So Nadal Will Never Beat Djokovic Again?

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Post by hawkeye on Fri 13 Apr 2012, 7:05 pm

That appears to be the consensus here on 606v2 and of course during the last 12 months Nadal has lost to Djokovic 7 times.

However these two players have played each other 30 times over a 6 year period and Nadal still leads the H2H 16-14. Both players are similar ages and both players won slams at an early age. Nadal at 19 and Djokovic reached the US Open final and then won the AO at 20. Most of the times they have played they have been slam winners. During this time Nadal put together an 8-1 series of wins over Djokovic (from 2008 Hamburg to 2009 Madrid).

Nadal has a positive H2H with every active ATP player apart from Davydenko but including perhaps the best player to play the game. In the last 6 months Djokovic has lost to Isner, Murray, Ferrer, Tipsarevic, Nishikori and Del Potro. Djokovic is a great player but he is of course beatable. To claim that Nadal is the one player who can't do the beating is IMO ludicrous (tinged with a little wishful thinking perhaps?)

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Post by 10IS on Fri 13 Apr 2012, 7:25 pm

I would not say Never, but 2011 and AO 2012 have shown that Nadal is unable to cope. If he cannot figure out Djoker this year, it may be too late.

I know ppl said that Nadal would never beat Fed outside clay in his early days, but this time age/learning curve is not on Nadal's side, unfotunately.


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Post by Tenez on Fri 13 Apr 2012, 10:54 pm

Right Nadal could beat Djoko but the circumstances would have to be special. Like playing without contact lenses or limping.

The other possibility would be Nadal being able to vary his game by taking the ball earlier. But that frankly is much less likely....if not impossible. Let's see if I can be proven wrong.

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Post by Henman Bill on Fri 13 Apr 2012, 11:25 pm

Odds are Nadal will get at least one win sooner or later. Many of the matches have been reasonably close.

Nadal's kingdom, which once encompassed the whole of Europe, is now down to two fortified installations at Monte Carlo and Roland Garros. The army of Djokovic is surrounding and knocking at the door. Nadal has to resist here before he can mount a fightback elsewhere. If these two final castles fall it will be complete defeat.

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Post by Positively 4th Street on Fri 13 Apr 2012, 11:27 pm

Spot on HB, and poetically done to boot.

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Post by bogbrush on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 1:27 am

He might, it's just that Djokovic is a very bad match up for Nadal. What Nadals game I based on (tire you out and whack it wide and high to the ad court) plays onto Djokovic's strengths.

To beat Djokovic you need to serve very well, stretch that forehand return especially, and keep rallies shortish. You'll always get chances to break, his service isn't the equal of the rest of his game. That's not what Nadal does, so he'll find it difficult
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Post by noleisthebest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 2:12 am

Tenez wrote:Right Nadal could beat Djoko but the circumstances would have to be special. Like playing without contact lenses or limping.

The other possibility would be Nadal being able to vary his game by taking the ball earlier. But that frankly is much less likely....if not impossible. Let's see if I can be proven wrong.

Welcome back, my tenez friend! kiss

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Post by Guest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 2:20 am

Nadal will never beat a tennis racket wielding full grown man ever again. That be the con census down in these parts here, so help me bob.

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Post by Guest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 2:26 am

Henman Bill wrote:... Nadal's kingdom, which once encompassed the whole of Europe, is now down to two fortified installations at Monte Carlo and Roland Garros. The army of Djokovic is surrounding and knocking at the door. ... If these two final castles fall it will be complete defeat.
Djokovic has been loaded into his egg chamber which has been placed into the cannon launcher ready for firing.

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Post by laverfan on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 2:26 am

Nore Staat wrote:Nadal will never beat a tennis racket wielding full grown man ever again. That be the con census down in these parts here, so help me bob.

I did not know that HE was masquerading as 'Bob'. Laugh

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Post by time please on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 4:24 am

Henman Bill wrote:Odds are Nadal will get at least one win sooner or later. Many of the matches have been reasonably close.

Nadal's kingdom, which once encompassed the whole of Europe, is now down to two fortified installations at Monte Carlo and Roland Garros. The army of Djokovic is surrounding and knocking at the door. Nadal has to resist here before he can mount a fightback elsewhere. If these two final castles fall it will be complete defeat.

Agree with Positively - great post! I think we all believe that to lose RG and or MC would result in a real crisis of confidence in Nadal.

Djokovic would truly become the hunted then at every slam (if he is not already!) Would that free Nadal up - nothing to lose anymore, or diminish his desire for the fight? It will be, in that event, really interesting to see how he reacts.

What would the scooping of The Grand Slam do for Djokovic? More to the point, if Nadal and Novak meet in the final and it goes the same sort of distance as AO, what are the chances of them both recovering mentally and physically for Wimbledon and OG?

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Post by summerblues on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 4:58 am

time please wrote:if Nadal and Novak meet in the final and it goes the same sort of distance as AO
[center]
I would be surprised if that were to happen. I think stars aligned particularly well for Rafa at AO and it is unlikely to repeat. Based on the last five matches they played I would expect a quite routine win for Novak. Have not seen anything from Rafa after the AO that would suggest otherwise either.

Now, in spite of all that, I also know that Rafa will try to come up with something - not sure what - to counter Novak. So it may be interesting still. I have not been looking forward to the clay season this much since '07.

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 8:10 am

hawkeye wrote:That appears to be the consensus here on 606v2 and of course during the last 12 months Nadal has lost to Djokovic 7 times.

7 consecutive times to be precise. And this included 3 consecutive losses in slam finals.

hawkeye wrote:However these two players have played each other 30 times over a 6 year period and Nadal still leads the H2H 16-14.

This h2h thing seems like the best bet for Nadal fans. This 16-14 h2h is meaningless. Djokovic 2.0 is miles ahead of old Djo. He knew how to beat Nadal years back. Only didn't have the body to do it. Now when he has, he does it very convincingly.

hawkeye wrote:Both players are similar ages and both players won slams at an early age. Nadal at 19 and Djokovic reached the US Open final and then won the AO at 20. Most of the times they have played they have been slam winners. During this time Nadal put together an 8-1 series of wins over Djokovic (from 2008 Hamburg to 2009 Madrid).

If living in the past makes you feel better, then your choice. They don't count any bit anymore. Its like when I'm 20 I string a 20-0 h2h against a 10 year old. But after 15 years, I'm bringing up that h2h as if they may be still of any significance in the match today. This is how things have turned up with Djo 2.0 when playing Nadal.

hawkeye wrote:Nadal has a positive H2H with every active ATP player apart from Davydenko but including perhaps the best player to play the game. In the last 6 months Djokovic has lost to Isner, Murray, Ferrer, Tipsarevic, Nishikori and Del Potro. Djokovic is a great player but he is of course beatable.

Again this h2h. They really are the best fallback for any Nadal fan. Djo has lost to Murray, Ferrer, Tipsarvic, Potro, even got a bagel from Nishikori. He is not unbeatable. But you need to remember that every player plays differently. And as I see for Djo its easy for him to beat Nadal, because he knows Nadal doesn't have anything to hurt him. He can keep playing low risk percentage tennis, rallying with him forcing him to go for the winner shot or will force an error making him running all over. Nadal's shotmaking is not #2 in the world nor was ever #1 in the world and hence can't hurt Djokovic. And this is what was his plan in AO 2012 finals. He almost won it in 4 sets, till he got a little relaxed and carried away after hitting a winner in the 4th set tie breaker to get close to finish line. Series of errors from him and Nadal was back.This was the only way Nadal could have been back. There was NO other way. Had Djo stayed with his plan it was all over in 4 easily.

hawkeye wrote:To claim that Nadal is the one player who can't do the beating is IMO ludicrous (tinged with a little wishful thinking perhaps?)

You are entitled to your opinion but this is all wishful thinking. Its not the loss, its the manner of the loss that is important. I hope you understand what does that mean.


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Post by Tenez on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 8:21 am

noleisthebest wrote: Welcome back, my tenez friend! kiss

Thanks NITB! Hug Still away from my desk but should be back to full speed on Monday! Wink

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 9:19 am

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote: Welcome back, my tenez friend! kiss

Thanks NITB! Hug Still away from my desk but should be back to full speed on Monday! Wink

Good to see you back to posting here Tenez. thumbsup
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Post by Tenez on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 9:39 am

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:
Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote: Welcome back, my tenez friend! kiss

Thanks NITB! Hug Still away from my desk but should be back to full speed on Monday! Wink

Good to see you back to posting here Tenez. thumbsup

My hols are coming to an end! Sad

Hug

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Post by socal1976 on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 5:00 pm

I think it is a bit much to think that Nadal will never win again. Actually, Hawkeye I don't think anyone on this site has stated that Novak is unbeatable or that Nadal will lose every match that he plays against Novak. But just like Nadal is a bad matchup for Fed, Djoko is a miserable matchup for Nadal.

Even when Nadal was going 8-1 against Djoko I felt like Novak had the beating of Nadal. Many people may say that it is hindsight. But early on especially on hardcourt Novak pre 09 had the edge over Nadal. Then Novak has a series of fitness and serve issues that brought his level down in 09 and 10. A lot of guys during that period beat up on Novak and had good H2hs, lesser players like Tsonga and Roddick. Who before the serving slump Novak was beating regularly. During the serve slump 09 and 10 campaigns Novak's positive h2hs against Nadal, Roddick, and Tsonga all went 180 degrees opposite. He maintained his ranking through consistently making quarters and semis, and winning a master here and there. So Nadal's win streak in that period was more down to the problems Djoko was having early on in their matchup, especially on hardcourt Novak had the advantage.

Technically speaking, as BB mentioned Nadal likes to use wild angles with hs spin to run the other guy off the court making him run further and further off court where he can then whip a routine short forehand winner. With Novak's movement, ability to take it early, and flexibility to hit great shots at full stretch Nadal's angles and heavy spinning forehand doesn't create any problems for him. Nadal loves to pepper serves to the opponents backhand return well that is precisely where Novak wants you to serve him. If anything Novak turns the tables and uses his feet to attack Nadal and force him wide on the backhand. Novak with his great change of direction uses his up the line backhand and his cross court forehand to pin Nadal in the backhand corner like Nadal does to fed.

In short, I am sure that Nadal will find some joy against Djokovic at some point, but I don't ever see him returning to being on top in this rivalry again. Novak will probably win a significant majority of times against Nadal from here on out.

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Post by hawkeye on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 6:55 pm

social1976

Great comment... even if I disagree with some of your points. First many on 606v2 do seem to be saying that Nadal will be unable to beat Djokovic ever again.

I agree Djokovic has always been a bad match up for Nadal. But Djokovic is a bad match up for most players because he is a great player. Unlike another great player he has a double handed backhand that makes this match up less simple to solve.

Just like you say Djokovic had a few problems with his serve and fitness in some of his matches in 09 and 10 Nadal was hardly at his best in 2011. He had quite a few problems with his serve. Notably in a few of his matches he dropped his first serve percentage considerably. This is something that he is usually so consistant with. He also had a few fitness problems and still may have at the moment. Why is Nadal not "allowed" a dip in form just like Djokovic?

I like the description of some of Nadals play. The short angles made more extreme with spin are what makes him such a unique exciting player to watch. Djokovic may have great movement and retrieving skills but being forced to cover this amount of court must cause problems even for him.

Also Nadal doesn't play the same rhythmic, hard, flat hitting game as the majority of the tour (the sort of play that Djokovic loves because he can feed off it). Nadal is capable of mixing things up more to disrupt the rhytham. When Nadal is playing at his best you can't pin him to the backhand corner "like Nadal does to Fed" because he will just hit an inside out forehand.

It's nice to see a Djokovic fan acknowledging that Nadal "will find some joy against Djokovic" though. I'm looking forward to seeing how their matches go in the future...

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Post by Guest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 7:08 pm

Hello

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The sun has drawn into the shadows of deep space; the winds grow restless. With each passing day the wall grows weaker. Their time is near.

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I don't agree with the idea that Djokovic is a bad match-up far Rafa in the same sense that Rafa is a bad match-up for Roger, ie, from a technical point of view. Sure Novak has a great BH that negate Nadal's spinning, high bouncing balls to that wing, but there are a number of players on tour who can handle that ball for various reasons, be it possessing a great BH (Nalby), taking the ball extremely early and close to the baseline (Davy) or simply from being tall and having a sturdy rather than spectacular BH (JMDP, Soderling etc).

There are no insurmountable technical issues in this match-up unlike in the Rafa-Roger match-up (moreso on clay). The simple truth of the matter is that Nadal loses his natural advantage that he has against the majority of the tour, by virtue of being a lefty, in this match-up, and the rest of his game unfortunately is not as strong as Novak's. That's it.

To boil it down to a match-up issue is to take credit away from Novak and to mask the weaknesses in Rafa's overall game and thus place his actual tennis game above it's station.

Essentially Rafa was able to protect his significantly weaker BH wing with great movement. Against Novak he is unable to do that since the Serb's DHer is adept at changing the direction of rallies to attack Rafa's BH mid-way through, something Roger struggles to do with a one hander particularly when pinned down on his BH side from high bouncing balls. This leaves Rafa no place to hide.

In short, the Novak-Rafa match-up is a match-up on an equal footing, where both wings are used in relatively the same proportion. Novak has (recently) simply shown that he is the better player.

Having said that, the margins are clearly small, and it is a ridiculous statement to suggest that Rafa will never beat him again. However, going forward, I can see Novak winning the majority of their encounters because he is a better all round player.

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Post by socal1976 on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 7:16 pm

Well I disagree Hawkeye on a couple of key points. First off, I don't think Nadal had a significant dip in form. In fact, I looked at the numbers if you take Novak out of the equation he actually won a higher percentage of matches against the top ten when compared to his career average. People forget that Nadal got to the finals of IW, Miami, MC, Madrid, Rome, and RG all in a row before losing early in queens and then he backed that up with getting to the final of wimbeldon. That is 7 out of 8 finals in his first 8 tournaments, that streak on its own is amazing.

Second I don't think you can compare the problems that Nadal was having with his serve in 2011 to what Novak was having in 2010 and 09. In 2010 he was barely in the top 50 for percentage of service games held. He had way more double faults than aces. Novak in 09 and 10 had a clear case of the sharapovas on his serve. I don't think inconsistency Nadal had with his serve in 2011 is comparable.

Also it may seem that Nadal is so inconsistent with his serve against Novak because Novak's return is overwhelming and Nadal's serve isn't. Don't get me wrong he has a good serve, but his propensity to serve to the righty backhand over and over and over again is a recipe for disaster against Djokovic particularly when you can't bring real heat mid 130s style regularly.

Nadal's strengths and weaknesses just don't match up well with Djokos. Nadal's game is predicated on winning the long rallies and the neutral rallies off the ground against anyone in the world. He just can't do that with Djokovic because Novak's forehand is just as good and his backhand is better, and Novak is his equal in terms of movement. Compound that with the returning advantage Novak has and we see the results.

Certainly, Nadal will find a way to beat Djoko again, but I think Novak will boss the rivalry from here on out with a significant edge, barring injury of course. As for Nadal having a dip in form comparable to Novak's serve slump of 09 and 10 in 2011, well its not born out by the numbers. 3 grandslam finals and 7 finals out of his first 8 tourneys. This rivalry is on Novak's racquet now.

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Post by socal1976 on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 7:22 pm

Emancipator, I of course agree that novak is clearly the better player. However I do think that he is not only better but his strengths are bad matchup for nadal. And I don't believe that this in anyway takes anything away from Novak. I mean I think of all the top 4 guys the one guy Novak knows he can beat even when a little off is Nadal. Nadal pretty much gets the better of fed and murray and Novak gets the better of Nadal. Meanwhile Fed and Murray give Novak a tougher time then they give Nadal. Therefore, while I agree that Novak is the better all around player, I also think that the match up problems are exacberated by how their strengths and weaknesses play against each other.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 10:25 pm

socal1976 wrote:
Certainly, Nadal will find a way to beat Djoko again, but I think Novak will boss the rivalry from here on out with a significant edge, barring injury of course. As for Nadal having a dip in form comparable to Novak's serve slump of 09 and 10 in 2011, well its not born out by the numbers. 3 grandslam finals and 7 finals out of his first 8 tourneys. This rivalry is on Novak's racquet now.

Socal,

how do you see Nadal finding the way?

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Post by socal1976 on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 10:35 pm

Well, Nitb, Nadal could have a favorable draw and Novak has some tough matches early on the tournament. Novak could have a niggle or an off day. But generally, like I said above the rivalry is on Novak's racquet. I think however if we want to talk about an effective strategy for Nadal well I think he has to go flat and up the line with the forehand, use his slice backhand more, and be more aggressive on returns. Overrall, however I think other than catching Novak when he is down a bit, I think Novak otherwise has the beating of him.


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Post by noleisthebest on Sat 14 Apr 2012, 10:46 pm

socal1976 wrote:Well, Nitb, Nadal could have a favorable draw and Novak has some tough matches early on the tournament. Novak could have a niggle or an off day. But generally, like I said above the rivalry is on Novak's racquet. I think however if we want to talk about an effective strategy for Nadal well I think he has to go flat and up the line with the backhand, use his slice backhand more, and be more aggressive on returns. Overrall, however I think other than catching Novak when he is down a bit, I think Novak otherwise has the beating of him.


Agreed.

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Post by jersey on Mon 16 Apr 2012, 2:51 am

Nadal Will Never Beat Djokovic Again.

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