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Nadal Dominates Federer Towards French Open History

If there was any doubt in this era of tennis that Rafael Nadal is the master of the clay courts, well cast that doubt aside and get with the program. This guy is it. 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 was the result against the No.1 in the world Roger Federer. A dominating performance that made me step back and rub my eyes. With the way Fed was playing I figured he would have at least won one set. That said, after seeing how Nadal dispatched with Novak Djokovic in straight sets of 6-1, I didn’t have much hope for Roger. I did though think he would win at least one small battle.

I’ve always had this strange love-hate liking with Fed. I love his tennis. Beautiful – effortless – grace under pressure – fully self-aware – he deserves his place in tennis history. But I hated the hype, as if he were more than human. I know his mechanical-robot like precision and skill in everything he does is just him. And I know he has personality, doesn’t everybody. But I just don’t like the hype. That said, Grand Slam titles are hard to argue with and he has quite a few. So, I fully respect and appreciate what I’m witnessing when I see him play. Recently though he has been looking very human on the court, which has made me grow a real soft spot for the Swissman (visiting his country probably has something to do with that as well – absolutely beautiful place, and the people are magnificent – do go if you get the chance). I do wish that he wins a French Open title to complete his Grand Slam collection. Pete Sampras never won one, and I always watched clinging to the TV for Pistol Pete to reign in that Grand Slam. I knew Pete was a lock for Wimbledon and the U.S., and the Australian would come in spurts, but the French title was the nerve-wrenching one. I hope it doesn’t go the same way for Fed.

That said, Nadal is “The King of Clay” and what we are witnessing is Bjorn Borg-esque, and Borg along with the rest of the tennis world knows it. So do we loft Nadal, at age 22, into the hallowed ranks? He certainly is making a case for it right now, but let’s wait to see how his whole game pans out because next up is the Mecca of the tennis world – Wimbledon. Don’t give in to the hype just yet. Nadal has challenged here, but Federer has had a lock on the green courts of the All England Club for quite some time. Can Nadal really push for it? Last year, he reduced his post-French Open matches in order to prepare for Wimbledon, and it served him well, as he challenged Federer in the final. Still though, the outcome was Federer eating his strawberries and cream from the Wimbledon Trophy.

Will that be the same outcome this year, as the mighty Swissman has yet to win a Grand Slam event. He lost the Australian Open to Djokovic, and now the French Open to Nadal. He has Wimbledon and the U.S. Open left. Let’s see where it all lands him. The one thing I say though is look for Nadal to raise the game one more level. If he can just stay healthy throughout the Summer, which is funny to say considering he is one of the most athletically fit people on the tour. But his style of play can put excess stress on his body, so hopefully that finally tuned physique is more finely tuned than last year so it can keep things in check, and push Nadal over the hump with regards to the other Grand Slams.

Peace

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