The players that as good on hard as they are on clay [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

The players that as good on hard as they are on clay

severus
08-24-2010, 07:22 AM
Were the great players who are as good on hard as on clay. Nadal and Borg are good on clay and grass, there are plenty players who are great on both hard and grass. But what about clay and hard, for me Djokovic springs to mind.

Roddickominator
08-24-2010, 07:22 AM
Roddick has several clay titles

Arkulari
08-24-2010, 07:31 AM
current generation? Rafa, Roger, Nole, Kolya, Juan

Kuerten was no hard mug either, Courier was good in both as well, Lendl, Connors... :)

severus
08-24-2010, 07:36 AM
current generation? Rafa, Roger, Nole, Kolya, Juan

Kuerten was no hard mug either, Courier was good in both as well, Lendl, Connors... :)

Parera is not as good on hard as on clay, Federer is not as good on clay as on hard. Agree with the rest though

n8
08-24-2010, 07:47 AM
current generation? Rafa, Roger, Nole, Kolya, Juan

Kuerten was no hard mug either, Courier was good in both as well, Lendl, Connors... :)

Yeah but the players in bold are clearly better at one surface than the other. I think the OP is after players who are more or less equally good at both. I think that Davydenko is a good candidate as he's got two semis at Roland Garros and the US Open. Djokovic as well.

Further down the rankings, I think Fernando Gonzalez has similar records on clay and hard. Also David Ferrer.

Arkulari
08-24-2010, 07:48 AM
Parera is not as good on hard as on clay, Federer is not as good on clay as on hard. Agree with the rest though

Roger is better on clay than Guga on hard, whom only won one big tournament on hard, no GS finals outside of clay for him either ;)

oh, ok statracket :)

Nalbandian, Verdasco, Ferrero

HKz
08-24-2010, 08:01 AM
Parera is not as good on hard as on clay, Federer is not as good on clay as on hard. Agree with the rest though

Roger is a very good candidate for this category.. I mean he has only really lost to ONE player. If Nadal wasn't in on the scene and Roger won all those titles on clay, I don't think there would be many doubting his ability on clay.

But if you insist he isn't a good choice, like previous posters have posted, Djokovic/Davydenko are good picks. While Soderling hasn't really had big success on clay in MS events, we all know his success at Roland Garros, so he could be a recent candidate for this question.

careergrandslam
08-24-2010, 08:27 AM
how can anyone say nadal is a good player on hardcourt?
have u been living under a rock the last 18 months?
he hasnt won anything on hardcourt in 18 months.

careergrandslam
08-24-2010, 08:29 AM
who has equally great results on hard, grass and clay?

peribsen
08-24-2010, 08:41 AM
Parera is not as good on hard as on clay

No, but still his record on HC is better than Murray's, the same as Roddick's and not too shorter than Djokovic. Not bad for 'not being as good'.

severus
08-24-2010, 08:47 AM
who has equally great results on hard, grass and clay?

no one

HKz
08-24-2010, 08:51 AM
No, but still his record on HC is better than Murray's, the same as Roddick's and not too shorter than Djokovic. Not bad for 'not being as good'.

You're kidding right? Even if you think Roddick blows, do you really think Nadal has had a career as good as Roddick's on HC already? Roddick has had 7 QF/4 SF/1 F/1 W at the Australian Open/US Open combined. Nadal on the other hand has only had 3 QF/3 SF/1 W at the two events. Yes he obviously has a chance to surpass Roddick in totally achievements on HC, but to say that they are even right now is a joke.

borracho
08-24-2010, 08:56 AM
Guccione, same level of crappyness on all surfaces.

HKz
08-24-2010, 09:05 AM
Guccione, same level of crappyness on all surfaces.

Yes, in order to satisfy the OP's question, we need not to look at the top players :)

dodo
08-24-2010, 09:13 AM
Roger is a very good candidate for this category.. I mean he has only really lost to ONE player. If Nadal wasn't in on the scene and Roger won all those titles on clay, I don't think there would be many doubting his ability on clay.


This. Roger is great on clay. Nadal is just ridiculous (plus the whole matchup thing, blah blah blah).

peribsen
08-24-2010, 09:47 AM
You're kidding right? Even if you think Roddick blows, do you really think Nadal has had a career as good as Roddick's on HC already? Roddick has had 7 QF/4 SF/1 F/1 W at the Australian Open/US Open combined. Nadal on the other hand has only had 3 QF/3 SF/1 W at the two events. Yes he obviously has a chance to surpass Roddick in totally achievements on HC, but to say that they are even right now is a joke.

Well, they have exactly the same record on HC MS1000, as far as W/F goes (5W/4F each), though Roddick has been around for longer. And don't forget Beijing, a gold medal is certainly worth much of the advantage Andy has in QF/SF. Therefore, the difference between them may dribble down to just one more GS final for Roddick. So, well, yes, I do think they are (roughly) on the same tier.

And BTW, no, I don't think Roddick blows, I think he is a good player who is receiving an exagerated amount of bad press lately. As I have said before in another thread, in fact I think he would have beaten Fish if it wasn't for the rain.

n8
08-24-2010, 10:06 AM
who has equally great results on hard, grass and clay?

Nalbandian, Djokovic and Kohlschreiber (although I wouldn't call the results great) come to mind.

dudesenior
08-24-2010, 10:07 AM
i think that current generation can adapt easily on any surface

latso
08-24-2010, 10:57 AM
Del Potro
Djokovic
Berdych (!)
Nalbandian
Youzhny
Wawrinka
Gasquet
Monfils
Verdasco (!)
Melzer lately
Gulbis (?)
Bellucci (with a questionmark i guess)
Gonzo
Kohlschreiber

latso
08-24-2010, 10:58 AM
i think that current generation can adapt easily on any surface
More or less i guess

But 2 examples - Becker and Cuevas (those are the obvious ones)

but also 60% of the top 100 is very profiled imo

ltaravilse
08-24-2010, 11:03 AM
who has equally great results on hard, grass and clay?

Nalbandian has:


2 RG semis
1 US Open Semi + 1 AO Semi
1 Wimbledon Final (it can be similar to 2 semis)

So he has equal results in Clay, Hard and Grass.

He also has several titles in different surfaces, no titles in Grass but because there are very few tournaments in Grass and he doesn't play there every year.

eze
08-24-2010, 01:43 PM
Gulbis has pretty much the same percentage of Wins vs Losses both on clay and hard this year.

dweijnen
08-24-2010, 01:46 PM
Chela

laurie-1
08-24-2010, 02:25 PM
i think that current generation can adapt easily on any surface

That's due to the fact that the ATP made the conscious decision to make surfaces across the board a similar pace. For instance, nearly all carpet events indoors have been pulled up for indoor hard courts.

Consequently that's one of the main reasons why most players play the same way as there is no big variations in style in play like 10 years ago.

laurie-1
08-24-2010, 02:27 PM
Ivan Lendl is probably the best example here.

He won 28 clay court titles and 22 hard court titles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Lendl_career_statistics

sabina_RF_lee
08-24-2010, 02:44 PM
Federer for sure

Nole fan
08-24-2010, 04:33 PM
Djokovic and Federer for sure.
What has done Del Potro on clay to claim him a candidate? :rolleyes:

HKz
08-24-2010, 05:40 PM
Djokovic and Federer for sure.
What has done Del Potro on clay to claim him a candidate? :rolleyes:

He isn't the worst candidate, but certianly not the best either. I mean getting to QF @ Rome, SF @ Madrid and SF @ French Open consecutively isn't too shabby. Plus, IIRC, his first two titles were on clay.

Filo V.
08-24-2010, 05:45 PM
Nole is probably the best answer to this question. Nalbandian is much better on hard than clay. Davydenko is much better on hard than clay. Soderling is much better on hard but he has good clay results the last two years and is a good answer. Melzer is a good answer. Gonzalez. Ferrero. Nieminen. Gasquet.

djograft
08-24-2010, 05:47 PM
Falla, :wavey: but not only on clay and hard :rolls:

green25814
08-24-2010, 05:53 PM
I think Roger is probably the best answer. He's obviously not AS good on clay, but he's still one of the greatest. Only Rafa (arguably the greatest clay player of all time) has really stood in his way.

Matt01
08-24-2010, 06:40 PM
Djokovic and Federer are not very good answers since they are both better on hardcourt.

Jomp1
08-24-2010, 08:13 PM
Soderling is as good on hard as clay imo, he's pretty even on any given surface. At this point I wouldn't call Robin better on hardcourt anyways. With his new more methodic(well for him) style slowing down the court seems to do him pretty good. He performed well at the slow Miami hardcourt too.

zoparrat
08-24-2010, 08:45 PM
Kafelnikov:
RG: 1W and 1SF, Australia: 1W and 1F, US Open: 2 SF's
Also a ton of clay and hard court F's and SF's in masters events.

And in doubles 3 RG wins and 1 Us open.

r2473
08-24-2010, 08:48 PM
Excellent question!!!

(New Haven sure is boring, isn't it?)

zoparrat
08-24-2010, 08:51 PM
Marcelo Rios:
1 Australia final + 2 MS titles on hard vs 3 MS title on clay.
A ton of finals, semis and quarters on both surfaces.

zoparrat
08-24-2010, 09:04 PM
Marc Rosset: Olympic gold on clay (barcelona 92), RG semifinal + 2 clay atp titles
11 ATP titles on hard/carpet.

Sophocles
08-24-2010, 09:41 PM
Anybody who says Federer has failed to read the question. It's not about who is good on clay & hard, but who is AS good on one as they are on the other. Although Federer is superb on clay & his record is skewed by having had to face one of the 3 greatest clay-courters of all time, he is better on hard courts. In fact he is probably the greatest hard-court player of all time, whereas on clay he's nowhere near the Top 10.

Londinium
08-24-2010, 10:27 PM
Tim Henman. 1SF at Roland Garros and 1 SF at Flushing Meadows :D

Arakasi
08-24-2010, 11:01 PM
on clay he's nowhere near the Top 10.

Do you really think that?

nobama
08-25-2010, 04:06 AM
whereas on clay he's nowhere near the Top 10.Just curious who would fill out your top 10 (or 20) on clay....

Johnny Groove
08-25-2010, 04:13 AM
In my opinion, the top 10 clay courters of the Open Era:

1. Borg
2. Nadal
3. Wilander
4. Lendl
5. Guga
6. Courier
7. Bruguera
8. Kodes
9. Federer
10. Vilas

Macbrother
08-25-2010, 04:27 AM
In fact he is probably the greatest hard-court player of all time, whereas on clay he's nowhere near the Top 10.

I do think 'nowhere near' is a bit off. In fact I'd say he's rather close to the top 10, if not just in it. I mean despite the admitted lack of clay depth in the late '00s, 5 consecutive finals is unprecedented, not to mention the wealth of MS finals to Nadal, and his own 4 Hamburg championships.

n8
08-25-2010, 04:41 AM
Kafelnikov:
RG: 1W and 1SF, Australia: 1W and 1F, US Open: 2 SF's
Also a ton of clay and hard court F's and SF's in masters events.

And in doubles 3 RG wins and 1 Us open.

Marcelo Rios:
1 Australia final + 2 MS titles on hard vs 3 MS title on clay.
A ton of finals, semis and quarters on both surfaces.

Marc Rosset: Olympic gold on clay (barcelona 92), RG semifinal + 2 clay atp titles
11 ATP titles on hard/carpet.

Good answers that deserve to be quoted so here I am. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-eatdrink002.gif

tennisfan856
08-25-2010, 04:53 AM
When physically and mentally healthy, I think davydenko has the easiest transition from clay to hard, and I don't really notice a difference in his results. But now...he's just a mug trying to get some points before the freefall.

Sophocles
08-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Okay, off the top of my head, the all-time Top 10 on clay are:

1. Bjorn Borg.
2. Ken Rosewall.
3. Rafael Nadal.
4. Henri Cochet.
5. Ivan Lendl.
6. Rene Lacoste.
7. Mats Wilander.
8. Gustavo Kuerten.
9. Jim Courier.
10. Rod Laver.

And then after that:

11. Gottfried Von Cramm.
12. Ilie Nastase.
13. Jaroslav Drobny.
14. Guillermo Vilas.
15. Thomas Muster.
16. Sergei Bruguera.
17. Roger Federer.
18. Jan Kodes.
19. Andres Gimeno.
20. Lew Hoad?

So yeah fair enough, "nowhere near the Top 10" is an exaggeration. He's probably in the Top 20.

Certinfy
08-25-2010, 12:03 PM
Definitely Nadal.

Sophocles
08-25-2010, 12:37 PM
Good answers that deserve to be quoted so here I am. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-eatdrink002.gif

I'd second that, & maybe add Courier & Lendl.

toby1526
08-25-2010, 12:42 PM
Roger and Novak. Soderling also.

toby1526
08-25-2010, 12:43 PM
How is ken rosewell put above nadal?

Sophocles
08-25-2010, 12:52 PM
How is ken rosewell put above nadal?

Because he was the best clay-court player in the world from 1958 to 1968 (except perhaps in 1959 & 1966) - that's 9 years.

peribsen
08-25-2010, 05:32 PM
I do think 'nowhere near' is a bit off. In fact I'd say he's rather close to the top 10, if not just in it. I mean despite the admitted lack of clay depth in the late '00s, 5 consecutive finals is unprecedented, not to mention the wealth of MS finals to Nadal, and his own 4 Hamburg championships.

Trouble is Fed never made 5 consecutive FO finals, 'only' 4 (a huge feat by itself): 2006 through 2009. That the same number of consecutive Wimbledon finals Nadal has played (if you accept that 2010 follows 2008, since in 09 he was injured).

Persimmon
08-25-2010, 05:58 PM
Federer and Nole.

Har-Tru
08-25-2010, 06:19 PM
Nalbandian, Djokovic and Kohlschreiber (although I wouldn't call the results great) come to mind.

Berdych?

Har-Tru
08-25-2010, 06:21 PM
Because he was the best clay-court player in the world from 1958 to 1968 (except perhaps in 1959 & 1966) - that's 9 years.

You knew that was going to bring you trouble, didn't you? :cool:

But I agree. Interestingly though, I'd say Nadal is another great clay season away from surpassing both him and Borg.

Sophocles
08-25-2010, 06:33 PM
You knew that was going to bring you trouble, didn't you? :cool:

But I agree. Interestingly though, I'd say Nadal is another great clay season away from surpassing both him and Borg.

I'm inclined to agree with that.

Har-Tru
08-25-2010, 06:41 PM
After mulling it over with the shower head, Rosewall ahead of Nadal is very very tricky... very hard call... bear in mind Rosewall didn't have to play several of the best clay courters of that time, above all Pietrangeli and Santana.

Macbrother
08-25-2010, 06:53 PM
Trouble is Fed never made 5 consecutive FO finals, 'only' 4 (a huge feat by itself): 2006 through 2009. That the same number of consecutive Wimbledon finals Nadal has played (if you accept that 2010 follows 2008, since in 09 he was injured).

That's true, I forgot he met Nadal earlier in '05, 5 semi's then, still unprecedented. :P

FormerRafaFan
08-25-2010, 11:10 PM
Definitely Federer. He's equally good on both surfaces. Well, maybe somewhat better on HC, but also very good on clay.

Nadal on the other hand pretty much sucks on HC, but rule the clay courts.

I'd definitely pick Federer over Nadal.

brent-o
08-25-2010, 11:56 PM
I think Soderling and Djokovic are the strongest examples I can think of. I think the problem with Federer is that he's so good on hard that his level on clay, which for many years was still many levels above the rest, is still not at his hard-court level. Djoko and Soderling seem pretty much equally dangerous on both surfaces.

Matt01
08-26-2010, 01:30 AM
Definitely Federer. He's equally good on both surfaces. Well, maybe somewhat better on HC, but also very good on clay.

Nadal on the other hand pretty much sucks on HC, but rule the clay courts.


Fed has won 1 Slam on clay just like Nadal has won 1 Slam on HC :scratch:

Arakasi
08-26-2010, 01:32 AM
Okay, off the top of my head, the all-time Top 10 on clay are

I haven't seen many of the players on that list play myself so I can't really make any meaningful comments. What I would ask however, is how you went about assessing Federer's prowess on clay keeping in mind his issues with Nadal.

Obviously he has a huge Nadal problem and most of their matches are on clay so this distorts his clay record as well.

It's not fair to say "if Nadal wasn't around" because you have to deal with what your given but Roger has lost a ridiculous number of big clay finals to Nadal after cruising past the rest of the field.

If I remember correctly, he's lost 3 consecutive Monte Carlo finals, 1 Rome final, 2 Hamburg/Madrid finals, 3 consecutive Roland Garros finals and 1 Roland Garros semi to Rafa. That is the difference between extremely competent and one of the greatest ever.

I'd wager that even if Roger played a better clay-courter in all those finals (hypothetically) he would have had more success. Alas, if and buts don't change the history books.

Disclaimer: This isn't me trying to inflate Federer's records on clay. His records are what they are. I've just always puzzled over this question.

Action Jackson
08-26-2010, 10:32 AM
You knew that was going to bring you trouble, didn't you? :cool:

But I agree. Interestingly though, I'd say Nadal is another great clay season away from surpassing both him and Borg.

As long as you think so.

Sophocles, fair call about Fed on clay.

Sophocles
08-31-2010, 02:06 AM
I haven't seen many of the players on that list play myself so I can't really make any meaningful comments. What I would ask however, is how you went about assessing Federer's prowess on clay keeping in mind his issues with Nadal.

Obviously he has a huge Nadal problem and most of their matches are on clay so this distorts his clay record as well.

It's not fair to say "if Nadal wasn't around" because you have to deal with what your given but Roger has lost a ridiculous number of big clay finals to Nadal after cruising past the rest of the field.

If I remember correctly, he's lost 3 consecutive Monte Carlo finals, 1 Rome final, 2 Hamburg/Madrid finals, 3 consecutive Roland Garros finals and 1 Roland Garros semi to Rafa. That is the difference between extremely competent and one of the greatest ever.

I'd wager that even if Roger played a better clay-courter in all those finals (hypothetically) he would have had more success. Alas, if and buts don't change the history books.

Disclaimer: This isn't me trying to inflate Federer's records on clay. His records are what they are. I've just always puzzled over this question.

This is perfectly fair. Federer is obviously the 2nd best clay-courter of his era, with an excellent record & several titles in the big tournaments, it's just that the guy ahead of him has been ridiculously dominant over the rest of the field, including Fed. Maybe a better way of thinking about it is to speculate how other excellent clay-courters would have done against Nadal (allowing for differences in racquets and so on). I think most of the players I've put ahead of Fed would have done better in Nadal's era than Fed has done, though very few would have had winning records against Nadal.

Arakasi
08-31-2010, 02:49 AM
I think most of the players I've put ahead of Fed would have done better in Nadal's era than Fed has done, though very few would have had winning records against Nadal.

Well the question then is: would they do better because they are superior clay-courters or because they do not have the same match-up issues with Nadal? That is what I am trying to get at.

Equally, what would Federer's clay-court resume be like against a player with Nadal's claycourt ability but without his matchup advantage? I think it would be quite a bit better.

I am not suggesting that Federer's ability has been under-rated because Nadal is so dominant. Most people are intelligent enough to compensate for that in these sort of discussions. I am suggesting that Federer's ability may have been under-rated because Nadal is a huge matchup problem for Roger and many people don't take that into consideration.

tennis2tennis
08-31-2010, 03:32 AM
Fed has won 1 Slam on clay just like Nadal has won 1 Slam on HC :scratch:

you're not taking into account the number of times federer reached RG final compared to rafa on HC

Dmitry Verdasco
08-31-2010, 04:18 AM
Nadal. His knees are just sore by the time US Open comes around. :awww::awww::awww:

jcempire
08-31-2010, 04:25 AM
Roddick has several clay titles

but he done nothing in RG
those are 250MM Clay .....

Sophocles
08-31-2010, 11:47 AM
Well the question then is: would they do better because they are superior clay-courters or because they do not have the same match-up issues with Nadal? That is what I am trying to get at.

Equally, what would Federer's clay-court resume be like against a player with Nadal's claycourt ability but without his matchup advantage? I think it would be quite a bit better.

I am not suggesting that Federer's ability has been under-rated because Nadal is so dominant. Most people are intelligent enough to compensate for that in these sort of discussions. I am suggesting that Federer's ability may have been under-rated because Nadal is a huge matchup problem for Roger and many people don't take that into consideration.

I take your point, but you can't ignore the fact Nadal is a huge match-up problem for EVERYBODY on clay. If this means his competition is weak, what does that say about Fed? If it just means Nadal is exceptionally good, then the match-up thing is kind of irrelevant.

I think Lendl's & Kuerten's single-handers would have stood up to Nadal's top-spin barrage better than Fed's. This means they have less of a match-up problem, but the REASON they have less of a problem is that they can hit an important shot on clay - top-spin backhand - better than Federer can, so in that respect at least, they are better clay-court players.

Arakasi
08-31-2010, 11:38 PM
I take your point, but you can't ignore the fact Nadal is a huge match-up problem for EVERYBODY on clay.

I disagree. I don't consider him being fundamentally superior in his tennis to mean that he has a match-up advantage against the field. Obviously, he poses huge problems for most players but that is because of generic reasons i.e. his defense, his consistency, his mental strength. These issues do not constitute a bad match-up. It simply points to him being a better player on clay. In the case of Federer, and many other one-handers, it is the makeup of his game that is the problem. His strengths directly exploit their weaknesses and that is what I consider to be a match-up problem.

I think Lendl's & Kuerten's single-handers would have stood up to Nadal's top-spin barrage better than Fed's. This means they have less of a match-up problem, but the REASON they have less of a problem is that they can hit an important shot on clay - top-spin backhand - better than Federer can, so in that respect at least, they are better clay-court players.

That is a very fair comment. The top-spin backhand is indeed a key shot on clay and that should be taken into account. However, this may be the case for Lendl and Kuerten but what of all the other players you listed above Roger? Would this be true for all of them?

Realistically, this discussion is academic at best and I know neither of us can really answer these questions but I guess I enjoy some healthy speculation every now and again :). Not to mention, I'm only presenting the case for Federer. I imagine many other players on your list could also present similar arguments.

Leo
09-01-2010, 03:51 AM
Roger is better on clay than Guga on hard, whom only won one big tournament on hard, no GS finals outside of clay for him either ;)

oh, ok statracket :)

Nalbandian, Verdasco, Ferrero

Don't agree with any of these: Nalby is much better on fast surfaces, Verdy is better on clay, Ferrero 1.0 was better on clay, Ferrero 2.0's best surface is actually grass. :shrug:

To answer the question of the thread, the first players who came to mind for me are Ferrer, Davydenko, and Djokovic.

Leo
09-01-2010, 03:53 AM
Youzhny


Youzhny is at his best on the natural surfaces, IMO... and indoors. Basically everywhere besides outdoor North American hardcourts. US Open '06 was an anomaly, but the speed of that court helped him.

FlameOn
09-01-2010, 04:16 AM
Verdasco. His best slam results are on hard but his clay season in '10 tops any hard season he's had as a whole. :D

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
09-01-2010, 04:40 AM
Federer's worst surface is clay but he's still excellent on the red stuff

in 04 RG was his only banana skin

i dont think there will ever be anyone who is equal on hard and clay but the closest i can think of is lendl with his RG and US open record- probably the toughest double in the game today is RG-US double

Federer never did it
neither did nadal

huge difference in surface speed

Sophocles
09-01-2010, 11:17 AM
I disagree. I don't consider him being fundamentally superior in his tennis to mean that he has a match-up advantage against the field. Obviously, he poses huge problems for most players but that is because of generic reasons i.e. his defense, his consistency, his mental strength. These issues do not constitute a bad match-up. It simply points to him being a better player on clay. In the case of Federer, and many other one-handers, it is the makeup of his game that is the problem. His strengths directly exploit their weaknesses and that is what I consider to be a match-up problem.

That is a very fair comment. The top-spin backhand is indeed a key shot on clay and that should be taken into account. However, this may be the case for Lendl and Kuerten but what of all the other players you listed above Roger? Would this be true for all of them?

Realistically, this discussion is academic at best and I know neither of us can really answer these questions but I guess I enjoy some healthy speculation every now and again :). Not to mention, I'm only presenting the case for Federer. I imagine many other players on your list could also present similar arguments.

Good post. I take your point that there's a distinction between being better than & being a bad match-up for - otherwise nobody would ever have a losing record against a lower-ranked player -, but somebody who is so good they routinely beat everybody is surely so good they are a bad match-up for everybody. I mean, what is a bad match-up? Somebody you find hard to beat. It doesn't have to be because your weaknesses play into his strengths. It would be ludicrous to deny Borg was a bad match-up for Vilas, yet they had very similar games; Borg always won just because he did everything Vilas did, slightly better. That's more a case of neutralizing Vilas's strengths. If Nadal weren't so good, he wouldn't be such a match-up problem for Federer because his top-spin forehand cross-court wouldn't be so consistent & accurate & he wouldn't be able to rely on it to take control of so many rallies. Bottom line: if you're beating everybody you're doing it in various different ways according to your opponent, & whatever way you beat a particular opponent constitutes what is bad for him in his match-up with you.

Lendl & Kuerten are the most obvious examples of players above Roger with single-handed backhands using modern racquets.

Arakasi
09-04-2010, 06:19 AM
somebody who is so good they routinely beat everybody is surely so good they are a bad match-up for everybody. I mean, what is a bad match-up? Somebody you find hard to beat.

I don't agree. I know what you are getting at but in my mind a bad match-up is someone you find hard to beat irrespective of the level they are playing at. Otherwise if we were to extend your reasoning, everyone could potentially be a bad match-up for everyone else provided they played at a high enough level. To be honest, it depends how you define the term. I think it is thrown about a bit too loosely.

It doesn't have to be because your weaknesses play into his strengths. It would be ludicrous to deny Borg was a bad match-up for Vilas, yet they had very similar games; Borg always won just because he did everything Vilas did, slightly better. That's more a case of neutralizing Vilas's strengths.

This is a fair point. Indeed, it doesn't just have to be because your weaknesses play into their strengths. It could be, like you suggested, that your game is neutralised by your opponents style. This is the only other form of bad match-up in my opinion. A perfect example is the Federer|Roddick match-up. Roger's game neutralises pretty much everyone of Andy's strengths.

If Nadal weren't so good, he wouldn't be such a match-up problem for Federer because his top-spin forehand cross-court wouldn't be so consistent & accurate & he wouldn't be able to rely on it to take control of so many rallies.

He wouldn't be as big a match-up problem but he most certainly would still be a bad match-up.

You do make a good point though, it is fallacious for me to cite the Federer|Nadal match-up as a mitigating factor in Roger's claycourt record without taking into account Nadal's quality as a player. It is the fact that Nadal is a match-up problem and is so good that is the issue. Every great player has had bad match-ups but very few, if any, had their worst match-up as their greatest rival and as the #2 of their era. How often has this been the case in the past? How many great rivalries have had as big a match-up problem as there is in the Federer|Nadal match-up? That isn't a rhetorical question by the way, I really do want to know how common it is. :p

Sophocles
09-07-2010, 06:40 PM
I don't agree. I know what you are getting at but in my mind a bad match-up is someone you find hard to beat irrespective of the level they are playing at. Otherwise if we were to extend your reasoning, everyone could potentially be a bad match-up for everyone else provided they played at a high enough level. To be honest, it depends how you define the term. I think it is thrown about a bit too loosely.



This is a fair point. Indeed, it doesn't just have to be because your weaknesses play into their strengths. It could be, like you suggested, that your game is neutralised by your opponents style. This is the only other form of bad match-up in my opinion. A perfect example is the Federer|Roddick match-up. Roger's game neutralises pretty much everyone of Andy's strengths.



He wouldn't be as big a match-up problem but he most certainly would still be a bad match-up.

You do make a good point though, it is fallacious for me to cite the Federer|Nadal match-up as a mitigating factor in Roger's claycourt record without taking into account Nadal's quality as a player. It is the fact that Nadal is a match-up problem and is so good that is the issue. Every great player has had bad match-ups but very few, if any, had their worst match-up as their greatest rival and as the #2 of their era. How often has this been the case in the past? How many great rivalries have had as big a match-up problem as there is in the Federer|Nadal match-up? That isn't a rhetorical question by the way, I really do want to know how common it is. :p

Good posting. If we take player X & player Y as 2 top-flight (say top 5) players, I'd say player X on a "normal" day will beat player Y every time if player Y plays below a certain level, and lose every time if player Y plays above a certain level. Precisely how low player Y's level has to be to guarantee victory for player X, & how high it has to be to guarantee defeat for player X, depends on the match-up. So for example Borg would have to play like absolute dogshit for normal Vilas to beat him, & wouldn't have to put in anything more than a D+ performance to beat normal Vilas, while conversely, Vilas would need to playing at A+ to beat normal Borg, & would lose to him playing at any level lower. But of course, the quality of any player's "normal" game is a big factor in how good he is, & would be measured partly by how many players need to play above THEIR norm to beat him - in other words, by how many players he is a bad match-up for. Make sense?

There have certainly been match-up problems for great rivals in the past. For example, McEnroe was, relatively speaking, a bad match-up for Borg, whereas peak Borg was a bad match-up for post-peak Connors.

Quakes
09-07-2010, 06:49 PM
current generation? Rafa, Roger, Nole, Kolya, Juan

Kuerten was no hard mug either, Courier was good in both as well, Lendl, Connors... :)

Completely agree. What these players have in common is game balanced between offense and defense, plus good footwork and solid baseline game. You have absolutely no need to be good at serve & volley to be good on hard. Lendl, Agassi, Kolya are prime examples.