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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't but it was a very very special display of tennis genius today by Rafa and Nole...


I can’t prove it but I would like to present the notion that the Djokovic vs Nadal Wimbledon semifinal might be the greatest match ever played.

Magic happens when Nadal and Djokovic meet at Grand Slams and it happened again today/yesterday. Both players have the capacity to unleash laser beam winners from both wings and they can strike any target area of the court.

Roger Federer just seems slightly behind these two, slightly inferior. Federer is behind both Rafa (15-23) and Djokovic (22-23) in head to head combat. And Djokovic leads Nadal (27-25).

The numbers support the possibility that Rafa and Djokovic are slightly, minutely superior to Federer.

And today’s superhuman slugfest, which John McEnroe called “impossible” tennis took the sport to a new height. Watching in awe the shotmaking and degree of difficulty and the pressure cooker situations that both players had to deal with over the last three sets was so overwhelming and jaw-dropping that even Djokovic’s wife Jelena could be seen shaking her head in disbelief after. I had never seen her or any other player box guest shake their head in disbelief after a match before.

Even after the win was finally secured Djokovic had no energy or desire to express or release a deserved celebration, to vent out all the suppressed emotions. Maybe he didn’t have any energy left to do it.

All along I felt Djokovic was going to win. He had the demeanor that he knew he had the key to how to beat Nadal. No matter how much adversity and chaos and crazed shots Nadal unleashed at him, Djokovic always kept his cool and stayed on track with his focus. It was Nadal who seemed more uptight and agitated and under more pressure. Nadal certainly sweated a couple of more buckets of perspiration more than Djokovic did, if one pays attention to such details.

Nadal of course stayed the course and put himself in position to win, threatening Djokovic with at least two 15-40 deficits on his serve late in the match but each time Djokovic dug deep and held.

Nadal did everything he had to do to win except win. He made the impossible shots numerous times, he had the break points, he played his very best tennis that surely would have broken the will of any other player including even Federer in my opinion.

But Djokovic, unlike Federer, has some kind of mental edge over Nadal. The head to head record proves it. Also, Nadal even once said after their 2016 Doha final, that Djokovic had played the best most perfect tennis anyone had ever played against him. Djokovic won that final 61 62.

Djokovic is equally respectful of Nadal’s prowess, asserting that Nadal, not Federer, is his “greatest rival.”

So most of the evidences point to Djokovic and Nadal, at their best, being the two greatest players of the sport, excluding the misleading total Grand Slam titles stat.

Today Nadal and Djokovic were both at their best and the masterpiece of a match they both created today, actually, despite being impossible to prove, could have been the best match ever played. I just can’t think of a better one.

“Strokes of Genius” has been surpassed.

If I wasn’t working on books about Marat Safin, Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, I would love to do a book about this latest edition of one of the greatest rivalries in sports history, Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal.

Scoop's book Facing Marat Safin will be published before US Open.
 

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No not even close. A good match but Novak was always going to win. He is in Rafa's head as securely as Rafa ever was in Fed's head. Outside clay he will not beat Novak. Not close to Mac-Borg/Fed-Nadal or Fed-Roddick. Nice try though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Better tennis today, more power, greater precision, superior movement.

Today's tennis brought people out of their seats because it was so thrilling. Why didn't anyone jump out of their seats during Mac Borg or Fed Roddick???
 

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It was a good match. I don’t think it was even the better of the two semifinals though
To each his own, but that first semi was extremely boring to me. Two players hitting un-returned serve after un-returned serve is not entertaining whatsoever to me. Like 1 out of every 5 points or so actually turned into a rally and those typically didn't last for more than 5-6 shots.
 

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Not the best match every played but probably the most significant match in the history of tennis. Obviously, I would have disregarded it as a trash match if Nole had not won
 

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Try the AO 2012 Final. The fact that this final was split into two parts takes the edge off the physicality that we saw at the AO 2012
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Disagree. Both were ready, both know how to prepare for such an unusual situation. Both were sharp on both days. Djokovic will steam roll Anderson.
 

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Two of the top 5 players in history playing a high quality 5+ hour 5 setter in a Wimbledon SF? Yeah, I think it's fair to say it is one of the best matches ever played (the only other one they've played like it, the 2012 AO F, was). Not really an exaggeration.
 

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Calm down.

This was a great match. I think people are blowing the quality out of proportion because we haven't seen Djokodal compete against each other at this level in a few years. They could easily have an even better match at the USO for all we know and that still wouldn't be their best match ever, let alone the greatest match of all time.
 

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Their Australian Open epic was incredible, but they both played much cleaner tennis throughout this one, propelling it ahead of that one. People seem to forget the AO match took awhile to really get going. This match was exhilarating. Rich rallies. Phenomenal demonstration of resolve and resilience. Intelligent strategizing, particularly from Nadal who has to think hardest in this match-up. The tension in the third set tiebreak and the fifth set was overwhelming, yet both delivered time and time again. It's not always their attritional matches produce a match where so many points leave you ouing and ahhing with your hand on your head.
 

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Both are 5+ years past their prime. It was a good match, but pretty much any of their 2011-12 matches were better (the one exception, ironically, is probably the one at Wimbledon). Nadal was clearly slower and doesn't pass nearly as well as he used to, Djokovic's fitness seemed suspect at times and his famous return was his Achilles Heel against a player with a mediocre serve.
 

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Both are 5+ years past their prime. It was a good match, but pretty much any of their 2011-12 matches were better (the one exception, ironically, is probably the one at Wimbledon). Nadal was clearly slower and doesn't pass nearly as well as he used to, Djokovic's fitness seemed suspect at times and his famous return was his Achilles Heel against a player with a mediocre serve.
1.) Nadal didn't have to pass often because Djokovic almost never came in except when he clearly had the upper hand. So this point is irrelevant.
2.) There is nothing "clearly slower" about Nadal.
3.) It's widely acknowledged that Nadal is serving better than he ever has.

It's amazing to me how people force the narrative of "post-prime" on these guys with no good evidence to back it up.
 

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It was a great match, anyone who thought otherwise is either a bitter Nadal or Federer fan. Both players gave it their all and I, for a small moment, forgot my partisanship. Actually was rooting for Djoko but it was down to the wire and I would have been somewhat ok with a Nadal win...or at least I wouldn't deny that he earned this slam.
 

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No not even close. A good match but Novak was always going to win. He is in Rafa's head as securely as Rafa ever was in Fed's head. Outside clay he will not beat Novak. Not close to Mac-Borg/Fed-Nadal or Fed-Roddick. Nice try though.
jesus get ahold of yourself, so negative

Nadal was like 1 BP away from likely winning the match on his own serve and Novak hit some amazing serves. Nadal wasn't playing to lose and actually had a lot of balls in the match and was reasonably clutch. Saved 1 MP a few games before the end by rushing the net and hitting a dropshot for example.

Sometimes it is what it is

Fed-Roddick? you're trolling right? yikes :help
 

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Calm down.

This was a great match. I think people are blowing the quality out of proportion because we haven't seen Djokodal compete against each other at this level in a few years. They could easily have an even better match at the USO for all we know and that still wouldn't be their best match ever, let alone the greatest match of all time.
it was pretty high quality generally speaking. If you're saying, 'teleport to 2013' and compare it to a particular match, then I don't know. But if we're comparing it to virtually all of the matches from like 2015-2018? better than almost any I can remember in terms of quality and drama
 

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it was pretty high quality generally speaking. If you're saying, 'teleport to 2013' and compare it to a particular match, then I don't know. But if we're comparing it to virtually all of the matches from like 2015-2018? better than almost any I can remember in terms of quality and drama

I’m saying it’s not the greatest match of all time.
 

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It was a great match, anyone who thought otherwise is either a bitter Nadal or Federer fan. Both players gave it their all and I, for a small moment, forgot my partisanship. Actually was rooting for Djoko but it was down to the wire and I would have been somewhat ok with a Nadal win...or at least I wouldn't deny that he earned this slam.
"I thought it was a great match and everyone else is wrong" ;). We all have our own interpretation of these things. I thought it was a very competetive and tense match - enthralling as a spectacle. In terms of stylistics and level for grass, I was a bit non-plussed. These guys play these encounters in this slow hc/clay style because it's how their games match up. Other than Nadal's newer drilled hipshots and setup strikes, they play a game of gently amped percentages...utilising safely topspun penetrating shots. Grass - even of center court ilk - lends itself to flat hitting that steals anticipation and response, ventures to the net, big serving and daring....not symptomatic of this match in it's entirety. These guys know what each other is going to do almost shot to shot....not a lot of inspiration.

In terms of how it stacked up in matches between these two, I don't think it was their best. Nole still lacked confidence and was apprehensive at pulling the trigger....Nadal was flying on the edge of his nerves trying to take time away from Djokovic with a game that isn't quite him, while falling back to clay defence. A thrilling, worthy, but fugly encounter for me. Hopefully we have better to come should they meet down the track.
 
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