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Discussion Starter #1
So after 2011 that Novak beat Rafa in all surfaces + the hard loss for him in the AO 12 F , somehow Rafa manage to find a way to beat Novak again, even on HC.

What do you think is the main reason for it?
 

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Very good question.

On clay for example Djokovic in 2011 was clearly better than in 2012 where he had ups- and downs. He could not sustain a higher level throughout an entire match which Nadal managed to do because his clay game in 2012 was even better than in 2011 while Djokovic's dropped.

Reasons for that ? Hm, lets see.

Djokovic -> death of grandfather during Monte Carlo (could have affected him and/or inspired him)
Nadal -> had time to stick to his successful clay game and develop the righ forehand side aggression. also he had mentally time to regroup for the clay swing after Australian Open while Djokovic failed to get his clay game from 2011 back. Maybe he was done after the 2011 season and 2012 victory in Australia, mentally. Did not train for his A-game,lost to Isner in Indian Wells semis, then won Miami but clay was average, enough for most guys, not even close for Nadal.

But if we/you want to look closely to the game or tecqunies. I have to rewatch everything and compare it. I am not sure anymore what the difference clearly was.
In simple words said: Nadal became more aggressive while Djokovic lost his aggression. Nadal gained the mental edge after MC final, Rome final and Paris was his. Djokovic could not compensate his weaker serve with his unprecise groundstrokes / build-up game as he did in 2011. There he lacked while Rafa got his full package together, directing the rallyes, being superior with volleys, smashes and everything on the net, drop shots.
 

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Did he really overcome the Djokovic problem? In 2012, they played a disproportionate amount of matches on clay - 75% of all of their matches were on clay that year. Advantage Nadal.

In 2013, they played 6 times.

Monte Carlo: Djokovic wins, 62-76
Roland Garros: Nadal wins, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7
Canada: Nadal wins, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6
US Open: Nadal wins, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Bejing: Djokovic wins, 6-3, 6-4
ATP Finals: Djokovic wins, 6-3 6-4

So, 1-1 on a clay court, and 2-2 on a hard court. Nadal was very close from losing in Roland Garros and Canada, so one cannot say he won convincingly. The result could have easily been 5-1 instead of 3-3. Small margins decided the winner.
 

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I did not watch most of these matches, and neither player is among my favourites, so their fans can answer this better than me. But if I had to speculate on the results, I would say Djokovic was shot mentally, while Nadal was beaming with confidence. It can explain Nadal winning the close matches at Roland Garros and Canada. I watched the US Open match between the two, and I feel Djokovic had the match on his racket. If I recall, the third set was a disaster for him - he gave it away on a silver platter. Also, I think Nadal had much easier draws, which will always help, but I would have to look.

Nadal should be commended. He finally found a way. 2013 remains to this day the only year he beat Djokovic on any court that was not clay in the decade (2011-2020).
 

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It was definitely more mental than anything else. I think a big part of it was the 2012 Monte Carlo match. Nadal needed to get the monkey of his back and Monte Carlo has always been one of his very best courts, if Nadal was gonna end the run it had to be there or RG. It’s why I think of the 2011 french open final between Nadal and Djokovic as the greatest match that never happened. If Nadal won that could’ve been the mental breakthrough needed and he might have won Wimb11, USO11 and/or AO12. On the other hand if Djokovic won it that could’ve been the final nail for Nadal mentally and the rivalry could’ve become one-sided, plus Djokovic probably would’ve won the CYGS.
 

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FHDTL(mainly) .But since 2015 his bh got better while fh declined :(
RG 2014 Rafa's last slam where his FH was in prime conditions :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Did he really overcome the Djokovic problem? In 2012, they played a disproportionate amount of matches on clay - 75% of all of their matches were on clay that year. Advantage Nadal.

In 2013, they played 6 times.

Monte Carlo: Djokovic wins, 62-76
Roland Garros: Nadal wins, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7
Canada: Nadal wins, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6
US Open: Nadal wins, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Bejing: Djokovic wins, 6-3, 6-4
ATP Finals: Djokovic wins, 6-3 6-4

So, 1-1 on a clay court, and 2-2 on a hard court. Nadal was very close from losing in Roland Garros and Canada, so one cannot say he won convincingly. The result could have easily been 5-1 instead of 3-3. Small margins decided the winner.
Nadal could have won AO 12 and Miami 11 , it was close also
 

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Nadal could have won AO 12 and Miami 11 , it was close also
Right, but 2013 was the only year of the decade (2011-2020) Nadal won any deciding-set, close match with Djokovic. It was also the only year of the decade he conquered Djokovic away from clay. I think Djokovic was spent mentally.
 

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The one thing Rafa has that Djokovic doesn't have - talent.
Despite Djokovic using all the right strategies, and lifting himself to insane levels of fitness and athleticism.....
Rafa's talent turned it around.
 

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He never really turned it around. 2011 was the turning point in their h2h and Djokovic has had the upper hand since. Dull put up a better fight in some years than others but even in his victories, he easily could’ve lost ala 2013 RG.
 

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Right, but 2013 was the only year of the decade (2011-2020) Nadal won any deciding-set, close match with Djokovic. It was also the only year of the decade he conquered Djokovic away from clay. I think Djokovic was spent mentally.
Not only mentally but physically as well, playing numerous big finals & semis while Nadal was sidelined after Wimb'12 2R.

Nadal then skipped AO'13 (Djokovic winner), saved himself in RG SF 5-setter after the net incident, skipped Wimb'13 (1R loss, Djokovic was finalist) and was awarded another USO cakewalk half and tired Djokovic in the final.
 

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Not only mentally but physically also, playing numerous big finals & semis while Nadal was sidelined after Wimb'12 2R.

Nadal then skipped AO'13, saved himself at RG after the net incident, skipped Wimb'13 (1R loss) and was awarded another USO cakewalk.
Thank you for sharing this. You know more of the data than I do. I did not know that Nadal was so much more rested than Djokovic.
 

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Pretty sure Nadal saved 0-40 in 3rd set of 13 US F, also down a break in 5th at RG 13, so could have been worse

AO 12 I think Rafa got more confidence even with a loss. Like this guy has to battle 6 hours on his best court to beat me. I will have chances all over the world
 

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Lost some of his scars from the Sunshine Double & Clay finals which basically decided Wimbledon & USO.

That and the FH DTL meant beatdown city.

He would have pummeled Djokovic in the '14 AO Final too, but Stan did the job.
 

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Had Novak won FO match (And he was very close), I believe he would've won the matches in US based on confidence. So, small margins made Nadal look good again in this matchup.
 

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Nadal upped his level. He played superman tennis on clay in 2012 and really should/could have gone without dropping a set on red dirt.
 

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He never really turned it around. 2011 was the turning point in their h2h and Djokovic has had the upper hand since. Dull put up a better fight in some years than others but even in his victories, he easily could’ve lost ala 2013 RG.
He won 6 out of the 7 meetings after losing 7 in a row and included 2 big HCs win. So I would say he did turned the things around. It’s after that that he started to struggle with Djokovic due to his physical decline
 
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