If Nadal gets his career Slam this year, 2009 will instantly become a huge ‘WHAT IF’.
Posted by tennisplanet on July 22, 2010
Specially if Nadal fails to clear No. 16 by just a few. Just like Sampras looks at those four Slam finals he lost with longing and disgust, Nadal may end up beating himself up if he fails by a whisker. Getting to just 12 career Slams may not evoke that response.
Agassi recouped most of his ‘2009s’ and if not for Sampras’s 14 Slam may have been quite happy with where he landed eventually – unless of course if you consider No. 22 sleeping next to him. The severity of what you left on the table comes back to haunt you in just two scenarios: Either you missed the gold standard by the minimum of margins OR the next guy eclipses your record by the minimum of margins.
It was good for Sampras’s family and close friends that Federer reached No. 16. Federer at No. 15 would have transformed Sampras into a petty criminal running around the city as a pick pocket. With 16 he may still not be completely out of the woods though. That’s why losing in the Slam final is that much more painful. There’s a reason Federer didn’t cry like a girl – publicly – after his quarterfinal exit this year at Wimbledon – even though it was a far lesser result than that loss to Nadal in the finals.
That analogy may not be perfect like most I try to jam in but it’s not too far away from the target either. When you are aiming for the record as sensational as No. 16, missing a year in your prime is like getting off the blocks two seconds after the pistol fires at an Olympic 100 meter dash. Not only do you have to produce a consistent ‘plugging’ year after year, it also has to show an upward progression from the year before.