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Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

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Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:37 pm

Normally when I come up with a theory, I myself try to scrutinise it and rip it apart, and only the theories that survive my own scrutiny I will go on to take as my opinions. However with this one, even after this process, I am still slightly unsure. 
So, what is your take ? (and btw don't reply simply with 'the stats don't show it'... looking at the stats and circumstances is part of the whole analysis) 


OK so I don't really think from 2009 there is really any difference between Nadal's level on outdoor hard and clay, especially when it gets to Best of 5 sets where Nadal is at his best. 
Before 2009 his movement was better on clay, and that plays a crucial part of his game, but from 2009 he's been moving equally well on hard courts I feel. He's also made some changes to his game to be better suited to hard courts, and the surfaces have become more homogenous, the combination of which is the reason I reach my conclusion. 
But yet, the stats show Nadal winning so many French Opens, but only a few slams on hard courts ? 
Let's have a closer look to see what may be hidden underneath the stats, I will take the slams year by year

2009:
Well my case here is not very difficult, the only slam he won this year was on hard court- and his matches against Verdasco and Federer in the Aus Open were two of the highest quality matches he played all year.

2010: 
After having to retire from the match due to knee problems against Murray in the Aus Open, he won 1 slam each on both clay and hard courts this year, he was very convincing in both the French Open and US Open. 

2011: 
OK, we have to be brutally honest about this one. If Nadal had faced Federer in the US Open final, I think Rafa would have headed into it as favourite. If Nadal had faced Djokovic in the French Open final, Djokovic would have headed into it as favourite. The variable which meant Nadal won the FO but not US was because he was better in FO, but because Federer happened to beat Djokovic in the French and not US. Nadal's worst defeats that year to Djokovic came in the clay Masters, he actually did much better in IW & Miami. As for Aus Open loss, credit to Ferrer for deservedly winning, but Nadal was clearly injured, could not move to his left, so not much we can really analyse from that in terms of Nadal's level on clay vs HC. 

2012: 
Nadal was exceptionally close to beating Djokovic in the Aus Open, but lost. Somehow instead of losing confidence from that, Nadal took huge confidence and upped his game against Djokovic. (Variety of possible reasons for this, but if we want to debate that specifically, not on this thread please). He then beat Djokovic in the French Open in 4 sets. The variables for me here is Nadal gaining mental confidence, and Djokovic losing confidence and intensity. For me the surface itself was more or less irrelevant, well on Nadal's side anyway. 

2013: 
Nadal's best tennis this year came on hard courts. He won both the French Open and US Open, but for me his US Open win was a lot more convincing. He nearly lost the match to Djokovic in Paris, but won quite comfortably in New York. This to me further underlines what I was saying in the 2012 paragraph, that the surface made an insignificant impact compared to form and mental confidence. 

2014:
So he didn't win Australian Open, but won French Open. However again there is an elephant in the room that we can't ignore. Let me put it this way, in wording that sounds nice to people who dislike Nadal: if Nadal had played Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final- both in the same physical condition as they were in the Aus Open, and Stan's level was as high in the FO and AO (remember if comparing Nadal's level specifically we need to keep Stan's level as a 'fixed variable')- then I feel Stan would have also won the French Open final. The actual French Open final was a bizarre match, pretty low quality encounter, Djokovic looking a bit physically ill- and Nadal clearly struggling from back problems in the last 2 sets. Nadal managed to sneak through, but if both players were 100% it would have been a totally different match (and probably a much higher level too). 
Anyway, all in all we can show the year in two ways; different fortune may have meant Nadal could have won 0 out the first 2 slams of the year, or 2 of the first 2 slams of the year. However for me the factors which meant he won the Aus Open and not the French, are independent of the surface itself. 



---------------
So overall I think despite the stats suggesting it as unlikely, if you take the circumstance in mind, the theory does seem to hold its ground. Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, and in this case, I don't think it does.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by Tenez on Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:05 pm

It's not about Nadal only....it's about the conds. I'd say that HCs have really tried to accomodate as much as they could for Nadal. So for sure he has done better since.

Wimbledon started first by producing ridiculous big, soft balls which made Wimbedon having more break of serve than the FO (was it 2008 or 2010?). Then at the USO, you have a player able to win 4 or 5 FOs without being able to beat a seeded player in the medium pace. We had to wait 2010 before they provided bigger balls (I have proof of that) to allow Nadal to play "like if it was clay".

So as you said your theory is not bullet proof. Problems with fans producing theories is they only consider their player as "the main factor" whereas any objective mind can see the factors changing around and influencing results.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:31 pm

Tenez wrote:
So as you said your theory is not bullet proof. Problems with fans producing theories is they only consider their player as "the main factor" whereas any objective mind can see the factors changing around and influencing results.
Firstly not sure if any of us are objective, but that doesn't mean we're not necessarily right. I try to scrutinise my own opinions, I'm objective during that, but of course when I reach an opinion I will hold it.

As for your post, I am talking about outdoor hard vs clay. As for factors changing; Tenez do you agree on the whole with my analysis ?
The reason why if I am correct the case has turned out as it has (which you seemed to answer to) is also another debate, but first I want to know whether people actually agree with what I'm saying or not is true, and their reasons for it.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by sphairistike on Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:54 pm

If we consider everything and not just best of 5 - where most players cannot sustain a high level for the whole duration now that all surfaces have slowed down considerably to the point where it is exhausting to play a five setter and the players who are best physically will win in the long run - then it's pretty straightforward. Nadal does not manage to defend a HC title, ever. He only manages to defend clay titles...

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by Tenez on Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:15 pm

sphairistike wrote:If we consider everything and not just best of 5 - where most players cannot sustain a high level for the whole duration now that all surfaces have slowed down considerably to the point where it is exhausting to play a five setter and the players who are best physically will win in the long run - then it's pretty straightforward. Nadal does not manage to defend a HC title, ever. He only manages to defend clay titles...
Good point...though I'd say defending a title usually doesn't tell us much as a success factor. The only reason I can think of not being able to defend a title besides being injured is due to pressure of winning it as defending champion. I do not see this as Nadal's particular issue. To me it just happened that he won those HC through extreme fitness and was not able to sustain that fitness consistently enough. Whereas on clay the surface certainly seems less taxing to him.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:56 pm

It is true that he gets injured more frequently on hard courts, however as it's an artificial surface that isn't surprising.
That is another factor which distorts the stats, creating a difference between his stats on clay and HC when in reality his level of play when playing and healthy is the same.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:29 pm

Not quite sure what your theory is trying to say.

Nadal's tennis is very simple and does not rely on variety. There is only a plan A and provided he is physically fit it works for him across all surfaces, more or less.

So long as he has a high bouncing ball and court, his game is fool-proof: standing back as far as he likes, he has all the time in the world to load the ball with spin and send it back to his opponent sapping their energy levels.
That's not tennis.

Naturally, despite homogenisation, courts and surfaces still vary, which is why Nadal succeeds best on clay, where he has most time for the shot.

He has tried to come closer to the base line, but is very uncomfortable there, as his ball-striking is not suited for aggressive early ball taking. He can't do it.

He has done well to win what he did, but let's be honest - with a lot of help others never got.

Tennis is all about how you strike the ball, how well you can control it.

The reason most of us don't like Nadal is because we see a Mr Muscle win "dirty", and being allowed to do so.

Not only has it led to his body now being able to last only a few months during clay season, it has also strangled the game in general.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:38 pm

Kim Jong-Un wrote:It is true that he gets injured more frequently on hard courts, however as it's an artificial surface that isn't surprising.
That is another factor which distorts the stats, creating a difference between his stats on clay and HC when in reality his level of play when playing and healthy is the same.

Hard courts are the same for everyone.

There is no reason why Nadal should get injured on it more than, say Federer or Djokovic.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:45 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Kim Jong-Un wrote:It is true that he gets injured more frequently on hard courts, however as it's an artificial surface that isn't surprising.
That is another factor which distorts the stats, creating a difference between his stats on clay and HC when in reality his level of play when playing and healthy is the same.

Hard courts are the same for everyone.

There is no reason why Nadal should get injured on it more than, say Federer or Djokovic.
It's a mixture of reasons, congenital and playing style- but that is another debate totally.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:46 pm

noleisthebest wrote:That's not tennis.
Look, like Tenez, you seem to be more keen to answer the question on why the case occurred to result in my theory being correct; rather than whether I am correct or not.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:53 pm

I suppose one way you can see whether you agree with this theory is looking ahead to 2015.

If he is to win one slam, which one does he have the highest chance in ?
Now of course you'll instinctively think 'French Open' as his record there is the best, but read the OP, and then maybe you'll realise that correlation doesn't equal causation and his chances at AO/USO is very similar to his chances at FO ? Or not ?

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:58 pm

I still don't know what theory you are talking about, but to answer your question (again), Nadal's favourite slam will always be RG, even in 2015!
As I explained in my post further up, clay suits his game most, especially on Chatrier.

In addition, with Nadal you also have to take into comsideration what he "wants" to win in 2015, that will affect his "physical" preparation.
We will hear a lot of positive statements from his camp before AO if he wants to go for it.
Then...we may see some easy draws without Stan or Nishikori in his half...and definitely no Kyrgios.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:04 pm

I just had a look at the title of this thread...again, what do you mean by "level"?
You adopt that phrase from Nadal and I think use it without thinking.
That very statement condemns him: the only level he can possibly talk about is the level of fitness and physicality.

Players don't play at  different levels on different surfaces, surfaces may affect their style, but the "level" is always the same, more or less.
Some players raise form during the tournament and try to peak for the last few matches, but that is not the "level" Nadal talks about.

Over to you: what do you mean by " level" exactly?

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:13 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Over to you: what do you mean by " level" exactly?
By level I mean level of play on a surface.
For example, Djokovic's best surface is hard courts, so his level of play is highest on hard courts.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:19 pm

Actually, Nole played his best ever tennis against Federer in Wimbledon this summer.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:20 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Actually, Nole played his best ever tennis against  Federer in Wimbledon this summer.
OK fair enough, I see Djokovic on average having the highest level of tennis on hard courts; but that is a different debate.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:33 pm

To put my point in the thread another way NITB, I feel the reason he's won more slams on French Open than the hard court ones is due to confounding factors, i.e. external factors which can impact things- rather than his level at the French Open and US/Aus Open itself.
So based on my conclusion, there is no particular reason to say next year Nadal has a better chance in to win a Slam in Paris compared to Melbourne or New York.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:44 pm

In that case I disagree, and have nothing to add to my first post in this thread.
I do acknowledge the existence of confounding factors, such as "touching the net" moment from Nole, or that crazy return from him against Federer in USO, but with Nadal, the regularity and predictability are too obvious.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:49 pm

noleisthebest wrote:In that case I disagree, and have nothing to add to my first post in this thread.
I do acknowledge the existence of confounding factors, such as "touching the net" moment from Nole, or that crazy return from him against Federer in USO, but with Nadal, the regularity and predictability are too obvious.
Wait you agree that the confounding factors I identified do exist, but you still disagree overall ?

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:57 pm

You didn't identify confounding factors, you misused the term.
There is nothing confounding about Nadal's relative lack of success on non- clay surfaces.
I know it doesn't suit your theory, but again, if you want to come up with something "ground-breaking" in your budding journalistic ambitions, you'll have to think of something more valid.
Nadal is a popular topic and would give you instant audience, so may be worth racking your brains a bit more.
Think outside the box.
This one is a non- starter.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:09 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Think outside the box.
This one is a non- starter.
NITB, I wouldn't publish something like this for my journalism work, no way; this is a bit too complex and the title is not catchy enough.

Clearly you don't agree with me completely, that's fine, I'm interested hearing people's opinions.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:20 pm

noleisthebest wrote:You didn't identify confounding factors, you misused the term.
Would also like to point out I have not misused the term.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding
"In statistics, a confounding variable (also confounding factor, a confound, or confounder) is an extraneous variable in a statistical model that correlates (directly or inversely) with both the dependent variable and the independent variable."

So something like Nadal being lucky that Fed beat Djoko in FO, but unlucky that he didn't in USO; thus meaning the task in FO was harder for him- is a confounder if working on the theory Nadal winning FO but not USO meant his level was better in FO.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:39 am

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/tennis/interviews/Nadal-will-surprise-us-again-says-Kuerten/articleshow/45272519.cms

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:44 am

I saw Kuerten's comments yesterday, thanks for the link as that is relevant.

It's so so simplistic to put it in the way he does, he assumes correlation means causation and assumes that means it will continue in the future too.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:02 pm

Luvsports- thoughts on this ?

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by Tenez on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:45 pm

I am not sure I understand your theory. Can you sum it up?

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:27 pm

OK take someone like Murray. He is a better player on hard courts and grass than he is on clay, and that is why I think he's done better on hard courts and grass compared to clay.

However for Nadal, I feel he is as good on hard courts as he is on clay since 2009. This is because firstly I think his training on hard courts means he can move as well on them now as anyone, and hard courts and clay have homogenised too so they play more like each other.
Some people may point to the fact that since 2009 Nadal has won many more slams in French Open than on hard courts, but I feel that this is simply because of confounding factors, not because he's better on clay. (I will concede that hard courts are more stressful for his body than clay)

If we go through 2009-2014:
2009 he won his only slam on hard courts, 2012 he won his only slam on clay- those two cancel out.
2010- he won slams on both hard court and clay.
2011- the only reason he won on clay and not US Open is because djokovic lost to federer in paris, but beat him in us. if it was the other way round, rafa would have won us but not paris i think
2013- won on both hard court and clay
2014- again i feel the fact he won french open and not AO is due to circumstances. if he had played stan with a back injury in paris, i think stan would have denied him the french open. The French Open final saw both djokovic and nadal under-par, djoko with a virus and nadal with back problems from set 3. if both were fit, the match could have been totally different.

So overall I think it's just external factors which have meant since 2009 nadal has won more on clay than hard courts. He gets injured more easily on hard courts, take into note: USO 2009, AO 2010, AO 2011, AO 2014; but when playing fit and healthy is not actually worse on the surface.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by Tenez on Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:32 pm

Kim Jong-Un wrote:OK take someone like Murray. He is a better player on hard courts and grass than he is on clay, and that is why I think he's done better on hard courts and grass compared to clay.

However for Nadal, I feel he is as good on hard courts as he is on clay since 2009. This is because firstly I think his training on hard courts means he can move as well on them now as anyone, and hard courts and clay have homogenised too so they play more like each other.
Some people may point to the fact that since 2009 Nadal has won many more slams in French Open than on hard courts, but I feel that this is simply because of confounding factors, not because he's better on clay. (I will concede that hard courts are more stressful for his body than clay)

I have been saying that for a very long time. I explained that by the fact that HC favours Nadal's mouvement even more, plus the bounce can be extremely high too. Problem is that others play even better on hard. So even if Nadal were to play better on hard, comparatively he does not play as well as others on that surface.....even since 2009. But I agree that a slow HC is as good, or almost as good as clay...and as I said slow grass suits him fine too (especially the second week with big balls).

If we go through 2009-2014:
2009 he won his only slam on hard courts, 2012 he won his only slam on clay- those two cancel out.
2010- he won slams on both hard court and clay.
2011- the only reason he won on clay and not US Open is because djokovic lost to federer in paris, but beat him in us. if it was the other way round, rafa would have won us but not paris i think
too much speculation here. You theory does not hold much ground there.
2013- won on both hard court and clay
2014- again i feel the fact he won french open and not AO is due to circumstances. if he had  played stan with a back injury in paris, i think stan would have denied him the french open. The French Open final saw both djokovic and nadal under-par, djoko with a virus and nadal with back problems from set 3. if both were fit, the match could have been totally different.
Again, Those stats are so fickle. Djoko could/should have won the FO had he not messed up that smash at the FO. ...so talking about theory when at the end of the day it's a point there and then which determines the winner is a bit shallow.

So overall I think it's just external factors which have meant since 2009 nadal has won more on clay than hard courts. He gets injured more easily on hard courts, take into note: USO 2009, AO 2010, AO 2011, AO 2014; but when playing fit and healthy is not actually worse on the surface.
9FO, 2Wimby, 3HC....Since 2009 5FO, 3 HC but what you omit to say is that Nadal lost FO 2009 cause he played a player in form, like he was close to lose on HC v Federer in AO or Djoko somewhere else. Not enough data here to make a proper judgement and certainly not that he relatively better or as good on clay as HC. Stats clearly say otherwise.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:43 pm

Tenez wrote:I have been saying that for a very long time. I explained that by the fact that HC favours Nadal's mouvement even more, plus the bounce can be extremely high too. Problem is that others play even better on hard.
If it's the case of others being better on hard courts than clay, I would count that as an external factor (not one to do with Nadal).
So you are agreeing with my theory that Nadal is as good on hard courts as clay.

Tenez wrote:Djoko could/should have won the FO had he not messed up that smash at the FO. ...so talking about theory when at the end of the day it's a point there and then which determines the winner is a bit shallow.
Well by saying this you seem to be agreeing with me even more. Nadal and Djokovic's match up could be actually the same in French Open and US Open, but simply form on the day and small margins can turn the result.
In the specific instance of slams in 2013, the French Open semi was extremely tight, while Nadal won the US Open final against Djokovic relatively comfortably.

As for 2011, do you really not agree with my analysis ? Do you really think Nadal won the French Open and not the others because he was better on clay, on in reality is it because he managed to avoid Djokovic (who at the time had his number) in the French Open but couldn't in the other 3 slams following.

A bit confusing, because you seem to agree with what I'm saying exactly; but then at the end of your post indicate you don't agree.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:02 am

Somersault Although Nadal's improved over the years (just like all other players), the reason he appears as good on hard courts as on clay to you (although he is not) is mainly because conditions have slowed down.

That worked doubly for Nadal: it gave him time to load his spin and ar the same time annulled attacking shots of fast playing players like Federer.

It is no coincidence Nadal couldn't even have a sniff at a final on hard courts before 2010. That's 4 very long years...and how many of those 4 was he right behind Federer in the rankings?


Last edited by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:04 am

noleisthebest wrote:

It is no coincidence Nadal couldn't even have a sniff at a final on hard courts before 2010.
Exactly, he would have been humiliated if he had run into let's say Federer in 2009 at the Australian Open, in fact he would have been humiliated to such an extent he probably would have been crying in the post-match interview live on court.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:11 am

AO is slow HC, and even there it took him ages, plus tons of luck/behind the scene dealings to clear the path.

Nole had to retire in the heat as a defending champion against Roddick.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:12 am

NITB, there's no doubt when Nadal was younger he was better on clay, I'm not denying that.

Also in your first post you did say you thought he was as good on clay as he was on hard courts now, and then you edited it to say differently Winking
See, even you are changing your mind, so it's not as if there's a consensus on this.

Also in AO 2009, I think Federer would have beaten Nole in the semi even if he had got past Roddick, but that's another debate completely.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:15 am

I am not changing my mind, you are again misreading people's words.

As if all you care is to see others agreeing with you, not actually understanding what they say.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:28 am

NITB, I am interested in hearing people's opinions Winking
Anyway, moving on:

I do think that whether I am correct or not does have relevance.

As to why I am correct (if I am), that is a combination of surfaces homogenising and Nadal improving his movement on hard courts as he got to his prime (for example I know he started training more in Mallorca on hard courts as he got older; when he was a youngster he was mainly a clay courter).

As to why is my theory is relevant itself:
As far as I can remember (correct me if my memory is failing here) early last year Summerblues said something along the lines of it not being important whether a slam count is spread out or stacked up on one of the four slams, he said if a performance is so good across the years in one slam that on aggregate it makes up for it statistically, then it makes up for it when judging a player in his mind (so players are not 'penalised' for not having a slam count spread out evenly, 2 titles in each slam event is equivalent to 1 titles in 3 events and 5 titles in 1).

However I actually disagree with Summerblues' sentiment to an extent. For me, if very different skill sets are required then it does make a difference if you have won it in the majors which have a completely different skill set.
If the skill set you need for all 4 majors is pretty similar in reality (which I think is the case now and has been for a while), it becomes almost irrelevant what the spread of slams is; as the spread will be dictated by circumstances and forms of players at the time rather than certain players being 'specialists' in different surfaces. So in this particular instance, what Summerblues said is right.

As for Nadal, once he had improved his movement on hard courts (which he did as he approached his prime), there was no difference really for him between hard courts and clay when playing healthy.
To penalise him for not being doing more when he is young I think is ridiculously unfair, as a youngster he still did better than most of the All-Time-Greats; but it is true that it took till his prime to move as well on hard courts as he does on clay.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:25 pm

OK Tenez, let put what I'm trying to say another way:

Since 2009 (pre-2009 I do think Nadal's game was best on clay), Nadal has won 55.5% of his Slams at the French Open. Djokovic meanwhile has won 57% of his slams at the Australian Open (4 out of his 7 Slams).

The reason Djokovic has won so many slams at the Australian Open, 4 times more than he has won at the US Open (4vs1), is for me due to factors such as: his form at the time, forms of his rivals at the time, and other external factors. It's not because I think Djokovic is a 'Australian Open hard court specialist' which suits him 4 times better than the hard courts of the US Open- we know quite well that in reality the difference in pace and bounce between the US Open and Australian Open is basically minute- those two slams are homogenised.

So in a further analysis, if I was judging Djokovic, I would not count it against him that he's a 'specialist on the type of hard court they use at the Australian Open'- because I don't think the reason he's won disproportionately won Slams in Melbourne is due to the surface compared to the US (well it simply can't be in my mind as the surfaces are so similar, and there are other factors such as his form at the time etc. which can result in the statistical imbalance).
Same point I am trying to make with Nadal on French Open compared to US & Aus, the fact he's won since 2009 55.5% of his slams on French Open (which is less disproportionate than Djokovic's 57% overall on Aus), is because of external factors, not because he's actually better on clay than he is on hard courts. There's barely any difference between the surfaces, and his best tennis these days is probably marginally on hard courts

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by ... on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:32 pm

The only reason Nole won more AOs than USOs is the surface. It's medium slow and it suits his game perfectly.

As for USO, he has suffered years of rigged draws and unfair crowd hostility.
Emotional player he is, it makes a difference.
I wish it didn't but it clearly does.

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Re: Untested Theory: Nadal's level on clay and outdoor hard similar if not same since 2009

Post by DECIMA on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:51 pm

noleisthebest wrote:The only reason Nole won more AOs than USOs is the surface. It's medium slow and it suits his game perfectly.

As for USO, he has suffered years of rigged draws and unfair crowd hostility.
Emotional player he is, it makes a difference.
I wish it didn't but it clearly does.
They're both medium slow and suit his game perfectly, let's not pretend there isn't homogenisation between US & Aus Open.
Rigged draws and unfair crowd hostility making a difference ? I disagree, but that would be a point I count as an external factor.

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