Rafa Is King

2 Feb

Rafael Nadal has now added the 2009 Australian Open to make it six Grand Slams victories, five of them over the #2 ranked Roger Federer.  He’s now five and two against Federer in Slam finals, and also five and two in regular ATP tournament finals. He also hasn’t had a loss in the finals against Mr. Federer since 2007.  Rafa is the best in the world, and the leap from one to two is widening, and he’s running away from the rest of the field. The man from Spain just has a never quit attitude combined with incredible athleticism and skill with the racquet.

Now, Roger.  He battled back from multiple breakpoints when the fourth set sat a 2-2, displaying a terrific drop shot.  He eventually won the point and forced a fifth set.  An exhausted Nadal suddenly looked positively invigorated, and with a little help from several unforced errors from Federer, he broke his opponent down to win the last set rather easily. Federer’s emotions overcame him during the ceremony and remains one Grand Slam shy of Pete Sampras’ record 14 titles.

The future looks bleak for Roger should he continue to falter against Nadal.  For his part, he did win the 2008 US Open due to Nadal losing in the semis.  It’s certainly possible for the 27-year old Federer to eclipse Sampras, but 22-year old Nadal is going to be around for quite a while and is only entering his peak NOW, having already gathered six Slam titles.  Nadal may have a great shot to end up the all-time leader himself, unless Andy Murray builds upon his early Dubai win over the #1 and #2 ranked players, and his 2008 US Open loss to Federer.

For now, it’s all Rafa, all the time.  Federer is a second-place mess, one Slam win shy of history.  And he remains there, bewildered by the court magic of the youngster with the headband.

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