I’m getting a little tired of all the hype surrounding Nadal. So maybe he will will Australia next year, and maybe he will even end up winning more slams than Roger. I mean you just can’t rule out anything when it comes to Nadal these days. But there has got to be something that makes Roger unique and that no machine can ever replicate or surpass. We all know Roger is a unique personality, but I am strictly talking in terms of tennis here. As much blood, sweat, and tears Nadal leaves out on the practice court, he could never do what Roger did in the above video. No amount of hard work can ever make you do that, because it is genius. Genius cannot be taught, and Nadal doesn’t have it. It doesn’t matter how many things Nadal ends up achieving, here is one area where he simply can’t touch Roger.
I saw Nadal do something similar at Wimbledon this year, but it just wasn’t quite the real thing. This shot from Roger has the genius trademark written all over it. And of course it is just an example of many from him. This is the kind of thing that makes grand slam viewer ratings drop when Roger is not around. It is this uncertainty principal, this never knowing what to expect next from Roger, that really draws the crowds in. They are always wondering what kind of genius he’s gonna come up with next, and without fail there is a moment in every match where he does something completely unexpected. With Nadal it’s not quite the same. Granted, he comes up with some amazing stuff himself. He hits targets no one else can hit, due to incredible physical and mental ability. Yet Roger hits targets no one else can see.
That is the difference between talent and genius. Talent doesn’t leave you gasping for air the way Roger’s genius does, although you can certainly admire it. You know Nadal is going to be mentally and physically too strong for 99% of opponents. He is pretty predictable in that way. You know he is going to get to a ball that no one else could get to and hit a winner from it. However good it is, it is predictable, because it comes from hours and hours of work on the tennis court and in the gym. With Roger you simply don’t know what you are going to get, because it happens in the moment. There is nothing you can do to prepare for the moment. It is complete and utter improvisation as the situation requires it. You can’t work at such genius. You can do a certain amount of work so that you are prepared, but the genius itself can’t be taught, worked for, or achieved.You either have it or you don’t, and Roger has it in abundance.
Because of all this I believe that if Nadal keeps dominating and Roger keeps losing earlier in slams, we will keep seeing viewer interest in tennis fall as we have seen in the last three slams. Nadal simply doesn’t catch the imagination of the tennis public the way Roger does, try as he might. You always know what you are going to get with Nadal. Rinse and repeat. I suspect there are many in the tennis world who can’t wait for the return of Roger to slams finals, and I suspect they don’t mind the way in which that happens either. I certainly don’t wish injury on Nadal, but if he gets knee problems again I think there are many who would breathe a little sigh of relief in private. But the viewership in tennis is not the exact point of this post. The point is there is something that Roger has which Nadal can never have, and it has nothing to do with titles and achievements. We don’t know what the future holds, but for the above reasons Federer will always be the GOAT in my eyes.
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” Arthur Schopenhauer