Who was better on their worst surface? Nadal indoors vs. Sampras on clay? - MensTennisForums.com
View Poll Results: Who overcame their worst surface the best?
Sampras on clay 25 40.32%
Nadal indoors 37 59.68%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Both are GOAT candidates with a massive weakness in their repertoire, they are both quite awful in their worst surfaces. All other GOAT candidates (Federer, Laver and Borg) are very complete on all surfaces.

Nadal has won 48 and lost 26 indoor, a 64.9% W/L por. Nadal's best indoor achievments is a final in master cup and a master series in Madrid, he got to another final were Nalbandian crushed him. Nadal got an amazing match against Murray in the YEC SF, also 2 victories against Djokovic in RR, an impressive one against Davydenko 2006 and also that final against Ljubicic were he came back from 0-2 down 2005.

Sampras got a RG SF and a master series in Rome and another 3 titles on clay. Sampras greatest victory on clay must have been Muster 91 in RG, or maybe a past peak Courier in 96 QF. My favorite is the one where he crushed Kafelnikov in straight sets in Moscow davis cup final on clay. Sampras was 92-58 on clay, W/L % of 61.3%, Sampras is older and thereby had time to make his clay record look worse, at Nadal's age I think he had a better W/L % than Nadal indoors.

Both had very easy draws to win their only master series shields (both without playing any top 10).

So, have your say.

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.

Last edited by sexybeast; 11-23-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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post #2 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:22 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

This is very interresting topic. Really Rafa vs Pete at their worst surfaces. Both are no match for another top guys at their worst surfaces. I must admit it is not their fault, their gamestyles simply don´t suits there, but still i think such great champions should have done better, Rafa still can.

PEte sucked on clay, because of movement- he didn´t know how to move on clay and because of game style - his serve, agressive game, great net game are not for clay.
Rafa also is clearly bad indoors, because he can play long rallies, can´t overpower, wear down opponents, because indoor conditions are great for big serve, big FH - quick tennis. Even that indoor courts are slow, still those conditions difference are too much for Rafa. I mean Rafa is the same, but another players are indoor better.
Rafa is probably best outdoor player ever. Has no problem with wind, sun, playing in hot midday. But indoors he is loosing those outdoor ,,advantages,, because he has no problems with them, so it goes to pure talent, big weapon, - so guys with serve, powergame, talented guys can play Rafa at even conditions.

I actually think it is very close, hard to tell who is better, RG SF is Pete´s maximum, Rafa played F at WTF, but it didn´t say much for me, from 5 matches in his - slam best season he lost against someone who he has match-up advantage and could have easily lost another 2 matches with both Andies last year in London. I think his F at WTF was same coincidence like Pete´s SF in Paris with very hot conditions- faster clay that year.
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post #3 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:45 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Sampras(Clay 3-2) because he won more clay titles than Nadal(Indoors 1–3) won indoors titles.
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post #4 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:53 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Nadal's win over Ljubo was a good one, but Sampras' clay wins in his 1996 RG run (knocking out Bruguera as well) were arguably more impressive. Nadal's not really looked like winning another indoor title since, been beaten in finals by Murray, Federer and Nalbandian and semi finals by Djokovic, Clement and even Simon(!) he hasn't been good enough in the big matches indoors.

Pete's opponents in the Rome SF/F were not what you'd call clay gods, but Rome was quicker and favoured his game more. Corretja, Chesnokov and Gaudenzi weren't pushovers on clay either.

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post #5 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 12:58 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Nadals career isn't over yet unless he pulls a Borg and retires at 26 so I give him the benefit of doubt.

In 2010 it looked like Nadal had indoor potential. The famous USO 2010 serve that then suddenly disappeared the following season. But when he had that serve he was a dangerous indoor player (on slow indoor courts) as he also proved in that years WTF.

But when he plays like he did yesterday he's just an indoor mug. Sampras might have been a clay mug but the difference between the surfaces was bigger then. It was harder to adapt. Nadal doesn't have that excuse. All the other top players of this era doesn't seem to suddenly start to suck indoors. If anything most players get more out of their serve and offensive shots indoors
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post #6 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 01:15 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Nadal is NOT a GOAT candidate.

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post #7 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:13 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

There's no indoor slam, so tough to compare Pete's RG run with anything Nadal's done.

But apparently Pete never really played on clay until he became a pro. Plus I assume that due to the greater differences between surfaces back then, he had to make a greater adjustment.

To me this gives Sampras a bigger advantage. But again, Nadal has no control over these factors.

It's a tough question to answer.
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post #8 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:24 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

If we want to just choose the Ultimate indoor title which is the YEC... Then its not difficult at all to choose: Nadal won some other indoor titles so that helps I believe but.

Sampras for sure. He won the Davis Cup on slow as molasses clay (almost single handidly beating the Russians) won Rome, and beat some big names at the French Open with a few QF appearances and a SF appearance.

If not for his Blood Condition ( something of which he had no control over either)and the death of his coach I have NO DOUBT he would have won the French as well.. Or if he played in a crap clay era too of course.. Unfortauntely, the 90s was some of best on clay when it came to depth.

And Sampras wasn't a clay mug ( in his prime).. No he wasn't the best but its not like he has fucking Roddick's resume on clay for god sakes. He has some big clay titles and beat just about all the best the 90s had to offer on clay (Bruguera, Courier, Agassi, Muster etc)

Last edited by SetSampras; 11-23-2011 at 04:32 AM.
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post #9 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:38 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

of course Sampras on clay

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post #10 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:42 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Fairly certain Sampras would do some good things on modern clay, whereas Nadal would get flogged on old indoor hard/carpet.

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post #11 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 04:55 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Sampras on clay and I don't really think it's all that close, just qualitatively. Records seem to indicate that it's closer than my eyes indicate though.

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post #12 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

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Originally Posted by SetSampras View Post
If we want to just choose the Ultimate indoor title which is the YEC... Then its not difficult at all to choose: Nadal won some other indoor titles so that helps I believe but.

Sampras for sure. He won the Davis Cup on slow as molasses clay (almost single handidly beating the Russians) won Rome, and beat some big names at the French Open with a few QF appearances and a SF appearance.

If not for his Blood Condition ( something of which he had no control over either)and the death of his coach I have NO DOUBT he would have won the French as well.. Or if he played in a crap clay era too of course.. Unfortauntely, the 90s was some of best on clay when it came to depth.

And Sampras wasn't a clay mug ( in his prime).. No he wasn't the best but its not like he has fucking Roddick's resume on clay for god sakes. He has some big clay titles and beat just about all the best the 90s had to offer on clay (Bruguera, Courier, Agassi, Muster etc)
No, Sampras was very bad on clay. Blood condition or not his backhand was absolutely disgusting on clay and so was his movement, proper tactics was nonexistent. We all watched him play, some things are difficult to forget. In this clay era that you call crap era he would never win a set against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. He never got to play the better part of the 90s when Guga came along and became a dominant force competing with Corretja, Moya and Ferrero. But I do agree he had the slightest chanse to win the 96 RG with better conditions, Kafelnikov was his bitch and old Stich is very beatable in a RG final.

Anyway, I think Sampras might just have been a little bit better than indoor Nadal on clay. Their achievments are almost identical.

But I do belive Nadal would get to a SF in a best of 5 indoor grand slam, he can beat anyone but the best and a couple of specialists (Davydenko, Nalbandian).

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.

Last edited by sexybeast; 11-23-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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post #13 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 10:21 AM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Tough one. I guess Sampras's achievements are more impressive so far. To be clear, neither player at his best was an absolute "mug" on these surfaces: Pete was better than the vast majority of players on clay, & Nadal is better than the vast majority of players indoors; but by the standards of great players, they were woefully poor against decent opposition on their worst surfaces.

By the way, Nadal is not a GOAT candidate.

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post #14 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

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Originally Posted by Sophocles View Post
Tough one. I guess Sampras's achievements are more impressive so far. To be clear, neither player at his best was an absolute "mug" on these surfaces: Pete was better than the vast majority of players on clay, & Nadal is better than the vast majority of players indoors; but by the standards of great players, they were woefully poor against decent opposition on their worst surfaces.

By the way, Nadal is not a GOAT candidate.
Ofcourse neither is a mug on any surface, in fact their achievments on the surface is better than many with preference to play indoors/clay. Nadal's indoor achievments are as good as Soderling's and Sampras achieved as much as Mantilla on clay. Sampras just looked very bad on clay, his game was so handicapped by the clay and his movement and backhand was incredibly clumsy, Nadal looks more helpless indoor like he cant do much but to see bombs flying past him from the baseline.

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
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post #15 of 158 (permalink) Old 11-23-2011, 02:30 PM
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Re: Nadal indoor vs Sampras on clay?

Sampras was good on clay, just not nearly as good as everywhere else. Certainly better than Nadal indoors.

But anyone expecting a grass court S&V master like Sampras to be able to dominate all these surfaces in the 90's, when there were significant differences in the surfaces and court specialists creating a minefield in draws...well you're just not being realistic. On a good day Sampras was still able to beat some excellent clay court players at some big tournaments, and also lost to guys that had no business taking him down. There was more variance in the game in those days.

Either way i'd say that Sampras overall did quite well on a surface that he knows wasn't a legitimate surface for playing tennis. You need to grow up in the slums of poor south American or European countries to want to play a game in the mud.
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