While the tennis continues to rejoice in Stan Wawrinka’s French Open glory while also recover from the shock that it isn’t Novak Djokovic’s glory instead, one man has been forgotten in all of this – Rafael Nadal.
It’s easy to forget the past when you’re in the present, but this is just the second time since 2005, when Nadal was still a teenager, that the French Open trophy hasn’t been on its way to Majorca in the gleeful clutches of the Spaniard.
The nine-time champion of Roland Garros must be walking around like a lonely puppy with its tail between its legs. Going with form, there was never a chance that he could win in Paris, but the miracle he probably though was possible never actually materialised.
During his years as ‘The King of Clay’ Nadal enjoyed his oppression of Djokovic so much, but the Serb was the one to brutally dethrone him in their quarter-final. Though neither of them are now living their happily-ever-after.
Nadal has already admitted that he didn’t watch Sunday’s final, the one that he is so used to contesting… and winning. He may put it down to training, but let’s face it – he probably couldn’t bear the thought of it.
Unfortunately, if he had hoped for an escape from all the disappointment by voiding the final, there isn’t much let up. The latest world rankings were released on Monday, and it doesn’t make for pretty reading at all for the 14-time Grand Slam champion.
For the first time since he was 18, over a decade now, Nadal is ranked in double figures – he is the new world no.10. Just a year ago he was officially the world’s best, what a difference 12 months can make.
Tennis’s traditional big four has been truly disbanded by the update from ATP. Wawrinka may claim to be short of the level set by Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, but the Swiss star has certainly lodged himself in there on-paper.
So how does Nadal recover from this latest setback? Recovery has been the buzz-word for the 29-year-old over the last few months, but still there have been precious little signs of recovery throughout the clay-court season.
If he hasn’t reigned on the surface on which he is King, it will be difficult to do so on his lesser-favoured grass-courts. The Spaniard has been involved in some of the sport’s greatest-ever matches in London, but he has won just four matches in three years.
An arduous summer awaits the beleaguered legend.