Why the Nadal/Federer H2H is bogus

Because he didn't get a fairytale weak era run like Fed did. He's had to compete with Djoker, Fed and injuries his whole career. Fed accumulated 7 of his hardcourt slams between 2003 and 2007. That leaves only four hardcourt slams outside of this bubble. Why the drastic drop off? I'll give you a hint: After 2007 he vultured one AO in 2008 and one in 2010 with Nadal going out injured. He then vultured a further AO in 2018 with Djokovic going out injured. He's won zero US Open titles since 2008. Co-incidentally that is when Djokovic and Nadal started to mature on all surfaces.

Don't fall into the trap that all Fed fans do of thinking that 2003 - 2007 is an actual reflection of his greatness, it was an inflation era as 2008 - 2012 clearly showed.


basically. thats pretty much why Nadal has 21 and not close to 31 at this point if we are being hone. . If nadal came along 5 years earlier or 5 years after he has far more slams than being sandwiched in between nole/fed. (And he still holds the slam record regardless LOL. If Nadal came along in this current era, he probably has 2-3 calendar slams to his name. I mean he’s a washed up version of his old self and still just beat the worlds soon to be number 1. Imagine if hes at his peak now
 
Last edited:

initialize

Hall of Fame
Nadal cracked that egg hard last week :laughing: you've been a damage control machine since that slam record and DCGS hit
I was never a "slam only" guy. I go by everything. Also Federer is clearly a better player than Nadal considering the arse-whoopings he's given him over the last 8 years or so
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
I was never a "slam only" guy. I go by everything. Also Federer is clearly a better player than Nadal considering the arse-whoopings he's given him over the last 8 years or so

Wherever you say bestie 8-B

cHt4OK.gif
 

initialize

Hall of Fame
Oh ok... let's just forget about the arse whoopings Nadal gave Fed when Fed was a far superior player than what he was post 2015...

Whatever suits your agenda and helps you cope...
Yes, you're right that Nadal did win several times against peak Fed despite Fed being the superior player. Finally Fed adapted his game and strategy with his bigger racket head size, shorter take-back, etc, which rightfully placed Fed on top again. He should have adapted his equipment earlier (RF97); would have definitely been cool to see
 

Kenshiro

New User
Not really....

AO Nadal 3 - 1 Federer
RG Nadal 6 - 0 Federer
WC Nadal 1 - 3 Federer

Fed is superior at Wimbledon, that's it. Your premise is basically if they'd played more on hard and grass then the H2H would be more favourable to Fed. Whereas the actual evidence suggests that the more they played, the more chance there was of Rafa further embarrassing him at the AO, even the USO or to get another WC win which would have made things worse for Fed. The period 2008 - 2014 Rafa was beating Fed at all slam meetings, grass, hard, clay.
This
 

movies99

Rookie
Kudos to member falstaff78 for originally posting this. The original thread is now closed for further replies, so I feel now is a good time to bring it up again since DjoKodal fans are having a field day with Federer, the true GOAT being buried behind recency bias:

This thread looks at all 151 tour level tournaments that Federer and Nadal entered together. For each draw, I looked at the round in which they were due to have their "date," and who reached the "date".

This allows us to quantify the worst-kept secret in tennis: that Nadal's head to head record vs. Federer has been protected because Nadal wasn't good enough vs the field to reach Federer, in many situations which favoured Federer.


Overall

  • Federer and Nadal entered 151 tournaments together.
  • Federer won more of these (47 vs. 37) and went further more often (73 vs. 67 with 11 ties).
  • The same is true of the 46 majors they entered together - Federer went further more often (25 v. 19), and won more (16 v. 14).
  • They have played in 25% of tournaments entered together (37)
  • Interestingly, Federer won the title each time he beat Nadal (14/14). Whereas Nadal won the title 17/23 times he beat Federer.

Split by first and second half of season

  • Nadal does better than Federer in the first half of the season, until RG (went further 50 vs. 29). And Federer does better after RG (went further 44 vs. 17). This should tell you how big a favourite Federer is for the year end ranking in 2017 - it won't even be close.
  • The same trend is reflected in their head to head. Nadal leads 20-7 in the first half, and Federer leads 7-3 in the second half.
  • The two most common explanations offered for this trend are: increased court speeds in the second half of the year, and fatigue for Nadal after clay court exertions.
  • A key question is: why have they played 27 matches in the first half of the year, and only 10 in the second?
  • There are two reasons for this:
    • The first is that they entered far fewer draws together in the second half (67 vs. 84)
    • The second is that they played in a greater fraction of the draws they entered in the first half of the year, than in the second (in first half, met in 32% of common tournaments, vs. 15% in the second half).
  • Both of these reasons are due to Nadal:
    • First, he enters far fewer events in the second half of the year (only 46% of his career tournament entries are after RG vs. 52% for Federer - not shown on the chart).
    • Second, in the tournaments Nadal and Federer did play in the second half, Nadal only reached 28% of "dates". Federer, on the other hand, reached 64%. Compare this to the first half, where Federer was much closer to Nadal in reaching "dates" (51% vs. 58%)
Split by surface

  • We can see the same trend when we split their records by surface.
  • On clay Nadal killed Federer 13-2, and they played in 38% of draws entered together.
  • On grass and hard courts, Federer leads, and they have only met 20% of the time on each.
  • Specifically, on hard courts in the second half of the season, Federer leads 5-2; in such draws, they play each other only 1/3 as often as clay. (13% of draws, vs. 38%).
  • Again, Nadal is clearly the culprit, having only reached their "date" 27% of the time. vs. 60% for Federer.

Split by time

  • As a consequence of the 5 year age difference, their peaks have no overlap. Federer's peak of winning 11/16 majors was from 2004-2007. Whereas Nadal's peak years were all between 2008 and 2013.
  • During Federer's peak, out of 24 tournaments in the first half of the season, they met 10 times (42%). Nadal won 8. However, out of 24 tournaments late in the season, they only met 4 times (17%). Federer won all 4.
  • Again, the smaller number of matches in the second half was due to Nadal. Nadal showed up for "dates" much more often in the first half of the year (54% vs. 21%). Whereas Federer showed up to 75% of "dates" in the first half season, and 79% in the second.
  • By comparison, during Nadal's peak years, Federer was much more consistent about reaching the "date" early and late in the season. (40% vs. 45%).

To conclude, this post has merely quantified what we already know: that Federer vs. Nadal matches were strongly skewed towards conditions suiting Nadal, and that this is due to Nadal's shortcomings vs the field.

The reason head-to-head is such a silly metric is: if Nadal had played better against the field later in the year, especially on hard courts, and especially between 2003 and 2007, his head to head with Federer would have been much closer to parity.

The purpose of professional tennis is to advance as far as possible in tournaments. It is therefore much more relevant to look at who went further in more tournaments that both played (Federer 73-67). Or who won more tournaments that they both played (Federer 47-37). This objectively means Federer has done better than Nadal, head to head.

Enjoy.

qLmC43R.png
Get some sleep dude, Federer was happy for Rafa when he reach 20 and 21 as well. I think he appreciates Rafa who is a clay prodigy adapted his game for grass, when everyone wrote him off and has now done the double despite painful losses at AO and injuries.

Federer himself said Nadal and Djokovic inspired each other to push their own limits. Stop fighting for these petty things.
 

The_Order

G.O.A.T.
Yes, you're right that Nadal did win several times against peak Fed despite Fed being the superior player. Finally Fed adapted his game and strategy with his bigger racket head size, shorter take-back, etc, which rightfully placed Fed on top again. He should have adapted his equipment earlier (RF97); would have definitely been cool to see

The main thing that helped Fed was Nadal's leg speed declining massively...
 
Yes, you're right that Nadal did win several times against peak Fed despite Fed being the superior player. Finally Fed adapted his game and strategy with his bigger racket head size, shorter take-back, etc, which rightfully placed Fed on top again. He should have adapted his equipment earlier (RF97); would have definitely been cool to see

Fed is not on top though, it is 24 - 16. One win at the AO doesn't cancel out the three losses and five wins in a row for Federer (four in 2017 and one in 2019) does not mean Federer never loses ever again. Nadal has beaten Fed five times in a row on three separate occasions during their careers, that never meant Fed was never going to beat Nadal again. The mental gymnastics you are performing to determine that a guy with more slams and a winning head-to-head over another guy is not the better player are impressive.
 

utsd21

Rookie
Because he didn't get a fairytale weak era run like Fed did. He's had to compete with Djoker, Fed and injuries his whole career. Fed accumulated 7 of his hardcourt slams between 2003 and 2007. That leaves only four hardcourt slams outside of this bubble. Why the drastic drop off? I'll give you a hint: After 2007 he vultured one AO in 2008 and one in 2010 with Nadal going out injured. He then vultured a further AO in 2018 with Djokovic going out injured. He's won zero US Open titles since 2008. Co-incidentally that is when Djokovic and Nadal started to mature on all surfaces.

Don't fall into the trap that all Fed fans do of thinking that 2003 - 2007 is an actual reflection of his greatness, it was an inflation era as 2008 - 2012 clearly showed.

2016 - 2022 isn't his 'fairytale weak era run'?
lol
 

TearTheRoofOff

G.O.A.T.
Aren't you guys again going back to correlation = causation? Just because @Sport happened to leave after Rafa lost, it doesn't necessarily mean that the loss caused him to leave? I hear this a lot like people leaving after their fav loses - sure there may be many such cases but its not that its the only cause?
Well that's true although I myself haven't said this. The pattern is perhaps clearer here as you suggest.
 

ND-13

Legend
I can tell you why those things aren't mentioned if you like:

The first one is not true
The second one is not true
The third is true and it happened to be a big title (Madrid M1000) but at the end of the day 'indoor' is not a surface, the hardcourt is and he's won lots on hardcourts.

Don’t be so invested in fandom. Nadal had losing h2h till recently not sure he still has. He defended 1 HC title over a 17 year career
 

Nikandroff

New User
Nadal leads H2H 3-1 and it would’ve been roughly the same if not worse at USO. Slam H2H is what highlights how players perform against each other at the pinnacle of the sport.
 

DIMI_D

Hall of Fame
Kudos to member falstaff78 for originally posting this. The original thread is now closed for further replies, so I feel now is a good time to bring it up again since DjoKodal fans are having a field day with Federer, the true GOAT being buried behind recency bias:

This thread looks at all 151 tour level tournaments that Federer and Nadal entered together. For each draw, I looked at the round in which they were due to have their "date," and who reached the "date".

This allows us to quantify the worst-kept secret in tennis: that Nadal's head to head record vs. Federer has been protected because Nadal wasn't good enough vs the field to reach Federer, in many situations which favoured Federer.


Overall

  • Federer and Nadal entered 151 tournaments together.
  • Federer won more of these (47 vs. 37) and went further more often (73 vs. 67 with 11 ties).
  • The same is true of the 46 majors they entered together - Federer went further more often (25 v. 19), and won more (16 v. 14).
  • They have played in 25% of tournaments entered together (37)
  • Interestingly, Federer won the title each time he beat Nadal (14/14). Whereas Nadal won the title 17/23 times he beat Federer.

Split by first and second half of season

  • Nadal does better than Federer in the first half of the season, until RG (went further 50 vs. 29). And Federer does better after RG (went further 44 vs. 17). This should tell you how big a favourite Federer is for the year end ranking in 2017 - it won't even be close.
  • The same trend is reflected in their head to head. Nadal leads 20-7 in the first half, and Federer leads 7-3 in the second half.
  • The two most common explanations offered for this trend are: increased court speeds in the second half of the year, and fatigue for Nadal after clay court exertions.
  • A key question is: why have they played 27 matches in the first half of the year, and only 10 in the second?
  • There are two reasons for this:
    • The first is that they entered far fewer draws together in the second half (67 vs. 84)
    • The second is that they played in a greater fraction of the draws they entered in the first half of the year, than in the second (in first half, met in 32% of common tournaments, vs. 15% in the second half).
  • Both of these reasons are due to Nadal:
    • First, he enters far fewer events in the second half of the year (only 46% of his career tournament entries are after RG vs. 52% for Federer - not shown on the chart).
    • Second, in the tournaments Nadal and Federer did play in the second half, Nadal only reached 28% of "dates". Federer, on the other hand, reached 64%. Compare this to the first half, where Federer was much closer to Nadal in reaching "dates" (51% vs. 58%)
Split by surface

  • We can see the same trend when we split their records by surface.
  • On clay Nadal killed Federer 13-2, and they played in 38% of draws entered together.
  • On grass and hard courts, Federer leads, and they have only met 20% of the time on each.
  • Specifically, on hard courts in the second half of the season, Federer leads 5-2; in such draws, they play each other only 1/3 as often as clay. (13% of draws, vs. 38%).
  • Again, Nadal is clearly the culprit, having only reached their "date" 27% of the time. vs. 60% for Federer.

Split by time

  • As a consequence of the 5 year age difference, their peaks have no overlap. Federer's peak of winning 11/16 majors was from 2004-2007. Whereas Nadal's peak years were all between 2008 and 2013.
  • During Federer's peak, out of 24 tournaments in the first half of the season, they met 10 times (42%). Nadal won 8. However, out of 24 tournaments late in the season, they only met 4 times (17%). Federer won all 4.
  • Again, the smaller number of matches in the second half was due to Nadal. Nadal showed up for "dates" much more often in the first half of the year (54% vs. 21%). Whereas Federer showed up to 75% of "dates" in the first half season, and 79% in the second.
  • By comparison, during Nadal's peak years, Federer was much more consistent about reaching the "date" early and late in the season. (40% vs. 45%).

To conclude, this post has merely quantified what we already know: that Federer vs. Nadal matches were strongly skewed towards conditions suiting Nadal, and that this is due to Nadal's shortcomings vs the field.

The reason head-to-head is such a silly metric is: if Nadal had played better against the field later in the year, especially on hard courts, and especially between 2003 and 2007, his head to head with Federer would have been much closer to parity.

The purpose of professional tennis is to advance as far as possible in tournaments. It is therefore much more relevant to look at who went further in more tournaments that both played (Federer 73-67). Or who won more tournaments that they both played (Federer 47-37). This objectively means Federer has done better than Nadal, head to head.

Enjoy.

qLmC43R.png
Nadal 8-6 outdoor hardcourt
Nadal 3-1 HC slams
Clay 14-2
Only grass is 3-1 for fed
Nadal better on 2/3 surfaces
Salty salute to you to (n)
:-D
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Imagine how closer the H2H would be if the 2013-early 2014 matches didn't happen or if Nadal actually showed up more in 2015-early 2016 against Fed.

It's definitely not lopsided anymore.
 
T

TheNachoMan

Guest
LMAO, not another one.
I can see Nadal winning in 2008 and 2010. And 2013 if Fed gets that far. I give 2011 and 2015 to Fed in my hypotheticals
3-2, (hypothetically), bud.

2009 is a true 50/50 for me
 

ForehandRF

Legend
Imagine how closer the H2H would be if the 2013-early 2014 matches didn't happen or if Nadal actually showed up more in 2015-early 2016 against Fed.

It's definitely not lopsided anymore.
Some of them are always quick to bring context when it's about Nadal's 2015-2016 but at the same time they don't apply the same standard to Fed's losses in 2013 so they just simply throw the 8-6 H2H on HC :D
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Federer had a massive mental block against Nadal at that time. Wimbledon 2008-AO 2009 is peak pigeonerer against Nadal.
It still wouldn't help Nadal as much if he can't raise his level of play. Nadal not only had a mental edge over Fed back then, but played at a crazy good level to beat him, a level which I don't feel he reached at the USO in 2008.
 
T

TheNachoMan

Guest
It still wouldn't help Nadal as much if he can't raise his level of play. Nadal not only had a mental edge over Fed back then, but played at a crazy good level to beat him, a level which I don't feel he reached at the USO in 2008.
He probanly burned himself out with the whole RG-Wimbledon-Olympics run. Same thing happened to Novak.
 

TearTheRoofOff

G.O.A.T.
Federer had a massive mental block against Nadal at that time. Wimbledon 2008-AO 2009 is peak pigeonerer against Nadal.
Tight 5 setters against his rival's greatest forms? Fedr can't even pigeon properly. He really is running out of referential strengths. Santoro with a better serve ringing truer each day.
 

brc444

Rookie
And let's face it, give them the same amount of rest at the 2017 AO and it's 4-0 Nadal.
Isn't unequal rest between the finalists at the AO mens just a normal and expected thing that has gone on for many years by having the SF on 2 different days? Did Nadal look tired to you? Thanks.
 

volleynets

Hall of Fame
Federer had 1 break point in the eighth game of the fifth set in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Nadal serving 3-4 down at 30-40. So Federer would serve for the title if he takes that break point.

The 2019 Wimbledon final had Federer serving for the title at 8-7 in the fifth set and up 40-15. Let's also remind ourselves that Djokovic had led 3-1 and 4-2 in that fifth set. Had Federer closed out the victory, there would have probably been talk of Djokovic choking it away, even though Federer clearly played the better tennis for the vast majority of the match (although Djokovic was clearly better in all 3 tiebreaks).

The W19 final stats are crazy with Federer having more points by a good amount, way more winners to error ratio, more break points won, great serve stats. A match like that could only be lost by tiebreaks...
 

Thetouch

Professional
Kudos to member falstaff78 for originally posting this. The original thread is now closed for further replies, so I feel now is a good time to bring it up again since DjoKodal fans are having a field day with Federer, the true GOAT being buried behind recency bias:

This thread looks at all 151 tour level tournaments that Federer and Nadal entered together. For each draw, I looked at the round in which they were due to have their "date," and who reached the "date".

This allows us to quantify the worst-kept secret in tennis: that Nadal's head to head record vs. Federer has been protected because Nadal wasn't good enough vs the field to reach Federer, in many situations which favoured Federer.


Overall

  • Federer and Nadal entered 151 tournaments together.
  • Federer won more of these (47 vs. 37) and went further more often (73 vs. 67 with 11 ties).
  • The same is true of the 46 majors they entered together - Federer went further more often (25 v. 19), and won more (16 v. 14).
  • They have played in 25% of tournaments entered together (37)
  • Interestingly, Federer won the title each time he beat Nadal (14/14). Whereas Nadal won the title 17/23 times he beat Federer.

Split by first and second half of season

  • Nadal does better than Federer in the first half of the season, until RG (went further 50 vs. 29). And Federer does better after RG (went further 44 vs. 17). This should tell you how big a favourite Federer is for the year end ranking in 2017 - it won't even be close.
  • The same trend is reflected in their head to head. Nadal leads 20-7 in the first half, and Federer leads 7-3 in the second half.
  • The two most common explanations offered for this trend are: increased court speeds in the second half of the year, and fatigue for Nadal after clay court exertions.
  • A key question is: why have they played 27 matches in the first half of the year, and only 10 in the second?
  • There are two reasons for this:
    • The first is that they entered far fewer draws together in the second half (67 vs. 84)
    • The second is that they played in a greater fraction of the draws they entered in the first half of the year, than in the second (in first half, met in 32% of common tournaments, vs. 15% in the second half).
  • Both of these reasons are due to Nadal:
    • First, he enters far fewer events in the second half of the year (only 46% of his career tournament entries are after RG vs. 52% for Federer - not shown on the chart).
    • Second, in the tournaments Nadal and Federer did play in the second half, Nadal only reached 28% of "dates". Federer, on the other hand, reached 64%. Compare this to the first half, where Federer was much closer to Nadal in reaching "dates" (51% vs. 58%)
Split by surface

  • We can see the same trend when we split their records by surface.
  • On clay Nadal killed Federer 13-2, and they played in 38% of draws entered together.
  • On grass and hard courts, Federer leads, and they have only met 20% of the time on each.
  • Specifically, on hard courts in the second half of the season, Federer leads 5-2; in such draws, they play each other only 1/3 as often as clay. (13% of draws, vs. 38%).
  • Again, Nadal is clearly the culprit, having only reached their "date" 27% of the time. vs. 60% for Federer.

Split by time

  • As a consequence of the 5 year age difference, their peaks have no overlap. Federer's peak of winning 11/16 majors was from 2004-2007. Whereas Nadal's peak years were all between 2008 and 2013.
  • During Federer's peak, out of 24 tournaments in the first half of the season, they met 10 times (42%). Nadal won 8. However, out of 24 tournaments late in the season, they only met 4 times (17%). Federer won all 4.
  • Again, the smaller number of matches in the second half was due to Nadal. Nadal showed up for "dates" much more often in the first half of the year (54% vs. 21%). Whereas Federer showed up to 75% of "dates" in the first half season, and 79% in the second.
  • By comparison, during Nadal's peak years, Federer was much more consistent about reaching the "date" early and late in the season. (40% vs. 45%).

To conclude, this post has merely quantified what we already know: that Federer vs. Nadal matches were strongly skewed towards conditions suiting Nadal, and that this is due to Nadal's shortcomings vs the field.

The reason head-to-head is such a silly metric is: if Nadal had played better against the field later in the year, especially on hard courts, and especially between 2003 and 2007, his head to head with Federer would have been much closer to parity.

The purpose of professional tennis is to advance as far as possible in tournaments. It is therefore much more relevant to look at who went further in more tournaments that both played (Federer 73-67). Or who won more tournaments that they both played (Federer 47-37). This objectively means Federer has done better than Nadal, head to head.

Enjoy.

qLmC43R.png

LOL All these words and yet you still fail to explain what's bogus about 24:16 or 10:4

It's like you are trying hard to come up with an explanation why your uncle could have been your auntie if circumstances were differently

gif-shaking-head-15.gif
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Nadal started leading the H2H over prime Federer in outdoor hard since Miami 2004 and Dubai 2006.

In fact, Nadal leads Federer 8-6 in outdoor hard and 3-1 at the AO.
Why not pontificate on why Nadal is 1-6 against Fed since 2014?
 

initialize

Hall of Fame
Fed is not on top though, it is 24 - 16. One win at the AO doesn't cancel out the three losses and five wins in a row for Federer (four in 2017 and one in 2019) does not mean Federer never loses ever again. Nadal has beaten Fed five times in a row on three separate occasions during their careers, that never meant Fed was never going to beat Nadal again. The mental gymnastics you are performing to determine that a guy with more slams and a winning head-to-head over another guy is not the better player are impressive.
Just read this --- not sure why you aren't getting this through your tiny skull, but Fed is again MUCH superior to Nadal on grass and hardcourt, and please don't give me their H2H again which has continued to narrow over the last decade or so. If Nadal was superior, he'd have more hardcourt and grass titles. Fed completely dwarfs him in that area
LOL All these words and yet you still fail to explain what's bogus about 24:16 or 10:4

It's like you are trying hard to come up with an explanation why your uncle could have been your auntie if circumstances were differently


If you even read the first sentence I simply copy and pasted what someone else wrote. Secondly, all you had to do was read the "overall" points at the top to see the summary, which clearly concludes Fed is a better grass and hardcourt player than Nadal (which is quite sad that it even needs to be said in the first place considering this shouldn't be a shock to anyone)
 

Thetouch

Professional
Just read this --- not sure why you aren't getting this through your tiny skull, but Fed is again MUCH superior to Nadal on grass and hardcourt, and please don't give me their H2H again which has continued to narrow over the last decade or so. If Nadal was superior, he'd have more hardcourt and grass titles. Fed completely dwarfs him in that area



If you even read the first sentence I simply copy and pasted what someone else wrote. Secondly, all you had to do was read the "overall" points at the top to see the summary, which clearly concludes Fed is a better grass and hardcourt player than Nadal (which is quite sad that it even needs to be said in the first place considering this shouldn't be a shock to anyone)

Again you are COPING hard buddy, like real hard.
 

Thetouch

Professional
how when I'm a Nadal fan? I love Nadal but he's only better than Djokovic and Federer on clay. Just because I'm a fan doesn't mean I have to be unrealistic
lol sure

I would have never commented if the title made sense at least but there is nothing bogus about their h2h. Even if you take away all of Nadals RG matches he is still 4:4 at slams (and 18:16 overall) beating Roger at Roger's 2 best slams while losing to him at his own 2 worst slams.
 

initialize

Hall of Fame
lol sure

I would have never commented if the title made sense at least but there is nothing bogus about their h2h.


I actually copied the original thread title that the original poster made lol, I should have updated it to a more "Nadal friendly" title.


In the end though I'm merely showing the stats to us Nadal fans that Federer is indeed better on grass and hardcourt. This really goes without saying
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
I can see Nadal winning in 2008 and 2010. And 2013 if Fed gets that far. I give 2011 and 2015 to Fed in my hypotheticals
3-2, (hypothetically), bud.

2009 is a true 50/50 for me
Ned definitely doesn't win 2008. I don't think any amount of mental block can compensate for the massive difference in their levels that tournament.

At least in Wimbledon 2008 and AO 2009 both players were in form. Nadal lost to Murray in the QF here while Federer had a near-flawless SF-F much more in line with his peak performances at the tournament.

The mental aspect is more likely to come into play if the actual matchup itself is quite even. If Fed's coming into the match with a very clear advantage in form, I'm not sure if that match ever becomes close enough to make that an issue. Like Wimbledon 2006 but I doubt this Nadal could pull off the impressive 2nd and 3rd sets 2006 Nadal did.

Plus, there's the surface advantage which probably favors Fed even more here than in Wimbledon 2008 or AO 2009.
 
Top