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Rafael Nadal won the 2010 Wimbledon today, a month after his 2010 French Open championship.  Nadal is certainly back, regaining top form after injuries derailed much of his 2009.  He now has 8 Grand Slam championships, surpassing John McEnroe and tying him with Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors in career grand slams.  And all of this by age 24.

With these consecutive titles, the discussion of how far can Nadal go is reigniting—a requisite inclusion in any article chronicling his Wimbledon championship (see Bruce Jenkins article, and Greg Garber’s article here).   With Nadal’s 8th Grand Slam championship, he’s now halfway to Federer’s total of 16.  It’s time to take a renewed look at his current and possible future performance compared to historical legends and update my posting last year about Nadal’s candidacy for GOAT. (more…)

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After Roger Federer won the 2009 French Open, I laid out the case in this posting why he should definitively be declared the greatest player of all time (GOAT).   I also stated that I felt that Rafael Nadal would eventually end up being the GOAT after his career was all said and done.  That naturally led to a healthy debate and of course there is no way to know—we all just need to wait and be patient.    Since then, Nadal has pulled out of the 2009 Wimbledon due to injury and if his all out style is already leading to an injury riddled future, then the likelihood of him reaching GOAT status is unlikely.   However, for now, I will be assuming that this injury will be a one off situation and he’ll be back at the US Open competing for his first US open title and a career grand slam.

In trying to foresee what Nadal’s career records could end up as, my curiosity led me to look at his performance at his current age (23) and compare it to the other top players’ at the same age and then look at their performance from ages 24-27, 28-31, and 32+.  I looked at the number of grand slams won, number of weeks at # 1, and % of career ranked # 1 in the specific age bracket.    After performing this analysis, Federer’s achievements become even more magnified and it’s clear that Nadal will be fighting difficult odds to become GOAT.   (more…)

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Roger Federer won his first French Open yesterday, dispatching of Robin Soderling in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.   With his now 14th Grand Slam title, Federer has tied Pete Sampras’ record for the number of all time grand slam victories and the clamor anointing Federer as the best tennis player ever is growing louder and louder.  The clamor was pretty loud already, but by getting the proverbial monkey off his back by capturing the elusive French Open, the clamor is at a fever pitch.

In trying to assess Federer’s candidacy for greatest of all time, my primary criteria would include the following factors:

  1. Performance in Grand Slams
  2. Level of Dominance during his era
  3. All around performance (Grass, Hard-court,  Clay)
  4. Longevity (more…)

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Roger Federer just defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4, to win the Madrid Open.   Perhaps, even more noteworthy was that the victory was on clay where Nadal has historically been at his best.    After the instant classic finals at Wimbledon in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2009 where Nadal pulled out dramatic 5 set victories, this should be a real confidence boost to Federer for the upcoming French Open.   Who knows- maybe this will propel Federer to new heights in his rivalry against Nadal, which has most recently been a one sided affair.   To date, their matchups have had the following head to head results:

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