Peers rank Federer over Nadal despite career Slam. This has Aunt Tony written all over it, don’t you think?
Posted by tennisplanet on September 25, 2010
Even though this is a predicted outcome of the poll, considering Nadal is barely past the half way mark on the Slams, the golden standard in determining the greatest, the timing of it appears more aligned to force someone to not rest on the just concluded career Slam but work to change the way world views who is the greatest when all is said and done.
There is no question Nadal must be mightily tempted to halt momentarily and bask in the glory of this stupendous achievement at just 24. It’s akin to the sensation that hare experienced when racing against the tortoise. On the age meter, Nadal is way way way ahead of everyone, forget Federer. But that stat is as misleading as any you can find anywhere, producing that false sense of security in reaching the ultimate goal – for obvious freaking reasons.
Whoever conducted this poll expecting someone to pick Nadal has to be out of his freaking mind even on the heels of a career Slam. Most Nadal achieved with this achievement was a secure peg at the base of a mountain thereby shifting the GOAT debate from a grey platform to a black one that is viewable to most in the tennis world. Expect anything more and you will be placing the cart before the goat.
To me, for Nadal to realistically match or exceed 16, he HAS to complete a calendar Slam next season which will bring his total to 13. Why? Because Nadal has tremendous momentum, his knees appear to have withdrawn for now, current contenders have still not found the consistency / maturity to disturb him and Xisca has still not purchased the ‘pre-poked’ condoms suggested by Mirka. ALL of the above are MOST LIKELY to not remain at their current levels past next season.
And then there is that huge factor Nadal has to be constantly worried about: Arrival of ‘Nadal’ to match Federer’s ‘Nadal’ – on hard courts. Nadal’s massive claim to fame is his lopsided H2H against Federer largely due to his clay court exploits. Well, the equivalent of that for Nadal is the hard court or if you want to be really specific – the US Open.
If Delpo or Murray suddenly hit their stride and begin thrashing Nadal on hard courts like Nadal did to Federer, that H2H argument Nadal so proudly points to may get completely neutralized making his claim to be the best of his own generation as doubtful as Federer’s. What are the chances of that happening? Pretty pretty freaking high.
Nadal currently enjoys a winning 4-3 H2H against Del Potro. But Delpo has won the last three encounters – all on hard courts – two in straight sets. Granted they were all last year when Nadal was not at his best healthwise but considering how fast Delpo has matured I don’t think Nadal’s 100% fitness will be able to bridge that gap – completely – specially past next season when Delpo most likely will only get better.
As far as Murray is concerned, Nadal again has the winning 8-4 record, but Murray has won four of the last five times they have met on hard courts – one with a bagel and two in straight sets.
That produces an eerie similarity to what Federer faced against Nadal – on clay. Here the roles are reversed with hard court as the bone of contention. There is a very strong possibility that either Murray or Delpo can emerge as the one spoiling not just Nadal’s GOAT claim but just the best of his generation. Remember the generation BS doesn’t end at 24 or 25 or 26 or 27 or 28 or 29 or maybe 30. That’s a long long long freaking time to expect Nadal, given his past history and miles on his odometer, to keep these two guys at bay and not fall into a trap he himself designed for Federer.
Nevertheless, even if this poll BS is real, there’s no doubt it is only providing Nadal more fodder to go for the jugular come next season. And if he does, and remains just three short of promised land – with calendar Slam in hand, maybe that will force Federer to look at the tour like Agassi did and move to Las Vegas with his mister.
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