Roger Federer is considered by many as the best tennis player in history with his 20 slams. However, it’s hard not to notice that the Swiss sensation has a losing record against his other top rivals: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Head to head Federer vs. Nadal and Djokovic

Rafa leads Roger 24-16 in H2H matches, while Nole leads the Swiss 26-22 (9-2 in the last 11 encounters). So, why Roger is struggling against them?

7-time slam champion Mats Wilander has his own explanation to comment

“Federer is paying for the years 2004-2007, where he dominated his rivals so much that he never had to play important points. He did not improve tactically. Nowadays, against Nadal and Djokovic, who are tactical masters, he does not play important points correctly.”

While it seemed that Federer has indeed improved a lot from a tactical point of view, Wilander is probably right in saying that he was so dominant in the early days that he is less used to win important points against Rafa and Nole that are extremely solid.

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Awais ButtAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Interesting point. I also agree that Federer has improved tactically, but he has not the same mental toughness of Djokovic and Nadal. Also, going back in the day Roger was so much better than the other players that sometimes it looked as a joke. On the other side Novak and Rafa had to work harder to get there.

Awais Butt
Awais Butt

Federer’s h2h against Nadal and Djokovic:

1. Federer was at his prime from 2004 to 2007 when Nadal was only dominant on clay courts. Therefore he did not play Nadal on grass and hard courts as much. He was good enough on clay courts to reach the finals where he faced Nadal but lost most of the time. And that’s how Nadal’s h2h against Federer got better.

2. Djokovic started beating Federer regularly after 2013 when Federer was on the decline and was in his mid thirties. During Federer’s prime years Federer was leading the h2h.