Rafa: Will He Be The Greatest Of All Time?

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 3:25 pm (UTC-4)

Rafael Nadal serving at 2011 French Open

When Rafael Nadal raised his sixth French Open trophy June 5, he also vaulted himself into the discussion of the all-time tennis greats. He joined Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg as the only men to have won double digit Grand Slam titles. He also tied Borg for the most French Open titles in history. The best part is, he’s only 25 years old. At this point in Federer’s career, he had won only nine of his record 16 Grand Slam championships. If Rafa keeps up his pace, who knows how many he can win?

How can Federer be considered the greatest of all time, when he is not even the best player in his own time?

While Federer will be worshipped for his graceful, flowing style of tennis, Nadal is the intimidating, powerful force that has bested Federer even in his prime. Once only a strong clay court presence, Rafa has evolved his skills to the point where he has at least one of every Grand Slam title, including two at Wimbledon where he struggled for years. With the Swiss maestro Federer turning 30 this August, his best tennis might be behind him, although he has shown he can still compete. Whether or not he can still win Grand Slams is a completely different story now, though. His last Grand Slam title came more than a year ago, at the 2010 Australian Open.

Wimbledon this year figures to be the answer to a glaring question in the world of professional tennis. Can Nadal keep playing at this high level and defend his title? When Rafa is playing his best tennis, no one can beat him. He wears opponents down and then finishes them off without remorse. But, as they say, that is why you play the game. Only time will tell if Nadal can move his name from the all-time greats discussion, and into the greatest of all time one. 

Check out Nadal winning match point against Federer and falling to the red clay at Roland Garros at the 2011 French Open.

This blog post written by VOA Sports intern Nicholas Berault.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

3 responses to “Rafa: Will He Be The Greatest Of All Time?”

  1. Dozie (Chiedozie Ebe on facebook) says:

    Hi Sonny,i think ur discussion has excluded another very powerful force and 1 i think is turning up to be probably the most under rated pro of his time.Am talking about Novak Djokovic.2 me he is a young man(even younger than Rafa),who knows d insides of a court like a great soccer goal poacher that can find d back of the net almost instinctively(as if he could do it with his eyes closed).No one among d present pros knows d perimeter of the court like Novak.Even at the baseline,he has grace,control and @ d same time telescopic vision,with which he uses to dismantle even d toughest of opponents.Coming 2 d net,he has craft,and a keen,anticipatory sense of positioning,that makes him quite hard 2 handle and overcome there.
    So please Sonny,give the man some credit,i think he has merited it.For me he slipped up @ R. Garros cos he had about 3 to 4 days of rest before meeting Roger,due to the fact that his opponent @ d quarter finals pulled out due to a thigh strain or something of the sort.I think this had a diminishing return effect on him b4 he met one of his deadliest opponents.If he hadn’t had that much rest,he would have been very match fit and would have blown Rafa & Roger right off the court.Its a personal opinion anyway of which am sure am very much entitled to.;i am a very opinionated but non-biased individual when its comes 2 some critical issues in sport.This is who Dozie Ebe is.Cheers once again Sonny!

  2. Sonny Young syoung says:

    Thanks for checking in, Dozie. You’re right – Djokovic has definitely entered the discussion this year. In fact, he beat Rafa twice on clay before the French Open. So we’ll give the surging Serb his deserved props, Dozie!

  3. Olu says:

    I agree with your analysis of Rafa, if he stays healthy an continues to compete at this level – afterall he has beaten Federer twice on his favorite surface (in a grand slam) and Federer has not managed to beat Nadal on Clay – so it is safe to say Nadal is better than Federer and with time, if he wins more grand slams, it’ll be an undisputable case to make. Best thing for Federer to do is re-focus and win at least 4 more slams before he even considers retiring.

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