Sport seldom witnesses a telling moment as the one we saw today when Federer broke down.Those tears told in short the agonizing moments of frustration,despair and then a sense of loss that this rivalry has meant for federer. They also told what we knew and some feared all along that the story of their rivalry has evolved into one of not equal strengths but one of Federer chasing and Nadal denying every time.
What probably hurt Federer the most was the fact that he was thwarted by an opponent who has stood between him and history with such stubborness and in that greatness time and again that he has been rendered helpless.Nadal was not even hundred percent fit. The last of Federer’s bastion fell today to make it official that the Swiss is now second best to Nadal on every surface and in every aspect of their rivalry.Today when Federer broke down I thought that Roger may never win Nadal if the spaniard is hundred percent fit in a match of high stakes because Federer has lost the mental battle long ago.Its easy to see why.
Nadal is the nightmarish colossus on Federer’s once upon a time sweet run.I have always insisted that Federer was lucky to win so many grand slams because he lacked intense rivalry.Sampras is the greatest not because he dominated its because the who’s who he dominated.Time and again people have seen Nadal as an obstacle on Federer’s path and have continued to write how Federer has to wait a bit more to fend off this challenge.The truth is far from that.Nadal has such a deadlock on Federer that their rivalry itself is to be questioned.They play great matches yes but Federer invariably ends up losing .You dont call that rivalry exactly do you? Its not Nadal who is the fly that Federer has to swat its exactly the other way round.
Today, Djokovic,Murray,Giles all believe they can beat Roger on a given day and not without reason. If Djokovic shows half the determination that Nadal has I dont see Federer winning him at this point either.It would not be right now of all times if Federer is called arguably the GOAT, for if Federer can be called that ,then what would you call Nadal?
We are always fascinated with fairy tales perhaps the reason why we rushed headlong to call Federer GOAT and perhaps the same reason why that people are wondering if its Nadal who will beat Sampras.But GOATs are not scattered across the field in every era.Nadal and Federer are indeed tennis greats and whether Nadal will break Pete’s record is only something that time will tell when the spaniard is past 25, exactly the point of time in Federer’s career when he began to unravel.Grandslams are not easier to win when you are hitting 26 and your opponent is just out of his teens, we saw that with Sampras and are now seeing it with Federer. So,lets wait and watch.
Its not that Federer cant beat Nadal,he very well can but it has to do with accepting the fact that Nadal is the better of the two currently.When he does that then he can chase to beat him with a thirst that sportsmen often display.With Nadal you can only win if you want the slam more than him and have the ability and belief to do so.
Federer has become increasingly bitter over the last year .He has mocked his fellow players,refused to give credit, time and again praised himself for winning over players like Roddick and called himself great.This paints a picture of where Roger is right now.I would rather have federer cry,shout and show a thirst openly than do it surreptiously.This man did not begin his career as Mr.Uber Cool, he was in his earlier days a vibrant personality charged with racquet abuse.Federer will perhaps beat Nadal when he removes these false layers off him and single mindedly pursues not records but Nadal.Its not past him.
For all the accusations of Nadal being defensive , sports is not about how beautifully you play and shake your locks ,its about how well you withstand the grind to win.Its something i have learnt the hard way everytime i saw argentina lose to say,germany or Barca lose over the years.Nadal has also tremendously improved with an ability to switch to an offensive play when required. This man from Mallorca has the heart of a lion, a child and that of gold all rolled into one.He has shown a sense of determination and persistence that will rewrite those very terms’ meanings. As long as his body holds he roars and stands the best. Its a passion unmatched and thats why its time to say Vamos Rafa!