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What did Nadal achieve with this US Open win vis a vis his rivalry with Federer?

Posted by tennisplanet on September 15, 2010

Even though Nadal’s H2H, his hard court wins (even in a Slam), Wimbledon win over Federer, Olympic medal etc. did kindle the rumblings about his stature versus Federer in the big scheme of things, Federer’s 16 Slams, career Slam, many other nearly insurmountable records AND Nadal’s weak showing on hard courts etc. more than repelled ANY legitimate invasion into the territory solely controlled by Federer.

With this win, the career Slam AND control of three straight Slam on three different surfaces, Nadal may have finally managed to produce something called ‘Doubt‘ with the strongest strain of legitimacy. It’s like his first peg at the base camp of a steep mountain. Whether he will one day scale the entire mound is anyone’s guess but just to be now able to run alongside the brightest train to ever visit tenniskingdom is in itself quite an accomplishment.

Federer has to be wondering what more could he have done to create an ‘unbridgeable’ rift between not just Nadal and him but anybody else – past, present and future. It certainly should make Sampras feel lot less depressed in being run over – within such a short span.


25 Responses to “What did Nadal achieve with this US Open win vis a vis his rivalry with Federer?”

  1. mircea said

    Yes, but I am posting everywhere that Nadal’s results are beginning to appear more and more suspect. Sorry but it’s a gut feeling. I’ve seen enough to know that everything is possible. Sad but true. Federer’s aura of invincibility came from his talent. Nadal’s aura of invincibility comes from some form of super human quality and belief in that quality. I would be devastated if any of this were true.

    • claire said

      What are you talking about? Are you trying to be funny? Sometimes I just don’t get whether someone is being funny or sarcastic!

    • wuiches said

      Do you mean another Agassi???

      I don’t think this is the case, however speaking about Agassi it’s kind of suspect that the ATP never found anything about it, Agassi was a very popular player and represented a HUGE amount of money for tennis business, I don’t know how strict was the doping control those days or if they had any control at all but anyway Agassi has put a little bit of dust on ATP’s credibility, for some people I guess.

      One of the questions to Nadal during the press conference after winning the USO was why he took so much time to get there, to the press room, and one of the things he said he was doing was the doping test. Nadal now represents a huge business for the ATP but I think it’s very unlikely that they are covering a possible doping case.

      If Nadal is taking illegal drugs he’s been doing so since 7 years ago I think, cuz’ he’s been playing with the same intensity since he was 17, he would be completely bold by now(ok, he’s just started) or unable to play tennis anymore or dead maybe what do I know. I don’t really think this is the case.

      However, when there’s a lot of money in between, you never know…

  2. bunnee said

    it doesn’t seem fully fair to compare them head to head when there IS that 5 year age difference…

  3. Somebody Else said

    I think Rafa definitely has a shot at making it to the top of the list in the GOAT debate. If he has a couple more seasons like this, it will be a very solid case in his favor.

    Bunnee: “it doesn’t seem fully fair to compare them head to head when there IS that 5 year age difference…”

    — Rafa’s at the forefront of the generation that includes Djokovic, Murray, etc. Federer surged ahead of the players in his age group, but because he still plays, he can’t hold of every player all the time. Age difference is a factor in terms of peak performance, but if you play, you deal with it as best you can. Rafa is a completely unique player in the history of the sport. Nobody ever trained or practiced before to play someone like Rafa. Players have, however, trained and practiced to match Federer’s rhythm, because Federer plays (or played) a highly-refined classical style to fit into this modern era of tennis. Many players sought to adapt to that. Uncle Toni and Rafa determined what the performance standards in the sport were at the time Rafa was training before turning pro, and they worked out an ideal approach which interrupted the basic flat-hitting baseliner rhythms, forcing players to alter their groundstrokes during points, for which Rafa would be prepared to launch his assault. It has since worked brilliantly. There have been some problem areas, but manageable for the most part. No player I can think of has learned as quickly as Rafa.

    • overcaffeinated said

      “No player I can think of has learned as quickly as Rafa”

      Absolutely agreed here. To be able to do what he has done, after initially being a one-surface-pony, is insane. I am still astounded at how that freak manages some of his shots and angles, and the amount of times he flicks a super fast winner or deft angled shot (with intent and control) when the ball is barely above the ground!!! In what I belive is Rafa’s favourite word, it’s “unbelievable”!

  4. overcaffeinated said

    Greatness also would factor in consistency, not just a couple of slam bang seasons where a player hits purple patches.

    When Rafa can display the incredible consistency that Roger has done in his long running purple patch of mid-2003 to Jan 2010, then I would start saying Rafa has a shot at GOAT of his era. When folks consider GOATS in other sport, longevity and consistency are usually associated. Yes, Rafa has had some good results since he burst onto the scene, however remember the days when he started winning a lot of clay tournaments, then he disappeared in results for approx 10.5 months until the next clay season?

    Roger has been the model of high performing consistency for approx 6.5 years. Rafa is far from achieving this yet. Sure he has won the majors at a younger age, however let’s see how he performs into his later 20’s when his legs get slower and strength wanes.

    Let’s see Rafa consistently defend all of his titles, or at the very, very least, defend his other three majors at least once.

    Why do you think that Agassi is never really considered or talked of as a GOAT of his era? Other than the lurking giant of Sampras in the picture, Agassi – depsite having a career slam – ONLY ever defended a major ONCE.

  5. mircea said

    If someone had told you 3 years ago that Tiger was banging left and right (not golf balls) you would have said they were crazy. I just don’t know what to make of Nadal’s physical domination of the game. Then again, Djokovic was exhausted. Still… and I know it sounds crazy but…

  6. mircea said

    And why is Nadal’s hair thinning out? He looks gaunt and is going bald. Explanation please

    • Jenny said

      Ivan Ljubicic was ‘always’ bald ever since I saw him, even younger than Rafa is now, same as Davydenko. At least Rafa’s got hair! I think he has fine hair anyway, without too much body. I agree, Rafa has lost weight, loss of ‘puppy fat’, but then he needed to lose weight because of his knees. I don’t think he’s a particularly big guy, although tall. I’m sure the gruelling Tour and other pressures don’t help either. Just my opinion.

  7. Winthrop Corey said

    All of this talk about GOAT seems to me to negate all the brilliant players that have come before the “new boy on the block”. In other areas such as music and dance there are many great ones and the comparasions stop there, they are all GOATS. Everyone seems to forget the brilliance of Sampras and now even Federer to follow a new young thing that is having a good season. How fickle are you? I will always feel very fortunate that I got to witness Federer play and the joy he has brought to the world. Believe me, everyone moves on, but don’t forget them and what they did.

    • Jenny said

      Very true! Also the brilliance of Laver, Borg and many others.

    • Bonnie said

      Agree totally! Many other players, including Connors & Johnny Mac brought something special to the sport too. Each one, in their own right, is the GOAT. To say that any one person is the best ever of all people, is to totally negate what someone had done previously. All top 10 have had wonderful careers, all are worthy of respect and acclamation. Yet the top 10 changes often. Just because they are no longer in the top 10, or 5 even, that doesn’t mean that they’re chumps. look at Roddick. How many years did he consistently stay in the top 10 until this year? Yet, he only won one slam. Does that mean he’s a nothing. I don’t thinks so, and I’m sure neither does he. All are to be marveled at. On top of the fact that each generation, there are new “contenders” and each generation is different, so to compare one generation to the next is unfair. Let’s just enjoy the pleasure of seeing greatness, even fleetingly, in each and every winner, no matter how many they’ve won, or how many slams they’ve won, or even if they never win a slam. I’ve seen greatness in many players, and can appreicate their skill on many different levels. How many lower ranked players have come up with wonderful shots, but no one gives them credit because they’re not ranked high enough. Yet, I still appreciate the shot, and their tennis brings joy. That’s what Roger & Rafa have done for tennis, brought out the awarness in people that the game is enjoyable to watch. They’ve elevated level of tennis for players and fans alike, and for that, they’re both great.

    • Jill said

      Winthrop Corey (what a fantastic name), Bonnie, Jenny, couldn’t agree more, really I couldn’t!!!!!

      • Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi said

        I’ll second that. It’s an interesting part of human psychology, the fickle mindedness. Exists in all aspects of life where performance is measured. People just don’t think for themselves anymore. Budge, Laver, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras, Federer and Nadal are all the greatest players in tennis. It can be debated that Federer came close to edging them all when he won 6 slams in 2 years, but was stopped by Nadal on both occasions from winning all 4 slams on two occasions. However, this is a debate that has no significance. It’s because unless champions of different eras compete with one another under the same performance metrics ( including racket technology, sports nutrition, training methods, etc.), it can never be clearly decided which one was better. The closest one can get is computer simulations of say Laver vs Federer or Borg Vs Nadal to get an estimate, nothing more.

        The GOAT industry is pure fantasy and is fuelled by a few influential sports personalities – John McEnroe included who is as fickle as they come. When federer won the french, he pronounced him as the GOAT. A month later when he won wimbledon, McEnroe pressed the other legends Laver and Borg to acknowledge that Federer is the GOAT ( they didn’t). Before this year’s US open, Mac introduced Federer and Nadal as two of the greatest players ever, which was a whole lot more accurate than the mythical singular GOAT.

        However, if Nadal does win the AO 2011 and completes the grand slam, he will have edged Federer, but again, this is a matter of opinion.

  8. BonnyBee said

    Their goatness enhances each other’s legacies. Roger was able to fend off not just any #2 for 160 weeks, but a fellow goat. When Rafa became #1, he supplanted not just any other player, but a fellow goat. Baaaaaa.

    • D.S.G. said



      (BTW, someone told me once that sheep say,”Baa and goats say “Maa.” Can anyone shed light on that charming bit of info?)

  9. Bettyjane said

    I can’t hope to improve upon the slew of great remarks in this thread. When I first got interested in tennis in the mid-70s, my girlfriend warned me of how “fickle” the fans and press were. That always stayed with me. The only GOAT in the sports world to my mind, who continues to be the standard for most superior athlete is Secretariat. Records that still stand today—running the end of the race faster than the start. Mind boggling. I know I’ve mentioned him before on this site but it’s such a thrilling example of raw athleticism in its purest form—running.

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