Monday, 6 December 2010

Fedal Wars continue

This article is a riposte to Zaid Noorsumar's article "Roger Federer Could Nip The 'Fedal'  Debate in the Bud at The Australian Open".

The article, while well written, takes off in the middle into predictions based on dubious or even unstated premises.

Rafael Nadal is now the world number one and has won three consecutive grand slam titles this year on three different surfaces. He is 24 and at the height of his physical powers. He has more slam titles than Federer at this age.

No one can foretell the future. Next year, Nadal may decide to go meditate under a bodhi tree. But this is not a prediction we can make based on current data.

If we look at current information and past trends, then as most superstars have their best years up to 27, the reasonable prediction we can make is that Nadal will dominate for the next three years. This would be dominance in the sense that he will win more slams than the others and he will be number one. So he can be predicted to win six to eight slams in the next three years and it is likely that 40% would be at Roland Garros. There is nothing that could lead anybody to predict with confidence that his career will not last as long as Sampras' or Agassi's. 

Should Federer win at the Australian Open 2011, would the " Fedal " debate be nipped in the bud even if Federer never won anything thereafter?

No, it will not silence the debate. If Federer is to be accepted as the best of this era, he would, as Sampras said, need to dominate Nadal i.e. have a positive head to head.

Zaid Noorsumer speculates that " we will remember Nadal as a thorn in Federer’s side......history will show that.... Nadal was only really the big Roland Garros maestro who could bully his way through any tournament but often fell short." 

There is no way anyone could think of Nadal as only really a Roland Garros maestro. Nadal has already extended his dominion to all the Grand Slam surfaces. Further, the days when Nadal could be viewed as just a thorn in Federer's side are long past. Nadal is already regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of tennis.

On the other hand, if Nadal were to win at the Australian Open, it may silence the debate. He would be the only male player after Laver to hold all four slam titles simultaneously. As Mark Hogdkinson said in The Telegraph after Nadal achieved the career slam, "there must be a chance that Federer may not even end up as the best player of the Noughties and this decade, too......In years to come, Federer could have the accolade of being seen as the second best player of the Rafael Nadal Era." 

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

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