By Chris Le
Until further notice, Rafael Nadal is the best tennis player in the world.
Call it a knee-jerk reaction, but what the 22-year-old Spaniard has done this year has been nothing short of dominant.
Consider this: Nadal steamrolled the French Open field, including Novak Djokovic, and handed Roger Federer the most lopsided defeat of his career. Rafa didn’t drop a set in his seven matches of the tournament.
Then he goes to the Swiss’ surface of choice, the swift grass of Wimbeldon, and deals Federer an emotionally crushing loss of a lifetime.
Even if Nadal performs poorly at the upcoming US Open—which I predict will happen since he holds a horrible track record at this hard-court major—and even if Federer is the No. 1 rated player in the world (he’s 545 points ahead in the ATP Rankings), Nadal is without a doubt the new ruler of the tennis landscape.
It was almost inevitable.
Nadal is young, entering his prime, and Federer, at 27, looks like his best days are behind him. Now, Nadal most assuredly has the psychological edge in the match up. Back-to-back losses in devastating fashion aren’t exactly easy to forget, especially after the years of utter dominance Federer has enjoyed.
But that’s not to say he’s going to stink it up from now on. Federer past his prime is still better than 99.9% of the earth’s population. It’s just that a select few, mainly Nadal and Djokovic, have caught up.
But in Nadal’s case, he hasn’t just pulled even, he’s slowly pulling away.