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Rafael Nadal has been endorsed twice in the past few days.
John McEnroe has gone on record terming him the best athlete among the current lot of players; probably as good as his contemporary, Bjorn Borg.
He has rated him above Federer in that respect.
Now, it’s Andy Murray’s turn.
Murray claims that Nadal could be better than the FedEx machine.
His recent form is proof of his greatness and the only hurdle in his way is his fragile body, particularly his knees.
If he can remain fit and motivated, he can blow the best away and with them Federer’s 16 Grand Slams.
Die-hard Fed fans will always find sinister reasons for McEnroe and Murray’s kudos.
McEnroe will always support another left-hander and we all know that there’s no real love lost between Murray and Federer. But will that really explain it all away? Are we burying our heads in the sand?
Have McEnroe and Murray said anything different from knowing tennis aficionados? Even the most rabid Federer fans and most virulent Nadal critics acknowledge Nadal’s superiority this year. He won what counted! Another couple of seasons like this year for the young Mallorcan and Federer will be wishing for the elixir of youth!
Federer’s predecessor Sampras won his last Slam at 31. Can we realistically expect much more from Federer?
But there’s many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip and extrapolating Nadal’s results may come easy but that’s not how the real world works.
Ask Borg. The man who walked away from it all at 26.
Talk to Seles! Could she have been even greater had she not been stabbed by a lunatic Graf follower? Would Steffi have won as many as she did?
Not that I hint at any tragedy befalling Nadal. Shaky knees are hardship enough!
Federer would be among the last to contradict either Murray or McEnroe. But then Federer’s game is about balance, aesthetics and more importantly great anticipation.
He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. It is rare that he has to take more than a couple of strides to be on top of the ball and pummel it away.
Sure, a coach can drive into each pupil the importance of getting back to the centre of the court so that he or she is ready for the next shot. But which coach can get his ward close to Federer’s poise and the way he seems to draw the ball to himself like a magician?
Not many, not even a few! Can Nadal match that? Or even come close?
Or am I merely stooping to the level of a fanatic?
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