Why has Nadal underachieved in hard courts Masters?

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
AO 13 4R wasn't even Djokovic's best level there. highlights do make it look better than it was. some spectacular rallies truly, but quite a few UFEs as well. Along with djoko getting off to a slow start and Stan slipping up in 2nd set when up 5-2.
Djoko's best is better than Sampras' best at the AO.

USO to USO is different. there's prime Sampras/Federer/Mac are clearly better.
16% unret. serves in the USO 2011 final is low. as great as his baseline game/returning was. he was better in the semi overall and still had to save MPvs vs past prime federer. prime federer obviously better than 2011 version.

You need to watch some more of prime fed/sampras/mac etc. for an actual comparision with them
not just repeat of what you've watched in the 2010s.

USO 18 QF was just good level, nothing more. Djokovic at that USO would've taken out either of them in straights most likely or tops lose one set.
delpo was playing better than either Nadal/Thiem at that USO and Djoko took him out in straight sets. (though he could've lost set2)
Thiem was GOATing in that first set. If Thiem played like this against Djokovic he would have definitely won the first set. His level went down after that though, so Thiem still loses in 4. (if Nadal was in better form he would have won in 4 as well, but he wasn't. His serve was on USO 2011 level that tournament)

Del Potro wasn't playing any better than Thiem. He choked 2 breaks in the first set against an absolutely dead Nadal, and wasn't doing anything special. And for sure he never reached anything close to the level of Thiem's first set. Add the fact that Thiem is a tougher matchup for Djokovic (on hardcourt too) and it is pretty safe to assume Thiem would give a better fight than Del Potro did in the final.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Thiem was GOATing in that first set. If Thiem played like this against Djokovic he would have definitely won the first set. His level went down after that though, so Thiem still loses in 4. (if Nadal was in better form he would have won in 4 as well, but he wasn't. His serve was on USO 2011 level that tournament)

Del Potro wasn't playing any better than Thiem. He choked 2 breaks in the first set against an absolutely dead Nadal, and wasn't doing anything special. And for sure he never reached anything close to the level of Thiem's first set. Add the fact that Thiem is a tougher matchup for Djokovic (on hardcourt too) and it is pretty safe to assume Thiem would give a better fight than Del Potro did in the final.

If Djokovic was playing well, he could have countered Thiem of the 1st set and taken it in a close set. (similar to 2nd set vs delpo). Anyways I did give the possibility of djoko possibly losing a set as well anyways.
Thiem doing well vs 2019 AO+ djokovic on HC doesn't mean he's a tougher matchup vs 2018 USO djoko who was prime-ish level.

Thiem had lost 3 sets on the way to USO 18 QF including going 5 sets vs Johnson
delpo lost zero sets incl straight-setting #31 dasco and #20 coric.
delpo lost 1 set on the way total to the final (that was vs Isner)
Pretty clear Delpo was playing better in the tournament.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
If Djokovic was playing well, he could have countered Thiem of the 1st set and taken it in a close set. (similar to 2nd set vs delpo)
Thiem doing well vs 2019+ djokovic on HC doesn't mean he's a tougher matchup vs 2018 djoko who was prime-ish level.

Thiem had lost 3 sets on the way to USO 18 QF including going 5 sets vs Johnson
delpo zero sets incl straight-setting #31 dasco and #20 coric.
delpo lost 1 set on the way total to the final (that was vs Isner)
Pretty clear Delpo was playing better in the tournament.
So Ferrer was playing better than Nadal in RG 2013 by this logic? :-D
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
So Ferrer was playing better than Nadal in RG 2013 by this logic? :-D

remind me what were the draws nadal and ferrer both faced till the finals in RG 13 - oh wait, they were in different universes. :)

That was not the case in USO 18 b/w delpo/Thiem pre-QF at USO 18. or now is Steve Johnson of USO 18 suddenly super tough?
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
remind me what were the draws nadal and ferrer both faced till the finals in RG 13 - oh wait, they were in different universes. :)

That was not the case in USO 18 b/w delpo/Thiem. or now is Steve Johnson of USO 18 suddenly super tough?
Why? Nadal struggled really hard in the first 3 rounds. Ferrer destroyed everyone on his way to the final, including seeded players. So not really different.

Thiem has a history of dropping sets early at the tournament, but many times he ups his level. He beat Anderson in straight sets and pushed Nadal (a not very good Nadal though) to the limits in the 1/4 final. And anyway, Thiem's game can definitely hurt Djokovic more. Del Potro's strong flat shots are the worst tactic you can use against Djokovic.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Why? Nadal struggled really hard in the first 3 rounds. Ferrer destroyed everyone on his way to the final, including seeded players. So not really different.

except nadal didn't go 5 with anyone.
nadal destroyed Nishi and Wawa in 4R and QF respectively.
if you want to argue ferrer was better in 1R-3R be my guest.
but nadal raised his level significantly from 4R onwards and he has a signiicantly higher ceiling than ferrer on clay.
Thiem in 18 had a lower ceiling than Delpo on HC. and this was the first time he had made the QF of a HC slam.

Thiem has a history of dropping sets early at the tournament, but many times he ups his level. He beat Anderson in straight sets and pushed Nadal (a not very good Nadal though) to the limits in the 1/4 final. And anyway, Thiem's game can definitely hurt Djokovic more. Del Potro's strong flat shots are the worst tactic you can use against Djokovic.

thiem's game (18 game even more so) doesn't hurt a good enough Djokovic on HC more IMO and there isn't evidence for that. he doesn't have delpo's serve to get him as many cheap points and a good enough Djokovic definitely exploits his behind baseline position on HC.

delpo would beat thiem most likely IMO.
lets say somehow Thiem pulls through, you think he does even as well as delpo in a slam final in 2018 (who was meh) in the final? not a chance. he'd lose worse.

delpo hit 49 winners to 14 UEs in hot conditions vs Isner in the QF btw. was playing better than Thiem was QF to QF.
had destroyed Coric in previous round and beaten Dasco in straights before that.
yeah, first set vs nadal wasn't top level from him, but he was still in control. And 2nd set, he was playing pretty well.
you know delpo in USO 18 would've finished off the QF nadal in 4 sets. Thiem ended up losing in 5 while choking in multiple sets, including 5th one where he missed an easy overhead.
 
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TearTheRoofOff

G.O.A.T.
Underachieved? He's been permanently debilitated since the age of 0 and has a foot the shape of a truncated icosahedron. His results are S T E L L A R.
 

UnderratedSlam

G.O.A.T.
I'm more worried about the underachieving of some recent threads...

Yeah, he could have won more, but injuries and crap scheduling make it impossible to be top-ready for every event.

Note how many he'd skipped...

About 30.

How many did Djokovic skip? Federer?
 
Personally, I'm not the least bit suprised that Rafa has won so many Hard Court Majors. Clay court tennis translates pretty well to hard courts.

But what I am surprised about is that Rafa hasn't won more AO Titles than he has USO Titles. I would have thought a slower Hard Court surface would have suited him better than a faster Hard Court surface. And the AO has certainly been slower since it changed from Rebound Ace to Plexicushion Prestige (and now GreenSet.)
 
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