Rafa or Nole, Who had a Better Year? (POLL)

Rafa won 2 slams, 5 Masters 1000 events, won 3 other events, and was runner-up at 4 events.  Rafa beat Nole 3 times including matches at Roland Garros and the US Open.  The computer has Rafa ranked #1.

Nole won 1 slam, was runner-up at 2 others, and a semifinalist at a fourth.  Nole won the World Tour Finals, 3 Masters 1000 events, and 2 smaller events.   Nole beat Rafa 3 times including at the World Tour Finals and at Monte Carlo ending an unreal streak.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ben Pronin says:

    2 slams to 1 says Nadal. But Djokovic deserves credit for his insane consistency. But 5 Masters to 3 also goes in Nadal’s favor. Nadal also put in strong performances at the other 2 he played whereas Djokovic did not. Plus it’s not like Nadal laid an egg at the WTF. So the computer is right, but just barely. And the points indicate that. Djokovic has a lot to defend in the beginning of the year. Luckily he’s going in with a lot of momentum. But I’m not sure he even has to do that much to reach number 1 again. Nadal will probably gain a lot from Australia but it’ll be offset by, I’m assuming, skipping the 3 South American clay events.

  2. Dan Martin says:

    I agree that Rafa had the better year but it is close. Had Murray stayed healthy maybe it would be a bit different, but right now Nole and Rafa are so far out in front of the next grouping.

  3. Dan Martin says:

    One way I would break it down as to rate the significance of the 6 matches they contested.

    1st – US Open Final – Winner Nadal
    2nd – French Open Semifinal – Winner Nadal
    3rd – World Tour Finals (final) – Winner Djokovic
    4th – Monte Carlo Final – Winner Djokovic – broke that unreal streak
    5th – Canadian Open/Masters Series Canada Semifinal – Winner Nadal
    6th – Beijing 500 Series Final – Winner Djokovic

    This tilts Rafa’s direction

    Another way is to look at sets won
    Nadal won 8 of 12 sets in his 3 match wins
    Djokovic won 6 of 6 sets in his 3 match wins
    Total Sets Djokovic 10 Nadal 8
    This tilts Nole’s direction

    Rafa went 14-1 in Slams with 2 titles this year, Nole went 24-3 with 1 title in slams 10 more slam matches won for Nole but one fewer title

    1. jane says:

      Super interesting thoughts Dan. I also read that both had 22 match win streaks (with Nole’s being still alive) but Novak had more wins against top ten players during his streak. Something like 12 for Nole and 7 for Nadal?

  4. Linda Martin says:

    Considering Rafa was out for 7 months, I’ll say his comeback was phenomenal. Right now Novak has his number. Had it been a 5 set match, the outcome might have been different as Rafa seemed to be getting more aggressive and accurate.

  5. Ben says:

    Dan, I agree that, overall, Nadal won their rivalry this year, but just barely.

    Going forward, you have to think that Djokovic is in the driver’s seat. His 3 wins, albeit all best of 3, were basically smack downs. All straight sets, all pretty straight forward. And even one on clay. And just think that he could have been up 4-0 in the first set and 5-2 in the second had he converted. He only went 3/11 on break points! That’s a lot of break points generated in a relatively short match. Nadal only won 58% of his first serve points. That’s simply a beat down.

    But as for Nadal, he just narrowly beat Novak each time. He had to come back from a break down in the 5th at Roland Garros. Third set tiebreaker in Montreal. And he really should have lost the third set in New York, but it was still a close match.

    I hope Djokovic notices this. He may have already. Cahill pointed out yesterday that when Djokovic was close to the baseline, he was hitting with margin and not afraid to work the point and NOT take unneccesary risk, which is something I feel like he did too much in New York. It was 2011 strategy all over again. Move Nadal until you have the open court. And in 2011 Djokovic really never came to net but now he’s moving in quite well and hitting, honestly, the best volleys I’ve ever seen from him. It looks like he’s been working hard because his technique finally looks good after all these years.

    In 2010, Djokovic lost the US Open final to Nadal in 4 sets, had a solid finish the end of the year, won Davis Cup, and then 2011 happened. There are a lot of similarities going on in 2013. I hope that 2014 is similar to 2011 in this regard.

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