He is certainly not happy that Federer won the US Open title thereby maintaining his 1000 points towards his No. 2 spot. But Nadal has the consolation of gaining points himself by reaching the semifinal after getting eliminated in the fourth round last year.
Despite what Nadal has been saying about Federer lately, he must have definitely started looking past Federer for any threat to his top rank. If Federer is not able to back this win by gaining any more substantial points towards the top spot, then Federer may have actually done a huge favor to Nadal by keeping Djokovic and Murray from winning the title.
You see this is Nadal’s first stretch of hard court tournaments as the No. 1 player in the world. While Federer may be just 1000 some points off his lead, Uncle Tony may not be looking at him to surpass Nadal any longer. Both Djokovic and Murray appear to be headed towards Nadal with much more conviction and hunger.
Nadal’s camp must be hoping for the close rivalry on hard courts to dissipate any gain any one player makes in the rankings. while waiting for the clay season to monopolise on all the gravy alone. If it works the way they are hoping, Nadal can easily extend his reign as the No. 1 player longer than even he expects.
Now that Nadal has stripped Federer of both Wimbledon and the No. 1 rank prizes, he is now going after that ONE stroke that will place him ahead of Federer: He wants to win the career Grand Slam, if not the calendar. With two semifinal appearances at both the Australian Open and the US Open at age 21, Nadal must be very optimistic of closing in on his goal, with some help from his competition.
Now that Djokovic has been eliminated as the ONLY threat to the two big dogs in the draw, with the emergence of Murray, Nadal cannot hope to relax since if he gets either one of them in his half of the draw, it’s a battle, assuming he can fight off the lesser beings without losing his fuel.
With his best showing on hard courts ever, particularly in the second half of the season, Nadal must be pleased that his body has been holding up very well, despite the addition of Olympics this year. This could be a perfect time for Nadal to steal the Australian Open next year.
Federer is still not consistent, Djokovic may have not made any gains in the second half of the season and Murray may still be a deer in the lights. If Nadal gets his two hard court slams, getting him to No. 7, reaching or surpassing No. 14 may not be that big of a stretch.
Nadal has to be focusing on the AO, by limiting his off season activities to the minimum to conserve energy. Hope he is not stupid enough to fall in that exho trap. If Nadal is fresh, he will be a force at the AO.
The US Open loss may not sting that bad right now, because he traded it for the Olympic gold – another stroke that puts him ahead of Federer. You see whenever there’s a rivalry of this sort at this level, just equalling the record, even the stellar ones set by Federer is not enough. You want to blow past them to not leave any doubt.
The only way Nadal can achieve that is to go after the records Federer has fallen short on. Why? Because the ones he has set are near impossible to break.
So the bigger bang for Nadal’s effort is: the Olympic gold and the career slam – to somehow minimize Federer’s achievements vis a vis his. He cannot win five straight Wimbledon or US Open titles, neither can he be No. 1 for 237 weeks.