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Four months ago Nadal was at just 6 freaking Slams.

Posted by tennisplanet on September 19, 2010

And he is at nine already? If ’08 season is to be taken as a benchmark to predict what can happen in the coming months – with knee or other problems not being a factor – this can get ‘scarily’ scary in a hurry. Nadal can very realistically reel off at least three more Slams consecutively before he takes a break. That’ll be like moving from 6 to 12 in about a year – something unheard of.

Looking at Nadal’s demeanor this is what I sense he is saying inside: “You’ve seen nothing yet”. What his fellow colleagues fear most? The feeling that Nadal appears to get hungrier after reaching another seemingly impossible milestone – instead of taking time to rest on his laurels – at least momentarily. Nadal’s victory celebration even after winning the career Slam is very low-key compared to others. He may be quite close to Sampras in that respect who was back on the practice courts within hours of winning another Slam. And like Sampras, Nadal shuns public events, media circus and other shams clothed as ‘promoting the sport’ BS – and unlike someone else.

Nadal is on the cusp of what could catapult him as an indisputable GOAT – past Federer, of all the freaking people. It appears Federer did not really expect to get where he is now. It kind of blew him away. In contrast, Nadal seems dangerously deliberate and has already visualized and EXPECTS to become an all time great. The difference is unmistakable. That’s the magic of a clearly defined target – whether it’s a record set by a predecessor or it’s totally a figment of your imagination – it doesn’t matter.

Both Sampras and Federer are prime exhibits to prove that beyond any doubt.


14 Responses to “Four months ago Nadal was at just 6 freaking Slams.”

  1. MM said

    I haven’t ever really taken your GOAT observations very seriously when it comes to Nadal. But you are making excellent points in this piece and damn, Rafa is one serious tennis player.

    I thought after his down time last summer that that was pretty much it but scary is the operative word here. Last year’s men’s final with Del Porto firing rockets was amazing but the first set in this year’s final and after they came back from the rain delay was incredible. Having seen live professional tennis, there is just no comparison to the perception of speed on TV vs sitting there. And lordie, both of them, on TV, were hitting subsonic strokes.

    But it was Nadal that didn’t slow down, Nole did and you could see that he was like WTF?

    The AO is going to be very interesting, I might just go again. It sure is a great time to be a tennis fan

  2. Bjornino said

    Great comparison with Sampras. I am always so amazed every time Nadal wins the FO how he’s at Queens the DAY AFTER, practicing on the grass courts.

    • M said

      “I am always so amazed every time Nadal wins the FO how he’s at Queens the DAY AFTER, practicing on the grass courts.”

      Rafa has incredible discipline.

  3. claire said

    I can’t believe that Nadal will continue winning so many GS’s on on regular basis! There’s got to be someone to beat him along the way!

  4. sperry said

    Claire… well… come I can’t come up with a name. I think “scary” is right on the money. Like I said, one would expect the occasional glitch… but, man. Overall? Who is close? If he is a tad off his game, DelPotro, Murray, Djokovic, and maybe Federer could pick him off. But if he’s on, it matters not what the other guys do. I think.

    • Manal Ismail said

      That perhaps because he is also a gracious loser? He keeps aiming to improve himself and we can see that clearly when he’s on the court and how he and his uncle toni exchanging glances on what to do next or so (or just mere motivating/encouraging words). And also maybe he is also very much inspired by Fed?

      • M said

        “And also maybe he is also very much inspired by Fed?”

        I think he’s very much inspired by Roger, Manal.

        Rafa might be the biggest Fedophile of all of us.

    • claire said

      Wasn’t there a time when Federer was considered un-stoppable? He had an amazing run –
      04′- 70-5
      05 – 80-4
      06′- 90-5

      Oh and Federer only won 3 GS’how many times in one year? I think 3? And Federer was the finalist in how many FO? The only one standing in Federer’way was the best clay courter that will probably ever be! Federer was no. 2 on clay for what 3 years when Federer was the finalist!

      Let’s see if Nadal can top or equal that! With Nadal’s knees, I don’t know how he can! I wonder what the treatment is on Nadal’s knees to keep them so healthy and what are the effects of doing the treatment several times a year? Sometimes I think Nadal is so driven and competitive that he would do almost anything to keep his body healthy!

      • M said

        “Let’s see if Nadal can top or equal that!”

        I don’t think Rafa is looking to compare himself to Roger, Claire. It’s pundits that do more of that.
        If you look at Rafa’s interviews, TV or print, when the subject of Roger comes up he says two things consistently:
        1) that the time to look at a career’s impact on history is at that career’s end, and
        2) if people read the history that’s been written so far and feel that they *must* compare the two of them, that Roger is the better player.

        “I wonder what the treatment is on Nadal’s knees to keep them so healthy and what are the effects of doing the treatment several times a year?”

        He’s doing plasma treatments. That’s been mentioned here more than once. I hope Feña and our other warriors that are suffering from chronic tendinitis are looking into them.
        I wish they had an equivalent for meniscal problems; I’d look into that myself if I thought it would be offered it to me as a non-professional athlete.

        “Sometimes I think Nadal is so driven and competitive that he would do almost anything to keep his body healthy!”

        You say that … like it’s a *bad* thing.

      • Claire said

        Good points M

        I didn’t mean in a bad way about Nadal being competitve and driven and may effect his health.

        I guess this issue with football players is on my mind. There is discussion that players are returning to games before they are completely examined and there is no lingering injury that should force them to rest longer. I think some athletes are so driven that they only live in the moment. But other athletes do the same. I have friends that continue to run marathons when they have knee injuries, tendinitis, etc. It’s a special kind of person that’s so driven regardless of the state of their body to contunue in their sport.

        I’m not one of them; I don’t enjoy pain and won’t endure it just to say I ran a marathan!

        I believe that there would be more great tennis players if more are driven and competitive as Nadal! I guess they don’t think it worth putting in the time.

  5. mircea said

    8 more to go. Two a year. The FO should not be much of a challenge. It’s the other Majors that could pose a problem. Still wonder where he gets all his energy and his ability to recuperate so quickly…

    • Claire said

      Ditto! That’s always amazed me – guess that’s youth – Nadal enjoy and take advantage of it while he can! 🙂

      That’s why I don’t think Nadal’s career will be as long as Federer’s. Maybe that’s why he’s giving it his all, get as many GS’s as he can before he has to slow down.
      Nadal is sure showing us he’s capable of doing that!

  6. Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi said

    I see Nadal getting to 14 by 2013-14

  7. Nelson Goodman said

    I posted this a few days ago on a dead thread so reposting here – basically, I think it’s pretty short-sighted to base forecasts of Rafa’s total number of slams based on his age.

    My own sense is that as telling as the oft-repeated comparison of # of slams at same age by Roger and Rafa (6 vs 9, respectively) is # of slams in same number of years after winning their first slam (14 vs 9, respectively). Why? B/c that’s the measure of one’s prime years – and although it took Roger a longer time to fully bloom than Rafa I’m not sure that means that Rafa will have a longer prime (over and above any possible future injuries). Granted, this comparison makes it too lopsided the other way, in terms of extrapolating likely number that Rafa will end with – which is the underlying point of the age one. For instance, if Fed ends with 18, then using this second approach the extrapolation would be 12 for Rafa. Now, splitting the difference between the two approaches would result in 10 v 9, making them neck and neck.

    Of course, in any case projections based past track records are crude guides at best. I think that, holding everything constant, Rafa is likely to finish with 14 majors: 2-3 more FOs, 1 more Wimby, 1 more AO and maybe 1 more USO. And it’ll be a little higher or lower depending on following variables (i.e., everything else not being constant):

    (1) Whether other players see Rafa’s improved hardcourt play as a challenge to step up or reason to play for second-best. That is, even if they yield the clay to Rafa, unlike with Roger’s prime (where two surfaces were yielded), there’s still significant room for challenge on the other major surfaces. A an objective, strategic analysis of Rafa’s game reveals significant weaknesses on grass and hard-courts even this year that can be exploited (2 five-setter at Wimby; losses in Cincy and Toronto).

    (2) Whether Roger realizes that (a) he should be able to play as or better as the non-favorite, with the pressure, both in the h2h and more generally, being off him, due to age, etc.; and (b) even with Rafa “in his head” he still had most of the non-FO major losses to him on his racket, and thus slight changes in strategy and mental intensity can mean all the difference given the huge numbers of breakpoints missed.

    (3) Whether Rafa can really retain the hunger and mental intensity to stay dominant – tougher than it was for Fed b/c of the tougher physical toll of Rafa’s game (which is not the same thing as acute injuries).

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