Rafael Nadal – One of the two players to win a Golden Slam
A tennis fan could support any player in the world, but no one can hate Roger Federer, such has been the charm and tennis ingenuity exuded from the Swiss. His class and temperament have made him the athlete of the first two decades of the 21st century, according to several critics, and there’s a solid reason for that. He’s a fan favorite, he’s a winner, and he’s one of the best men sports has ever seen.
And then, there’s his arch-nemesis and yet his friend, Rafael Nadal, who comes closest to usurping the throne of the Swiss King. The Spanish player is adored by many for his never-say-die attitude, for his bustling biceps, and for the ferocious forehands, he puts into play whenever under pressure. Nadal is the Cristiano to Federer’s Messi. He’s the best a human can get.
There’s still one title that eludes Mr. Federer but sits beside Mr. Nadal with pride, and it’s the Golden Slam. Golden Slam refers to someone winning all grand slam titles – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open – and an Olympic Gold medal. Nadal has a career slam while winning the Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Andre Agassi, another great of the game, is the only other male player to win a Golden Slam. He won the Olympic Gold in 1996, 12 years before Nadal could repeat the feat. Two female tennis players have achieved the feat as well, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams. Steffi Graf has done the unbelievable, winning all five titles in just one year (1988).
With infectious tenacity, Nadal pushes as his life depends on each point. A player who depends on long rallies, the Mallorca-born player thrives on long rallies and has had the most successful record against arguably the greatest game ever, Federer. To date, Nadal leads the head-to-head against the Swiss maestro 24-16 in the 40 meetings. Some of the games were absolute classics.
The 33-year-old is a colossal monster on clay, having won the French Open a whopping 12 times! No one even comes close to his quality on natural courts, as the softer and more natural surface relaxes his knees. On hard courts, his feeble knee is more prone to injuries, and he isn’t at his 100%.
Nadal is set to rule 2020, and experts believe he’s got what it takes to overtake Roger Federer’s 20 grand slam titles. It will be interesting to see how the only active holder of Golden Slam continues his vein of form.
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