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When it came to mental strength the first name Novak said was Rafael Nadal.

“When it comes to mental strength there is no one better than Rafa. Over the years, we have seen him bounce back from injury so many times. He probably has had more injuries than anyone on the ATP tour.he has managed to comeback from every single one of them" - the World number 1 said.
“When you walk onto the court with him and you see him jumping, you know you are facing a gladiator. You know you are facing a mental giant. He is mentally stronger than even Roger Federer" - he added.

Novak Djokovic: 'Rafael Nadal is mentally stronger than Roger Federer'
 

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In the 2008 Wimbledon Final, Rafa led by 2-sets-to-love and lost the next 2 sets in tiebreakers and obviously was very close to losing the 5th Set.
In the 4th Set tiebreaker, Rafa led 5-2 and served an 83mph 2nd Serve into the net....
Rafa has displayed a mental weakness at Wimbledon.

And in 2019 Wimbledon SF, Roig said they'd agreed that Rafa would return serve from very close to the baseline, but instead Rafa chose to return serve from far behind the baseline and allowed Federer to dominate some points unnecessarily (but still it was a close 4-setter, Rafa lost the 1st set in a tie-breaker and won the 2nd Set 6-1 before losing the 3rd and 4th Sets by a break in each set).
He's got a mental issue at Wimbledon.

And of course in 2012 and 2017 Australian Open Finals, Rafa was up a break in the 5th Sets and lost both of those Finals.
He's got a mental issue at the Australian Open.
But I agree Rafa's the best at coming back from injury, albeit only because he's had more injuries than Djokovic/Federer.
We don't know if Djokovic/Federer would have come back from injury every time if they were injured as much as Rafa was, but maybe.
 

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Dull’s mental strength is overrated. Watching him play Novak you can tell Novak’s in his head. He’s still mentally strong otherwise he wouldn’t be as successful but he looks better than he is due to his defensive style and celebrations after winning a point but I see right through it. Djokovic is the mentally strongest player as he’s won many matches where the crowd was treating him like lion shit. Federer is strong but has had moments where he faltered mentally that cost him big matches. (I don’t think I need to explain which ones those are.)
 

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Rafa, unlike Rog and Novak and most other great sportsmen, consistently takes big cuts on the ball in the biggest pressure situations, down big...

he is unlike anything other in any sport possibly ever, mentally.

And its precisely these achievements which TOWER over everyone else's:
2006 FO 3S 1-2 0-40 hold
2008 Wimbledon 5S 3-4 30-40 hold
2009 AO SF
2009 AO F 3S 4-4 0-40 + 5-5 15-40 holds (6 BP's)
2012 AO F 4S 3-4 0-40 hold
2013 FO F: Recovering 5th set break down/deficit, winning from down *1-3 40-40 (holding after 2 huge baseline winners)
2013 USO 3S 4-4 0-40 hold
2017 AO SF 5S 3-4 15-40 hold
2017 AO F 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 holds, saving first 5 BP's across 3 games (but was physically done, could have held for 4-2)
2018 WB SF 3-4 -AD hold + 7-8 30-40 MP hold (drop shots and winners to perfection)
2018 USO 3R+QF, winning a set each after returning against the set
2019 USO F 5S 0-1 15-40 hold

& Numerous sets saving many BP's/SP's on serve, even if eventually faltering ('15 FO QF, '17 AO SF, opponents serve: '18 USO 3R)

The theme of these events is playing great opponents who earn their break points with perfectly executed offense, and Nadal denying them in peak mode of back-against-the-wall perfectly crafted offense.

A must product of playing in the GOAT Era, being sandwiched into the primes of Federer and then Djokovic. No lesser man could.

Probably the greatest collection of mental strength (just the creme of the crop) by being gutsy and executing ever.

Best frontrunner (set leads), best back against the wall, best injury returner, best general mental composition.
 
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Dull’s mental strength is overrated. Watching him play Novak you can tell Novak’s in his head. He’s still mentally strong otherwise he wouldn’t be as successful but he looks better than he is due to his defensive style and celebrations after winning a point but I see right through it. Djokovic is the mentally strongest player as he’s won many matches where the crowd was treating him like lion shit. Federer is strong but has had moments where he faltered mentally that cost him big matches. (I don’t think I need to explain which ones those are.)
What examples for Roger do you have in mind?
 

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Rafa is clutch and mentally strong 90% of the time.

Probably like 5 examples in his career where he has lost due to mental strength and not just being outplayed.

2012 AO he could have won it
Rafa, unlike Rog and Novak and most other great sportsmen, consistently takes big cuts on the ball in the biggest pressure situations, down big...

he is unlike anything other in any sport possibly ever, mentally.

And its precisely these achievements which TOWER over everyone else's:
2006 FO 3S 0-40 hold
2008 Wimbledon 5S BP defense
2009 AO SF+F, 0-40 3rd set 4-4 + 15-40 5-5 holds
2012 AO F 4S 3-4 0-40 hold
2013 USO 3S 0-40 hold
2017 AO SF 5S 15-40 hold + F miraculous BP defense running on fumes
2018 WB SF BP defense (drop shots and winners to perfection)
2018 USO, several set wins after returning against the set against Khachanov and Thiem, by just swinging winners.
2019 USO F 5S 15-40 hold

Probably the greatest collection of mental strength (just the creme of the crop) by being gutsy and executing ever.

Best frontrunner (set leads), best back against the wall, best injury returner, best general mental composition.

I'd add RG SF 2013. I vividly remember Nadal actually hitting many aces and saving break points or disadvantageous situations in that match.
 
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What examples for Roger do you have in mind?
Sandgren (7 match points and injured as well), Benneteau at wimby 2012 (down 2 sets to love), clutched it out against Kyrgios in Miami 2017 though I’ll admit the crowd fucked it up at the end and the result coulda been different. Federer might have some choking moments but he’s also well known for being clutch when it matters, especially on serve.
 

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Sandgren (7 match points and injured as well), Benneteau at wimby 2012 (down 2 sets to love), clutched it out against Kyrgios in Miami 2017 though I’ll admit the crowd fucked it up at the end and the result coulda been different. Federer might have some choking moments but he’s also well known for being clutch when it matters, especially on serve.
Winning from a perilous situation against Nadal at AO 17 shut up the chokerer jibes for ever. Yes he's lost some other matches he could have won, but we remember those largely because any Federer loss has a greater impact than that of any other player.
 

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Djokovic is the strongest mentally, even though he would never proclaim himself that. With that said, I agree that Nadal is mentally stronger than Federer.

Every match is like playing at home for Federer, while almost every match is like an away match for Djokovic, and yet he will still surpass Federer, who wilts even with the crowd on his side. Can you imagine Federer with the crowd against him and treating him the way they do Djokovic? He would not achieve even half of what Djokovic has achieved.
 

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Winning from a perilous situation against Nadal at AO 17 shut up the chokerer jibes for ever. Yes he's lost some other matches he could have won, but we remember those largely because any Federer loss has a greater impact than that of any other player.
His losses are remembered cause he rarely loses as well
 

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Agree completely with Djoker's assessment. From the age of 18 Rafa has been a mental giant! Unprecedented, really! It's nice to see his top contemporaries agree.

The 4 best examples would be... Rome 2006, Wimby 2008, French 2012, Olympics 2016.
 

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Rafa is clutch and mentally strong 90% of the time.

Probably like 5 examples in his career where he has lost due to mental strength and not just being outplayed.

2012 AO he could have won it



I'd add RG SF 2013. I vividly remember Nadal actually hitting many aces and saving break points or disadvantageous situations in that match.
That would have been an all timer for everyone else, just forgot it for Rafa..

Rafa has NEVER lost due to mental strength.

Well maybe 2007 WB.

Every single other match he showed weakness, he showed more strength.

See 2012 AO and winning the 4th set tiebreak, recovering from *3-4 0-40 with several baseline winners.

2017 AO and saving a tons of BP's before being run over.

2018 WB saving many BP's and being mostly outserved when having BP's.

2016 USO missing the 6-6 shot but saving 3 MP's down 3-6 before.

Etc
 

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Agree completely with Djoker's assessment. From the age of 18 Rafa has been a mental giant! Unprecedented, really! It's nice to see his top contemporaries agree.

The 4 best examples would be... Rome 2006, Wimby 2008, French 2012, Olympics 2016.
definitely not the best 4 examples.

What are you refering to with 2016 Olympics?
 

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Djokovic is not wrong, no doubt Nadal is mentally strong, even if it can be a bit of a challenge to separate "mentally strong" from simply being a great player.

However, there are different kinds of mental strength. When we usually speak of the concept here on MTF, mental strength is about holding your nerve in tight situations. Playing your best in a final set tie-break, being clinical when serving for the match, etc. Given the examples picked by Nole, it seems like he has another kind of mental strength in mind: The mental strength needed to always try your best, to never give up, to thrive when you face tough situations, and generally be a warrior on court, perhaps even during training sessions.

However, in principle, nothing prevents you from being a great fighter, but susceptible to jitters when you come to a situation where a few points here and there will decide the match. Obviously, Nadal is mentally strong also in the usual sense of the word, but, as Nole suggests, the area where he really stands out is that of being a fighter. My point is that Djokovic's usage of the phrase is a little different from the more common meaning of "mental giant".
 

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I don't think there are many players who can overcome crowd hatred as well as Djokovic does...

The other day i watched a rewatch of the Agassi/Medvedev final (no i am not a masochist) where the crowd was mostly responsible for the ukrainian collapse, i couldn't help but think what Djokovic would have done to that crowd... He would have obliterated it.

I think this is a very good measure of mental strength.
 

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However, there are different kinds of mental strength. When we usually speak of the concept here on MTF, mental strength is about holding your nerve in tight situations.
This

For Federer, his mental strength is also in his optimism, his ability to rebound after his disasters.
US Open 2008 after RG and especially Wimbledon.
2009 overall after 2008.
RG-Wimb 2009 after AO 2009.
2017 after 2016, half season aborted at..35 years old, etc etc
 

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Nadal used to be a mental giant under pressure, I don’t think I’d consider him to be that now.

He still is mentally strong in other ways, very focused, very persistent, very opportunistic, doesn’t seem to be deterred that he keeps losing to Fedovic recently and just keeps picking up slams and YE#1s

One of the strikes against him though is that he’s never able to defend his #1 for long
 
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