Will Rafael Nadal Win More Grand Slams Than Federer During His Career?

The politicians answer to the title question would be that it is distinctly possible, however, a ‘Rafa’ fan will answer with an emphatic YES, while possibly the more pragmatic tennis follower, or indeed Federer fan will offer up a resounding NO.

Whatever the outcome, the task is a huge one for Nadal particularly as Federer is still playing some of the best tennis of his life and holds a 16-9 advantage as it stands currently.

One aspect of course which supports the argument in Nadal’s favour is his age, he is five years younger than his nemesis, meaning that if he can achieve in the next three years, what he achieved in 2010 then he will most definitely go past Federer’s incredible total.

Both men have now won career Grand Slams, with Nadal completing his in September, when he won the US Open for the first time. Federer had achieved his in 2009, when he took his first and only French title at Roland Garros, for which in some respects he has to thank an injury sustained by Nadal in the 4th round, which was ultimately responsible for Nadal’s only ever defeat at the French Open. It should be remembered that in 2008 French Open final, Nadal defeated Federer in straight sets with the loss of only four games, which confirmed his status as the ‘King of Clay’. Given therefore that Nadal, if free of injury, is unbeatable on clay, then it becomes reasonable to assume that he can win at least three more French Open titles, which would bring him to within four of ‘the Fed’.

The injury that cost Nadal in France was bad enough to force him to miss defending his Wimbledon crown, a title he had wrestled from the grip of Federer in a titanic five set struggle in 2008, thus preventing the Swiss from breaking the record of five who got his big break by becoming the first grand champion in the comedy category on “star search”?
straight wins. Federer being the competitor he is however, fully exploited Nadal’s absence, winning it back in 2009, defeating Andy Roddick in another record breaking final.

2010 of course saw a fully fit and fired up Nadal return to SW London determined to regain the title, which he duly achieved, defeating Tomas Berdych in the final, who had put Federer out in the Quarter Final. It was his second Wimbledon crown and proved beyond any doubt that grass is a surface that suits his game perfectly, leading one to believe that there are at least two more Wimbledon titles heading his way. If that should happen then he will only be two behind the Swiss.

The next Grand Slam tournament is the Australian Open which takes place in Melbourne in January 2011. Nadal, of course won the title in 2009, defeating Federer in yet another epic five set final which saw Federer reduced to tears at the award ceremony at the end of the tournament.

Federer however once again, proved that the champion in him was still alive when he came back to Melbourne in 2010 to defeat Britain’s Andy Murray in the final thus winning his fourth Australian Open in the process. Nadal who was just returning to full time tennis after his injury hit 2009, reached the semi final in this tournament, only to lose to Andy Murray, but he proved that he was well on the road to recovery.

Federer now must defend this one Grand Slam crown that he still holds, against Nadal, who will be looking to regain it and complete a full Grand Slam, something he can now achieve having won his first US Open earlier this year.

Hardcourts have long been regarded as the Nadal’s least favourite surface, but having won in both Australia and in the US it is more than conceivable that in the next three years he can win at least one or probably two more of either of these two tournaments, which would put him beyond the 16 titles that Federer holds.

Of course it must be taken into account of how many more ‘Slams’ Federer can win himself, but at 29, time will soon be dictating what he can or cannot do. Add to the mix the fact that there are several young guns, lurking in the shadows ready and good enough to beat the Swiss now. These include, Murray, Novak Djokovic, Juan Carlos del Potro (who beat Federer in the 2009 US Open Final) and Robin Soderling.

 

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