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Who is the Mental GOAT?

  • Djokovic

    Votes: 22 66.7%
  • Nadal

    Votes: 11 33.3%
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Discussion Starter #1
Both of these guys are the mentally toughest tennis players of all time.

Maybe Connors or Borg could be up there... but the big reason Nadal and Djokovic are on top is because of there immense mental strength.

Both guys have pulled out all the stops when it comes down to the wire. They can find the extra step, the extra serve , passing shot, or defensive forehand/ backhand to win the point.

The amount of times that either of these guys has lost a match due to choking is pretty small.

Both of them will be in contention to be or become the GOAT of tennis.

So forgetting about the rest of the players, who is the mental goat between Djokovic and Nadal?
 

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Rafa lost 2012 AO Final after being up a break in the 5th Set.
Rafa lost 2017 AO Final after being up a break in the 5th Set.
Rafa all but lost the 2008 Wimbledon Final after being up 2 Sets to Love! Rafa led 5-2 in the 4th Set tiebreaker and serving - and double-faulted.
I admire Rafa's talent, work ethic and passion, but he's got some mental issues.
Having said that, he's great at saving break points, so even if he's mentally flawed, he's not mentally weak.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Rafa lost 2012 AO Final after being up a break in the 5th Set.
Rafa lost 2017 AO Final after being up a break in the 5th Set.
Rafa all but lost the 2008 Wimbledon Final after being up 2 Sets to Love! Rafa led 5-2 in the 4th Set tiebreaker and serving - and double-faulted.
I admire Rafa's talent, work ethic and passion, but he's got some mental issues.
Having said that, he's great at saving break points, so even if he's mentally flawed, he's not mentally weak.
Is he ahead of Djokovic , Nadalalot?
 

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Most of the close matches I can think of involving Djokovic, he's won them.
With Nadal, it's a mix. Especially in recent years, it feels like he's been on the losing end of most close matches. So I'd pick Djokovic.
 

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Djokovic is comfortably ahead of Rafa in the mental aspect of 5-set thrillers.
For saving break points I'd say they are tied.
Rafa is better at overcoming a hostile crowd.
Overall Djokovic is better mentally, because the 5-setters are the most important aspect.
There is nobody better at overcoming hostile crowds than Djokovic. He's done it his entire career. While there are far more examples than these two, Wimbledon 2019 and US Open 2015 will forever stand the test of time as the greatest showcase of mental strength ever witnessed on a tennis court.
 

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Both are mentally suspect. Djokovic failing to show up in the 13 Wimb final, and the final set of USO 12 was not good enough. His failure to deal with Stan in Slam finals is poor also. The outbursts at the crowd show a lack of mental control. Nadal failing to close out multiple Slam finals with a break in the last set, not many have achieved that. And double faulting against the likes of Kyrgios. Neither of these guys have the full package.
 

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You could have just used the other thread lel

As for Rafa failing to close break leads:
12 AO - okay, but against the surface GOAT at his peak in arguably the greatest ever match. Hardly a fault, would have beaten anyone else.
17 AO - well beyond tired. He was literally clutch that set, on the whole. Saved a shit ton of BP's on his last legs.

Ergo, Rafa is Neo.

He is the one.

Complete package, mentally.

Even in losing affairs he convinces mentally, saving BP's, SP's, MP's, which you cant say for anyone else so consistently (11 USO, 12 AO, 14 AO, 15 FO, 16 USO, 17 AO, 18 WB, 19 WB).

He requires the most to be beaten.
 

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Well Rafa will fight harder when it seems hopeless.
But honestly after what Djok did at Wimb last year, and what Rafa did at the Ao 2012 and 2017, I am inclined to give Djok a slight edge over Rafa with mental toughness. Very slight.
 

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Some thoughts, to counter recency bias and open out the discussion:

a) Novak is a mental giant when he's the best player in the world.
Federer was a mental giant when he was the best player in the world (i.e. pre-mono, except on clay).
Rafa is a mental giant on the surface in which he's the best player in the world, and on other surfaces when he's confident and in form.

b) Who's the bigger mental giant: somebody like Borg who burns the intensity candle at both ends, or somebody like Laver who has a rich and long career?

c) GS final win percentages:
Rafa: 70.4%
Novak: 65.4%
Roger: 64.5%

On clay in GS finals, Rafa is 100%. Off clay he is 47%.
Pre-mono, Fed was on 85.7% (off clay: 100%)

d) People tend to think of mental toughness as applying only to close matches, but it also applies to making matches close: that is, not fading.

The stats for straight-set defeats in slam finals are impressive from all three players:

Roger: 1
Rafa: 1
Novak: 2

e) Another aspect of mental toughness is the ability to bounce back from defeats.

In this respect, Roger is the strongest. Rafa and Novak are much more dependent on building confidence.

f) Rafa squandered his best years at Wimbledon.
Novak went mentally walkabout for a big chunk of his prime.
Roger lost big matches he should have won.

Which is the bigger marker of mental fragility?

g) None of these guys waste their time in night clubs or in disastrous marriages to Hollywood stars. That gives them a big edge over the tennis stars of the 70s and 80s.
 

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Novak Djokovic edges it simply for the fact he faced hostile crowds in the big majority of his slam wins + other big titles. You got to wonder how many slams the other two would have against such crowds.
 

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Answer is Nadal

To win RG after RG takes huge mental effort. Also his comeback v Medvedev at WTF and stuff like that. He only loses when he is injured or outclassed on the day. That is the definition of mental strength.

I would put Djok as number 2 though. He is also pretty good mentally however usually more so against fed lol
 

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I would say against the field in general it’s Nadal, but against the other top 3 players it’s Djokovic. Really there’s nothing too amazing about Nole’s Mentality when he’s not facing Nadal or Federer. It’s good, but when he’s in a close match against a next gen player, or Wawrinka, or even Murray you feel like there’s every chance he could lose. But against those two he is absolutely dialled in and unshakeable. When you think about all his most clutch wins they’re almost exclusively against those two.

Nadal is a mental wreck against Federer and Nole these days, at least off clay, but he’s made a career off refusing to lose besides.
 

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if you asked me this 7,8 years ago I think id pick Nadal, but now Djokovic has proven himself time and time again to be a wall mentally, true he had a downturn with Pepe Imaz at the fore, but apart from that he has been amazing in this area.
 

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After the 2014 French Open Novak was 6-7 (46%) on Grand Slams Finals. There were serious talks about how extremely weak he was mentally. His technical game had no problems but his head betrayed him slam after slam.

Since then he has a immaculate record of 11-2 (85%) on Grand Slams Finals (Huge props to Stan).

Throughout his entire career Rafa has been practically the same. When you really compare them career wise I've said that Rafa is a little bit ahead. After all he has never been defeated on a Clay Slam final while having defeated Novak and Roger on Hard and Grass.
 
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