Last updated on September 10, 2019
Rafael Nadal tucked ghost strands of hair behind his ears then proceeded into cannon down the closing serve of this last Grand Slam of the decade — a period of 10 years from 2010 to 2019 where he might well have swayed the GOAT disagreement in his leadership.
Seconds after, Nadal put spread-eagled in the Arthur Ashe stadium together with all the understanding he’d only won his fourth US Open title in a decade where his earliest and biggest rival, fast-court specialist Roger Federer, had won none.
His next Grand Slam of 2019 has enabled Nadal to reel the Swiss in about the entire Slam count — 19 today to Federer’s 20. The parties were reminiscent of baseball kings, also: the generally shy Nadal drop Federer-like tears once the presentation ceremony in New York included a highlight reel of his important wins.
Not too old.
In 33, Nadal has two Grand Slam titles over Federer had at precisely the exact same age, and three over another Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) competition, Novak Djokovic, has at 32.
Nadal also went two decades (2015 and 2016) without winning in the majors within this decade; he ended with 13 Slams in that interval, two short of this period’s Slam pioneer, Djokovic, together with 15. Over the previous 3 decades, nevertheless, Nadal has five Slams to his title according to Djokovic’s four along with Federer’s three.
Almost on each count which finishes GOAT debates, Nadal currently dominates Federer — head-to-head (24-16), percent of Slam finals won (74-64.5) and Masters-1000s names (35-28).
However, all arguments in favour of Nadal’s singular greatness are inclined to get taken down with two simple riders: Nadal being a”uglier” participant than Federer; and Nadal’s proclivity to control on one specific surface.
Sure, Nadal’s power-baseline technique can’t hold a candle into Federer’s angelic, old-school elegance. Sure, such as the origins story of the poor man, the Spaniard’s match was created from ground-up to be an antithesis to the resident superhero.
Twelve of Nadal’s 19 Slams have come in the French Open, in which the Spaniard boasts of a 93-2 win-loss album — a single-Slam command the like of which hasn’t been seen before — although Federer’s supply (eight Wimbledons, six Australian Opens, five US Opens, and yet another French Open) was even.
But lean that prism and the exact very same numbers align to encourage Nadal’s case. The Spaniard and the Swiss are the only two players at the history of tennis to have reached the closing of every Grand Slam on five or more events — that goes to show that Nadal’s passion for clay hasn’t come in the neglect of different surfaces.
It’s no secret that Nadal was in awe of his great rival, even muting his own parties from respect after he conquered Federer over five places in the final of their 2009 Australian Open. “You’re the greatest at the background,” Nadal educated Federer while they stood on the dais afterward, even charmingly nuzzling up from the Swiss’s shoulder.
Ten years is a very long time which was not exactly the Nadal of all Sunday night. When he was asked about the Big Three and the”healthy competition” between these, Nadal frowned and answered:”I’d really like to be the person who have more,” he explained. “Yes, I’d really like to be. However, I truly feel I will not be more happy or less happy if this happens or not occur.”