Nadal’s results in the lulls between his annual runs of success

by thriding

Just as Nadal has stretches of intense success, he also has lulls. My previous post on Nadal included details of his annual run of success. Here are the lulls in between them, and what Nadal acheived in them:

1. Between Madrid 2005 and Dubai 2006 (4 months)

Nadal had had a very successful 2005, winning tournaments throughout the year.

The only tournament Nadal played in this gap was Marseille, a fortnight before Dubai. He reached the SF, losing to Clement. He missed the Australian Open 2006 through injury.

2. Between Roland Garros 2006 and Indian Wells 2007 (8 months)

2006 had started well: he beat Federer at the Dubai final, and then won his usual quartet of clay titles (MC, Barcelona, Rome, RG)

  • Queens, QF, lost to Hewitt
  • Wimbledon, F, lost to Federer
  • Toronto, R16, lost to Berdych
  • Cincinnati, QF, JC Ferrero
  • US Open, QF, Youzhny
  • Stockholm, R16, J Johansson
  • Madrid, QF, Berdych
  • YEC, SF, Federer
  • AO, QF, Gonzalez
  • Dubai, QF, Youzhny

Six of out ten tournaments ended at QF for him, with just one RU, and one SF

3. Between Madrid Stuttgart 2007 and Monte Carlo 2008 (9 months)

Stuttgart 2007 was the last post-Roland Garros tournament that Nadal played. It was soon after he lost in 5 sets to Federer in the Wimbledon final

  • Montreal, SF, Djokovic
  • Cincinnati, R32, Monaco (ret.)
  • US Open, R16, Ferrer
  • Madrid, QF, Nalbandian
  • Paris, F, Nalbandian
  • YEC, SF, Federer
  • Chennai, F, Youzhny
  • AO, SF, Tsonga
  • Rotterdam, R16, Seppi
  • Dubai, QF, Roddick
  • Indian Wells, SF, Djokovic
  • Miami, F, Davydenko

In this run of 12 tournaments he reached 3 finals, 4 SF, 2 QF

4. Between Olympics 2008 and Australian Open 2009 (5 months)

2008 was one of Nadal’s most successful years, in which he won Wimbledon as well as the French Open, and then the Canadian Masters for a second time and Olympic gold. The lull that followed it was more of a catching of breath than anything else:

  • US Open, SF, Murray
  • Madrid, SF, Simon
  • Paris, QF, Davydenko
  • Doha, QF, Monfils

Only four tournaments in this lull, difficult to see any pattern, but can note that there weren’t any pre-QF losses this time

5. Between Rome 2009 and Monte Carlo 2010 (11 months)

2009 was the only year in which Nadal won two hard court titles before the clay season: the Australian Open and Indian Wells. The clay season came to halt with the long SF victory over Djokovic at Madrid. After this came the losses to Federer and Soderling, and Nadal was unable to defend his Wimbledon title.

  • Madrid, F, Federer
  • RG, R16, Soderling
  • Montreal, QF, Del Potro
  • Cincinnati, SF, Djokovic
  • US Open, SF, Del Potro
  • Beijing, SF, Cilic
  • Shanghai, F, Davydenko
  • Djokovic, SF, Paris
  • YEC, RR, (3 x L)
  • Doha, F, Davydenko
  • AO, QF, Murray
  • Indian Wells, SF, Ljubicic
  • Miami, SF, Roddick

Aside from the shock loss to Soderling at Roland Garros and the poor performance at the YEC, there were no pre-QF losses: at the other 11 tournaments there were 3 finals, 6 SF, 2 QF

6. Between Tokyo 2010 and Monte Carlo 2011 (6 months)

2010 had been another of Nadal’s exceptional years, and he went one further than 2008, in that he won the US Open as well as Wimbledon and Roland Garros. Once the run came to an end in Shanghai, the results were generally still strong:

  • Shanghai, R16, Melzer
  • YEC, F, Federer
  • Doha, SF, Davydenko
  • AO, QF, Ferrer
  • Indian Wells, F, Djokovic
  • Miami, F, Djokovic

In just six tournaments Nadal reached 3 finals, with just the one poor result in Shanghai. The loss to Ferrer in the Australian Open QF was in straight sets, and Nadal took a long rest afterwards.

7. Between Roland Garros 2011 and Monte Carlo 2012 (11 months)

2011 is already remember as the year in which Djokovic raised himself emphatically over Nadal, though what might have happened between at Roland Garros will never be known. 

  • Queens, QF, Tsonga
  • Wimbledon, F, Djokovic
  • Montreal, R32, Dodig
  • Cincinnati, QF, Fish
  • US Open, F, Djokovic
  • Tokyo, F, Murray
  • Shanghai, R16, Mayer
  • YEC, RR, (2 x L)
  • Doha, SF, Monfils
  • AO, F, Djokovic
  • Indian Well, SF, Federer
  • Miami, SF, Murray (w/o)

In these 12 tournaments there are 4 finals (the most in any lull) 3 SFs, 2 QFs and 2 pre-QF losses

8. Since Roland Garros 2012 (2 months)

In the clay-court season Nadal reasserted himself over Djokovic, at least on that surface, beating him at Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros.

Since then he has played just two tournaments: his traditional pre-Wimbledon QF at Halle (Kohlschreiber) and then the big shock:

  • Wimbledon, R64, Rosol

The average of the seven completed lulls has been seven and a half months long and has contained eight tournaments

In order of length:

  • 5. 2009/10, 11 months, 13 tournaments, 3 finals, 6 SFs, 2 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 7. 2011/12, 11 months, 12 tournaments, 4 finals, 3 SFs, 2 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 3. 2007/08, 9 months, 12 tournaments, 3 finals, 4 SFs, 2 QFs, 3 pre-QF
  • 2. 2006/07, 8 months, 10 tournaments, 1 final, 1 SF, 6 QFs, 2 pre-QF
  • 6. 2010/11, 6 months, 6 tournaments, 3 finals, 1 SF, 1 QF, 1 pre-QF
  • 4. 2008/09, 5 months, 4 tournaments, 0 finals, 2 SFs, 2 QFs, 0 pre-QF
  • 1. 2005/6, 4  months, 1 tournament, 0 finals, 1 SF, 0 QFs, 0 pre-QF

The longest was after the knee-Soderling combination, the second longest thanks to Djokovic’s run from AO 2011 to AO 2012. Next come the two lulls after losing in the Wimbledon final. Then the two lulls after multi-slam streaks, and finally the short injury-ridden lull after his first year of great success. 

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