Let me begin by saying that I am not a huge Nadal fan, or a huge Federer fan. Nah! That spot remains reserved for Agassi, my all time favourite – the flawed genius. This post is inspired more by a long discussion that Parul and I had last weekend while watching Nadal steam roll his way to his fifth French Open title.
Nadal is not the most graceful player we have seen. Nor is the most skillful. But he is one helluva hard worker and all his matches reflect this where he seems to carry on despite all the sweat and grunting. 7 Grand Slams, including one on hard court, and an Olympic Gold, along with numerous ATP titles, are a testament to his game. Add to this the fact that he is perhaps the only player to have a upper hand against Federer, and that too consistently. Even on grass, Federer’s favourite surface, Nadal has proven to be a worthy competitor.
To say that he isn’t a tennis great as he hasn’t won much else on surfaces other than clay is akin to saying Bjorn Borg isn’t a great as he hasn’t won the Australian or US Open. To be fair to Nadal, his style of playing isn’t too conducive for the hard surface, or for that matter a long career. Despite that, he went on to win the Australian Open in 2009, beating none other than the great Federer. Says something, no?
In fact, he has beaten Federer to win 5 of his 7 titles just proves how good he is. To be a worthy competitor to Federer when no one else has come close is an achievement in itself. When the two have met in Grand Slam finals, Rafa has won five times, losing thrice.
I don’t know if Rafa will be counted as an all time great, but I know for sure that if I am asked to list players I enjoy watching play, he would be on it!
As he says often (hat tip Jabberwock), “We gonna see, no?” – Yes, we are!!
PS: What is it with tennis and men crying on court?? Federer, Murray, and now Nadal. I know you need metrosexual fan following to sell all the products you guys advertise. But for Christ’s sake, stop being sissies!!