Comparing 2004-2007 with the rest of the Nadal-Federer head-to-head

Looking at the Nadal-Djokovic head to head in two eras (up to 2010 and since 2011) showed some very large changes. Looking at the Nadal-Federer head-to-head in a similar manner (during and since his 2004-2007 peak) shows much less.

2004 to 2007 (15 matches: 9-6)

  • Hard 3-1
  • Grass 0-2
  • Indoor 0-2
  • Clay 6-1

Since 2008 (19 matches: 15-4)

  • Hard 6-1
  • Grass 1-0
  • Indoor 1-2
  • Clay 7-1

What are the differences?

  • On outdoor hard courts there’s just more of the same, except in greater quantity as Nadal reached more hard court finals
  • On clay its pretty much the same
  • Indoor its pretty much the same, with Nadal finally scoring a win over Federer recently. Nadal seemingly avoids indoor tournaments so all five meetings have come at the YEC
  • On grass all we have is the three consecutive Wimbledon finals. Since then both Federer and Nadal’s involvement with Wimbledon has been patchy: 2 more titles for Federer, but then just QF, QF, R64; 1 more title for Nadal, but then F, R64, R128, A

In general, nothing much has changed, but things stand out

  • Hamburg was a tourament where Federer’s weakness to Nadal was less exposed thanks to the low-bouncing court. Nadal’s victory there over Federer in 2008 we can now see was a watershed
  • Federer’s victory over Nadal at the Madrid 2009 clay court tournament is clearly the stand-out result post-2007. Nadal might not like the courts there very much, but he’s still won the tournament twice
  • Nadal’s victory over Federer at last year’s YEC tells us either something about Nadal’s 2013, or Federer’s 2013, or that Federer has now slipped to another stage down from his peak. Right now, its too soon to tell about that last bit for sure.