Yes. This is a biased article. Even after Federer’s godly grace and 20 slams, I still dare to think that Rafael Nadal is the GOAT. And I have good reasoning to back my claim.
As curtains rolled down on the Roland Garros 2018, the winners’ podium hosted an all too familiar face. As he has been doing it almost every year since he debuted in 2005, Rafael Nadal lifted the French Open Cup for a record 11th time.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 10, 2018
Nadal’s career has been nothing short of phenomenal. The current World #1 has a significant tennis watching population believing, he is the greatest tennis player ever in the Open Era. The trophy cabinet is bulking out, the record books are fulling out and the doubters are diminishing fast. Time and time again, injuries halt the procession to tennis immortality. Yet time and time again, the man from Mallorca races back to the top.
He is the king of clay in Paris.
And now…@RafaelNadal has been immortalised in France forever.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) June 12, 2018
He won an under-12 regional crown at age eight and by 12 had won Spanish and European age-group junior titles. By the time he aged 15, he had turned professional.
Nadal won his first match against prime Federer when he was only 17, there was no looking back from there. All he needed was a Grand Slam, that also came soon enough. At 19, he won the 2005 French Open on his debut.
To date he remains the only man bar Andre Agassi to have won a career Grand Slam and an Olympic men’s singles gold medal. Nadal is the one among the only three that have managed the feat of winning Grand Slam titles in their teens, 20s and 30s. The other two being Pete Sampras and Ken Rosewall.
Rafael Nadal is well equipped to beat Roger Federer’s record Grand Slam total. That is the bold prediction made by Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander.
The debate for who is the greatest has ignited again. Yes, it is an exercise in futile. We are witness to the greatest tennis generation (the Big 4) and among them, the two greatest tennis players. The ruthless aggressor vs the tireless counter attacker. The suave Swiss vs the shy Spaniard. Two contrasting styles, two different personalities and the two greatest players to pick up a racket. Why reduce their greatness to a useless debate? Because to fully comprehend their greatness, we need parallels, and there are no comparisons to their greatness other than themselves.
#Federer on #Nadal winning his 11th Roland Garros trophy: “Winning one single tournament 11 times is unimaginable. I didn’t need to see the finals to know how strong Rafa is and what amazing things he has achieved.” #RG18 #FrenchOpen pic.twitter.com/DjhzsEYbDX
— Halkbet (@halkbet_eng) June 12, 2018
Nadal now graces the 2nd spot on the list for most Grand Slams; 3 behind Federer. Nadal has the better H2H record in 38 matches played, leading 23-15. However, Federer has won the last 5 meetings between the pair. Even if you strip out their results on clay, Nadal performs better on hard surfaces than Federer on clay. Having won 10 of the 23 meetings on grass/hard courts.
Roger Federer is 4 years older, but Nadal is more injury prone. Nadal has missed nine Grand Slam appearances due to injuries. One might wonder what would have been if he had played those events.
Many high profile person were seated in Paris to witness ‘Rafa’ Nadal create history.
Many celebrities and sportsmen took to Twitter to acknowledge his greatness. Including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mario Gotze.
— Mario Götze (@MarioGoetze) June 11, 2018
Entering the twilight of their careers, this is set to be another passage of dominance from the eternal rivals. Only time will tell who comes out on top, but I’m praying it’s the Spaniard.