Most complete player ever - Djokovic or Federer

Discussion in 'Pro Tennis (Mens)' started by MikeOne, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    Most believe it's Federer but i would argue it's Djokovic. Why? Here's why. A lot of people believe Federer is most complete ever given his variety, talent and shot making ability but i argue this can, at times, not coincide with completeness; i.e., lack of weaknesses. In Federer's case, his forehand, serve, volleying have been amazing shots and he's variety is second to none. However, his backhand, has always been a weakness for those who can exploit it. The problem is that his strengths have been too much for most to overcome, except one guy - Nadal. Nadal is overwhelming evidence that Federer has had an inability to handle a heavy, high bouncing top spin shot. This is, without a doubt, a weakness. Just because it's difficult to exploit, doesn't mean he's never had this weakness. People who defend his greatness claim it's been his mind but i strongly disagree. Nadal, at 18, beat prime federer back in 04 6-3, 6-3 on a hardcourt! Was Nadal in his mind back then? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Federer has never liked to play Nadal because Nadal has been able to exploit a weakness.

    Djokovic is another animal. There is no player that he doesn't like to face and no player that has patterns which Djokovic cannot overcome. When Nole is on his game, Murray, Federer and Nadal all struggle and are lucky if they can beat him. All 3 are very different players. Nadal looks lost when he faces an in form Nole, even on clay. Federer has had some success but when Nole is in form, even an in form Federer struggles. Murray, as we all know, struggles a lot when facing Djoker.

    Federer has being more versatile, had had more variety than Djokovic but more complete? i don't think so, Djokovic has absolutely no weaknesses, every shot is very solid and he has lately greatly improved his volleys and slice. Djokovic has a lot of strengths and no weaknesses. Federer has had more strengths than Djokovic but more weaknesses as-well. I would argue Djoker is more complete due to having absolutely no weakness for anyone to exploit and when he's on his game, no-one can seem to beat him.
     
  2. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    Good post.

    Nole is as solid as a rock right now, and a lot of it stems from the best defense tennis has probably ever seen... and he's superb in the transition from defence to attack.

    No, he doesn't have the variety of Federer but he's a better all round player. I'm actually fascinated by Roger still being competitve TBH.

    Hard to see past Nole in the next 24 months.  He'll be banging on Nadal's door for sure, if not Fed's.
     
  3. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    I AGREE with this superb assessment by MIKEONE.

    there IS A difference between having versatility-- the ability to do many things and not ALL necessarily equally well...and COMPLETENESS. ..

    AND NOVAK has shown he has better completeness than roger, really.

    versatility is not in itself a 'lack of weakness, relatively" mainly the ability to apply many different things..some better , much better, than others - which is what federer does. his forehand is much better than his backhand. his first serve much better than his second, his return OFTEN actually better than his SERVES themselves..his volleyes, which are more opportunistic rather than initiative, better against NON-volleyers but NOT better than natural volleyers..etc..

    NOVAK'S is more complete because the differences between the skills of every part of his game are very , very small...

    forehand about as good as backhand, First and SECOND serves nearly as equally good....returns - we all know, second to none in history...

    volleyes - more a question of habit than lack of skill -- but we've seen him as EARLY AS 2005 OR 06 outduel federer on volleyes in toronto masters...while being NEVER considered a ''complete player" where roger was touted as ''the master volleyer"..

    etc...

    novak is INDEED more complete, imo as well.

     

    people have been making a mistake of equating roger's BEAUTIFUL movement, stroke making, absolutely wonderful posture ..with ''completeness of game". they are NOT one and the same.

    and still basing that perception on assessments compared with players who were - in his heydeys in the mid-200's - certainly not as ''fluent'' as HE was or as prepared to ''step up to the plate" ..naturally leaving him with the assessment as the player ''who plays the game so completely that has never been seen before"

     

    even if - it's not true and never was true.

     

    HE'S A SUPERB ATHLETE - no question -- one of the very greatest in all of history -- and a superb competitor who can surprise one accustomed to his ease with his stubbornness on court - a WELL-EARNED accolade, imo.

     

    and certainly has earned - at the very least -- the accolade of being the most fascinatingly attractive player on court - and the legend that he IS and should always be.

    but some of the accolades over the years have been quite -- more than they merit, imo..often to the detriment of others - such as rafa or novak who deserve at least as big an argument as ''best of their time" as easily as roger - if purely on tennis playing terms, if not (yet, or ever) in terms of records.

    but ONE very critical assessment of NOVAK'S greatness and completeness that , imo, is STILL not spoken of enough:

     

    his rise -- and challenge - and dominance and record making on his own merits ALL CAME RIGHT INSIDE the HEIGHT and depth of roger's and nadal's dominance!

    it is NOVAK that had to battle THROUGH the most dominant periods of BOTH ROGER AND RAFA - break through it - and do it while being perceived as a mere ''interloper" that no one really wants so that the 'ROGER/RAFA" SHOW could go on undisturbed..

    and novak was even vilified at worst for daring to say

    "i think i too can be number one SOME DAY..i too want to show i ALSO have SOME quality"...

    WHICH was as gentlemanly as anyone could hear . YET he was met, especially in the western press with COLD and even disdainful reception for saying such things.

     

    so imagine -- he HAD to battle for HIS spot during a period when TWO of the greatest legends in tennis were hitting it out over everyone else - in the full maturity of their dominance --

    and taken THEM on toe to toe - and proven himself with brilliance...

    STANDING on a platform of such unbelievable professionalism, respectfulness, realism, and gentlemanliness.

    that's one reason why i have always liked djokovic. he is both athlete, champion, and gentleman and human being EVEN when he is not ''welcomed" with the warm open arms accorded to roger or others  -- all put together in his tennis. ..and after proving YET again he is now the SUPERIOR of federer in the USA OPEN - still NOT warmly applauded by the crowd -- the GENTLEMAN could only give UNDERSTANDING when asked about the obvious preference of the crowd AGAINST him , for roger, with: \

    \:"i can understand -- i know we all love roger....so i can perhaps HOPE that SOME DAY -- i will also have their love".

     

    NOW where do you get a STAR AND A CHAMPION LIKE that?

     

    of the highest calibre we've ever seen from any sports star .. and THAT is the rarest combination of all.

     

    AND THE SAYING APPLIES -- PEOPLE IN TENNIS BETTER WAKE UP >

     

    while novak as "in my maturity as a player" -- because he is VERY RARE. and enjoy and support him - all for the RIGHT reasons because of what he IS.

     

    AN ALL TIME GREAT IN TENNIS -- A COMPLETE, COMPLETE PLAYER -- AND A TRUE GENTLEMAN IN HIS CHOSEN life.

     

    and a FUNNY ONE! :yahoo:  :bye:  B-)  :good:

     

     
     
  4. Alien

    Alien Junior Member

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    The highest lever I have seen of pure tennis is Nole´s in 2011 on clay beating Nadal. Federer has never reached those heights.

    but complete ? Maybe Federer. Nole lacks a bit in volley, his slice has improved but looks weak. His serve is not as solid as Roger. Difficult to define "complete". Of course he is a killer machine but still not as well round IMO.

     
     
  5. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    I despair of this modern trait that conflates current performance with the so called all time best. It's just plain wrong headed to me. Just from a purely technical perspective I don't understand how anyone can suggest that Novak is a more complete tennis player than Federer. Unless we're watching a different matches. Look Novak is rock solid and a superb performer on all modern surfaces but come on really? Don't get me wrong, I like Novak, I think he's an awesome tennis player, but there are a number of things Novak doesn't do that well. Granted he's worked damn hard at his game and the list is diminishing rapidly. Anyway.. I"m too focussed on the rugby at the moment to really expand on my views... and that's not to say that I'm even arguing that Federer is the most complete player of all time, but he's definitely in the discussion. Perhaps the thing I'm really objecting to is the inclusion of the word "ever" in the thread title..
     
  6. Billie

    Billie Nole fan
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    I love your post @teddytennisfan .  There are really not many things other players can exploit if Nole is playing well (he doesn't even have to play his 100%).  There is no strategy against him, unless it is serving bombs game after game after game.  All other players have their weaknesses, but Nole is as solid as a rock.  Even when he has the whole crowd against him.

    All you have to look at is his record against top players and see that he is pretty much even with both of them (Rafa and Roger) and has a nice score against all others.

    I've followed him since 2006 and he has come a loooong way.  I really think that being Serbian and being able to read a whole lot more about Nole and what others say about him helps me understand him more.  There are not nearly enough articles in English language about him to show how humble, how charming, how human and decent he really is.  And heck of a player.  :yahoo:

     
     
  7. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    HI BILLIE...thanks too.

    I didn't know you are serbian yourself. i am not -- i am asian, filipino - bt in the USA  New york -- so i know what new crowds are like..and the american ''view" OF THE world...as we all know..

     

    AND in particular about serbs and the slavic peoples BECAUSE they are cousins of the russians..etc...

    NOLE I HAVE followed closely since i first noticed him in 2003, or 2004. in a match he won -- and i said to myself:

     

    "this guy is new -- he WALKS in a way that says he has a dream and belief in himself and he will do things in a dignified way> ":

     

    somehow i just felt from his WALK -- strange though that may sound --

    the first word that came to my mind in my impression :''this is a young man of REAL dignity".

     

    and BOY -- was I RIGHT!

    OF the famous and most successful players out there -- it's DJOKOVIC that has shown he is not just the best now in his mature career -- he is ALSO the mosT cultured and caring about the world around him . he knows classical music, literature, poetry, politics, news , world events, history....he speaks english with BETTER fluency and clarity and honesty than those from the english speaking world - he is more articulate than anyone without any nonsense...

     

    and while he FIGHTS FEROCIOUSLY WITH A mind and heart of a dragon...

    his heart and person is GENTLE and kind.

    where most others are mostly talk -- when the great floods in a century washed serbia, montenegro, croatia -- he started his fund and appealed to everyone -- by first giving all his championships earnings in MADRID OPEN IN 2013...250 Thousand dollars worth ..to start it-- and said:

     

    "please help my people -- and also our cousins in montenegro and croatia  -- countries in europe said they would help but nothing came -- ONLY our RUSSIAN COUSINS came immediately"...
     
  8. Billie

    Billie Nole fan
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    Yeah @teddytennisfan I sometimes wonder how he has energy to do all the things he does off court and then go and win tournaments as well.  I have lived in Canada since 1996, after I had to leave my home due to that awful war in former Yugoslavia.  But like Nole, life being tough on you sometimes helps you in different ways and opens your eyes to all kinds of things.  Nole not having it easy earlier in life helped him with his tennis as well.

    He is a permanent student, of life and tennis.  There are always things that he wants to improve and works on improving.  He is mentally strong and by all accounts works very hard.  His work etic is exemplary and frankly he has the perfect body for many sports, not just tennis.   People sometimes overlook his agility and his physical strengths, which I think are his great assets for what he does.

    While watching this year's USO and the crowd behaving like they did, I kept thinking what if Federer had to face this just once in his life.  I don't know too many people who would be able to face the hostility like Nole did then.  This victory as well as that 6hour AO final vs Rafa are one of the most gratifying victories for this Nole fan.  They either took all the strength he had, or all the mental resolve to win them.
     
  9. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    a number of things Novak doesn't do well? like?

    current performance? what, you think Djokovic is just A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK? HE'S ALREADY AN ALL TIME GREAT! You are talking about a guy that has won 3 slams in two separate years; has 10 slams and most likely will win many more; has already more weeks at #1 than Nadal himself; will soon own masters win record and has shown he can beat an at his best Federer, even on grass. Federer was playing at an extremely high level at Wimbledon, didn't he dispatch Murray in straights like he was nothing in semis? At US open Federer was running probably the hottest streak in his entered career - hand't dropped a set for two tournaments and his serve stats were more impressive than any other US open run in his entire career (ESPN showed the stats), yet he couldn't beat Djoker.

    It's embarrassing to be honest for you to make Djokovic to be some 'hot' player when he is ALREADY an ALL TIME GREAT and there are a lot of good arguments to be made to show he's more complete but remember, being more complete doesn't necessarily mean 'best shot maker'. DJOKOVIC IS AN ALL TIME GREAT AND STILL DOMINATING SO YES, MY FREIND, WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT HIM IN 'EVER' TERMS, NOT JUST 'CURRENT'.
     
  10. brokenshoelace

    brokenshoelace Masters Champion

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    Djokovic is the most complete baseliner ever. Federer is the most complete player. Can't say Novak is flat out more complete when he lacks Fed's variety. And, in order not to state this in vague terms, let me specify what variety is: Fed has a better slice, better touch, better volleys, better forward movement, better overheads, and better drop shots (though Novak's droppers are quite good). Of course, most importantly, and this can't be understated enough, Federer has a much, much better serve.

    However, if we strictly look at this from a baseline perspective, then I believe Novak at his best is more solid than Roger ever was, even in his prime. His offensive onslaught might not be on par with Roger's 2006 heyday, but it doesn't need to be, because nobody in history is as unshakable as Djokovic is off of both wings, and nobody in history has as good a transition game (defense to offense and vice versa, not even Nadal). The backhand is the biggest difference maker here since Novak's is obviously miles better, and I think Novak's rally forehand is one of the most underrated shots in history so there's that. Add in a Martian return and you've got the perfect baseline game.
     
  11. brokenshoelace

    brokenshoelace Masters Champion

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    One thing I will say though, is the OP is right. Federer's biggest weakness is more easily exploitable than Novak, especially with the way the game is played today. If tennis were still played like it was in the 90's or early 00's, then this might not be such an issue. But this IS a baseline game first and foremost, so having an exploitable backhand is a huge deal.

    So, I'll put it this way: Novak has more weaknesses, if we're looking the sheer quantity. However, having a shaky overhead, average slice, and an iffy net game, while occasionally costly, aren't as big of a deal as having an exploitable backhand in today's game. In fact, even if you combine Novak's weaknesses into one, and compare it to Federer's, I'd still argue that Roger's would be considered a bigger weakness, or at least, in the context of a tennis match, more likely to lead to a loss over a particular stretch of the match.
     
  12. isabelle

    isabelle Masters Champion

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    Nole is the most complete for me, when he plays well nobody can beat him. He's very courageous and has a good pro approach, he's a hard worker guy, his fitness is great. I was really disappointed for him when he missed RG, he couldn't find his best tennis on final and Stan played well so....hope Nole'll win RG one day, he really deserves it, he's such a great player and a devoted husband and dad
     
  13. Billie

    Billie Nole fan
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    Every player has his weaknesses, nobody is perfect.  What sets Nole apart from everybody is his insane reach and gets from either wings.  He was always known for his excellent backhand, but his forehand is an awesome shot.  When playing well Nole is so darn solid off both wings and that includes defence and offence:  return, passing shots, shots down the line, cross court.  He shrinks the tennis court and makes great players look ordinary.  Federer indeed looked so great before both major finals this year only to look like he looked in the finals.  Make no mistake, that is only because of whom he faced in the final.

     

    Lets see what one of the greatest coaches says about Nole:

    This final confirmed it: Novak Djokovic is the most perfect player of all time. Repeat, of all time. To my mind he is the one player who does not have a weakness in his game.

    I’d talked before about Roger Federer’s phenomenal record on serve this Wimbledon, but hell, he never had Djokovic on the other side of the net. When he did, he was broken in every set, and with Novak once is normally enough. If there was a criticism to make of Federer, I think he didn’t come in enough, as he’s been doing so well in previous matches. However many times these guys play each other, I don’t think Roger can beat him from the baseline.

    Another key factor: Djokovic plays magnificent defensive tennis. He takes shot after shot and gets that ball back and when you can do that, you should win most of the time. So as the match went on into the third and fourth sets it was getting away from Roger, and that backhand was beginning to slip a little. He had only a couple of chances to break and then Novak came up with a big ace or two.

    Federer can still look back on the finest individual performance of the fortnight, against Andy Murray, and one as good as anything I have seen in 60 years of watching tennis. Did that take something out of him? Not physically maybe, but in a match like this, when you lose those long rallies of 20 strokes or more, that takes it out of you mentally. Djokovic just gets back too many balls and that wears you down. He is one of the great returners in the history of our sport. And a worthy champion of course.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon/wimbledon-2015-nick-bollettieri-novak-djokovic-really-is-the-games-most-perfect-player-10384178.html

     

    People forget that Nole shot up the rankings when he was 19-20 and held #3 sport for years behind the two greats and when he was half a player that he is now.  That was all due to his extremely well rounded baseline play.
     
  14. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    i think the fact that Nadal has owned Federer is strong evidence of Federer having a weakness, this is why i argue Nole is more complete and i also make the point that variety doesn't necessarily mean completeness. Someone can have 3 - 4 amazing shots and 1 glaring weakness whilst the other can have everything solid. The former can produce more variety in terms of pace, spin and versatility but vulnerable when someone can exploit the weakness. It's undeniable that Federer's backhand has been prone to self destruct and Nadal has been able to do it repeatedly. Nadal has nowhere to go against an in form Nole but always had an effective strategy against Federer.

    Also, Djokovic is pretty much favorite in any surface, even with Nadal in the tournament. Could we ever say that for Federer? MAYBE in 2004. Nole is amazing on ALL surfaces and is only player to beat Nadal 5 times on clay? including a 3 set drubbing at FO 2015.

    lastly, as far as Fed having a 'much' better serve, i beg to differ. Didn't Djokovic outserve Federer at Wimbledon? I forget if it was 2014 or 2015 but Nole served amazingly well, was more effective than Federer. Roger and Edberg alluded to how well he served. I agree federer has a better serve but Nole's serve is underrated. He just does everything really well.
     
  15. brokenshoelace

    brokenshoelace Masters Champion

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    Eh, now you're venturing into non sequitur. Being a favorite vs. Nadal or not has nothing to do with whether Federer or Djokovic is the most complete player, and the only reason Djokovic is anything but a clear (albeit live) underdog vs. Nadal on clay is because Nadal is washed up at this point. Djokovic was never a favorite against Nadal on clay before Rafa stunk up the joint, and they played enough times for this to be proven.

    Other than the part about how Nadal was able to expose Fed's backhand (a fair point), I fail to see how he has anything to do with any of this.
     
  16. calitennis127

    calitennis127 Masters Champion

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    Mike, no offense but Djokovic's serving is a bit constipated. It always looks like such a struggle for him, even when he is serving "well". Federer on the other hand just lets the ball toss fly and effortlessly executes a clean service motion, and when he misses the serve he doesn't fall over the baseline like he just dropped his keys and needs to pick them up off the court.

    Federer has a better serve than Djokovic. His backhand just kills him for the most part in their rallies and Federer isn't ruthless enough in taking it to Djokovic with his forehand in a variety of ways. The SABR is not enough of an adjustment for him to definitively beat Djokovic these days, even with a crowd of 30,000 NYC fruitcakes screaming and panting for him to beat Djokovic.

     
     
  17. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    nonsense. First of all, do you remember 2011? do you? Looks like you have forgotten all about it. Let me remind you. In 2010, Nadal had an amazing year, did he not? He won French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Come 2011 and what took place? Nole straight setted Rafa in two masters finals on clay. So Nadal just suddenly went downhill between end of 2010 and clay court season in 2011? Let me remind you he still won French in 2011 and if it had not been for Federer surprising Djoker in semis, many thought Nole was the favorite. Nole had crushed Nadal in two major clay court tournaments leading to French Open. So let me give you a dose of reality here, Nole's successes against Nadal on clay are mainly due to Nole raising his level and NOT Nadal's level dipping. Djokovic always had the game to beat Nadal but as we ALL KNOW, he was frail mentally and physically... For years he had breathing problems, retired from matches and couldn't hang with Nadal in grueling matches. Once he got into better shape physically, Nadal was in major trouble. He really crushed Nadal in those two 2011 clay court finals and MANY were picking Djokovic to win Roland 2011. So stop the nonsense about Nadal's level going to shit as an explanation for him losing to Djokovic on clay. Today's Djokovic would've given Nadal nightmares on clay even back during 05-07! Also, you recall how well Nadal played in 2013? Guess who was up 4-2 in 5th set against Rafa before missing that easy overhead to go 5-2? Djokovic! and this was a Nadal that was playing at really high level..  2013 was one of Nadal's best years. I admit that this year Nadal's level went down and it's part of the reason Djokovic beat him so easily but i truly believe Djokovic was going to be favorite against Nadal no matter what level Nadal brought, he was gaining on Nadal on clay since 2011 and was inching closer and closer...

    and absolutely Nadal is VERY relevant in this discussion. How can you possibly say that Nadal repeatedly breaking down Fed's backhand but having nowhere to go against Djokovic (losing 7 straight major finals in 11!) cannot brought into this discussion? CLEARLY, it shows that Federer had a weakness and Nole none, vs Nadal.

     
     
  18. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    what's your point? Who's arguing Djokovic has a better serve than Federer? My point is that Nole has a very effective serve, both first and second. He served brilliantly against Federer in this year's Wimbledon; in fact, out served Fed to many. This was a Federer that was serving so well going into the final that people thought Djokovic was going down. Djokovic has a great serve, a great forehand, an awesome backhand, solid volleys, solid slice, solid drop shot and moves as well as anyone. IMO, the most complete ever.

    Someone above made a point that Nole's slice, volleys are weaknesses? LOL.... that's odd cause if you see him play often enough, you will know he has a good slice and good volleys. Does he volley like McEnroe? no Does he slice like Federer? no, but he's good at both. Also, and even more importantly, not having a great slice or volleys is not much of a liability. You see gents, Djokovic doesn't really NEED to slice or volley to win but Federer NEEDS to hit backhands. Djokovic can easily win matches without slicing or coming to net but can Federer win matches without ever hitting a backhand? We can't compare 'nice to have shots' to 'needed' strokes to win matches. Having a good slice and good volleys are 'nice to have', not required in today's game. A backhand IS REQUIRED. In any event, Djokovic's volleys and slice are very solid; obviously, federer is better at both.
     
  19. Moxie

    Moxie Multiple Major Winner

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    Maybe it's a question of defining terms, but I think it's hard to argue that Djokovic has a more complete game than Roger's.  I would have said "complete" means number of clubs in the bag, and Roger has (had) more.  While Novak has done a great job of improving on his weaknesses, (i.e., serve, mentality/focus, volley somewhat,) I think there's a tendency to compare Novak now with Roger now, as opposed to peak Fed.  And it amuses me that "ability to beat Rafa" is a factor for some.   ;-)
     
  20. MikeOne

    MikeOne Club Member

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    if you want to use golf clubs as an analogy, let's go there. Novak has a a good quality and a complete set of clubs (all irons, driver, woods, putter, sand wedge, pitching wedge). Federer has extra clubs (irons, driver, mini driver, woods, putter, sand wedge, pitching wedge and a few hybrids) so he has extra options but his putter (a key club) is an old, cheap one who is of relatively low quality. Djokovic has a complete set, all of high quality whilst Federer has extra clubs which allow him to hit a more wide array of shots. The problem for Federer is that his putter, at times, lets him down.

    Now who would you say has the more complete set of clubs? The one with extra clubs but 1 key club of lower quality or the one with less clubs but having all the required ones, all of high quality?
     
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