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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think this deserves its own thread, certainly one of the most impressive returning performances over a tournament ever, especially if we consider that apart from RBA he wasn't exactly facing poor servers - Gulbis and Cilic are actually near the top in serve stats this year. 26 in 46 makes for 56,5% return games won - which is pretty incredible.

What other instances have there been in the recent past of players breaking 50%+ en route to a title? There's Nadal in Monte Carlo 2010 for sure (26 out of 37 :eek: ) and I'd imagine he did it in some more clay tournaments, anyone else? How about on HC?
 

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Amazing truly, i have had a good feeling about Nishikori in 2014 since AO..If he stays healthy, he is primed for deep Slam run and most probably make WTF..I think he would have beaten Nadal had the latter made it to the Final and with the way Rafa has been serving lately..

Dat Nadal MC'10 stat.. You reminded me of how indestructible he was on Clay compared to his post-2012 shadow self :sad:

I think you, or someone else, probably need look for RG 2008 for something close for over 50% return games won.. I am not sure but that would be truly amazing considering it was a Slam win....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Amazing truly, i have had a good feeling about Nishikori in 2014 since AO..If he stays healthy, he is primed for deep Slam run and most probably make WTF..I think he would have beaten Nadal had the latter made it to the Final and with the way Rafa has been serving lately..

Dat Nadal MC'10 stat.. You reminded me of how indestructible he was on Clay compared to his post-2012 shadow self :sad:

I think you, or someone else, probably need look for RG 2008 for something close for over 50% return games won.. I am not sure but that would be truly amazing considering it was a Slam win....
I've checked it, 51 breaks in 83 return games :eek: 61,4%, barely believable really. Nadal's MC 2010 and RG 2008 are easily the most dominant tournament runs in the XXI century.

With that said though, I'm sure you'd agree Kei is a much better returner than Nadal. Those Nadal break stats are more to do with how impenetrable he was off the ground in his prime on clay, he wasn't exactly killing his opponents with deep aggressive returns, he was just impossible to hit through on clay once the ball was in play.
 

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He is a great returner, bodes well for him :yeah:
 

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I've checked it, 51 breaks in 83 return games :eek: 61,4%, barely believable really. Nadal's MC 2010 and RG 2008 are easily the most dominant tournament runs in the XXI century.

With that said though, I'm sure you'd agree Kei is a much better returner than Nadal. Those Nadal break stats are more to do with how impenetrable he was off the ground in his prime on clay, he wasn't exactly killing his opponents with deep aggressive returns, he was just impossible to hit through on clay once the ball was in play.
I concur there..Kei is an elite returner, and he looks so smooth out there for his indistinguishable height/built...For Rafa, even form an eye test perspective, his ROS is so obvious in it being primarily a rally-starting shot :lol:...Even off clay, it just shows that he has arguably the most potent ground game tennis has ever seen having won so much with a second rate ROS and third tier serve..Imagine if Nadal had USO'10 serve for an entire career or Nole's ROS..I shudder..
 

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Great stat. Good job, Kei.
 

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returnikori :bowdown:
impressive fact indeed
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I concur there..Kei is an elite returner, and he looks so smooth out there for his indistinguishable height/built...For Rafa, even form an eye test perspective, his ROS is so obvious in it being primarily a rally-starting shot :lol:...Even off clay, it just shows that he has arguably the most potent ground game tennis has ever seen having won so much with a second rate ROS and third tier serve..Imagine if Nadal had USO'10 serve for an entire career or Nole's ROS..I shudder..
Yes, Nadal's ground game is the best ever. His serve and return are average for a top player at best, but in neutral rallies he reigns supreme even now far past his best. He'd rarely if ever lose if he had an elite serve or return, as it stands some players can get the overall advantage in the serve-return combo against Nadal and get the first strike in consistently.

Kei, on other hand, has the return as his main strength. He has a great BH too and a very good FH and movement around the court, but it's his ability to put constant pressure on return against even the biggest servers that really gives that extra edge and, to an extent, makes up for his big weakeness, the serve (seems improved, but will probably never be a weapon).
 

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Yes, Nadal's ground game is the best ever.
:rolleyes: ....if what you consider as worthy of the moniker "best ever" to be a game comprised primarily of heavy topspin and good running ability. We all know Nadal fares extremely well on slow and high bouncing courts....not so well outwith. Best ever ground game? Neh, of course not.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
:rolleyes: ....if what you consider as worthy of the moniker "best ever" to be a game comprised primarily of heavy topspin and good running ability. We all know Nadal fares extremely well on slow and high bouncing courts....not so well outwith. Best ever ground game? Neh, of course not.
Pretty much, Nadal's ability to hit with a lot of sting but plenty of margin + his movement make him the best rally player ever. No one can consistently outrally him, on any surface; if you can't get consistently get the first strike in and finish points, no chance to beat Nadal.

Even in his current form, I wouldn't fancy anyone on tour on any surface to beat him in an hypothetical situation where every single point starts neutral.

Of course this doesn't mean he's the best overall player ever, a lot of players beat Nadal easily when it comes to the serve-return combo, Nadal's are average at best for a top player.
 

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I wouldn't say Nadal's ground game is the best ever. His slice is bad. Sits up way too high. His backhand was only good in its prime. Pretty much the only thing keeping Dull at the top of the game was the top spin forehand. We've seen how good baseliners like Davydenko or Djokovic dominate Dull.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wouldn't say Nadal's ground game is the best ever. His slice is bad. Sits up way too high. His backhand was only good in its prime. Pretty much the only thing keeping Dull at the top of the game was the top spin forehand. We've seen how good baseliners like Davydenko or Djokovic dominate Dull.
Both these players serve and return considerably better than Nadal ie when they're playing well they get the first strike in more often than Nadal. They can beat Nadal when they play aggressively and hit through him, neither of them finds any particular joy rallying with Nadal.

If Djokovic's serve and especially return were equal to Nadal's, it's dubious whether he'd have ever beaten him, let alone 18 times.
 

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Pretty much, Nadal's ability to hit with a lot of sting but plenty of margin + his movement make him the best rally player ever. No one can consistently outrally him, on any surface; if you can't get consistently get the first strike in and finish points, no chance to beat Nadal.
Plenty can and have out-rallied him....Murray, Djokovic, Davydenko, Fed indoors and on grass - almost certainly on fast hard in his prime if Nadal had showed up second half of the season. His game is based around high margin for error and reliability....that makes, as we know, a tough game to break down....but if that is the "best ground game ever" then we shall have to agree to disagree. We have different ideas of the definition "best". For me that would be Fed....in his best years the best attacking play and the quintessential transition game, the ability to turn defence into attack from the most unlikely positions and to end the point from decisively from that outset. You won't hear me argue against Nadal as best defence-orientated game which has fared well as the tour transitioned to slower and higher bouncing courts....but he is still always vulnerable outside this genre.

Even in his current form, I wouldn't fancy anyone on tour on any surface to beat him in an hypothetical situation where every single point starts neutral.
Not really possible to shore up an argument by introducing an impossible context...whether you fancy it or otherwise. The game is what it is a complex and intrinsic entity. Suffice to say, almost all rallies he has with Djokovic have a neutral point in them....and he loses plenty from there.

Of course this doesn't mean he's the best overall player ever, a lot of players beat Nadal easily when it comes to the serve-return combo, Nadal's are average at best for a top player.
I think he has evolved into a very good server....nowhere near the best, but very good no less. As we know, there are intrinsic advantages to being a good lefty server vs right handed players....namely the outswinger on the ad court. His return is a bit meh....but he is afforded the luxury of standing at the back wall and bunting it back deep....something that wasn't always feasible until more recently. Against good servers on faster courts, he struggles for sure.
 

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It's really impressive. Of course, avoiding Nadal and Ferrer did help him, but he clearly made a step forward, recently.
 
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