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Most net points won in a Grand Slam final since 2000

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Post by It Must Be Love Mon 09 Sep 2019, 4:16 am

Nadal vs Medvedev had 101 points won at the net, Nadal with 51 and Medvedev with 50.

After doing a bit of research, it appears that this is the most points won at the net in a Grand Slam final since 2000:
http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20000709-M-Wimbledon-F-Patrick_Rafter-Pete_Sampras.html
A few that got close were 3 Wimbledon finals: 2019- 75, 2014- 72, 2009- 80.

In other news it puts Nadal on 19 Grand Slams, 1 behind Federer and 3 ahead of Djokovic. If he wins one more US Open, he will be the joint record holder for most US Opens.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 09 Sep 2019, 3:08 pm

I only caught the last third and it seemed a mostly high quality match befitting of a final. At times I got that typical feeling with Rafa, that although his unbelievable defensive play is impressive, it still amounts to getting the ball back in play over and over again until the opponent misses which is depressing because it means that if Rafa wins, the match has been decided by errors ending a point rather than winners. That is why I've often struggled to support him, and why many prefer Federer. It's because deep down people want to see points ended with clean winners rather than hitting the net or hitting it long.

However, in the match yesterday, Rafa was playing more aggressively at times in the part I saw, especially on his own service games. Really he plays how you need to play to win. It remains an interesting question how many slams Rafa would have won if the world would have changed to super fast courts and abolished clay from 1990 onwards. Maybe he would have won just as many slams with a different game. Maybe he would have given up as a teenager and played football instead. We'll never know.

I do think today marks the first day that Rafa is the favourite to retire with the most slams. Prior to today it was back and forth but it generally looked about 50/50 or slight advantage to Federer. It wasn't that long ago that Federer held a ball in his hand with two match points on his own serve and was about to go three into the lead.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 09 Sep 2019, 3:21 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:

In other news it puts Nadal on 19 Grand Slams, 1 behind Federer and 3 ahead of Djokovic. If he wins one more US Open, he will be the joint record holder for most US Opens.

This is actually inaccurate on two counts. Firstly, because Sears, Larned and Tilden have 7, and secondly because even in the open era Chris Evert and Serena Williams have 6. But, I suppose you meant only the men's and in the open era.

It is a bit of a surprise to see that stat.

I actually think it's kind of luck/destiny/chance/fluke that Rafa has 1 Australian Open and 4 US Opens. Something like 3 Australian Opens and 2 US Opens might be a fairer reflection of his abilities on the surfaces.

I think he's got lucky at the US Open. The years he has the best chance to win it there always seemed to correspond with the years of his best physical fitness at that time of year, whereas he was often unfit at that time of year, but only in years when he wasn't playing well enough to win it anyway. He has a relatively easy draw this year (although the finalist was tougher than expected) and even easier draw the last time he won it. Although he had to play Djokovic in 2010 and 2013, in both cases it was not Djokovic at this peak, and you could see the writing on the wall there before both finals in terms of relative fitness and form and where they were mentally.

Compare that to the Australian Open and you had 1-2 years when he had fitness issues in years he had a chance to win the title, plus the 2012 final when Rafa played as well as he did in any of his US Open finals but happened to catch Djokovic at his absolute monster best.

My prediction is no more US Opens for Rafa. I think he may be able to get the all time slam record by winning 1 more Australian Open and maybe 3 more French Opens. That would bring him to 23 which is a number that I think both Federer and Djokovic will struggle to get to.

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Post by It Must Be Love Tue 10 Sep 2019, 12:42 am

Hi Henman Bill, hope you're doing well OK

Henman Bill wrote:
IMBL wrote:If he wins one more US Open, he will be the joint record holder for most US Opens.
But, I suppose you meant only the men's and in the open era.
Yes, I did indeed.

1/ As for your comment on Nadal's style of play. I think what has made Nadal so successful is not just his ability to get the ball back, but to turn defence in attack.
Certainly as Nadal has aged, he's no longer one of the fastest players on tour, in terms of just getting the ball back due to speed: Dimitrov, De Minaur, Thiem etc. are all ahead of Nadal. Meanwhile Monfils has always been ahead of Nadal on pace. Nadal differentiates himself with the ability to then take control of the rally, and manoeuvre his opponents around.

2/ Completely agree with your point that the asymmetry between the AO and USO for Rafa could have easily been reversed if he was not as lucky at the USO and luckier at the AO.

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Post by Henman Bill Tue 10 Sep 2019, 2:15 am

Yes I'm doing OK. Hope you are too.

Looks like Rafa has got to the same number as US Open and Australian Open finals, but at the US Open got 1 from 5 vs 4 from 5. So a lot of it just came down to the final.

The thing that always still gets me about Rafa is how far back he stands. You would think he would get pulled all over the place and beaten with wide shots and wide serves all the time. I am sure no-one else could quite get away with it. I have never fully understand how he does it.

Do you think Nadal is needing to get more aggressive as he gets older because he won't be able to compete in long rallies as well? Do you still watch him regularly? I don't watch as much these days.

There was a lot of talk about Nadal being physically broken and done over the years. Especially I think in the second half of 2012, but it was quite often and at various points. Not just people on forums (although certainly that) but even Agassi said years before he was writing checks his body won't be able to cash. Now he just seems to be going on forever like Fed and no-one questions it any more! If anything he seems to get less injuries than he used to. Hopefully that won't be a jinx saying that.

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Post by It Must Be Love Tue 10 Sep 2019, 3:43 am

Henman Bill wrote:The thing that always still gets me about Rafa is how far back he stands. You would think he would get pulled all over the place and beaten with wide shots and wide serves all the time. I am sure no-one else could quite get away with it. I have never fully understand how he does it.
When Nadal is playing with confidence, he can hit a return of serve from way back which neutralises the rally. And then from a neutral rally, Nadal takes control and dictates play.

Henman Bill wrote:Do you think Nadal is needing to get more aggressive as he gets older because he won't be able to compete in long rallies as well? Do you still watch him regularly? I don't watch as much these days.
Yep that's right, he doesn't do as well on long rallies so has to play more aggressively.


Henman Bill wrote:There was a lot of talk about Nadal being physically broken and done over the years. Especially I think in the second half of 2012, but it was quite often and at various points. Not just people on forums (although certainly that) but even Agassi said years before he was writing checks his body won't be able to cash. Now he just seems to be going on forever like Fed and no-one questions it any more! If anything he seems to get less injuries than he used to. Hopefully that won't be a jinx saying that.
His body has actually struggled a bit in the past year. Last year USO he retired due to knee injury mid match in the semi. Then after his recovery from knee injury, he had abdomen injury so he couldn't play all autumn. Then he had a minor ankle surgery in December. In 2019 he was okay for AO and Acapulco, but his knee gave way again at Indian Wells, and he had to withdraw from his semi and miss Miami.
I think key for his body will be changes to his game, bigger serve and forehand, as well as clever scheduling. Hard courts are the worst surface for the body, so I'm hoping he doesn't play too much for the rest of the year, makes more sense to have a light schedule and ensure he's 100% for the Aus Open.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 10 Sep 2019, 9:30 am

In the post match ceremony Nadal's face looked very skeletal and aged - as if he is on an excessive diet. I assume he must be very light. He sort of looks robust and muscly - maybe he has those special diets where the body fat is ultra-low.

On the youtube there was an interview with Manchester United Football legends - Roy Keene and Gary Neville - and Roy Keene said that following his year long recovery of some sort of injury - may have been a knee - aged 28 - he suddenly started looking into sport science and went on a diet as recommended by the latest theories of sport science - and just trimmed down to a body fat percentage of 5% - and this sort of helped him in terms of his fitness, stamina, strength ... Apparently there was a before and after approach to diet (before and after his major injury). It was the type of thing Arsene Wenger introduced - that gave Arsenal the edge for a long time.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 10 Sep 2019, 9:32 am

No name Bertie wrote:In the post match ceremony Nadal's face looked very skeletal and aged - as if he is on an excessive diet.  I assume he must be very light.  He sort of looks robust and muscly - maybe he has those special diets where the body fat is ultra-low.  

On the youtube there was an interview with Manchester United Football legends - Roy Keene and Gary Neville - and Roy Keene said that following his year long recovery of some sort of injury - may have been a knee - aged 28 - he suddenly started looking into sport science and went on a diet as recommended by the latest theories of sport science - and just trimmed down to a body fat percentage of 5% - and this sort of helped him in terms of his fitness, stamina, strength ...  Apparently there was a before and after approach to diet (before and after his major injury).  It was the type of thing Arsene Wenger introduced - that gave Arsenal the edge for a long time.

Also helps when you keep taking convenient breaks from the game to 'recover'.

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Post by theslosty Tue 10 Sep 2019, 1:31 pm

Interesting statistic if true. Nadal's style of play has definitely gotten more and more aggressive as he's got older.

With regards to Nadal's now 4 USO titles - I would say regardless of the draws he's faced he was probably the best player on the surface in his 2010 and 2013 finals - in 2017 he did get a pretty easy draw although only Federer likely would have been able to challenge him. This year I guess you'd still back Djokovic if he was injury free. However I believe that the USO has higher bouncing hardcourts than the AO and also the former seems to have gotten slower over the years whereas they have definitely sped up the courts in Melbourne since 2017. So maybe it's not such an anomaly after all.
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Post by naxroy Thu 12 Sep 2019, 10:11 am

Winning 4 usopen in the era of Federer, djokovic, Delpotro , Cilic, Wawrinka, Murray... I think is quite an achievement.
Also, at Australian Open, though with much less success, he got to 5 finals. 10 hardcourt finals in last decade mean he is not only a claycourter but a great hardcourt player.

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Post by Henman Bill Thu 12 Sep 2019, 2:56 pm

Sort of mostly agree that Nadal should rest in the remainder of the year. However... I think he will want to keep an eye on the race to year end no 1. It would be a shame to lose that ranking when he could have just played one more tournament and got it.

I think he will want to keep that 2,000 points ranking cushion (in the race) to at least 1,000 going into the world tour finals. He has four year end no 1s vs Federer 5, Djokovic 5, Sampras 6. I think he will want that year end no 1. It is one of the key records to measure goatiness.

All he needs to do to get it is keep an eye on tournaments Djokovic is playing and try to match it. If Djokovic is having time out as well then it will obviously be easier.

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Post by naxroy Thu 12 Sep 2019, 5:04 pm

Seems like djokovic will play expected calendar till end of season

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 13 Sep 2019, 7:36 am

As far as I can make it, Djoko's statement merely says he's aiming to get fit for the Asian swing but there is no actual date for his returning to the tour.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see on this one.

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