Monday, July 4, 2011

Nadal Vows To Regain #1 Ranking

He may be down right now, but he's certainly not out.

It's not like Rafael Nadal hasn't been here before. Here being the #2 ranked player in the world, following a loss in the Wimbledon Final.

However, that player was Roger Federer, and it took Nadal three years to beat him at Wimbledon, and even longer to wrest the #1 ranking from him.

Now that nemesis is Novak Djokovic, a 24 year-old who seems to be doing to Rafa, what Rafa used to do to Federer once he figured him out.

Just in 2011 alone, Djokovic has defeated Nadal five straight times: on hard court, clay, and now grass. In those four matches, Nadal has managed to win just three sets out of 14 total sets played. That's barely even a rivalry at this point.

Nadal knows that he must first mentally believe he can beat Djokovic, and then success will come again.

"I understand the sport like this," Nadal said. "When one player is better than you, at this moment the only thing you can do is work, try to find solutions, and try to wait a little bit for your time. Last five times (against Djokovic) wasn't my time. I'm going to wait and I"m going to try a sixth. And if the sixth doesn't happen, to the seventh. It's going to be like this. That's the spirit of the sport."

There's no doubt that Nadal will be back. He just turned 25, and after Federer reached that same age in 2006, he won three Australian Opens, two Wimbledons, one French Open, and three US Opens. In other words, half of the Grand Slam tournaments he's won in his career came AFTER the age that Nadal is currently.

On the other hand, Federer has shown a remarkable ability to stay injury-free, while Nadal has had repetitive, chronic knee and foot injuries due to the very physical style that he plays. Nadal most likely won't win as many titles as Federer has for that very reason.

So while Nadal tries to figure out a way to beat Djokovic at this stage in his career, he can at least gain some comfort in the knowledge that multiple Grand Slam titles can still be within his reach.

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