The Federer-Nadal rivalry has been the focal point of tennis over the past years, but with Federer’s breakthrough at the French Open and Nadal’s bad knees, is this rivalry fading?
Roger Federer finally captured the elusive career Grand Slam with a straight sets victory over Robin Soderling and looks to take back his Wimbledon Crown in a couple weeks. Federer’s streak of five consecutive Wimbledon titles was broken by Rafael Nadal last year. Possibly the high point of the rivalry, Nadal conquered Federer in a five-set thriller that gave Nadal his number one ranking.
The tables are turning though as Nadal lost to Soderling at Roland Garros, his first ever loss at the French Open. Now, Rafa has bigger problems though as his knees may force him to withdraw from Wimbledon. Nadal has not played in that many tournaments this year so if he has to pull himself out The All England Club, it means he has serious issues with his knees. Tennis requires such intense torque from a player’s knees that any issue is extremely serious. If Rafa does permanent damage to his knees, then his career could be over very quickly.
Maybe the damage is already done. No one knows the extent of Nadal’s injuries and rumors are that Nadal may miss Wimbledon. If so, Federer should win easily and regain his spot as the number on player in the world. If Nadal’s knees continue to prevent him from playing, tennis could get very dull very quickly.
I don’t want to watch Federer running through tournaments without losing a set. That’s not competition. That’s a blowout. That’s boring. The greatest part of tennis is the five-set, drama-filled matches. Nadal and Federer have given us these matches over the last years. Agassi and Sampras used to give us these matches. If tennis is to stay popular, it needs Nadal to play and play well. It needs Rafa to challenge Federer and push both of them to the limit to deliver exceptional tennis and intense matches. Right now though, Nadal’s injured knees spell big problems for the ATP. The sport of tennis is walking a tight line between huge popularity andcrisis mode. A debilitating injury for Nadal will send the sport spiraling backwards into the land of low ratings and empty stands.
2 thoughts on “Tennis Needs Nadal vs Federer”
Niece piece. I agree, the Nadal/Federer rivalry has been the high point of tennis for the past few years particularly that Wimbledon final last year, but I think there are emerging forces in tennis. Djokovic, Murray and Del Potro can put it up to the big two on a good day. Saying that, I still think that if Nadal can overcome his injuries he’ll prove to be the greatest player to play the sport.
The three names you mentioned are good, young players, but when Federer or Nadal has their game going, none of those three has a chance. It’s always great to root for the underdog, but I always root for a Federer/Nadal final.
Saying that Nadal could be the greatest player to ever play tennis is high praise. He has a long way to go, but has a chance. His athleticism and speed set him apart from other tennis greats as he clearly possesses the skill. However, if his knees trouble him at all throughout his career, it will hurt his agility a lot. Even though he has the skill, I don’t think he will ever win double-digit slam titles, because of injury.