We all know that champions are made of different stuff. And, there is one factor that separates them from other players, who can be at par with them, in terms of skills, is their insatiable urge to improve and spirited nature that make all the difference in those stiff contests, where a single mistake can cost you a life-time opportunity. Well, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal who unsettled all the tennis ratings since his arrival on the big screen, suddenly met with a halt in 2009 due to agonising knees, but he made a brilliant comeback in 2010 to complete his career slam and also reaffirmed his authority on red-soil by winning all three clay-court Masters Tournament.
It is fascinating to observe that Nadal has evolved from a clay-court specialist to a torrent force on all the surfaces in a well-planned manner. The Spaniard can challenge and pull out a victory against the best in business – on any given day. Obviously, Federer is the only contender, who looks to pose problems for the Spaniard at this moment. Nadal’s willingness to learn is remarkable and the Spaniard plays his heart out every time, he sprints from one part of the court to another – to earn a point. In 2010, Nadal adorned his resume with impressive records by winning three Majors and also ascended to the ATP’s top ranking by beating all types of opponents on all surfaces.
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final, Nadal def. Verdasco 6-0 6-1
After the completion of the 2010 Australian Open, many tennis pundits asserted that Roger Federer is once again looking invincible and he is still there to rule. But, now that 2010 ATP Season has been officially finished, the same pundits are talking about the Nadal-Federer rivalry. Though, Federer did salvage pride in the end by winning the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Nadal ruled the greater part of the 2010.
The past decade witnessed the graceful and elegant tennis of Federer, until Nadal took the centre-stage to bring in exuberance, raw power and toil. In the end, numbers do come handy to present the broader part of a picture. Though, Federer has mustered 19 Grand Slam titles, Nadal fares better in their duels, as the Spaniard leads the head-to-head record with a 14-8 wins over the Swiss Ace. Many say that Nadal is blessed with a tremendous forehand, but we should not forget that the Spaniard, who was early known for his clay-court precincts, has also cultivated new skills in a shorter span of time and now he has become one of the most destructive volleyers in the world. Yes, Nadal is 24 and he is certainly on the peak of his physical abilities, but the Spaniard has shown that he can manipulate shots like Federer by playing those drop-volleys and well-timed lobs on both sides of the court.
For tennis analysts, Nadal is not a big server, but he can tackle any vicious serve as he can instantly swaps his defence into offense to surprise his opponent. Well, you need to be extra agile and pro-active to cause problems for the Spaniard, as he can whistle away those forehands on both the sides of the court and run like a rabbit to retrieve almost un-playable shots. Interestingly, Nadal has always shown that he can even use his weakness against you by reading the lethal serves quickly and chuck back quick shots with additional force to make it unplayable for you. The Spaniard plays as good as the event is and you can expect the best of him in Grand Slams.
Before the start of the 2011 season, there are all sorts of talks regarding Rafa-Federer rivalry, but the forthcoming Australian Open will be keenly followed by all those, who have already hyped it throughout the world as the “Rafa Slam.” Nine Slams already under his belt, Nadal is certainly looking better and fitter to win his fourth straight major in 2011.