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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The argument that Rafael Nadal is 19 and his accomplishments shouldn't be measured by the same level of expectation of an older player such as Federer, Safin or Roddick.

I am seriously opposed to this argument, for the simple reason that it has holes all over it, there's lots of contradiction.

Many people believe that Nadal may be on Roger Federer's level ...

Alright, so let's say that I subscribe to this theory (which I don't)

1). Nadal is younger, so he's faster and more energetic.
2). Nadal is an equal to Federer.
3). Nadal has the beauty of youth, which often times means that he is fearless.

Why is it an applicable excuse (especially if you pay attention to point #3) that he cop out in the first round of a Master's Event like Cincy or that he lose in the 2nd round at Wimbledon ? First round of a tune-up, people have already began to create excuses for Nadal incase he gets knocked out in earlier rounds

"Well, he's young and has many left "
"He lacks experience "

The kid has talent and is fearless, many people are under the illusion (that's just what it is) that he is on Fedex's level, so who cares what Fedex did at 19 ? He's a late bloomer by Tennis standards, doesn't really matter how fast you get to a point, once you've reached that level then each player is there regardless of age. I don't buy into the experience argument, it's flawed and weak ... by the time you're old enough to have any experience the speed of youth is gone, thus making it really useless; if experience teaches, Agassi should be #1 in the world; however, his old brittle body just won't allow it. I'd think that after the beatings Sampras administered he's become well adjusted, atleast psychologically, to playing against the greats.

If you ask me, also, just because you start out at a younger age does not mean you will have an extended career! Look at Martina Hingis for example, 15 years old turned professional and she's how old now ? 23 ?!? Doing commentary for tennis matches and reduced to being a World Team Tennis participant, something that the 45 year old John McEnroe has taken up merely as a hobby. The clock is ticking on Nadal just as much as it is Federer, can anyone name a player that has dominated from the age of 15 to the age of 30 ?

Michael Jordan was a late bloomer.
Pete Sampras never really "dominated" unless we're talking Wimbledon, he was consistently in the Winner's Circle ... winning 1 or 2 Slams a year for a 10 + year period.

I've simply grown tired of seeing people use the excuse that Nadal or Sharapova both happen to be younger players, so that they have to gain experience and then comparing older players records at the same age. Time waits for no one, so what ? You're having success at 18, you're the early bird special and another player is having success at the age of 23, seems like a double standard...

Nadal beats Roger in Paris, which enhances his reputation and he's considered a knight a shining armor to many whom have grown tired of seeing Federer's success.
I heard things like...
"Nadal is quicker, more energetic and younger!"
"Nadal is fearless, he's a bull on the court"
"Nadal is twice the player Roger was at that age"
"Nadal is in Federer's league"
He loses a few matches ...
"Nadal has never played on grass"
"Nadal is young and must gain experience"
"Nadal choked away the match"
"Nadal was tired from winning in Canada"
Same stuff with Sharapova, something has to give ...

Either these players are younger, inferior, lack experience and will someday work up to the level of their predecessors ...
Or ...
They are younger, faster, already at the same level thus experience should not matter and they should be measured by the same standards regardless
.[/
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just can't compare them. There are definitely things that come with very young age-- and that is the fearlessness like Hingis had-- and there are things that come with older age --like experience. But there are individual-specific attributes as well, such as when a player blooms or peaks. Lleyton is an example of someone who bloomed very early and Fed is definitely one who took a while longer
You can compare these players on some objective levels (like age and years on the tour), but obviously not on other things --like intrinsic competitiveness or fearlessness
 

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To be honest, I have no idea what experience Nadal can gain over the years, except for mastering the grass/ indoors. He's already playing like he's 28 between the ears.
 

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ExpectedWinner said:
To be honest, I have no idea what experience Nadal can gain over the years, except for mastering the grass/ indoors. He's already playing like he's 28 between the ears.
well, with experience sometimes comes the fear of failure. knowing what can go wrong even at MPs and knowing how matches can turn around. There is much less of the feeling of playing with nothing to lose, when everyone is gunning for you. Its just not possible to predict what will happen to Fed or nadal or whoever if they were to suddenly drop in the rankings
Lleyton was playing beyond his years, beating Pete 6, 1, and 1 at the USO finals, but one year later he was going out rounds 1 and 2, and dropped to #17, even though he had more experience by then
 

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mitalidas said:
well, with experience sometimes comes the fear of failure. knowing what can go wrong even at MPs and knowing how matches can turn around. There is much less of the feeling of playing with nothing to lose, when everyone is gunning for you. Its just not possible to predict what will happen to Fed or nadal or whoever if they were to suddenly drop in the rankings
Lleyton was playing beyond his years, beating Pete 6, 1, and 1 at the USO finals, but one year later he was going out rounds 1 and 2, and dropped to #17, even though he had more experience by then
Well, I was talking about the positive side of the experience. Nadal already knows how to deal with crowds, when slow down and when speed up, when to take an injury time out ;) , what to say in the interview. Most important, he plays the right shot at the right time.

As for Hewitt, I think he's lost a step already.
 

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mitalidas said:
well, with experience sometimes comes the fear of failure.
It's also easier to play fearlessly when one doesn't have points to defend. So basically by next year we will see Nadal trying to again win all the same clay court titles and knowing that if he only were to make it to a QF or SF that he would lose points.
 

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I actually think that very few people think that Nadal is on the same level as Federer. Federer has proven himself to be a great on a number of surfaces and is a singular talent. He just has so much skill and can switch up his game like no one else. Nadal is still getting his feet under him in some surfaces, and who knows if he will ever be a factor on grass. (But just because he has not proven himself on all surfaces does not mean that he should be painted as someone who will always and only be a one-surface wonder – his game is still developing and no I am not just saying this as an "excuse" I am saying it as someone who has noticed it though watching match play.) I think Nadal is viewed as a threat to Federer in a way because he has gotten under his skin in their matches. But that does not equate with saying that Nadal is the superior or even equal talent.


Different players mature at different levels, I think most accept this. One thing that I have found to be quite interesting in terms of Nadal is the trend to say that since he has been an “early bloomer” that likely means that he will burn out and be a has been by 24 or so. Or that since he is an early bloomer he will be incapable of adding additional layers to his game play. Just because someone has success early does not mean that their game will stagnate and they will not continue to evolve.
 

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Funny that you should mention Sharapova as well because once she started winning and the expectations of her rose, I wondered how she'd handle it the next time around. SHe certainly hasn't shone the way she did last year and I wonder if the same will ring true for Nadal. Sure he's fearless now, but can he handle the pressure the next time around?

I also think becuase he's relatively new on the tour he has had the advantage of surprise against many of the players, but when they've adjusted to his style of play, will he still be as dominant as he is now, and will ROger still ocntinue to struggle against him?

On another note, is he too young to suffer from burnout?
 

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I think that the situation is made a little more unique in that Nadal and Federer can go most of the year competing in different tournaments and so they are not facing the same fields and may not have to play each other that often. It makes it harder to really compare them. The times they will be in the same tournaments are the majors and the TMS. However, they don't necessarily both attend all of the TMS. Basically the hardcourts are where we will see them on neurtal court surface.

As a Fed fan, I find it a little unfair that Nadal has made it to the #2 rank without having to frequently face Roddick, Hewitt, Safin or Agassi. Roger had to face them often in 2003 and 2004.....and that's when they were playing better than they are today. He also had to conquer his nemesis Nalbandian and Henman when they were at their peak. To me it seems like Nadal just appeared on the clay court scene exactly when Coria and JCF were down and that there was no real clay court competition to speak of.

However, I will give it to Nadal for having the stamina to play so many tournaments and keep on going.
 

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It's so hard to say. Nadal only has to become great on grass and indoors to contend for the number one over a healthy Federer.
 

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tangerine_dream said:
Compare the 19 year old Nadal with the 19 year old Federer and see what you come up with.
Ah...I know the "tennis for dummies" answer to that one:
the early bloomer vs the late bloomer argument. :cool: ;)


Guys, it's too soon to make many predictions here. Time will tell.
Like Clara Bow says, not a lot of people put Nadal currently on the very same level as Federer because Roger is the clear number one at the moment.
Time will tell what sort of career Rafa will have.
 

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How is it unfair? To say something is unfair is to imply that there is injustice or favoritism. I certainly don't think that is the case. It's like saying Roger playing Andy and Lleyton in finals all the time is unfair because they're hopeless against him so he always wins. It seems you're basically downplaying Nadal's victories claiming there's no decent clay court players out there right now. I wouldn't agree with that. Coria took him to a tough 5 setter in Rome, Puerta was no pushover in the RG finals, and I still think if Fed had it going on in between the ears that day he could've beaten Nadal in the SF at RG. I think there has been competition, it's just that Nadal is better than everyone else on clay right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
tangerine_dream said:
Compare the 19 year old Nadal with the 19 year old Federer and see what you come up with.
I did that and this is the response:

The kid has talent and is fearless, many people are under the illusion (that's just what it is) that he is on Fedex's level, so who cares what Fedex did at 19 ? He's a late bloomer by Tennis standards, doesn't really matter how fast you get to a point, once you've reached that level then each player is there regardless of age.
 

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tangerine_dream said:
Compare the 19 year old Nadal with the 19 year old Federer and see what you come up with.
Why does that matter? Let's wait and see where Nadal's at when he's 24.
 

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There is no comparison between Roger and Nadal at 19. Rafa has a much better head on his shoulders, and self belief at that age than Fed did. Fed was a headcase, who I think really started to believe after he defeated Sampras in Wimby 01 (a classic)
 

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Young Fed's progress was hurt when his long time junior's coach and mentor Peter Carter died in South Africa. I suppose we could compare to what would have happened to Nadal if his uncle had died last year before Nadal made his rise.

Also we could ask how much sooner Fed would have matured if he'd had a countryman/former #1 player as a mentor the way Nadal has Moya. Who knows?
 

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:bolt: pffft...this is going to end in one of these ugly Rafa vs Roger threats, isn't it?

However you turn it: it's not possible to compare the two at this point and the only way to start comparing them at the moment is by adding a large number of if's and but's in it.

Time will tell.
 

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Young Federer didn't know what shot to play at the crucial time. At 18- 19 he already had a variety in his game , but he couldn't use it to his advantage on regular basis. In a way, his own game was his major enemy at the time.
 

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it will be very interesting to see how Nadal defends all of these points next year. will be he a bright light that simply flames out? or is he a talent to be reckoned with for years to come? i make no predictions. time will tell. ;)
 
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