Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

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Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by reckoner on Wed 19 Jul 2017, 2:41 pm

First topic message reminder :

Toni comments on Federer

Uncle Toni has a few choice words about the 2017 Wimbledon champion. (translated from El Pais)

Last year at this time I had the opportunity to exchange anecdotes and impressions with Roger Federer's manager Tony Godsick and his wife Mary Jo Fernandez. His children, good friends of ours, were at the Rafa Nadal Academy and we went out to dinner together.

Whenever I have an occasion I like to investigate and try to discover what things people do or have done with professional success that distinguishes them from the others. And that's what happened to Tony that night about the Swiss player. I was surprised by what he told me. Contrary to what I had deduced, Roger is not a very disciplined or very methodical player. Apparently he does not take care of his food and his rest routines.

He also told me that at one point he had offered to give him the statistics and descriptive data we have today thanks to the technologies, and Federer flatly rejected it. He argued that he likes a more impromptu game and that he did not want to be encrusted by data that predisposed him on what he had to do. What the manager asserted and emphasized, however, was that for Roger tennis is his life, his obsession, the only thing that occupies his thinking. I guess he exaggerated that last one. I imagine that his children and his family also occupy him.

Other than some ever so slightly sour grapes, I take from these comments that Federer is, if not exactly coasting, playing without the obsessive focus that has at times characterised the rest of the big four. He's left room for improvisation, for junk food, for family.

If true, I think this balanced approach goes some way to explain why he's still enjoying the game and, I hope, bodes very well for Fed's longevity.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Fri 21 Jul 2017, 5:53 pm

Come on lags, you're comparing Fed to Rafa at FO and saying the gap was not big -79 vs 65, but bear in mind Fed had played there 17 times, i.e. four times more. And then you compared Fed at Wimbledon, when he played there 19 times, to Rafa there who only played there 12 times, i.e. there's already a 7 year gap before we even started comparing actual matches played!

Do you think you're making the right comparison, i.e. Fed with 17 times vs Rafa at 13 at RG; and Fed at 19 times vs Rafa at 12 times at Wimbledon? Obviously the gap between Rafa and Fed at Wimbledon would be much wider than at the FO!

It even surprised me that Rafa could still be ahead at the FO in terms of matches won having played a few years less despite his unbelievable success there.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by lags72 on Fri 21 Jul 2017, 6:14 pm

Fair enough, you make some valid points there and I'm happy to take them on board.

And on further reflection perhaps I shouldn't have used the respective match wins to make the comparison.

What I think does still stand up to scrutiny is that - in overall terms - Federer has performed better at his weakest Slam than Nadal has at his.


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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Fri 21 Jul 2017, 6:16 pm

Yap, I don't understand this natural clay court talent thing or this naturally more talented thing either.

Unless let's say two children are being trained using the same method and same equipments and playing on the same surface(s), then perhaps we can compare who's more talented of the two given the same training conditions and same playing surfaces.

We just can't compare apple with orange; if Rafa for e.g. had undergone the same kind of training as Fed, being taught to play and serve with the right technique (unlike under Toni who's not a technical coach and so let Rafa explore his way and hitting his unorthodox FH and not concentrating on improving Rafa's serve from day one), we just don't know and can't say for sure, that Rafa won't turn out to be an attacking player with a good to great serve, and would come forward more often to play at the net with his deft touches, instead of staying at the baseline so often to play a baseline game. Judging from his matches during 2004, and also his naturally competitive nature, it's not difficult for me to think that Rafa won't just be a baseliner to begin with.

Rafa in reality has taken a different route (from Fed) in his tennis career, he's being trained to be a counterpuncher, raised to play primarily on clay, played the baseline game despite earlier promises of a more attacking all court game, and so we see the Rafa that he is now.

I really don't think this ' he's not as naturally talented as Fed' talk has done any justice to Rafa, who imo is also naturally talented, though may not be in the same way as Fed's but not in any way inferior (to Fed).

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 5:47 am

Hmm more naturally-gifted?

Well going by Mr Spock's logic you would have to say it was Rafa Nadal. I say that with the evidence in front of me which is that Rafa was to become a winning machine as a teenager so never had a great deal of time to be manufactured into a great player. Roger, on the other hand, had a few years on the circuit where his results never stood him out from others before he went on to become a dominant force. That tells me that he was not so naturally gifted. However, if we are talking about natural athleticism and movement etc then Roger is the more natural.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 6:25 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:Hmm more naturally-gifted?

Well going by Mr Spock's logic you would have to say it was Rafa Nadal. I say that with the evidence in front of me which is that Rafa was to become a winning machine as a teenager so never had a great deal of time to be manufactured into a great player. Roger, on the other hand, had a few years on the circuit where his results never stood him out from others before he went on to become a dominant force. That tells me that he was not so naturally gifted. However, if we are talking about natural athleticism and movement etc then Roger is the more natural.
You have got it 180 degrees wrong.  Why did the Jesuits say "give me the boy and i'll give you the man"?  Both the Ottomans (see Janissary troops) and the Spartans used to train kids to be "youth soldiers".  Kids are either trusting of adult authority or powerless to act against it.  In both cases kids are easily moulded.  Nadals early success was due to a) his "Spartan" training under Toni Nadal.  b) His early physical development - he was a "man boy" - like Wayne Rooney.

Of course there is an aspect of "natural talent" in all of this - but the training / rote learning / inculcation aspect of this is being grossly undervalued. Nadal was an example where the training was of the "severe kind". Nadal has said it left him in tears at times.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 7:56 am

1) Why is Fed's athleticism and movement more natural? If anything, Rafa is naturally quicker, moving very well, because of his naturally muscular built. He's good being a sprinter, a mid distance runner and at the same time a marathon runner all in one, being able to last through five/six hours in a match without his level dropping significantly. I don't see where Fed is more natural than Rafa where movement is concerned.

2) Rafa's training when he was a boy was more on the mental aspect of the game, not so much the technical aspects of the game. People here are comparing the technical aspects of Fed's and Rafa's game I believe, more than any other aspects. It's not like Toni was coaching Rafa on the perfect stroke production, or a perfect serve, or perfect volleying for examples.

I would say Rafa won early in his career because he's physically strong, mentally tough, naturally talented to figure things out on the tennis court faster than most. Like I said earlier, the coach can only teach you so much, it's up to the player himself to go out there to play and to apply what he learned and at the same time pick up further tips on how to play the game even better. Rafa beat Fed, the then no. 1 player in 2004/2005 because he somehow figured out how to beat Fed when most others couldn't.

Rafa is grateful to Toni for helping him to be what he is now; but if anything, I imo, feel that Toni did stiffle some other potentials in Rafa; e.g. Rafa was quick between points when he was younger, stayed close to the baseline when playing on the HCs, moved forward to the net or stepped inside the court more often. He has/had all the making of a good all round and all court attacking player on any surface. However, Toni had turned him into a counterpuncher, playing primarily from the baseline, playing a thinking game and had to think more during his matches rather than just playing them instinctively (which he had all the weapons to do well).

PS. I would say Murray is also another natural quick mover but earlier on, he was lacking in stamina so he really went all out to improve his fitness and stamina. Djoko too.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 8:15 am

Natural talent is something one has within. Now for Rafa to be as successful as he was at such an early age, regardless of training regime, had to have a mighty high level of natural talent. As Belovedluckyboy says once Rafa stepped onto court he was on his own. Roger, on the other hand, began his career in much more stuttering fashion by comparison. To me that does not scream out that there was more natural talent there to start with.

As for movement I'd say Roger has always moved most gracefully around the court and without the kind of fitness regimes others have had drilled into them. The rigours of tennis therefore haven't ravaged him physically.


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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 9:04 am

I would be interested in hearing peoples thoughts on Richard Gasquet and Ernests Gulbis. My impression was that Gasquet didn't have the physicality to make it to the very top, while Ernests Gulbis, didn't have the motivation to make it to the very top. I don't know much about their development as a child / junior but my impression was that they didn't have what I would call a "severe training regime". I know people tend to say they are "naturally gifted". [As always we are talking relatives here].

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 9:22 am

What do you mean by "severe training regime"? Do you think Murray or Djoko didn't undergo "severe training regime" to get to where they are now? Or Fed, who trained hard every season in Dubai, to be fit and strong to keep up with his three younger rivals?

Gasquet is now concentrating on beefing up his fitness and stamina (he engaged Bugera to be his coach), he was plagued by injuries lately but is getting back on track. It may be too late for him to challenge for the slams but getting back to top ten may be his target.

Gulbis was a promising young talent at 17, he gave Djoko a stern test at the FO in 2008. He's one we call 'a wasted talent' because he didn't put in the effort necessary to become a top player.

We've been saying this so often, that talent alone can only get you so far, you need to put in the efforts, the hard work, if you want to reach the top.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by JuliusHMarx on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 3:03 pm

Perhaps the ability to train hard is also a natural talent.
I've yet to see anyone give a definition of 'natural talent' and we would all probably disagree on the definition anyway! Smile

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 4:47 pm

Wikipedia has the following

'Recognizing that Nadal had a natural talent for tennis, another uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, introduced him to tennis when he was three years old.

At age eight, Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship at a time when he was also a promising football player. This made Toni Nadal intensify training, and at that time he encouraged Nadal to play left-handed for a natural advantage on the tennis court, as he noticed Nadal played forehand shots with two hands.

When Nadal was 12, he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group and was playing tennis and football all the time.  Nadal's father made him choose between football and tennis so that his school work would not deteriorate entirely. Nadal said: "I chose tennis. Football had to stop straight away." '

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by lags72 on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 5:39 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:Perhaps the ability to train hard is also a natural talent.
I've yet to see anyone give a definition of 'natural talent' and we would all probably disagree on the definition anyway! Smile


Indeed.

As anyone who has ever watched just a few minutes of Britains Got Talent can readily testify.


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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 7:20 pm

To me natural talent is something within. It would be like someone picking up a racquet for the first time and getting the rudimentaries of the sport right very quickly. From there you have a high base to start from and a coach with much to work with.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by JuliusHMarx on Sat 22 Jul 2017, 8:30 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:To me natural talent is something within. It would be like someone picking up a racquet for the first time and getting the rudimentaries of the sport right very quickly. From there you have a high base to start from and a coach with much to work with.

So basically hand-to-eye co-ordination and reflexes? Or a natural technique that doesn't need much adjusting? Or neither/both/something else as well?

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 6:52 am

Just as I said in my previous post Jhm. To me natural talent is something that is there before any coaching is needed such as having the ability to time and hit the ball cleanly and has understanding of the rudimentaries of the sport by instinct. Thereafter coaching comes in to tweak and enhance then the fitness regime needs working on.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 8:27 am

If you see a player that lacks variation - but what he does he does extremely well, efficiently, and effectively, and that in general always wins him the point, over and over, metronomic, robotic - is that a sign of natural talent or a well trained automaton?

Now I am not saying Nadal is like this - but ladies and gentlemen of the jury I do believe it must be taken into consideration as a material factor in the weighing up of all the evidence, when comparing one player with another, and attributing natural talent vs professional training.

Also consider the clichés.
Natural Talent can only take you so far.
2% percent inspiration 98% perspiration.
Please feel free to add.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 8:38 am

Other but related news - great to see Tom Daley win the gold medal in diving with his best ever points tally of 590+ points.   In diving China have a programme of identifying potential young talents and then putting them through "severe training methods" while they are  developing infants /children - and this system is producing a conveyer belt of diving champions.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 8:53 am

No name Bertie wrote:If you see a player that lacks variation - but what he does he does extremely well, efficiently, and effectively, and that in general always wins him the point, over and over, metronomic, robotic - is that a sign of natural talent or a well trained automaton?

Now I am not saying Nadal is like this - but ladies and gentlemen of the jury I do believe it must be taken into consideration as a material factor in the weighing up of all the evidence, when comparing one player with another, and attributing natural talent vs professional training.

Also consider the clichés.
Natural Talent can only take you so far.
2% percent inspiration 98% perspiration.
Please feel free to add.
As I have already pointed out - Nadal was more successful as a teenager than Federer. That says a lot for me. I honestly cannot see how a natural talent takes say 5 years as a pro to win a slam whereas another takes 2 or 3. Federer was ln the tennis circuit for a few years before he made an impact whereas Rafa made one much sooner. That tells me Rafa had more natural talent at the outset than Roger.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 9:05 am

My argument is that children can be taught to be "automatons", adults cannot.  You have to get them young.  Then you produce a conveyer belt of automatons aged 15 to 19.  There is of course a talent aspect to it - not all kids will make the grade.

ps I am bowing out of this debate for now.  I think we have all laid out our basic arguments and there is nothing more to add.  There are now two schools of thought available and others can take their pick.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by lags72 on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 9:47 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:

...................................

..........................


As I have already pointed out - Nadal was more successful as a teenager than Federer. That says a lot for me. I honestly cannot see how a natural talent takes say 5 years as a pro to win a slam whereas another takes 2 or 3. Federer was ln the tennis circuit for a few years before he made an impact whereas Rafa made one much sooner. That tells me Rafa had more natural talent at the outset than Roger.

To me this assessment really highlights the central point made by JHM earlier : that there is no single definition of talent - or certainly, no definition worthy of universal agreement.

A perceived superior level of 'natural talent' - when measured on the basis of success at a young age - does not necessarily translate into superior achievement. If that were always the case, then someone like Nadal would have gone on to reach World No. 1 much more quickly than the seemingly slower-developing Federer. But of course that wasn't the case : not only did Rafa reach that exalted top spot at around the same age as Federer did, but it was Federer himself who was blocking Rafa's climb for so long.

Once a top level athlete has settled into their career, the matter of consistency then comes into play and is, I guess, somewhat easier to benchmark than 'talent' - however one might choose to define the latter. Even as of today, Rafa's best run of consecutive weeks at the top has him sitting only at Number 11 in the league table, and his total number of weeks puts him at number 7. But of course there are other measurements where sporting legacy is concerned, and for tennis we generally see Slam titles as that measurement. And there can be absolutely no question (or controversy !) as to how amazingly well Rafa has done - and continues to do - on that count.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Guest on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 9:59 am

Nadal seems to have some sort of super-flexibility of the wrist that enables him to put 1000s of more revs on the ball in top spin. Gymnasts have to start early to get that super-flexible / elastic body. I wander whether Nadal's super-flexible (?) wrist is something that has to be developed early before otherwise disappearing.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by JuliusHMarx on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 12:28 pm

Many would say someone like Fabrice Santoro had much more natural talent than plenty of players who achieved more in their careers.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 1:13 pm

1) NNB - your mention of conveyor belt of automaton, well the cream will always rise to the top. Not every diver in China can make the grade, likewise for table tennis or badminton players in China. Li Na when she was young, was trying to play badminton, but she was being rejected because they said her reflexes weren't good enough for playing badminton. She's of course successful when playing tennis.

Rafa wasn't one coming out of a conveyor belt; he's unique because he wasn't taught the more traditional stroke production; Toni allowed him to hit his unique FH, didn't correct him, so Rafa's flexibility of his wrist probably comes naturally to him, that he's able to hit that way from young, I doubt Toni intentionally trained Rafa to hit that way from young. What Toni taught him was about the mental aspect of the game,, how to cope with playing with poor court and ball conditions, etc and etc. Every player has to hit the ball a good 10000 times to get his stroke correct, Fed had to do the same too during his earlier days training; it's a myth that Fed didn't need to practice or train hard with repetitive shots, to get to where he is now.

I can think of Djoko and his flexibility, I read that it's his first coach (the female coach by the name of Jelena I think), who taught him to do lots of stretching to develop his flexibility from young, to prevent injuries in future.

2) lags - regarding Rafa and his attaining no.1; you have to factor in Fed who's five years his senior and it's also of ATG material, so Fed already had his head start over Rafa. Fed unlike Rafa, didn't have a world no.1 of ATG material standing in his way in early 2004 to become world no.1.

We're not talking as if Fed wasn't of ATG quality to start with, so to expect Rafa to overtake him earlier than he did (in 2008 at age 22) was too much to ask of Rafa imo. Just think, without Fed standing in his way, Rafa would be world no. 1 in 2005 when he finished the season ahead of the likes of Roddick and Hewitt or whoever.

Rafa was stopped by injuries and had to miss a few slams; the stop/starts during and after each injury would hold him back in his career. Talking about his injuries, I know people are saying that they're due to his playing style, perhaps to a certain extent, which I feel could be avoided had he adopted a more aggressive style of play (Toni was responsible for that) but he also had a chronic foot defect to start with which I think made things worse for him.

Rafa was unfortunate that while he's at the top, he was stopped by injuries (2009; 2014 for examples), if not he could well have reached 200 weeks at no.1.


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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by beshocked on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 9:25 am

Well it certainly is a what if - what if Rafa wasn't trained by Toni Nadal exclusively.

His 3 rivals have had multiple coaches whereas Rafa has only been with his uncle.

I'd say all 3 of Nadal's rivals have benefitted from coach changes - not every one has been a success admittedly but certainly some successful relationships have managed to bring obvious results.

Federer seems to have made an effort to reinvent himself and because he has the skillset he can do this.


I'd say any accomplished sportsman/sportswoman needs to stay ahead of the curve and continue to evolve to prevent rivals from catching up.


It is truly remarkable that at the age of 35, Federer is the man to beat with 2 slams this year.


Nadal is an one coach player, that makes him remarkable in his own way too.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 10:21 am

Rafa has more than one coach; he has Francisco Roig with him too; and I think they did seek outside help for Rafa in beefing up his serve in 2010. Rafa has also gotten in Moya to take over from Toni; Moya has already made some good impact on Rafa's game, getting Rafa to be more aggressive again.

I said 'again' because Rafa was aggressive when he was younger and just an upstart. Actually, Fed's reinventing his game is more of rediscovering his game of his earlier days, his S&V days. Of course on top of that, he already has his baseline game now to make it a more all round and all court game. It's not like Fed is learning a new skill now.

I would think that for Rafa, with the help of Moya, he's also rediscovering his game of his earlier years - the game where he didn't hesitate in stepping inside the court, or moved to the net to win the point. He's doing that starting with this clay season, I was surprised how effective that was when he hardly broke sweat the whole clay season, spending not much time on the court the whole clay season playing shorter points.

Moya has also helped Rafa with his serve, the improvement in his second serve is something remarkable, when Rafa won a higher % of his second serves than his first during the clay season and he also has/had the highest % of 2nd serves won among all players.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by reckoner on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 10:58 pm

There's an English translation of the El Pais article here.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 2:04 am

Strange last comment by Toni. I thought Rafa is following Fed's footsteps now, getting in Moya and Moya does help Rafa to improvise his game and we are already seeing results now.

Rafa should have gotten in Moya earlier, to save him from the grinding tennis 'induced' by Toni, at least to save his body from the numerous injuries suffered, I feel.

It's about stepping inside the court and moving to the net, which Fed is/was trying to do AGAIN with the help of first Annacone and then Edberg. Rafa is also doing the same with the help of Moya, who helps Rafa rediscovers the way he played when he was young but somehow he stopped doing along the way.

Top athletes also need to improvise to stay ahead of the pack, and remain relevant, and that's what both Fed and Rafa are doing now and they're leading the race this season.

PS Djoko was hailed by some if not many high profile coaches as the perfect player with the most complete game without any weakness; I wonder what Toni thinks about Djoko's game.


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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by dummy_half on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 10:27 am

Let's be honest, in Federer and Nadal we are discussing two of the top 5 or so all time men's tennis players (difficult to know exactly how they compare with those affected by the Pro/Amateur split). Both undoubtedly have natural talent to play tennis by the bucketload, even compared with a typically good professional, never mind with muppets like us...

I don't take Nadal's relatively early success as evidence of greater natural talent, more of greater physical maturity and of perhaps playing to a slightly more straightforward game plan than Federer (who was always known to be a talented shotmaker, and of whom big things were expected well before his break-out win against Sampras at Wimbledon).

Of course there are multiple lines of 'talent' that make a good tennis player, not simply the ability to produce a stroke nicely. As such, I'd compare Federer and Nadal as follows for (at least the perception of) inherent abilities:

Shot making - Federer > Nadal (noting above, that both are amazingly good in perhaps slightly different ways)
Athleticism - Nadal > Federer (no doubting that the Nadal family have some good genetics for producing sportsmen)
Footwork / Balance - Federer > Nadal (not by much, but I think this is the key as to why Federer is so good)
Mental strength / Will to win - Nadal > Federer (indeed > pretty much anyone since Connors)
Consistency of technique (at least in their prime) - Nadal > Federer

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by barrystar on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 11:08 am

@dummy-half.  I'd agree with the basic thrust of what you say there.  In particular, any Goat debate has got to involve discussion of Federer and Nadal as members of the last half-dozen or so candidates.

In relation to "mental strength/will to win" I think this is the most subjective category, and the more consistent & less apparently complex the playing style the easier it is to project onto a particular player; equally the more apparently effortless the playing style the easier it is to overlook in a player.  Nadal is, of course, the indefatigable 'bull' who never knows when he's beaten &c &c &c - but to me it is a little odd to suggest that there is anything to choose between two such successful players in terms of will to win.  In this respect, although I know what it looks like to watch them play, especially when Fed looks like he's wilting vs. his nemesis with a big edge in the H2H, I think that Federer's extraordinary consistency in terms of weeks at #1 is as telling as any other piece of information we have when it comes to the (probably forlorn) attempt to assess objectively their respective wills to win.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 11:17 am

Is mental strength/will to win a natural talent? I would say it is most likely the one thing that needs to be learnt the most (although not necessarily 'taught' as such).

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by lags72 on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 11:30 am

The mere notion that a tennis player who has racked up 19 Slam titles - over the course of a career that it is yet to finish - could in any way be remotely lacking in the mental strength or 'will-to-win' departments .........hmm.

I think we can safely take such traits as a given.


Last edited by lags72 on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:34 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by dummy_half on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:11 pm

barry / lags

I do think that mentality is an inherent thing though, and certain players have a greater willingness to battle through. I'm not arguing that Fed is particularly lacking in that department, but it is interesting that his record of winning matches in 5 sets is rather lower than for many other all time greats (although of course he doesn't often get taken to 5 sets...)

I think there are two different elements to the mentality thing - there's the mentality that allows players to win or not (think Jana Novotna and her choke when a Wimbledon title was there for the taking), and then there's the tenacity to battle through. Federer has demonstrated the mental ability to win, to close out matches that is equal to anyone, but slightly less so to battle and scrap for every point (hence so many wins but only about a 60% win rate when taken to 5 sets). By comparison, I think Rafa in his prime was more obviously driven to succeed. As an aside, I'm not aware of either Roger or Rafa having been involved with sports psychologists in the way that (for example) Konta has been.

You may be right in that it's a perception from their respective styles, but I do think it's an area where Rafa has a bit of an edge. And as the first paragraph of my initial post discussed, we are really trying to identify inherent differences between two extraordinarily gifted (and well trained) players

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:18 pm

Talking about weeks at no.1, I find Djoko's 223 weeks as no.1 very impressive, for he did it during the era of the big four - 2011 to 2016 - during which, Fed managed only 17 weeks as no.1; Rafa 65 weeks and Murray 8 weeks.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by reckoner on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:35 pm

Its certainly an impressive feat of will.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:44 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:Talking about weeks at no.1, I find Djoko's 223 weeks as no.1 very impressive, for he did it during the era of the big four - 2011 to 2016 - during which, Fed managed only 17 weeks as no.1; Rafa 65 weeks and Murray 8 weeks.
  Good point, especially given what's happened since mid-2016 when, first Rafa and Rog succumbed to injuries and, now, Murray and Djoko have been laid low so that we've had/or are having a period when not all four are firing on all cylinders together.
  Still think that Djoko's 43-match unbeaten run in 2011 was incredible.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 1:07 pm

I think for Rafa, it's both his naturally competitive spirit plus the training from young by Toni that resulted in his tough mentality , his never give up attitude and his being clutch at crucial moments.

I think for Fed and Djoko (who are also competitive), but didn't have the training that Rafa had from young, their tough mentality came/come from winning matches. Once they keep winning, they become more confident in their own abilities and then the belief that they're able to beat anyone. I believe it's that kind of confidence and self belief that see Fed and Djoko through their tough matches.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by WRaleigh on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 1:46 pm

"Pero esa conversación con el representante de Federer me alivió por ver toda una serie de coincidencias con mi forma de entender el deporte en general y el tenis en particular. Yo tengo una visión mucho más romántica y menos estudiada, mucho más intuitiva y menos documentada.

Defiendo con ahínco, y así he intentado trasladárselo a mi sobrino, la capacidad de adoptar cambios. Estar dispuesto a modificar lo que te ha dado buenos resultados pero que ya ha dejado de hacerlo es un síntoma de inteligencia y, probablemente, la característica más determinante para una carrera de largo recorrido.

Me inclino por la pasión, la ilusión, el amor por lo que uno hace como forma de ennoblecer el deporte, que sería una frivolidad, de lo contrario. Sólo añadiré, por si he confundido a alguien, que no me agrada más de la cuenta el brillante ejemplo cuando lo protagoniza otro que no es mi sobrino.

Aún así, a Roger, a su equipo y a su familia, mi más sincera enhorabuena."

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by WRaleigh on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 1:49 pm

(...) He is basically relieved because he sees himself and his approach reflected in Federer's approach. He says he favours a more romantic and intuitive approach to everything and specially to tennis.

He proclaims himself a defender of changes and sees that as the key for a long carrier.

The whole article is quite interesting, not only the first part

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 3:04 pm

He (Toni) favors a more romantic and intuitive approach ... specially to tennis? Then, why didn't he allow Rafa to play intuitively or instinctively, but drilled into Rafa all those counterpuncher' s approach to tennis?

It's not like Rafa started off being defensive from day one; Toni even mentioned that Rafa was way more aggressive when he was young(er); Rafa was quick between points, just took the ball and started serving without much thinking, and its Toni who told him to slow down, think before he serve, perhaps that's why Rafa started his quirks before his serve, like pulling up his socks, tug his hair behind his ears, etc.

It's Toni who taught Rafa to play thinking tennis, using strategies, game plans etc to win the match, not by being aggressive and attacking and playing with instinct or based on intuition.

Toni doesn't come across as one who' likes being romantic and intuitive, he's a thinking man no doubt, but comes across as one who's good at strategizing and having things pre-planned, rather than do things depending on intuition.

As I mentioned earlier, I thought Toni had stifled some of Rafa's potential, and one of which was Rafa's instinctive nature of being aggressive as he's naturally a very competitive person. Without Toni, Rafa might turn out to be an attacking/offensive player, even though there's no guarantee than he would be more, or as successful as he's now without the help of Toni.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by reckoner on Tue 25 Jul 2017, 3:29 pm

WRaleigh wrote:(...) He is basically relieved because he sees himself and his approach reflected in Federer's approach.  He says he favours a more romantic and intuitive approach to everything and specially to tennis.

He proclaims himself a defender of changes and sees that as the key for a long carrier.

The whole article is quite interesting, not only the first part

At the time I saw it the translation of the second part seemed very ambiguous to me, so I didn't include it in the OP.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 4:13 am

To be fair to Toni, he was also letting Rafa explored it himself, by getting him to play in the adult tour when he's only 15 yo; Rafa didn't disappoint when he could make a name for himself by defeating the then no.1 player the first time they played in 2004; and at 16 in early 2003 was already a handful on clay, beating Albert Costa the reigning FO champion, at MC. It's more of Rafa's offensive play back then that won him his matches. From what I saw of him, he's certainly good at his court craft even at that young age, I doubt that's something Toni could drill into him so soon in his young career, its more like Rafa's own ability in figuring things out himself! (my feeling that Toni was holding Rafa back, by letting him grind from the baseline, after Rafa's initial few years in the main tour, still stands though). Rafa has the passion, the enthusiasm and the hunger or thirst for success, and judging by the way he played in his initial few years in the main tour and the speed he had in rising to the top, he's certainly no lacking in talent, and his instinctive play was good, to let him beat those top players who were much more senior than him.

I would say it's not only Fed who reportedly didn't care much about what he eats or what nutrition he needs; Rafa also indulges in chocolates, Nutella and coke. Murray too, said that after his tough training, could eat like a horse, and could take in 2000 calories of food! Djoko when he was younger, wasn't well aware of what food to avoid before having his matches, he reportedly had eaten a good portion of steak and then when he played against Tsonga (at AO,) he was feeling sick throughout the match but was still able to go five sets before losing.

Djoko of course had gotten in his doctor, nutritionist, or whatever professional help he could get to help him become the player he is/was since 2011. I don't know about Murray, perhaps he's also watching what he eats too, to help him remain fit and to reach the height of his career that he's having in 2016.

I remember what Toni said about Rafa long time ago, he said something like he was hoping Rafa could play a free and easy style the way Fed played; but Rafa was one who played with intensity, a total opposite of Fed. Toni said he liked Rafa's intensity nonetheless, even though he would prefer Rafa to play like Fed. I do remember there's one stage he wanted Rafa to hit his FH, with finish across his body, (perhaps to prepare him to play well on grass and HCs) and he told Rafa to look at the way Fed hits his FH. I think that was before Rafa won his Wimbledon and then his HC slams.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by CAS on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 3:52 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Hmm more naturally-gifted?

Well going by Mr Spock's logic you would have to say it was Rafa Nadal. I say that with the evidence in front of me which is that Rafa was to become a winning machine as a teenager so never had a great deal of time to be manufactured into a great player. Roger, on the other hand, had a few years on the circuit where his results never stood him out from others before he went on to become a dominant force. That tells me that he was not so naturally gifted. However, if we are talking about natural athleticism and movement etc then Roger is the more natural.

That is such a sweeping statement, by that reckoning was Courier more talented than Agassi? Courier had won 3 slams and been World Number 1 before Agassi had won Wimbledon in 1992. Roddick was also World Number 1 before Federer despite being a year younger, he was more talented too I take it?

Sometimes having a lot more options than most means making the right decisions at the right time which takes time to discover, Nadal's tactics at 18 are not too different than now, get the forehand in to play as soon as possible and let it work its deadly beauty, use your outrageous defence until you can inevitably take over the rally. Defence is also an incredible talent by the way, being fast is one thing and getting it back over the net, but it is where he put's as well still astounds me, Novak and Andy are capable of the same.

Federer is slightly different, he himself said he struggled with trying too much to please the crowd instead of doing the basics, also more talented players do tend to be a little more lazy as they can do things without trying as hard.

Nadal was a beast of an 18 year old, such a specimen. The best forehand I have ever seen, I am sorry but I do not accept anyone saying that was manufactured, it's far too unique. Nadal said himself it was because he was so good so young that he was playing boys much older than him so the ball was bouncing so high above him that he started to do it naturally. You get the impression Federer did "just enough". I also imagine single handed backhands take longer to develop also, the strength needed for a 10 year old to do it consistently must be an issue.

I do think the word talent is far too over used, they are both extremely 'talented' but Nadal was clearly much more disciplined than Federer and was much more physically developed than Federer was at the same age, he was a stick!




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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by barrystar on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 4:10 pm

@CAS - and some.  I am extremely wary of any entirely subjective judgment of a player, such as 'talent' or 'mental strength'.  Sometimes it is possible to see a player trying to manufacture an ability - Lendl trying to improve his grass-court game in his quest to win Wimbledon is a v. obvious example.  But a lot of the time when using such descriptive tags an observer is doing a better job of giving an insight into his/her own pre-conceptions than the aspect of a player's game they are attempting to describe.

It does seem pretty obvious that Nadal owes much of the way he has learned to play the game to his precocious physical development, and I quite agree with what you say about Nadal's defence.  Countless are the times when I have been sure that he's out of a point when the ball comes back, but not as a block or a 'keep the point alive' shot, but a shot which is either a winner or one which at least changes the balance of the rally.  It's even more obvious how extraordinary this ability is is when you see it live.  It's also pretty obvious that Federer's game from point of view of his realistic options when sizing up to hit the ball is more complex than anyone else's.  

What I find with watching both of them is that the quotient of 'how on earth did he do that' points are higher than for pretty much anyone else, and between them I'd put Federer fairly solidly ahead of Nadal on that score.

Is that what we mean when we say talent?  Who knows - tennis is lucky to be squeezing the last drop out of these remarkable athletes and will be much the poorer when they are gone.
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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Mochyn du on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 7:03 pm

As long as Nadal never eclipses Federer's slam count then the sport can still be seen to be legitimate. Players like Nadal should have burned out at 25 but mysteriously he keeps on going strong into his 30s.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 7:36 pm

Why should Nadal burns out at 25? Just your wishful thinking?

If Fed could play till 36, I don't see why Rafa couldn't play till past 30, and even eclipse Fed's slam count! After all he's as talented as Fed and even more hardworking and disciplined.

Players like Djoko and Murray are also playing into their thirties now and neither of them are thinking of quitting anytime soon!

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 7:40 pm

What about Fed mysteriously coming back from six months break to win a slam at age 35?? When he couldn't win any from age 31-34??

When you want to be suspicious, do it without being prejudiced.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Mochyn du on Thu 27 Jul 2017, 10:58 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:What about Fed mysteriously coming back from six months break to win a slam at age 35?? When he couldn't win any from age 31-34??

When you want to be suspicious, do it without being prejudiced.

I am not prejudiced. Equally suspicious of Federer these days. I think Federer's narcissism makes him do whatever it takes to keep ahead of Nadal and everyone else. I have significant doubts about the cosmic achievements of both players. Just I feel Nadal has always appeared dubious whereas I have gained doubts about Federer only recently, as you say, it is unusual for a man of 35 to win two majors after several years of slam drought.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by reckoner on Fri 28 Jul 2017, 12:59 am

I tell you what that Rossewall guy was totally juiced.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Fri 28 Jul 2017, 3:25 am

Mochyn, whats so dubious about Rafa?? Rafa was already a promising youngster since his early teens, its only natural that he grew up living up to expectations. If anything, those who weren't that outstanding but then suddenly surged ahead of the rest would appear more dubious.

You're just prejudiced and have eyes on only one man; open your eyes and look at the rest, if you want to be suspicious, then be suspicious of the rest of the field; there's no reason to think one is guilty but the others are not, yet they're able to keep up with him and sometimes even surge ahead of him.

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

Post by laverfan on Fri 28 Jul 2017, 4:43 am

@JHM... should this thread be merged in to the GOAT sticky? chin

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Re: Toni Nadal: Federer is a workshy fop

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