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Dr D
Lv 7
Dr D asked in SportsTennis · 9 years ago

Why has Nadal's game always troubled Federer, but not Djokovic?

Federer has always struggled against Nadal, even in his hayday. Nadal has a 18-9 head to head against him. That is complete domination. Federer has never been able to muster 3 wins in a row against Nadal.

Djokovic on the other hand has dominated Nadal in the last year. One year ago, Nadal led 16-7, but since then Djokivic has beaten him 7 times in a row.

How has Djokovic been able to figure out Nadal, but Federer hasn't?


Just to reemphasize, I am asking how Djokovic has learned to beat Nadal while Federer has not. Before 2011, Nadal led Federer 14-8 and he led Djokovic 16-7. Since then he has gone 4-1 against Federer and 0-7 against Djokovic. What has Djokovic learned that Federer could never figure out?

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Djokovic has learned how to take his two-handed backhand down the line with a lot of pace. Remember, Rafa's game is based around his heavy topspin forehand to the opponent's backhand. He will then wait for the opponent to give him a weak shot and then crush an inside-out forehand

    Before 2011, Djokovic would have trouble against Rafa for two reasons:

    1. Djokovic's forehand was not penetrating enough to prevent Rafa from stepping into his backhand. Now, with added pace and precision, Rafa is forced to go to the slice with his backhand, has he did a number of times in the final. Rafa's slice isn't nearly as good as Federer's, because it sits up more. So Djokovic gets a fairly easy ball.

    2. Djokovic's backhand was a great crosscourt shot, but he didn't have the down-the-line shot under his belt yet. Now that he has that shot, he can take Rafa's loopy forehand and crush it down the line to Nadal's backhand.

    Essentially, these new components of Djokovic's game have allowed him to find Nadal's backhand, which is 10 times harder to find than any other player's backhand. Federer continues to have problems with this because he can't generate enough pace with his one-hander down the line to prevent Rafa from hitting an inside-out forehand. If you have a one-hander (like I do), you know how difficult it is to take a high ball down the line consistently. It is much easier to hit crosscourt, which plays right into Rafa's forehand.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Djokovic has no weaknesses from the baseline, and so these long baseline rallies can go either way him and Nadal. He has the best backhand in the game as well as the best return now. With Federer, you know that if Nadal keeps hitting loopy topspin to his backhand, eventually he is going to cough up an error. It is too hard for someone with a one-handed backhand to handle balls over their shoulder when Nadal is squealing like a monkey and scraping forehands worthy of kick serves at 5000 RPM lol. And so Nadal always serves to Fed's backhand and tries to hit most rally shots there as well. It's just a match-up problem for Fed that he could never fully solve. With Djokovic, his only weak point with Nadal was his mentality. Now he believes in himself on every surface. He now leads the hard court H2H and finals H2H with Nadal.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    that's a long description.... first was the under-dog support, Rafa could have been #1 long ago if not because of Roger. i found myself ruling for the underdog team/player (not in this case, i am big Fed fan) second comes jealousy - the more praise Fed receive the more Rafa's fans fueled. i respect Rafa's effort and amazing physics to "muscle" his way to top spot, but seriously, i can't learn anything from him, his style is totally unorthodox, it is really not a pretty form. the fans who also play know what i am talking about. Roger on the other hand, every shot he makes is a textbook material. and funny thing is that, the more humble Roger is, the more critics he received, is this world gone mad??? Look, he not only a genius tennis player, he is also a great sports ambassador, just look at how many ESPY award he had won, i don't know what else to say. i guess eventually Rafa will be the top target to take down (if not already happening), so Roger's fan, don't be too upset as well.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

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  • 9 years ago

    Mostly for one reason. Djokovic is the only player who is least afraid of Nadal's forehand. Not only that he goes there, but he wants to break down this shot, because he knows that after he does, Nadal can not outrun him forever and will make Nadal loose confidence(as Nadal said "these loses are getting into my head").

    So breaking down opponents strength is sometimes more important than going endlessly to the weakness..

  • ssss
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Federer doesn't move as much on the court. Have you seen the power Nadal was forehanding and backhanding Djokovic? It was like, POW, POW, POW and Djoker caught and returned everything. Every point was 30-40 strokes back and forth. Fed doesn't work that way. He is at the net all the time.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Federer in his prime defeated Nadal in hard court and grass court, remember that Federer bagelled Nadal 3 times on 3 different surfaces(Hamburg 2007, Wimbledon 2006, ATP World Tour Finals 2011). His backhand doesn't effective now so Nadal can put a lot of top spin shots on his backhand. The biggest problem is Federer's age and stamina. He's old now. Djokovic now in his prime with great groundstroke and all round game. Nadal's game troubles Federer because Federer uses 1 handed backhand but Djokovic uses 2 handed backhand can handle top spin ball easier than Federer and he hit a ball with good timing and take the ball on the rise. You can see Nadal usually has trouble with player have a good 2 handed backhand and take the ball on the rise like Davydenko(Positive head to head record against Rafa) or Nalbandian. Actually when i saw Djokovic defeated Nadal first time in Miami 2007, i thought he will be a big trouble for Nadal in the future

    Source(s): Tennis's fans
  • 9 years ago

    Just as in any sport, some teams match up better than others vs. the most competitive opponents, but vs. the rest of the field, they're only mediocre. In horseracing too--some are great on grass but only average on dirt, and vice-versa.It's possible that Djokovic's looser and more spontaneous personality and style on the court makes him more able to handle the particular challenges of playing vs. lefties....he's more prepared to expect the unexpected than Federer is by nature--RF being more of a methodical and composed player, more classical & "by the book"....which could make him more vulnerable to the "oddness" of playing vs. a lefty. The other answers seem to be from those who are much more students of the game than I am, so I'm just trying to add something to the conversation that hasn't been mentioned yet.

    Source(s): Athletic experience & spectating!
  • Damir
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Djokovic as of last year and this year is more consistent, makes less unforced errors, better in defense and never gives up

  • 9 years ago

    well.. there are various reasons..

    Nadals Uber defense.. pushes Federers offense to the limit.. forcing federer to make more errors

    secondly Nadals backhand is better then federers one handed backhand..

    and also nadal has run into Djovick at his most dominant.. djovivcks most domiant play

    he has not always played federer at federers most dominant

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