Roger Federer’s crown started to slip back in 2008 after his epic five set loss to Rafael Nadal at the final of Wimbledon.
Since then, it has been clear that the Swiss maestro is not unbeatable. Having just hit the ripe age of 32, it seems clear that Federer is unlikely to win many more Grand Slams, if any.
Until recently, with the injury travails of Nadal, it seemed as though Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were the going to step up their rivalry, leaving everyone else to fall by the wayside.
However, having just won the US Open in a supremely dominating fashion, Nadal has signalled his return to tennis’s top table.
Throughout the two week period at Flushing Meadows, the Spaniard only dropped one set, and that was in the final. Novak Djokovic, despite being supremely fit and in the best form of his life, was unable to stop Spain’s Raging Bull from taking his second US Open crown.
Nadal has clearly indicated that he is ready to reclaim the world number one spot from Djokovic.
When the Spaniard decided to skip Wimbledon in 2009, many thought that his career was stuttering to a tragic end. The tendonitis that he struggled with in his knees was going to end the career of yet another sportsman.
However, for those who knew him best, they presumably knew that this was only a blip. His hard work, determination and indomitable spirit would surely keep him going. Indeed, Nadal returned in 2010 to win the title at Wimbledon.
Despite his hard work, his injury problems have refused to go away. First round Wimbledon defeats to Lukas Rosol and Steve Darcis in 2012 and 2013 respectively illustrated perfectly that Nadal’s problems had not gone away.
The loss to Steve Darcis was part of what many regarded as a forced change in Nadal’s style of play. He has realised that he needs to lessen the burden on his troublesome knees; in doing so he has moved closer to the baseline in an attempt to shorten the points.
He may have still been adapting to the new style in the loss to Darcis. His latest grand slam triumph against Djokovic has shown that Nadal has successfully adapted.
If his injury problems do not rear their ugly head again, Nadal will undoubtedly stay at the top of men’s tennis. His elimination of Djokovic in four sets has illustrated that he is more than capable of beating anyone.
The refined Andy Murray may be a stumbling block to Nadal’s dominance. The pair have not met since the Scot’s amazing Wimbledon win; Murray will surely be more of an opponent than he was during the many occasions that he crumbled against the Spaniard. Yet it is still difficult to see Murray beating him if he is injury-free.
All things considered, the only things capable of beating an in-form Nadal are his knees.
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