he actually better on grass than on clay? Or does he just have more Wimbledon titles because Federer simply wasn't as good there as Nadal at RG?

I feel like we argue all the time that Novak's an overrated grass courter and Federer probably should've won 2 of those finals. Of course, Fed had to contend with the age gap that Rafa hasn't. But let's say you put 2020 Rafa up against 2015 Djokovic at RG. We know Fed let 2015 Nole get the win at Wimbledon, but would Rafa lose at RG even with the age gap? Idk.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here when using Novak as the measuring stick.

Is he actually better on grass than on clay? Or does he just have more Wimbledon titles because Federer simply wasn't as good there as Nadal at RG?

I feel like we argue all the time that Novak's an overrated grass courter and Federer probably should've won 2 of those finals. Of course, Fed had to contend with the age gap that Rafa hasn't. But let's say you put 2020 Rafa up against 2015 Djokovic at RG. We know Fed let 2015 Nole get the win at Wimbledon, but would Rafa lose at RG even with the age gap? Idk.
If you ask that question you don't know anything about Djokovic: his game is clearly better suited for grass than for clay. His serve is a real weapon on grass (unlike on clay), his reach is clearly more beneficial on grass , where he cannot slide like he could on clay, his ROS where he uses the power of the opponent's shot against him is clearly more devastating on grass, in general his shot is clearly more penetrating on grass than on clay, and his precision game clearly works better on grass, where the ball bounces much more uniformly than on clay.

Of course, from a fake Federer fan like yourself, who uses every opportunity to make backhanded jabs at the man, your "considerations" are not at all surprising.

:cool:
 
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Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here when using Novak as the measuring stick.

Is he actually better on grass than on clay? Or does he just have more Wimbledon titles because Federer simply wasn't as good there as Nadal at RG?

I feel like we argue all the time that Novak's an overrated grass courter and Federer probably should've won 2 of those finals. Of course, Fed had to contend with the age gap that Rafa hasn't. But let's say you put 2020 Rafa up against 2015 Djokovic at RG. We know Fed let 2015 Nole get the win at Wimbledon, but would Rafa lose at RG even with the age gap? Idk.
I think he is better at Wimbledon than he is at RG, we can say that at the very least. Wimbledon 2011 and 2015 are performances he hasn't really matched at RG, though performances in the clay Bo3 tournaments like Rome 2011 are probably better. I mean, the best versions of Djokovic at RG are 2012 and 2013, right? Because while those versions were great, I just don't think he was overall as good as he was at Wimbledon in those years.
 

Zoid

Professional
Not quite, clay changes. Pretty much everyday, I could argue (see: SI Clay Courts, ). Most importantly, however, the balls change (hence Medvedev's successful run). I would argue that part of the reason Nadal is successful is that he adapts to change the best. But more importantly, the big 3 all adjust better than any other player I can think of during their times on tour. They can play in wind, in a dust storm, with or without a crowd.
my point about clay was that the type of clay was not changed. A hard court is the same court every day but can play faster or slower due to balls and weather etc. also, but clay cannot be made so easily different that the court itself is inherently lower bouncing or faster/slower all conditions equal. Yes the weather affects it a lot, as do balls, but it's not like clay has markedly reduced bounce or increased speed in the last years like grass has increased bounce.

your argument about Nadal adjusting the best goes against his indoor record.
 

topher

Professional
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.
What is the source for these numbers?
 

zuluzazu

Professional
I think he is better at Wimbledon than he is at RG, we can say that at the very least. Wimbledon 2011 and 2015 are performances he hasn't really matched at RG, though performances in the clay Bo3 tournaments like Rome 2011 are probably better. I mean, the best versions of Djokovic at RG are 2012 and 2013, right? Because while those versions were great, I just don't think he was overall as good as he was at Wimbledon in those years.
Just check Novaks number in RG. In RG Nadal never allowed anyone to become an ATG. It is as simple as that. Even if there was Guga, Bruguera, Muster in this we would still be discussing how bad clay competition is because they also would have at max 1 RG each. Fed at Wimbledon allowed Novak to become an ATG by botching 2019 and 2014. Even in 2011 Fed would have a better chance of beating novak in the SF. BTW Novak is 74-15 in RG where 7 of his losses are to Nadal and 72-10 in Wimby where 1 loss is against Fed. I think Nadal is the only reason Novak is not an ATG in RG whereas Fed had his chances at wimby to deny Novak ATG status but could not
 

Forehanderer

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)
What do you mean he was not peaking at 2009. He was 23 at that time, no? Exhaustion is part of the game. Already giving excuses even if Nadal is having an extraordinary record in RG.
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
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.
Nadal is better in his prime as he was only taken to a 5th setter once in the latter rounds, as opposed to Federer actually losing in 2008, as well as playing 5 setter finals in 2007-2009.

But are you serious about mentioning 2014-2019 for Fed? Nadal would hate playing peak Djokovic at RG in his 30s.

He may have done well against Novak in his prime, but adjust that for a slower Nadal, with a worse FH on a surface that's mostly rallies and you don't get the prettiest scenario.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Just check Novaks number in RG. In RG Nadal never allowed anyone to become an ATG. It is as simple as that. Even if there was Guga, Bruguera, Muster in this we would still be discussing how bad clay competition is because they also would have at max 1 RG each. Fed at Wimbledon allowed Novak to become an ATG by botching 2019 and 2014. Even in 2011 Fed would have a better chance of beating novak in the SF. BTW Novak is 74-15 in RG where 7 of his losses are to Nadal and 72-10 in Wimby where 1 loss is against Fed. I think Nadal is the only reason Novak is not an ATG in RG whereas Fed had his chances at wimby to deny Novak ATG status but could not
Fed never botched 2014. He did well to even take that one to five with how much Djokovic was outplaying him.

It's true that Nadal denied Novak plenty of times at RG, but let's not act like Novak fought to the brink in every one of those seven losses. There's only two I can think of where he actually played like an ATG on the surface (and I'm being generous here: some wouldn't even give him one) and those are the 2012 final and the 2013 semifinal. The reason why I dislike the "so-and-so player denied so-and-so player many tournaments so that latter player must be an ATG at that tournament" logic is that it never takes into consideration that player's actual level and only looks at the person they lost to. One could get creamed in straight sets in the final, hitting balls to the stands every time they faced Nadal and yet one could make the argument that "well, they only lost to Nadal so they must be like top 5 or even top 3 on the surface". It's not quite the case with Djokovic because he has some legitimately good performances, but for every 2013 RG SF or 2016 RG SF, there's a 2020 RG F or a 2015 RG F.

Maybe Guga and Bruguera (Muster just has the one good RG run so besides that, I doubt he'd be troubling Nadal too much) only cap at one RG each (probably not even that in Bruguera's case unless he can snag one of the three Nadal didn't win). if you put them in Nadal's era, but so what? I think they'd be pushing Nadal harder in their losses. Djokovic has impressive longevity on the surface, though, so they probably wouldn't be meeting Nadal quite as often. You'll have the usual Nadal haters slamming him for dealing with CC mugs, but I think many would ultimately realize those two would be able to put up fairly solid fights. Courier could do some damage too though his peak on the surface was like three years lol.

I'm going with Djokovic at Wimbledon on my opinion of his overall level there. And I simply think he's had better performances there than at RG, even considering Old-erer on grass is a much weaker opponent than Nadal on clay. The discussion is rather close, though, and I wouldn't blame anyone for going the other way.
 

junior74

G.O.A.T.
Younger exceptional ATGs + grass is a surface where freaks can beat anyone (Rosol, Raonic, Querrey etc). More players "in contention" in Wimbledon than at Roland Garros. Also, Federer came from a different style of tennis, so he has had to change his game a lot, as the Wimbledon grass is very different than the grass from his first years on the tour.

Djokovic is a lot better on grass than on clay, so Federer has had a young player on his same level (and higher when Federer aged). Nadal has had no rival on "his" surface.
 

Martin J

Professional
If you ask that question you don't know anything about Djokovic: his game is clearly better suited for grass than for clay. His serve is a real weapon on grass (unlike on clay), his reach is clearly more beneficial on grass , where he cannot slide like he could on clay, his ROS where he uses the power of the opponent's shot against him is clearly more devastating on grass, in general his shot is clearly more penetrating on grass than on clay, and his precision game clearly works better on grass, where the ball bounces much more uniformly than on clay.

Of course, from a fake Federer fan like yourself, who uses every opportunity to make backhanded jabs at the man, your "considerations" are not at all surprising.

:cool:
I though it would be enough to simply compare his success on the respective surfaces during his best years, 2011 and 2015. He won Wimbledon on both occasions (I would say with authority) and lost at RG to the players who aren't even Nadal. You have to question his abilities on a dirt after seeing these performances, but it seems that people still like to think he only lost there because of Nadal.
It has been said numerous of times here before, the grass rewards the serve & return combo more than anything and that's where Novak excels at. On the other hand, he lacks the power to hit through the clay for a prolonged period of time (BO5 in particular) and that is why he usually loses the intensity as the match progresses.
More extreme example would be Marin Cilic, a player whose best results came on grass, and he possesses a big serve, very solid return, hits relatively flat and moves good on the surface. Guess what's his worst slam?
 
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ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Nadal is better in his prime as he was only taken to a 5th setter once in the latter rounds, as opposed to Federer actually losing in 2008, as well as playing 5 setter finals in 2007-2009.

But are you serious about mentioning 2014-2019 for Fed? Nadal would hate playing peak Djokovic at RG in his 30s.

He may have done well against Novak in his prime, but adjust that for a slower Nadal, with a worse FH on a surface that's mostly rallies and you don't get the prettiest scenario.
I could aldo add peak Federer also, for that matter.Many can't understand how hard it was for Fed in his 30s to face a peaking ATG and how much pressure was on his shoulders.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
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.
Having followed tennis for nearly 70 years, Nadal's dominance on clay especially at RG, is as incredible as it is great. It is harder to be dominate on hard courts because there are so many HC tournaments so that more players are good on that surface than on clay or especially grass.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Since the late 70's, there have been 6 Wimbledon greats: Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Sampras, Federer, and Djokovic. There have been 2 RG greats: Borg and Nadal. The Wimbledon greats have always overlapped; definitely not the case with clay kings! So if you're wearing the Wimbledon crown, someone's always looking to take it from you (watch out, Novak!).

The competition on grass has always been much fiercer and closer than on clay. The easiest way for a next gen guy to win a bushel of Slams, is to specialize in clay! Thiem, if you can get his act together, could be that guy!
 
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Realfan

New User
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!
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
I give credit to Federer for having to deal with the transition of the Wimbledon grass from what it was (S&V) to what it is. That said, one of the issues his legacy will leave behind is what the OP suggests - both Nadal and Djokovic dominated their favorite surface (supposed best court) greater than Federer dominated Wimbledon. I do think that Djokovic is the primary reason for this. Without him, Fed has a few more titles at Wimby.
 

ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Since the late 70's, there have been 6 Wimbledon greats: Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Sampras, Federer, and Djokovic. There have been 2 RG greats: Borg and Nadal. The Wimbledon greats have always overlapped; definitely not the case with clay kings! So if you're wearing the Wimbledon crown, someone's always looking to take it from you (watch out, Novak!).

The competition on grass has always been much fiercer and closer than on clay. The easiest way for a next gen guy to win a bushel of Slams, is to specialize in clay! Thiem, if you can get his act together, could be that guy!
I can add that on hardcourts the situation was even more impressive, with Fedovic, 2 hardcourt GOATs, playing in the same era.
 
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Feather

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.
There is only one choke, that's 2019 Wimbledon.. where he had two match points on his serve..
2011 - Roger played passive and paid the price..
2014 and 2015 - Novak was better
2018 - the match point was on the opponent's serve and there was not much he could do in that point if I remember correctly..

No, Roger was not in a winnable position in 2011 RG.. he was 5-2 and could have won the first set but that doesn't mean Roger will win the match on clay.. Roger won first set 6-1 in 2006 RG final and still lost. Fact is Rafa is incredibly better than Roger. 2013 is one match Rafa could have lost as he was down a break in fifth set. And down a break in clay is not much but still can accept that he was in danger of losing he won by being clutch and hitting winners
 

Xavier G

Hall of Fame
Grass is a surface where, historically, good players can be bumped off by lesser players, big servers. Look at Nadal's very average Wimbledon record from 2012-2017. There is less margin for error on grass than clay.

Rafa is the greatest clay court player ever. He just dominates on it. He's likely just a little mentally stronger than Fed in crunch matches, possibly physically too. He was winning Slams at a younger age. I think RF has also let rivals in his head too much.
Roger has certainly let a few big matches slip at Wimbledon, 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019 that he could have won. As he's got older, he had more bad days.
 

Incognito

Legend
1. Nadal is simply better at RG than Federer is at Wimbledon.

2. Fed's generally faced greater competition at Wimbledon than Nadal at RG. Namely Djokovic who's better on grass than he is on clay. Nadal himself was also a great opponent on grass from 2007-2008.

3. Grass is typically more upset-prone than clay. It's easier to get blown off the court in the first week against a hot opponent on grass than clay. Explains a few (but not all) of Fed's freak losses.
1. True

2. You mean because he has 5 Wimbledons and only 1 FO? How many Wimbledons would djoke win had Fed been only a year older and not 6? At the FO, he lost to Nadal 7 times:

2006: lost to Nadal but Fed would have slaughtered him in the final.

2007: lost to Nadal but no chance in hell in the final anyway against Fed.

2008: Fed was way below his level in the final but without Nadal, he’d probably win that. Plus he hates Novak, so extra incentive.

2012: win (without Nadal)
2013: win (without Nadal)
2014: win (without Nadal)
2016: win (without Nadal)
2020: win (without Nadal)

Now imagine Nadal being 6 years older than him.

He is not better on grass than on clay.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
1. True

2. You mean because he has 5 Wimbledons and only 1 FO? How many Wimbledons would djoke win had Fed been only a year older and not 6? At the FO, he lost to Nadal 7 times:

2006: lost to Nadal but Fed would have slaughtered him in the final.

2007: lost to Nadal but no chance in hell in the final anyway against Fed.

2008: Fed was way below his level in the final but without Nadal, he’d probably win that. Plus he hates Novak, so extra incentive.

2012: win (without Nadal)
2013: win (without Nadal)
2014: win (without Nadal)
2016: win (without Nadal)
2020: win (without Nadal)

Now imagine Nadal being 6 years older than him.

He is not better on grass than on clay.
see post 64
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
I cxan add that on hardcourts the situation was even more impressive, with Fedovic, 2 hardcourt GOATs, playing in the same era.
Nadal is not a HC great. He won only 5 HC Slams, 4 of which on medium soft USO, and only one on faster AO!

That's why Wimbledon is always many times more interesting than RG. There are more contenders and pretenders to the crown, throughout history. That's why it's always been the true test of greatness.
 
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FatHead250

Semi-Pro
Nadal is a way better athlete. He is one head above everyone else in terms of physicality, so the opponents struggle physically agsint him. Beating him at RG is too difficult for them. With Federer at Wimbledon, the game isn't that physical, so if you're on a good day hitting your shots, you can beat him.
 

ForehandRF

Hall of Fame
Nadal is not a HC great. He won only 5 HC Slams, 4 of which on medium soft USO, and only one on faster AO!

That's why Wimbledon is always many times more interesting than RG. There are more contenders and pretenders to the crown, throughout history. That's why it's always been the true test of greatness.
Oh c'monn man, really ?
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here when using Novak as the measuring stick.

Is he actually better on grass than on clay? Or does he just have more Wimbledon titles because Federer simply wasn't as good there as Nadal at RG?

I feel like we argue all the time that Novak's an overrated grass courter and Federer probably should've won 2 of those finals. Of course, Fed had to contend with the age gap that Rafa hasn't. But let's say you put 2020 Rafa up against 2015 Djokovic at RG. We know Fed let 2015 Nole get the win at Wimbledon, but would Rafa lose at RG even with the age gap? Idk.
Well...
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
He ended Federer's dominance at Wimbledon; and Nadal's dominance at Roland Garros.

Don't give me that he only beat over the hill guys! Nadal was the heavy pre-match favorite today! Late Wednesday, the bookies gave Nadal about 70% chance of winning.

And if Djokovic wasn't there, Federer almost certainly would've bagged all 3 Wimbledon crowns in '14-15 and '19.
 

StannisTheMannis

Hall of Fame
People were fearful of Nadal at RG in a way they never were of Fed on the grass. And rightfully so. Of his 3 defeats there one of them was a fluke and the other 2 were by the only guy who had shaken Nadals mental advantage in the court and even that was fleeting as Nadal has beaten him pretty comprehensively at RG in the past.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Great clay players are so few and far in between, that there have never two of them playing in the same era. There are only two in history. So if one comes along, he can win 10+ RG's, with little opposition. Borg could've won 10+, if he hadn't retired at age 26.

Great class players are aplenty, they play in the same eras all the time (Borg-Mac, Becker-Edberg, Federer-Djokovic). So they take Wimbledon titles from each other. Doubtful if anyone will equal Federer's 8 titles, much less 10+.
 
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