Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

I think it's time to put things into perspective concerning Nadal's near perfect red clay-court season in relation to his career, as he unsurprisingly won all of his 2017 titles on clay, which further confirms that he is stuck with the reputation of a clay-court specialist. These few statistics tend to prove that his career is indeed built largely over a short period of two months per season.

1- More than 72% of career titles won on clay.
2- 2/3 of Grand Slams won on clay.
3- More than 73% of Masters 1000 titles won on clay
4- Failure at retaining any title outside of clay
5- Unimpressive head-to-head records outside of clay :

- Djokovic: 9-19
- Davydenko: 1-6
- Federer: 10-12
- Hewitt: 2-4
- Brown: 0-2
- Coric: 1-2
- Ferrer: 5-5
- Ljubicic: 2-2
- Gonzalez: 3-3
- Monaco: 1-1
- Del Potro: 6-5
- Blake: 4-3
- Soderling: 2-1

On Nadal's level of ATP Tour dominance over time, which requires an all-court, all-round game, and some smart scheduling, his numbers are not worthy of a player of his stature :

- Total number of weeks as the top-ranked player : 141, 7th all-time.
- Number of consecutive weeks as the top-ranked player : 56, 11th all-time.

Of course, the euphoria of victory is legitimate after long lean years, but one still has to come back down to earth, Nadal's masterly Decima does not mean he'll sweep away everything in his path and depose Federer as the all-time Grand Slam leader as the infamous Mats Wilander has suggested : "Now he's going to be thinking going into the next three Slams (that) Novak (Djokovic) held all four. Rafa could arrive here (at Roland Garros) next year in May with 18."

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post #2 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:43 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

Ridiculous.

1) Federer has 69% of his titles won on HCs while Djokovic has 76%

2) 2/3 of Djokovic's slam titles are also on HCs. Federer and Djokovic has only 1 slam on clay (both avoided RAFA en route)

3) Federer has won 77% of his masters on HC and Djokovic has won 73% of masters on the same surface.

4) WTH are you talking about? RAFA has won multiple Wimbledon and USO titles. Among masters he has won IW, Canada multiple times as well. So your failure of retaining titles is a lie.

5) Federer's H2H on clay 2-13 and Djokovic's 7-15 against RAFA

Last edited by RAFAism; 06-17-2017 at 03:38 PM.
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post #3 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:50 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

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Originally Posted by Bob Ibrahim View Post
I think it's time to put things into perspective concerning Nadal's near perfect red clay-court season in relation to his career, as he unsurprisingly won all of his 2017 titles on clay, which further confirms that he is stuck with the reputation of a clay-court specialist. These few statistics tend to prove that his career is indeed built largely over a short period of two months per season.

1- More than 72% of career titles won on clay.
2- 2/3 of Grand Slams won on clay.
3- More than 73% of Masters 1000 titles won on clay
4- Failure at retaining any title outside of clay
5- Unimpressive head-to-head records outside of clay :

- Djokovic: 9-19
- Davydenko: 1-6
- Federer: 10-12
- Hewitt: 2-4
- Brown: 0-2
- Coric: 1-2
- Ferrer: 5-5
- Ljubicic: 2-2
- Gonzalez: 3-3
- Monaco: 1-1
- Del Potro: 6-5
- Blake: 4-3
- Soderling: 2-1

On Nadal's level of ATP Tour dominance over time, which requires an all-court, all-round game, and some smart scheduling, his numbers are not worthy of a player of his stature :

- Total number of weeks as the top-ranked player : 141, 7th all-time.
- Number of consecutive weeks as the top-ranked player : 56, 11th all-time.

Of course, the euphoria of victory is legitimate after long lean years, but one still has to come back down to earth, Nadal's masterly Decima does not mean he'll sweep away everything in his path and depose Federer as the all-time Grand Slam leader as the infamous Mats Wilander has suggested : "Now he's going to be thinking going into the next three Slams (that) Novak (Djokovic) held all four. Rafa could arrive here (at Roland Garros) next year in May with 18."


Never listen to Wilander. The man is clueless. Winning four slams in a row is no joke. Djokovic never got the praise he deserved for doing something unbelievable. If Nadal wins four in a row like Djokovic then I will say well played sir
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post #4 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:54 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

Of course he is a clay court specialist
He has tweaked his entire career around clay and RG. Has missed multiple slams through the years but is seemingly always fit for RG

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post #5 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:09 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

Shame on Federer for losing a Wimbledon and a AO final to a clay court specialist!

Seriously, only on MTF a player who has won Wimbledon, twice, USO twice and the AO once can be referred as a clay court specialist.

Move this thread to The Ruins where it belongs.

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post #6 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:22 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

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Originally Posted by abraxas21 View Post
Shame on Federer for losing a Wimbledon and a AO final to a clay court specialist!

Seriously, only on MTF a player who has won Wimbledon, twice, USO twice and the AO once can be referred as a clay court specialist.

Move this thread to The Ruins where it belongs.


When a guy who has roast pig as his avatar is forced to say this to you about Nadal, you know you are a poor troll. The thing is, I actually don't think a lot of you are trolling but rather are simply clueless.

Nadal's record off clay is something that Wawrinka and Del Potro among others would kill to have and they are certainly 2 great players who are not clay specialists.

This thread belongs in the ruins indeed.
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post #7 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

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Originally Posted by RAFAism View Post
Ridiculous.

1) Federer has 69% of his titles won on HCs while Djokovic has 76%

2) 2/3 of Djokovic's slam titles are also on HCs. Federer and Djokovic has only 1 slam on clay (both avoided RAFA en route)

3) Federer has won 77% of his masters on HC and Djokovic has win 73% of masters on the same surface.

4) WTH are you talking about? RAFA has won multiple Wimbledon and USO titles. Among masters he has won IW, Canada multiple times as well. So your failure of retaining titles is a lie.

5) Federer's H2H on clay 2-13 and Djokovic's 7-15 against RAFA
1- The ATP Tour is composed of 67 tournaments, 37 on hardcourts, 22 on claycourts and 8 on grass, which corresponds to 55% on HC, 33% on clay and 12% on grass, this shows you that Rafa's figures are far too unbalanced compared to his competitors.

2 and 3 - Again, when you look at the surface distribution in Grand Slams (2/4) and Masters 1000 (6/9), it's normal for versatile players like Federer and Djokovic to win more on hard than on clay, unlike Nadal.

4- By failing to retain a title, I mean being unable to win a non-clay tournament two consecutive years at the very least.

5- Nadal is the best ever on clay, that's the only place where he dominates his opponents as I said.
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post #8 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:48 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

I would not call Nadal a clay court specialist as such, but clay has helped him in the head to head against many players. Another point is that without clay I doubt Nadal would have built up enough confidence to do well against Federer and Djokovic on other surfaces, so clay helped him a lot. He beat them consistently on clay thus gaining confidence whilst they lost confidence themselves.
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post #9 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

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Originally Posted by tribalfusion View Post
When a guy who has roast pig as his avatar is forced to say this to you about Nadal, you know you are a poor troll. The thing is, I actually don't think a lot of you are trolling but rather are simply clueless.

Nadal's record off clay is something that Wawrinka and Del Potro among others would kill to have and they are certainly 2 great players who are not clay specialists.

This thread belongs in the ruins indeed.
The nuance may be too subtle for you, but being a clay-court specialist does not mean, you're shit on other surfaces, it just underlines Nadal's unique case as no other all-time great in the modern era has such a lopsided tally.
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post #10 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:59 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

It really depends what you mean by clay court specialist. If you mean he is great on clay and terrible everywhere else then this is certainly not true - 5 grandslams outside of clay is still more than 99.9% of all other pro players there has ever been, and realistically you can't get to world number 1 by only playing well on 1 surface.

However, if you mean his titles and H2H records are extensively clay-skewed, then I definitely agree. Take away his favourite surface and Rafa's record is reduced more significantly than Roger's is for example.

Nadal is indisputably the best clay court player there has ever been, whether you are a fan of his or not. However, I do believe he needs a couple more non-RG slams to grab the overall GOAT status.

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post #11 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 07:05 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

Rafael Nadal is not a clay court specialist the way I've always used the word "specialist". Looking at his career statistics he's won 400 matches on hardcourt and 389 on clay. He's most successful on clay, obviously, by a wide margin, but he plays everything with the hope to win.
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post #12 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 07:54 AM
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Very good analysis and a well stats based argument. While Rafa is a clay court specialist and a Clay Goat he is not a top 10er of all time on other surfaces.

Tennis Goats need to be classified according to surface and Nadal on clay is undisputed Goat while on other surfaces might be a Top10er of all time only.

Similarly Fed is a Goat in Grass but only a Top 3er in Hardcourts and a Top 15er in clay ( all time).
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post #13 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 08:30 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

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Originally Posted by invisiblecoolers View Post
Very good analysis and a well stats based argument. While Rafa is a clay court specialist and a Clay Goat he is not a top 10er of all time on other surfaces.

Tennis Goats need to be classified according to surface and Nadal on clay is undisputed Goat while on other surfaces might be a Top10er of all time only.

Similarly Fed is a Goat in Grass but only a Top 3er in Hardcourts and a Top 15er in clay ( all time).
Fed is undoubtedly #1 on HC for merits, who do you rank above him? Djokovic was on the verge of passing him but then the gap opened up a bit instead with Fed winning AO + sunshine double. Noone else is really in the running.

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post #14 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 08:49 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

Nadal is an all-court great and a clay demi-god.
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post #15 of 104 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 08:53 AM
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Re: Why Nadal must still be considered as a clay-court specialist

It doesn't matter what people want to call him. The tennis world and his fellow players recognise him as one of the all time greats. 10 titles in any grand slam is just insane!
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