With the MLB playoffs in full effect, there are still a couple of eyes on other sports like the early points of the NFL, the NBA exhibition games and even tennis. Of a smaller but notable note in the ITF is Nadal losing in straight sets to rival Novak Djokovic in the China Open. One way to look at this is that Novak has dominated this tournament for years much like Nadal has dominated the French Open. He has now won 6 titles at the China Open, going an impressive 29-0 in the process. The other way to look at this is that Nadal is fading even more, after finally losing the French Open this year and vacating his title. That with a string of injuries and inconsistency that have plagued him all his career has some wondering whether he is one of the greatest players of all time, or just a clay court specialist that was in the right place at the right time.
Indeed, there is not much to say about Nadal outside of the French Open, which is surprising considering how talented he is. Roger Federer is no longer a big rival in his twilight years, and hasn’t been for a while. In the years Nadal should have been dominating, his game never grew quite like Novak’s did, which made him an all court player and one of the greatest of all time. Whether his injuries or his play style limited the growth and his potential title mishaps is another story, as Nadal has to try to figure out whether his game is going to be suitable for play since his current age is considered old for tennis.
Nadal is considered an old man in tennis years, and his high style play is not only abusive to his body but taxing to his stamina. Since he never learned to grow beyond that style of play he goes into each and every match at a disadvantage with more and more players coming ready for him each year. In the end there will be less buzz around his career than there should have been, and that’s a shame since he at once time was considered to be on Federer’s level of play. He is a one of a kind player that really brought a ferocity to the court that hasn’t been matched since his first match. It will be a big letdown if the only thing he is known for at the end of his career is being a clay court specialist.