Monday, July 5

They Forgot About Rafa

Over the weekend we had the birthday of our nation (getting to hear cannons fire in addition to fireworks is awesome by the way), Kobayashi got arrested, the World Cup was cut down to 4, All-star snubs were announced, and some basketball player named LeBron finished getting courted by various NBA teams.

Perhaps lost in this milieu of sports and life celebrations was Rafael Nadal winning his 8th Grand Slam at the age of 24. Once again we were denied a Federer-Nadal slam match-up. It is possible we will not see it again. Federer, who is approaching 30, lost in the quarterfinals this year to eventual runner up Tomas Berdych. After the match R-Fed spoke of lingering back and leg injuries. Some saw that as making excuses, but I think what we saw from Federer was a combination of frustration and truth about his physical condition. While Federer and Nadal have met 8 times in Grand Slam tournaments, it is unlikely we will ever see them both performing at their top games. I have a feeling Federer knows this.

This week Roger dropped to 3rd in the world rankings behind Njokavic and Nadal. Soon Rafael will go after the final title in his Career Grand Slam, the US Open. Federer got his Career Slam when Nadal bowed out of the French in 2009 with knee injuries. It appears as of now that Nadal will not have to go through Federer to do it. Last year when Nadal was forced to the sidelines with injuries many wondered if he was going too hard too fast. Catfish made the apt comparison of Nadal being the 'Dwayne Wade of tennis'. Like Wade, Nadal has battled back from those injuries.

America seems to be preoccupied on other things since the Americans are not the center of this rivalry. In the 80s there was McEnroe and Connors, the 90s had Sampras and Agassi. With the World Cup this summer, our country seems like it can only handle one sport more popular in other countries at the moment. If Nadal is able to capture the US Open, he will have 9 titles, the career slam and be only 24. The case might be then that everyone forgets about Roger.

photo via Getty

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