Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Why Nadal’s 5-2 head-to-head record against Federer is misleading!

A lot of arm-chair Nadal fanboys keep touting the stat that in Grand Slam Finals, Nadal has a 5-2 head to head record against Federer and hence Federer hasn’t “dominated” Rafa.

But these guys completely miss the point (which all tennis legends like Sampras, Agassi, Laver, Mcenroe and Becker accept):

Nadal didn’t even make ONE  U.S. Open final during Federer’s reign!!!

ZILCH. ZERO. Not ONE SINGLE final in the 5 YEARS Federer won.

Why should we bother about Federer losing to Nadal, if we don’t scrutinize Nadal losing to weak players in US and Aus Opens? In fact, Nadal lost to way lower ranked Soderling in 4th round of his FAVOURITE surface after winning 4 times.  Federer has lost ONLY in the finals of Wimbledon since his 1st win in 2003  and NEVER lost US Open after he first won it in 2004.

Nadal is extremely inconsistent in Hardcourt Slams. (Update: 27/Jan/2011,  Nadal has crashed out of Aus Open in Quarters! )

Considering Roger’s awesome hardcourt Slam record, the head to head would easily be in FEDERER’s favour  of at least 8-5 (4 US Open wins and 2 Aus Open wins in Federer’s prime).


By  refusing to acknowledge Nadal’s miserable hard court slam record, and refusing to see Federer’s total dominance in US Open, the head -to-head stat supporters are  PUNISHING Federer for his CONSISTENCY in reaching FINALS of ALL slams, and REWARDING Nadal for his failure in U.S.Open and Aus Open.

Absolutely ridiculous. Basically Nadal fanboys have been devastated by Federer’s French open win and the fact that he has been declared the Greatest Tennis Player of ALL Time by none other than Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, McEnroe etc etc.

The right way to check slam dominance, is to take up ALL THE SLAMS in which BOTH Nadal and Federer participated and check the winning percentage you find that Nadal is way inferior to Federer than Agassi was to Sampras (and not otherwise as Nadal fanboys love to believe).  When you add the 2 Wimbledons, 4 Aus Opens and 5 US Opens that Nadal and Federer haven’t met in, but Federer won 2 , 3  & 5 of those Slams respectively, you get the TRUE picture.

Over time, Federer will dominate sports history books, while Nadal may remain a footnote (unless he starts winning 10more slams…)

Also read: how-nadal-maintains-his-head-to-head-record-against-federer

To quote a fellow tennis enthusiast & blogger (see comments section below):  “…Roger leads (Rafa) 29-20 and 35-23, in the Same Tournament Entered and the Titles in Total Tournaments Available, respectively. On top of that Roger leads 12-6 in the Same 21 Grand Slams Played.”

This is an awesome stat and once and for all makes the lousy “Roger didn’t dominate Rafa” argument completely untenable. Read the full analysis here which debunks the popular myth that Roger never dominated Rafa. A better and more statistically valid data set to measure GOAT and true Grand Slam head to head is the above mentioned  “Same 21 Grand Slams Played”.  Click here to read more:  There’s More to Nadal and Federer Than Head-To-Head Meetings

Update: May 30, 2010

To put all debates to rest, Nadal himself now admits Roger Federer is better with simple, cold logic in an interview. Read the article here : Roger’s still better, says Nadal

“If someone says I’m better than Roger, I think they know nothing about tennis,” Nadal said…

“You see his titles, you see my titles. There’s no comparison.
It’s difficult to compare Roger with me right now. He has 16 Grand Slams, I have six. Roger’s records might be impossible to beat.”

Despite Federer’s more tightly-packed trophy cabinet, Nadal has a 14-7 head-to-head record against his rival and has won six of their last seven encounters.

The 24-year-old Mallorca man, however, believes that is indicative of nothing more than the Spaniard’s famed ability on clay. “I am number two in the world for five years now,” he said.
“I think I am a good number two. Sure, I can beat him, number two can beat number one. I can beat him, but I beat him a lot of times on clay. I’ve played with him more times on clay than on the rest of the surfaces.”

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Will Nadal burn out at age 26 like Bjorn Borg?

I found interesting similarities in the Grand Slam runs between Sampras and Federer as well as Borg and Nadal in terms of their Age vs Slams won!

(Note that have taken 31 yrs as maximum age considering Sampras retired at that age for apples to apples comparison for the 14 slam win rate).

Some important pointers:

1. Pete Sampras had only 3 wins in his last 16 slams.

2. Roger Federer needs only ONE win in his next 15 slams to equal Sampras and just 2 to break the world record.

3.  Nadal has more than 35 slams to beat Sampras, and is close to beating Borg’s slam total by age 23

4. Borg had the highest rate of slams by age 23 and played only 3 slams a year. He never played a lot of Aussie opens (except early on in 1974 types ) as he kept losing US Opens . Borg didn’t feel Aussie Open was important unless he won the US Open.

Nadal seems to be slightly behind Borg’s run rate. And Federer’s win rate is next to Borg despite playing way longer schedules. Unbelievable.

Nadal too may burn out like Borg especially because his game is more Physical than Federer’s and the body takes punishment on hard courts. Nadal also won’t be able to maintain the speed and power beyond age 25-26…as the tennis schedules are too long now days. Federer’s game like Sampras suits long term play.

Grand Slam wins

Grand Slam wins

But I feel even if Nadal wins 15 slams and Federer wins the French, they can still be called greatest only of the MODERN era as people forget Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall were banned for more than 44 Slams due to them turning PRO… Rosewall lost peak 11 years of his life. It was Laver and Rosewall’s efforts which led to the Open era in the first place and modern players from Borg to Nadal and Federer have to be thankful for them. Between them, Laver and Rosewall would have won 20+ slams if allowed to play as there was no one close to them. And it isn’t their problem that Hardcourts weren’t provided for Slams, as either would have won for SURE if there was that surface provided.  It is for this reason, that historians will ALWAYS place Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall as the Greatest Tennis Players of ALL TIME.  To beat them, the minimum no. of slam which Federer or Nadal must win are 20, else there is no comparison for the unfair way in which Laver/Rosewall were prevented for 44 Slams simply because they turned Pro.

For a detailed perspective, please also read the following article:

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Never mind the French Open…

ROGER FEDERER is most definitely the GREATEST tennis player in the history of the game.

He lost one match…big deal. 3 French Open Finals in a row and 4 French Open Semi-Finals in a row is enough testament to his Clay Court ability. Nadal is the greatest Clay Court Specialist… so its only fitting that Rafa won the French 4 in a row. Think about this: it takes a NADAL to beat Federer on clay..Federer is that good (regardless of the 3 set drubbing).

But FEDERER has won the AUSTRALIAN, WIMBLEDON and U.S.OPEN title in the SAME calender year..THREE TIMES!!! Not Laver, Not Borg, not Sampras, not McEnroe, Not Becker, Not Edberg, Not Emerson, Not Lendl, Not Wilander Nor Agassi…no one has ever come close to this feat. One is good, Two is superb, but Three is just GREAT.

NOW add the 3 French Open Finals in a row to the 4 US Open titles in a row and 5 Wimblesons in a row, and you can understand why Roger Federer is simply, the Greatest tennis player in the history of the game.



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