The ingredients are all there. Maybe it seems familiar. Want me to paint you a picture?
Utter demolition. Complete annihilation. Abject embarrassment. A great athlete undeservedly humbled by a player possibly great, but not legendary.
Ring a bell, Rafa?
No, this isn’t the 2007 French Open final. This is YOUR life, September 13, Flushing Meadows. Eat it!
That medicine’s pretty hard to swallow isn’t it? Yeah well I hope you choke on it because, as a Federer fan, you’ve been shoveling it down our throats for the last 3 straight years.
I don’t dislike Nadal. In fact, he’s quite possibly my second favorite player on the tour. It says a lot for Nadal that, by and large, he doesn’t really inspire hatred in the fans of his chief rival. Think about it: in most sporting rivalries you’re duty-bound to hate the other guy. If you were an Agassi fan, you despised Sampras. If Messi floats your boat, Cristiano probably sinks it. If you’re an Alonso-phile, then you’re most probably anti-Hamilton. If you think Shawn Michaels is the greatest thing in pro wrestling, then you would entertain the notion that Bret Hart is the worst thing to happen to it (okay, I lost you with that last one).
But, as endearing as he is, one thing Federer fans can’t forgive Nadal for is how ordinary he makes an undisputed legend like Roger look. He reduced him to tears at the Australian. He took his
But it’s a day like today which makes me want to revisit it.
Nadal was completely dominated and outplayed by Del Potro today as Federer was by Nadal two years ago. I don’t want to use the word outclassed, because I think Nadal may be “great”-er than Del Potro could ever be. But you can see it in Nadal’s face today. He’s irritable, tetchy, self-reproachful, and just altogether negative. You don’t see it very often. If at all. I saw flashes of it the day when Tsonga spanked him in the Australian semis. But Nadal is mostly renowned to keep his frustrations in check. Something Federer prides himself on (during matches) but failed to do at Roland Garros. Everyone came down on him for that. They used it as some sort of psychological marker of his athletic inadequacy.
The fact that Federer has a poor head-to-head record against Nadal is the ONLY thing anti-Feds have left to use against him after Federer’s phenomenal 2009 summer. The fact that he couldn’t unlock Nadal’s game seemed equivalent to the holy grail.
Which is why I’m glad that Nadal is finally being punished for his style of play. Nadal’s topsin-heavy forehands probably gives Federer nightmares. Armed with it, Nadal relentlessly assaults Federer’s backhand, forcing him to play an extremely uncomfortable shot with the ball above shoulder height. Unfortunately for Nadal, that height sits up just about perfectly for Del Potro to lace with his 6 foot 7 forehand.
See that’s why I’ve never given a damn about assholes who go around saying that Federer can’t be considered great due to Nadal’s dominance against him. Look, dicks. Federer has beaten everyone under the sun and has more talent in his well manicured finger than Nadal has in his entire manufactured body. But it’s just a helluva coincidence that Nadal’s game has been built PERFECTLY to counter Federer’s. The kind of loop and spin Nadal gets from his left handed forehand is probably God’s most perfect weapon against Federer. And, I really think Roger was on track to conquering it soon, following his performance at
And it’s that VERY game which has come back to haunt Nadal today and bite him in the ass.
I don’t know how you interpret 6-2 6-2 6-2 as any thing other than a complete humiliation. Nadal just did NOT know what was going on. At least Tsonga used to come to the net and play those audacious drop shots. But Del Potro just barged into Nadal’s house, the baseline, and dictated the game from there. In many ways, he out-Nadaled Nadal.
So if anybody thought Roger didn’t deserve the “greatest of all time” title following Roland Garros 2 years ago, then I’m sorry but Nadal just lost his right to that label after today’s massacre. It’s a day Nadal will never forget. Maybe he’ll be the better for it, as Roger definitely was. But then Roger is a legend. And Nadal is simply “great”.