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post #1 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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How good is Federer on clay?

How good is Federer on clay? We all know he has been dominated by Rafael Nadal on clay, to the tune of 2-9. However, Nadal is either the best or 2nd best clay courter of all time AND a very bad individual matchup for Federer. As such, while we can obviously say that Federer is a lesser clay courter than Nadal and Borg, we can't really construe that to mean anything further. Would players like Vilas, Bruguera, Muster, Kuerten, Agassi, and Courier really have done any better against Nadal? I personally doubt it, but it is possible.

Here is Federer's clay court record against the OTHER premier clay court players of his era. I included anyone that made the quarterfinals of Roland Garros since 2003 or anyone who made the finals of a Masters 1000 event on clay since 2003. Only matches from Federer's 2003 Wimbledon win onwards are counted, as he was clearly not nearly as good before that point.

Albert Costa: 0-1
Juan Carlos Ferrero: 2-0
Guillermo Coria: 2-0
David Nalbandian: 3-0
Gaston Gaudio: 2-0
Nikolay Davydenko: 3-0
Novak Djokovic: 2-1
Gael Monfils: 3-0
Fernando Gonzalez: 5-0
Juan Martin Del Potro: 2-0
Robin Soderling: 3-0
Radek Stepanek: 3-1
Richard Gasquet: 1-1
Carlos Moya: 3-0
Tommy Robredo: 3-0
David Ferrer: 3-0
Lleyton Hewitt: 1-0
Gustavo Kuerten: 0-1
Juan Ignacio Chela: 1-0
Victor Hanescu: 2-0
Guillermo Canas: 1-0
Mario Ancic: 2-0
Julien Benneteau: 1-0
Igor Andreev: 1-0
Nicolas Almagro: 3-0

Total Record on Clay Against Premier Clay Courters Since Wimbledon 2003: 52-5 (91.2%)

-That includes a 12-2 record on clay against Non-Nadal players who have made the finals of Roland Garros and a 7-2 record against Non-Nadal Roland Garros champions.
-Besides Nadal, no player that I can find has beaten Federer twice on clay since Wimbledon 2003.
-Since his first slam victory, Federer has lost 16 total matches on clay. 9 were against Nadal.

Total Win-Loss Minus Nadal Matches on Clay Since Wimbledon 2003: 98-7 (93.3%)

The fact is that Federer has completely dominated all the best clay court players on clay courts EXCEPT Nadal.

______________________________________________

-Federer is also obviously now a Roland Garros champion, as well as a 3-time runner up. In the Open Era, only Borg, Vilas, Lendl, Wilander, Nadal, and Federer have been to 4 Roland Garros finals, and only Borg, Nadal, Lendl, and Federer have done it in 4 years straight.
-Federer has also won 5 Masters Series titles on clay (4 in Hamburg, 1 in Madrid). Since those events became a big deal in 1990, only Nadal (with 10) and Muster (with 6) have won more on clay.
-EDIT: I forgot to put this in originally. During the 2009 season, Federer actually got more ranking points than Rafael Nadal during the clay season. During that time, he won Roland Garros and beat Nadal in the finals of Madrid. As such, one can say without hesitation that Federer had a better clay court season than Nadal at least once.

______________________________________________


So how good is Federer on clay? Where does he rank all time?

To me the top 10 clay courters of all time in no particular order are:

Borg
Lendl
Wilander
Nadal
Vilas
Federer
Bruguera
Kuerten
Muster
Courier

I would say Borg and Nadal are the top 2. You've got to put Lendl and Wilander ahead of Federer on clay by virtue of their achievements at RG (3 wins and multiple runner up appearances). However, I see Federer as being at the same level on clay as Vilas, Bruguera, Kuerten, Muster, and Courier.

Discuss.

Last edited by lessthanjake; 07-30-2009 at 07:27 PM.
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post #2 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:18 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Excellent thread. I think Roger is very underrated on clay since he is playing in the Nadull era. I mean he basically did whatever he had to do while the clay court possible GOAT was around. He was also the better player on clay then Nadull this year which is just sick. You said Lendl and Wilander must be ahead of Fed, but have you considered what their records would have looked like if they were playing in the Nadull era?
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post #3 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:23 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

This is an original topic.

He is the greatest ever, moonwalks on water.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #4 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:24 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

very interesting thread, and this is one of the reasons why I like Roger so much, I just cannot get into a player that's a mug on clay, and never really warmed-up to Sampras for the same reason

imagine there hasn't been Rafa, Roger would probably have been considered as one of the greatest clay-courters ever

Rafael "The Matador of Spin" Nadal
Roger “The Magician of Precision” Federer
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post #5 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ORGASMATRON View Post
Excellent thread. I think Roger is very underrated on clay since he is playing in the Nadull era. I mean he basically did whatever he had to do while the clay court possible GOAT was around. He was also the better player on clay then Nadull this year which is just sick. You said Lendl and Wilander must be ahead of Fed, but have you considered what their records would have looked like if they were playing in the Nadull era?
I have thought of that, and I definitely think that Federer would win his share of matches on clay against Lendl and Wilander, maybe even more than half. However, I can't realistically rank him ahead on clay due to the discrepancy in actual achievement, even though I suspect he might be just as good as them on clay.
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post #6 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:25 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

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This is an original topic.

He is the greatest ever, moonwalks on water.
Exactly.
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post #7 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:28 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Fails to take in too many factors and why now and not during the clayseason?

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #8 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:28 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

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Originally Posted by lessthanjake View Post
I have thought of that, and I definitely think that Federer would win his share of matches on clay against Lendl and Wilander, maybe even more than half. However, I can't realistically rank him ahead on clay due to the discrepancy in actual achievement, even though I suspect he might be just as good as them on clay.
Thats fair enuff, but i would put him up there with Lendl and Wilander cos they would have suffered the same fate that Fed did against NAdull. The question is just whether they would have achieved what Fed did in this era on clay. I put Fed right up there below Borg and Nadull as the greatest on clay.
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post #9 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:33 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Another attempt to say what a mythical and god like creature Federer is.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #10 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Action Jackson View Post
This is an original topic.

He is the greatest ever, moonwalks on water.
I am not saying he is the greatest ever. I do not think he is the greatest clay courter.

I do, however, think it is extremely interesting how much Federer dominates the other clay court players of his era. Without the possible-Clay-GOAT+terrible-individual-matchup Nadal, Federer would almost assuredly have won Roland Garros 3-5 times.

Of course, he did NOT win it that many times. He has won it once. However, I think we have to realize that he MIGHT be as good on clay as players like Kuerten, Bruguera, Courier etc etc who have won it 2-3 times.

Honestly, though, this isnt a Federer worship thread. I am legitimately curious what people think. If you think he is far below players like Bruguera or Kuerten or Muster or Courier on clay, then explain why (without just saying the obvious "one title at RG" argument). I would be very interested to hear an argument either way as long as it details specifically what about his game makes him good/not so good on clay.
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post #11 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:36 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

You must realize if you start a thread like this in GM you will automatically get labelled as a Fedtard. But its good to see you are not bothered by that. Just ignore the clowns, this is a great thread and is long overdue.
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post #12 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:37 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ORGASMATRON View Post
Excellent thread. I think Roger is very underrated on clay since he is playing in the Nadull era. I mean he basically did whatever he had to do while the clay court possible GOAT was around. He was also the better player on clay then Nadull this year which is just sick. You said Lendl and Wilander must be ahead of Fed, but have you considered what their records would have looked like if they were playing in the Nadull era?
Lendl and Wilander would kill Rafa
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post #13 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

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Another attempt to say what a mythical and god like creature Federer is.
No, it's not. I simply showed that he dominated other clay courters of his era.

I played up his clay court achievements in this thread not to worship him, but to emphasize how well he has played on clay despite only winning 1 RG title. The reason I emphasized that was in order to spark debate over whether he might be as good as people who have won 1 or 2 more RG titles than he has.

I am rather neutral on that debate itself (as shown by the fact that my OP put him on the same level as those other players, not better or worse). I just want to hear people's opinions.
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post #14 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:38 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

He is a very good player on clay. One semi-final, three finals and one title in RG says it all, especially if one takes into account that all of his losses in those have come from Rafa, if not THE best clay-courter ever, than surely the best after Borg.

It's as easy as that.

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post #15 of 412 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 07:38 PM
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Re: How good is Federer on clay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lessthanjake View Post
I am not saying he is the greatest ever. I do not think he is the greatest clay courter.

I do, however, think it is extremely interesting how much Federer dominates the other clay court players of his era. Without the possible-Clay-GOAT+terrible-individual-matchup Nadal, Federer would almost assuredly have won Roland Garros 3-5 times.

Of course, he did NOT win it that many times. He has won it once. However, I think we have to realize that he MIGHT be as good on clay as players like Kuerten, Bruguera, Courier etc etc who have won it 2-3 times.

Honestly, though, this isnt a Federer worship thread. I am legitimately curious what people think. If you think he is far below players like Bruguera or Kuerten or Muster or Courier on clay, then explain why (without just saying the obvious "one title at RG" argument). I would be very interested to hear an argument either way as long as it details specifically what about his game makes him good/not so good on clay.
This is a Federer worship thread.

This is not a new topic and has been discussed numerous times actually with a lot of different scenarios and in other threads.

It's the fact that Federer has done the best against Nadal, who is one of the greatest players ever on the surface, therefore it must mean he is one of the greatest ever.

If you choose to ignore the fact how the style of game on clay has changed and is more like the hardcourt game translated on all surfaces and ignore other factors of when the players you think he is better than, by using numbers to justify his greatness without measuring other things, then it's a Fed worship thread.

Federer is probably the best attacking player in the classic sense along with Laver on clay, but that is a different thing altogether.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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