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Discussion Starter #1
Cilic (GS winner)
Sock (Good on clay, powerful FH)
Ruud (Rome semifinal)
Wawrinka (FO champ)
Schwartzman (Rome finalist)
Nadal (12 time FO winner)
Djokovic (17x GS champ)

Can you name another draw that is similarly hard or harder? Please also consider the surface, which makes Ruud and Schwartzman much harder opponents than elsewhere.
 

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There have been draws where a player would be expected to go through the big 4 in the last 4 rounds, Thiem's draw is only one of the hardest if you only look at draws of top 4 players.
 

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Nadal 2007 RG:

R1: Del Potro
R3: Montanes (top 25 player, very solid especially on clay, 6 top 10 clay wins, beat Federer and Kuerten on clay)
R4: Hewitt
QF: Moya
SF: Djokovic
F: Federer

Having to beat 5 grand slam winners.
 

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Nadal 2007 RG:

R1: Del Potro
R3: Montanes (top 25 player, very solid especially on clay, 6 top 10 clay wins, beat Federer and Kuerten on clay)
R4: Hewitt
QF: Moya
SF: Djokovic
F: Federer

Having to beat 5 grand slam winners.
This is only tough on paper and in hindsight though, Delpo, Moya and Hewitt were nowhere near slam winning form at the time, even Nadal's 2013 RG could be a harder draw.
 

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Can you name another draw that is similarly hard or harder? Please also consider the surface, which makes Ruud and Schwartzman much harder opponents than elsewhere.
I introduce you to Jack Sock's draw from hell...
Opelka
Thiem
Ruud
Wawrinka
Schwartzman
Nadal
Djokovic
 

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Nadal 2007 RG:

R1: Del Potro
R3: Montanes (top 25 player, very solid especially on clay, 6 top 10 clay wins, beat Federer and Kuerten on clay)
R4: Hewitt
QF: Moya
SF: Djokovic
F: Federer

Having to beat 5 grand slam winners.
Djokovic had only made 1 GS QF before that tournament, and hadn't made a masters 1000 SF on clay either. So at the time that probably wasn't considered that difficult of a SF compared to a lot of slam SF.

Delpo was 18 and only won 1 slam match.

You can't use hindsight to rank opponents when we don't have that same oppurtunity for this draw. Maybe Ruud and Schwartzman wins slams in the future. It's about how good they were as player at that time.
 

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Djokovic had only made 1 GS QF before that tournament, and hadn't made a masters 1000 SF on clay either. So at the time that probably wasn't considered that difficult of a SF compared to a lot of slam SF.

Delpo was 18 and only won 1 slam match.

You can't use hindsight to rank opponents when we don't have that same oppurtunity for this draw. Maybe Ruud and Schwartzman wins slams in the future. It's about how good they were as player at that time.
Dude... Djokovic had already won a masters 1000 and about to be top 5 in the world... it was very obvious that he'd be going straight to the top and winning slams in the future. Del Po in R1 obviously wasn't anywhere near his peak, but he would make the top 10 the next year, it would be the equivalent of facing like Sinner in R1 this year. Very difficult R1 matchup, probably the most difficult unseeded opponent in the draw. Hewitt and Moya weren't in slam winning form but they were still solid players, and you could make a strong argument that 2007 Federer would be the best player in today's field (though he'd still lose to Nadal because of the matchup factor).

Thiem's draw is terminally declined Cilic (name only, far worse than Hewitt/Moya), Sock who's barely won a match for 2-3 years, decent opponent Ruud in R3 but come on that's not some nightmare draw, Wawrinka R4 who clearly also isn't anywhere near his peak, Schwartzmann hasn't ever made the top 10 or a slam SF.

Obviously SF and F are difficult but it's not like most players haven't had to go through 2 of the big 3 in the past. I'd imagine it would be far easier to beat 34 year old Nadal and 33 year old Djokovic than some other slams in the past.
 

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No recent Slam draws jump out at me, but Federer's projected draw at Indian Wells 2017 was absolutely brutal:

2nd Round: Anderson (slam finalist that year)
3rd Round: Nadal (GOAT contender, 3 time IW champion)
QF: Djokovic (GOAT contender, 5 time IW champion)
SF: Cilic (former slam winner + slam finalist that year)
F: Murray/Wawrinka (both triple slam winners + Murray was ranked 1 at the time)

Impressively, Federer ended up winning this tournament, although he only had to face Nadal and Wawrinka from that list as all the others were knocked out early.
 

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Dude... Djokovic had already won a masters 1000 and about to be top 5 in the world... it was very obvious that he'd be going straight to the top and winning slams in the future. Del Po in R1 obviously wasn't anywhere near his peak, but he would make the top 10 the next year, it would be the equivalent of facing like Sinner in R1 this year. Very difficult R1 matchup, probably the most difficult unseeded opponent in the draw. Hewitt and Moya weren't in slam winning form but they were still solid players, and you could make a strong argument that 2007 Federer would be the best player in today's field (though he'd still lose to Nadal because of the matchup factor).

Thiem's draw is terminally declined Cilic (name only, far worse than Hewitt/Moya), Sock who's barely won a match for 2-3 years, decent opponent Ruud in R3 but come on that's not some nightmare draw, Wawrinka R4 who clearly also isn't anywhere near his peak, Schwartzmann hasn't ever made the top 10 or a slam SF.

Obviously SF and F are difficult but it's not like most players haven't had to go through 2 of the big 3 in the past. I'd imagine it would be far easier to beat 34 year old Nadal and 33 year old Djokovic than some other slams in the past.
Dude it's a SF match. You're supposed to face masters 1000 winners and top 5 players. It's at best an average SF opponent.

Cilic ~ Delpo
Sock > Cipolla
Ruud > Montanes
Wawrinka > Hewitt
Schwartzman ~ Moya
Nadal > Djokovic
Djokovic > Federer

Sorry if that upsets you
 
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No recent Slam draws jump out at me, but Federer's projected draw at Indian Wells 2017 was absolutely brutal:

2nd Round: Anderson (slam finalist that year)
3rd Round: Nadal (GOAT contender, 3 time IW champion)
QF: Djokovic (GOAT contender, 5 time IW champion)
SF: Cilic (former slam winner + slam finalist that year)
F: Murray/Wawrinka (both triple slam winners + Murray was ranked 1 at the time)

Impressively, Federer ended up winning this tournament, although he only had to face Nadal and Wawrinka from that list as all the others were knocked out early.
2017 IW and 2016 Rome were two of the most absurdly lopsided draws in history, a lot of players had super tough draws in those two tournaments.
 

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Dude it's a SF match. You're supposed to face masters 1000 winners and top 5 players. It's at best an average SF opponent.

Cilic ~ Delpo
Sock > Cipolla
Ruud > Montanes
Wawrinka > Hewitt
Schwartzman ~ Moya
Nadal > Djokovic
Djokovic > Federer

Sorry if that upsets you
Federer of 07 > Djokovic of 19. Recent years Djokovic has declined on clay, 07 baby Nadal would be able to beat him. While Federer of 07 was one of his best clay years.

Rest are correct, though I'd rate declined Cilic ahead of newbie Delpo.
 

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Dude it's a SF match. You're supposed to face masters 1000 winners and top 5 players. It's at best an average SF opponent.

Cilic ~ Delpo
Sock > Cipolla
Ruud > Montanes
Wawrinka > Hewitt
Schwartzman ~ Moya
Nadal > Djokovic
Djokovic > Federer

Sorry if that upsets you
Cilic < Delpo
Sock ~Cipolla
Ruud > Montanes
Wawrinka> Hewitt
Schwartzman <Moya
Nadal > Djokovic
Djokovic <Federer

Lol at having Sock ahead of anyone, a dude who literally hasn't won a match for years on the tour. You're doing what you're saying I'm doing, equating a player by name when his current form sucks. I'd take Sinner over Cilic nowadays, and Del Potro was a more promising junior than even Sinner. I'll give you R3/R4, but equating Moya and Schwartzman is a massive joke lol. And near peak Federer of 2007 easily defeats 33 year old Djokovic on his worst surface in 4 sets.
 

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Anyway my point wasn't to suggest Nadal's 2007 RG was the most difficult draw ever or anything or to get in an argument over that... I'm sure there were several draws that way more brutal if you look over time (e.g. Berdych Wimbledon 2010). But to suggest Thiem's draw is one of the toughest of all time is a massive joke. Pretty difficult, but far from impossible or the toughest draw ever.
 

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Hewitt Australian Open 05

Clement
Blake
Chela
Nadal/Youzhny
Nalbandian/Coria/Ferrero
Roddick
Safin/Federer

And he actually had to play the first name in each row!
 

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Cilic < Delpo
Sock ~Cipolla
Ruud > Montanes
Wawrinka> Hewitt
Schwartzman <Moya
Nadal > Djokovic
Djokovic <Federer

Lol at having Sock ahead of anyone, a dude who literally hasn't won a match for years on the tour. You're doing what you're saying I'm doing, equating a player by name when his current form sucks. I'd take Sinner over Cilic nowadays, and Del Potro was a more promising junior than even Sinner. I'll give you R3/R4, but equating Moya and Schwartzman is a massive joke lol. And near peak Federer of 2007 easily defeats 33 year old Djokovic on his worst surface in 4 sets.
Fair enough on some of these. Maybe I'm misremembering how good Federer was on clay because Nadal just won RG every time. I can see the argument for Delpo ahead of Cilic but both these guys are basically non factors. I think Cipolla is by far the worst player here, but again, him and Sock are basically non factors. First 2 rounds are a wash. Ruud and Wawrinka are clearly a tougher 3rd and 4th round.

I completely disagree with the QF judgement. Sure Schwartzman maybe never made a slam SF. However Moya in 2007 was 30(Old for those days) and hadn't made a slam SF in the prior 8 years. He went on to win 5 more more slam matches in his entire career before retirement including 0 more at RG. I think this is a clear dead heat.

The SF is the most vital one. You use the argument that Schwartzman has never made a slam SF, but completely ignore that for 2007 Djokovic who had never made a slam SF before that tournament. I don't care how good someone becomes in the future. Getting a player in their slam SF debut can't be any tougher than average. Given he had never made a masters SF on clay either this has to be considered a good draw for a slam SF. This wouldn't be much different than getting Tsitsipas in the SF this year which would be considered an easy slam SF draw. Actually based on what they've both did up to that point Tsitsipas would probably be considered tougher. Then you're comparing that to the best clay courter ever in Nadal as the SF draw for Thiem

Perhaps 2007 Roger is tougher than 2020 Djokovic. But I don't even think that even comes close to outweighing the SF let alone round 3 and 4.
 

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Djokovic as no.3 had quite a few HC draws with Federer in projected SF and Nadal in the opposite half, so, the top guys who were in Djokovic's quarter could've had an extremely tough draw e.g. USO'08 Roddick was supposed to play AO'08 winner in QF, Federer in SF, Nadal/Murray in F + several accomplished players in 1R-4R.


Djokovic had a very tough 3R match vs Cilic, then he could've played Tsonga (AO'08 final), Moya, Safin in 4R but has played 5-setter vs Robredo, then in QF there was Roddick, SF Federer, F Nadal/Murray.

Roddick got F.Gonzales(AO'07 F) in 4R, in 1R there was magician Santoro (AO'06 QF) in 2R could've been AO'02 winner and Wimb'05 semifinalist T.Johannson but it was his last slam and he lost 1R to Gulbis who was RG quaterfinalist that year..
 
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