NOW I’m satisfied. Roger did his part but I wasn’t gonna rest until Nadal gets denied yet another Masters Cup title. It is clear that Nadal is a terrible indoor player for someone who people claim are in the GOAT debate. How can you be in the GOAT debate if you haven’t even won one Masters Cup? On Roger’s worst surface he has made 5 slam finals and won 1 slam. Behind Nadal he was by far the second best clay courter of his generation. Nadal made a mere two Masters Cup finals and got soundly beaten in both. He definitely isn’t the second best indoor player of his generation. Not even close. How can this guy possibly be in the GOAT debate with Federer? Not to mention Federer has won the same event a record 6 times. Nadal fans have this idea that the same can be said for Roger because he doesn’t have Olympic gold in singles.
Personally I never rated the Olympic gold as an important achievement in tennis, but even if it was then lets look at who has won it and who has won the Masters Cup. The Olympic singles gold was won by Massu and Rosset. If you look at past Masters Cup champions it has almost always been all time greats. The worst players to have won it has probably been Corretja, Nalbandian, and Davydenko. These were great players in their own right. Certainly much more accomplished than Massu and Rosset. Also the Olympics come around only every 4 years. I just don’t rate it and to me it doesn’t matter in the least that Roger didn’t win it. Same for Davis Cup. Those are more like nice extras to have but in the bigger picture they are irrelevant. Anyway enough of the whole GOAT debate thing. I’m sure Nadal will catch up with Roger’s slam count, but there is clearly still a hole in his resume if he can’t win at least one Masters Cup.
As far as the #1 ranking goes Nadal secured it when he beat Wawrinka in his second group match and gets his third year end #1. Pretty good effort but it’s ironic that right at the moment he took the #1 ranking from Djokovic, he not only defeated him easily in Beijing but he dominated the tour since then like a true #1 should. He won Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, and London and is now on a 22-match winning streak. That’s damn impressive. Nadal on the other hand hasn’t added a title post US Open. Since the US Open he has been routined twice by Djokovic, once by Del Potro, and once by Ferrer even. Even though he is #1 he certainly isn’t having the results of a #1, and he only just secured the year end #1. With all the points he has to defend post Australian Open next year you’d expect Djokovic to pass him again somewhere in the clay season.
As far as the final goes my stream was shaky again but Djokovic got the early break, took a 3-0 lead, and then almost broke again. Nadal did his usual thing where he comes back from the brink as he held serve and then broke Djokovic to square things up again.It’s around this time that my stream broke up but when I looked again I was pleased to see that Djokovic broke again and took the 1st set 6-3. Afterwards I saw the point with which Djokovic broke a second time and what a point it was. The beauty of it was that Djokovic made an unbelievable defensive lob, the kind Nadal usually makes. It’s just gorgeous when Nadal is given his own medicine so that he knows what it feels like when someone pushes the best you throw at them back relentlessly. Nadal must have thought he had the point won with the volley, but the ball came back over his head and he ended up losing the point.
That is the kind of play he uses against other players like Roger to destroy them mentally. So it’s satisfying to see it being done to him. In the 2nd set Djokovic continued his dominance. Despite even indoor courts having been slowed down to the point that you can’t call what they played in the final indoor tennis, Nadal was still dominated by the more aggressive player. The brand of tennis he plays indoors is laughable. Go watch the 1996 Masters Cup final between Sampras and Becker and you will see what indoor tennis is, or maybe I will post it below. Nadal doesn’t deserve to win the Masters Cup the way he plays. It’s just too much pushing, defending, and moonballing. He has no plan B either. If moonballing to the opponent’s backhand doesn’t work he runs out of ideas. Djokovic’s backhand is one of the best ever which immediately makes things hard for Nadal.
Of course Djokovic also has one of the best returns of serve which means Nadal can’t take as much advantage of the fact that he has the left-handed serve. Just like Nadal is the anti-Federer Djokovic is the anti-Nadal. It’s a shame he lost that French Open semi because he was in control and it probably cost him the US Open too. But at least he has now routined Nadal in their last two matches which I think is very important for the rivalry. Nadal was threatening to start dominating the rivalry again and the indoor season couldn’t have come at a better time. Now the Australian Open becomes very interesting indeed. Nadal seems to have figured out how to beat Djokovic on outdoor hard courts but of course the Australian Open is Djokovic’s best slam. Nadal already came very close to beating Djokovic there in 2012.
And after beating Djokovic at the French and US Open he is definitely in with a shot of beating Djokovic in Melbourne. That we don’t want. That would put Nadal equal with Sampras on 14 slams and another hard court slam in the bag. So I think what transpired in the Djokodal rivalry since the US Open has been kinda crucial. Nadal got the important wins in the rivalry this year but Djokovic has utterly dominated the indoor season and got that two convincing wins over Nadal. If it wasn’t for that I would have made Nadal the favorite to win in Melbourne, but now things are more like 50/50 again. I’m not sure Nadal will win the Australian Open next year. He will also slump again at some point if the past is anything to go by, while Roger will rise. This looks like it has already started happening in the indoor season.
I think Roger will continue to rise in 2014 while Nadal may continue to fall, since his form in the indoor season was already less impressive than in the rest of 2013. The Australian Open does suit Nadal’s game pretty well though, while it doesn’t suit Roger’s game so well these days. So maybe Nadal can still start the year off well in Australia, but I can definitely see him slump again at some point. Maybe another injury and break from the game after a tough loss. As for Roger I’m not gonna put any pressure on him to do really well in Melbourne. Last year it was his best slam but this time he won’t have a top 4 ranking and he is not in that kind of form anymore. Not yet anyway. You never know, but I’m not gonna set my expectations high. If he can make quarters I’d be satisfied. That would be a good result. Anything more would be a bonus.
I’m just being realistic. The courts are damn slow there these days and just doesn’t give Roger much assistance. One thing I would like to see is that he works his ass off in the off season as far as fitness goes. He is not playing any exhos this time(thank God) and in Australia fitness is huge. It’s hot and the slow courts make for grueling base line rallies. I don’t want to see him come through a tough 5-setter again and have nothing left for his next match. I really think fitness is gonna be key if he is going to continue playing at a high level and maybe win another slam. That is something he can control and which is especially important now that he is older. I’m not talking about working hard. I’m talking about working unbelievably hard. More than anything his fitness will determine how the rest of his career goes.
Well I think that’s about enough for now. I was satisfied when Roger made the semis, but now that Nadal has lost as well I am happy. It may sound cruel but consider how all the courts have been slowed down these days, even indoors. Personally I can’t stand the conspiracy theorists, but things have gone so far that even I have started to believe that something weird is going on. It’s like they honestly want Nadal to win everything and become the next GOAT. I guess they feel like that would cause the most interest in tennis and make them the most money. So they adjust all the courts and conditions in a way that suits him. First he gets a cakewalk draw in London and they have made the courts in London even slower and higher bouncing. It just happens so many times that you feel it can’t be just a coincidence anymore.
And of course all of this make it that much harder for Roger. It seems unfair to such a great servant of the game that they are making conditions in a way that is suiting him less and less when he already has age counting against him. There is no doubt that if they sped things up again it would add several years to Roger’s career at the top of the game. But the way it is going they will probably play the Masters Cup on indoor clay next year. Just to make sure Nadal gets his title and can be declared GOAT. At least there is Djokovic who can still act as the protector of Roger’s legacy as he builds his own legacy. Roger’s attitude towards Nadal and Djokovic has always struck me as strange. I think he should reverse that and be friends with Djokovic for protecting his legacy and disrespect Nadal to kick his ass in the future.
Why does he respect Nadal so much? Didn’t Nadal take a bathroom break when he was about to serve for the match in Indian Wells? Isn’t Nadal the one who uses gamesmanship all the time while Djokovic is just being his cocky self? Yes Djokovic can be very annoying but at least he is just being himself. He is not false like Nadal who acts humble but in the mean time every word and action betrays that act. As if the ATP hasn’t conformed to his every need he had the nerve to say that it’s unfair that the Masters Cup is played on hard court. We have heard several similar statements from the so-called humble Spaniard over the years. It is just baffling how self-centered and full of himself this guy is. And if there is one thing I can’t stand in this world it is being false. I despise nothing more. These attitudes of Roger towards Nadal and Djokovic is something I will never understand.
The point that destroyed Nadal:
Real indoor tennis(don’t miss match point):