Why was Federer incapable of beating Nadal at RG, unlike Djokovic?

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
Federer has a 0-6 record against Nadal at RG, never took more than 1 set off him in a match. Djokovic has a 2-7 record and 1 of those losses was an extremely close 5 setter that he could have won. Why was Federer so poor against Nadal at RG, whereas Djokovic has done reasonably well?
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Federer has a 0-6 record against Nadal at RG, never took more than 1 set off him in a match. Djokovic has a 2-7 record and 1 of those losses was an extremely close 5 setter that he could have won. Why was Federer so poor against Nadal at RG, whereas Djokovic has done reasonably well?
because Djokovic got a really crappy Nadal at RG 15 and a well below prime level Nadal at RG 21.
Fed never got a Nadal close to that.

Every time Djokovic got prime level Nadal, he's lost - 07,08,12,13,14, 20 (leaving out 06 when djoko was young)
Only 13 was close.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Real reason: Federer and Nadal played once after 2011 at RG, and that match was in 2019 (Fed even making a RG SF in 2019 is hysterical).

Nadal’s 2005-2008 levels were basically kryptonite to Fed though, with his smaller racket head and rafa’s ridiculous retrieval skills. Go watch the first point of the ‘05 Semi-final, it never fails to make me laugh.

Overall… big 3 have not played anywhere near as many important matches as they should have.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
Real reason: Federer and Nadal played once after 2011 at RG, and that match was in 2019 (Fed even making a RG SF in 2019 is hysterical).

Nadal’s 2005-2008 levels were basically kryptonite to Fed though, with his smaller racket head and ridiculous retrieval skills. Go watch the first point of the ‘05 Semi-final, it never fails to make me laugh.

Overall… big 3 have not played anywhere near as many important matches as they should have.
Yup - Fed playing with a 90sq in racquet that was more appropriate for 1980s style of play was a huge disadvantage against Rafa on clay. How he got that OHBH to hit Rafa’s topspin FH is beyond me.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
He had the level to take down a 2015 or 2021 version of Nadal at RG, that should be indisputable to anyone who's seen what he was capable of back then.

What he lacked was the longevity on clay to get to those versions of Nadal. Fed hasn't had a truly great run at RG since 2011 (2019 was obviously "impressive" for his age, but he was nowhere close to actual title-winning form). Djokovic hung in there.
 

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
He had the level to take down a 2015 or 2021 version of Nadal at RG, that should be indisputable to anyone who's seen what he was capable of back then.

What he lacked was the longevity on clay to get to those versions of Nadal. Fed hasn't had a truly great run at RG since 2011 (2019 was obviously "impressive" for his age, but he was nowhere close to actual title-winning form). Djokovic hung in there.
So he didn't put himself in there in 2015 and 2021? Fair enough.
 

MrFlip

Professional
Federer has a 0-6 record against Nadal at RG, never took more than 1 set off him in a match. Djokovic has a 2-7 record and 1 of those losses was an extremely close 5 setter that he could have won. Why was Federer so poor against Nadal at RG, whereas Djokovic has done reasonably well?
This thread proves talk tennis is full of people who never watched tennis before 2010.

Djokovic beats an old, washed up Nadal on clay and that's supposed to be comparable to his untouchable form 2005-2014 (even Djok couldn't beat Nadal then either)..............
 

The_Order

G.O.A.T.
Pffft... what a dumb thread...

As if Fed ever got an opportunity against Nadal playing at 2015 or 2021 level...

Novak only got close to beating Nadal once from 06-14 and when he got close in that match, Nadal went to an insane level and slammed the door shut on him.

His 2015 and 2021 Nadal victories are pretty meaningless. Particularly 2015 where he went on to lose the final to a guy wearing a pair of shorts that resembled my grandmother's tablecloth.
 

Oval_Solid

Semi-Pro
federer didnt understand that if he hit the ball to the open court be would have won the point during rallies but instead decided to hit back to nadal or behind him
in short federer was just too nice to his friend
 
I admit I am not that well versed with Fedal clay lore, but watching 2007 and 2011 RG F, I felt no reason why Federer couldn't actually beat Nadal at RG once, especially a Nadal having a bad day or a bad year.

Each of 2005,2011 and 2007 could have gone 5.


However I don't see Federer beating Nadal 3 times like Djokovic. And Federer's longevity on clay fades in comparison to Djokovic as well.
 

T007

Professional
So he didn't put himself in there in 2015 and 2021? Fair enough.
He lost to a Goating Wawrinka and also had some back issues in RG 2015.

In 21 after that long midnight finish he lost the stability of his knee function. The relapse has occured after those long matches on clay
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
I admit I am not that well versed with Fedal clay lore, but watching 2007 and 2011 RG F, I felt no reason why Federer couldn't actually beat Nadal at RG once, especially a Nadal having a bad day or a bad year.

Each of 2005,2011 and 2007 could have gone 5.
Interesting to leave out the one that actually the closest to going 5.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
MrFlip has the argument to beat.

This thread proves talk tennis is full of people who never watched tennis before 2010.

Djokovic beats an old, washed up Nadal on clay and that's supposed to be comparable to his untouchable form 2005-2014 (even Djok couldn't beat Nadal then either)..............
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
I'm surprised so many replies on this obvious topic.

With 1 bh , it's nearly impossible to beat a peak Nadal on clay. Nadal would eat this matchups.

Even stan was walloped in 2017 final.

Why Djokovic is competitive is because he hits the backhand extremely well, either dtl to nadals backhand or cross court wide

Even then he beat him twice only. And in 2021, the match turned after 1 set when in evening conditions it represented low bouncing hard court thus taking away nadals greatest weapon. The high bouncing cross court fh.
 

tex123

Professional
Federer has a 0-6 record against Nadal at RG, never took more than 1 set off him in a match. Djokovic has a 2-7 record and 1 of those losses was an extremely close 5 setter that he could have won. Why was Federer so poor against Nadal at RG, whereas Djokovic has done reasonably well?
Federer never faced an injured or out of form Nadal like Djokovic did. His single handed backhand was a liability on the red dirt. If he had a wawrinka like backhand, he could've done some damage. In order to beat Nadal ar RG, stars have to align as well. For Djokovic, it did.
 

TimHenmanATG

Hall of Fame
As with everything in the ridiculous GOAT debate, you are not comparing matches or achievements within the same parameters.
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
Federer would have destroyed 2015 Nadal at Roland Garros.
Federer may have beaten 2021 Nadal at Roland Garros too, but Djokovic was a point away from being down 2-sets-to-1 so hard to predict.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Because Federer saves his best tennis for hypothetical matches.

Not that even that matters in this case. Nadal in a wheelchair would beat the guy at Roland Garros 10 times out of 10.
Yes, 2011 RG semi vs Djoko and 2009 RG semi vs delpo were hypothetical matches, I see.
prime fed would easily crush nadal of RG 2015 QF and would beat Nadal of RG 21 semi. If you don't agree with that, then you must think Djokovic sucks worse considering he couldn't even beat Fed of RG 2011 semi nor does he have a win at RG against anyone playing at that level or level of 09 RG delpo.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
Djokovic vs Nadal atleast somewhere close to prime form: 07, 08, 12,13,14,20 : 4 sets in 6 matches (Djoko too young, not top 10 in 2006)
Federer vs Nadal atleast somewhere close to prime form: 05,06,07,08,11,19: 4 sets in 6 matches
This with Djokovic getting 2 sets vs Nadal in RG 13 to his credit.

You can remove 19 for fed and 20 for Djoko if you want. still becomes 4 sets in 5 matches each.
 

Legend of Borg

G.O.A.T.
I don't understand why Djoker is being touted as some kryptonite against Nadal on clay.

It must be recency bias from RG 2021 because you all must have collective amnesia from all the times he got rinsed by Nadal in multiple RG encounters including at least a couple finals.

Edit: As someone mentioned, his longevity on the surface is far greater which means he's gotten more chances at taking down Nadal but let's not pretend he's gonna be the favorite against him in any clay court match in 2022.
 

Midaso240

Hall of Fame
It's just the way it worked out, Nadal wasn't always at his best/injuries + matchup differences. In saying that, a peaking Nadal brushes off any version of Djoker at RG in 3 sets. Similarly, at Wimbledon a peak Federer from the 2000s whips any version of Djokovic, maybe not quite as straightforward as Nadal at RG but the result would never be in doubt from the first bounce of the ball...
 

Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes, 2011 RG semi vs Djoko and 2009 RG semi vs delpo were hypothetical matches, I see.
prime fed would easily crush nadal of RG 2015 QF and would beat Nadal of RG 21 semi. If you don't agree with that, then you must think Djokovic sucks worse considering he couldn't even beat Fed of RG 2011 semi nor does he have a win at RG against anyone playing at that level or level of 09 RG delpo.
Would would would. Keep track of wins adjusted by (your estimate of) opponents' levels all you want man, I'm not getting stuck in that loop. I just hope that two wins over Bull and a couple of RGs can at least partially make up for the suckage of never beating someone like 2009 Del Potro in your book.
 

maratha_warrior

Hall of Fame
Nadal has got beaten by only two players at Roland garros .
Both players had Two handed backhand .

One handed backhand Player can never beat Nadal at Roland Garros .
If Federer had a Two handed backhand like say Andy Murray ,he would have had a chance too .
Simple !
 

junior74

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal has got beaten by only two players at Roland garros .
Both players had Two handed backhand .

One handed backhand Player can never beat Nadal at Roland Garros .
If Federer had a Two handed backhand like say Andy Murray ,he would have had a chance too .
Simple !
He would also have a chance simply by drawing Nadal in 2015. Instead he draw Stan, who dismantled Djokovic in the final.
 
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