Nadal has clearly energised the tennis world, by igniting this rivalry with Federer. Roddick attempted to do that and failed miserably. No one else even came close. Maybe Safin, but in retrospect, that proved to be a flash in the pan, than anything that could sustain Federer’s talent.
Nadal, not only has picked up the gauntlet, but has achieved what was considered virtually impossible – have a winning record against Federer – 8-4.
Although six of those eight wins have come on clay, Federer’s weaker surface, it still is something the tennis world cannot still believe.
H2H on clay: 6-1.
H2H on everything else: 2-3.
That is no small feat, against a player who will certainly go down as the greatest human to ever pick up the racket, whether he wins the FO or not. Nadal has taken out Federer on his own surface twice.
If not for Federer, Nadal would have been world’s No. 1 by now.
If you were to ask for just one thing, that fans love about him, it has to be his ‘never give up’ attitude. No matter what the score says, you can bet he will fight till the very end. He puts it all out on the court. As a sports fan, you have to tip your hat to that. There are not many people who have the fortitude to fight on, despite every freaking chip aganist them.
He has a clean track record as far as making disparaging remarks against his fellow players is concerned, despite open provocation. He has always praised everyone including Federer, whether he loses or wins. That is not an easy job as a teenager. If you have ever been a teenager, you cannot but stand and applaud for that maturity.
There are other teenagers in the field and the difference is stark.
I personally like the fact that he stays with his family and despite the fame and fortune, refuses to alter his lifestyle. Not many teenagers can have the strength of character to ward off, all the temptations that come with the territory. He is respectful and kind to his coach and uncle. You will never see him make rude gestures or remarks towards his uncle, during or after the match.
Man, you give me all that NOW, and I will go bonkers.
He has not been complacent with his performance and if you have been paying attention, has worked hard to add new dimensions to his already deadly game. Remember he has won 11 titles in one freaking year. One could become lax after that show, but he has persevered and moved up. That shows a lot of character.
Although not fluent in English, he makes an extra effort to accommodate the press and tries his best to answer the questions in broken English. In that position, you don’t have to do that, and can demand that everything be translated and make everyone else conform to you. Who wants to embarrass himself. That comes from being secure in yourself. Not easy to come by at this age. Hey, I am still waiting for it. Why do you think I still live in this dingy basement of my parents’ home?
He is the only tennis player that I can remember, with so muscular a physic, who can deliver all that is required of a tennis player admirably. That requires cat-like relexes, awesome flexibility and fearsome athleticism. There is a reason, why there is no one just like him on the court right now. That is a rare combination of physical prowess and a beauty to watch on the court.
If you were ask for that one thing that fans worldwide would have him correct, it has to be his annoying habit of picking his shorts. There is no doubt in my mind, that when he grows up, he will be ashamed to see, that he ever did that in front of millions of fans.
It is not everyday, that tennis witnesses a growth of great players in the same era. This is without question, one of them. The consequent polarization that has resulted from it, is ample testimony to that.