Ever since Nadal burst on to the tennis scene, 99.9 percent of the world population has been out to bring him down. There may be some truth to few allegations, but there is a whole mountain of pieces on the other end that just is too much to ignore.
No matter how you feel about him, here are certain facts that even the most chronic Nadal-hater has to agree with, willingly or unwillingly. Here is the count:
1. If you were to ask the world, what is the ONE quality of Nadal that sticks out the most, it has to be his ‘never-say-die’ attitude. That is an attribute which has been revered, worshipped and envied since the beginning of time. David vs Goliath, anyone???
It has such magic, that it overshadows all other areas and can carry a person over the hump, without having many other skills and properties. It is this intangible quality that can and in many cases, have wrested victory from the jaws of certain defeat.
The beauty is, that it is not only an invaluable asset, for the player to achieve success, it is what has endeared the player to the fans, since the time of Adam and Eve. History books are replete with numerous events in practically every sphere of human life, where the person with the most resiliency and heart, eventually conquers a more skilled and powerful adversary time and time again.
Amazingly, even in defeat the party in possession of this unique property, wins a huge adoring following.
This invaluable trait has done more for Nadal’s game and popularity (or is it unpopularity) than all of his ‘tennis skills’ combined, that he has worked on, so hard and so long, on the tennis court.
2. By being fearless of Federer’s mighty game, he has created a legitimate rivalry unlike Roddick and Hewitt. Rivalry that has energised the tennis world by sending a hot buzz across the board.
The cash registers haven’t stop ringing since Nadal erupted on the scene. The sponsors and the event organizers couldn’t be happier. You cannot argue against it, no matter which side of the isle, you are in.
3. Nadal has shown exceptional maturity, off the court, for a teenager. He has never uttered anything derogatory against Federer, despite being on the receiving end of some uncalled for jabs from Federer like ‘Nadal is a one-dimensional player’ etc. He has never been arrogant, despite having a winning record against Federer, unlike Djokovic, who is yet to win a match against the World’s No. 1, but has already said enough.
He has remained humble and respectful of other players, even when provoked. Ljubicic made some, not so polite comments, last year to which Nadal said “I have a good relationship with Ljubicic and I don’t want to ruin it over this”.
There are other teenagers on the tour who have yet to show that maturity and demeanour off the court.
4. As if all that is not enough, the facts delineate a clear picture of a force in tennis. He has won more titles before turning 20 than everyone except Borg and is tied with him for most titles as a teenager. No one else has done that in open era. Not even Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roy Emerson and Roger Federer. You’ve got to tip your hat for that, no matter where you stand.
His dominance on clay is unmatched. His clay court winning streak is now at a ridiculous 72 and counting. You know the number for the last streak on clay? A mere 53 back in 1977. He has licked it by almost 20 matches!!!
His performance last year at Wimbledon was startling. No one in the history of the game has won the Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, except Borg. And Nadal came very close to achieving, what is referred to as the ‘most difficult double’ in the tennis world and is considered impossible by current players. Nadal almost pulled it off.
You cannot be in possession of everything mentioned above, without a very mature and indepth understanding of the game and the skill set to execute it to perfection. He deserves all the credit in the world for having reached here at such an early age. Where were you at 18, 19 and 20?
GIVE IT UP.