TENNIS.WRITING

#1 Rafael Nadal is Extraordinary

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Rafael Nadal did not play in the 2013 Australian Open.

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That fact, listed above, is just one of many factors that makes Rafael Nadal’s #1 ranking extraordinary. Nadal’s 2013 performance is so unbelievable as to border on absurd.

Nadal started the year at a small tournament in Chile where he lost [sic] to Horacio Zeballos.From that point on, he won Sao Paulo by beating David Nalbandian on clay, Acapulco by defeating Almagro and Ferrer, on clay, Indian Wells by taking down Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, and Juan Martin Del Potro on hard court. Nadal finally lost to then #1 Djokovic on clay at Monte Carlo, but not before beating the surging Philipp Kohlschreiber, baby-Fed Grigor Dimitrov, and the always dangerous Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal’s torment of the clay-court season continued in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, and of course Roland Garros.

Coming into Wimbledon, Nadal was a frightening sight. He had made the final of every tournament he had played, won all but two, and, although the his schedule was stacked with clay court appearances, his performance at Indian Wells alluded to a newly elevated and all-around game. Nadal, the odds-on favorite entered the first day of play at the All England Club and lost to the 135th best player, Steve Darcis, in straight sets [sic].

Nadal, to his credit, was level-headed about the loss. “At the end, it’s not a tragedy. That is sport,” said the Spaniard. The New York Times asked, “The question is whether Nadal’s grass-court results the last two seasons or anomalies or a sign of a longer-term issue with the surface.”

That question remains open and will not be settled until the summer. Following Wimbledon, Nadal took the month of July off. When he returned to the tour in Montreal, Nadal silenced those that argued his knees would exile him to the life of a clay-court specialist, winning the Rogers Cup by beating Janowicz, Djokovic, and hometown favorite Milos Raonic. Nadal would go on to win the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open before calling the season a bit early.

Expect a stellar performance from Nadal in 2014. Although Nadal is unlikely to play a heavy schedule, he doesn’t need to. The man has demonstrated that quality trumps quantity. The most absurd statistic of 2013: Nadal played a total of 17 tournaments, made the finals in 14, and won 10.

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