Rafael Nadal spent a record 160 weeks ranked No. 2 in the world, all of them behind Roger Federer. Nadal took the No. 1 spot from Federer in 2008 and never looked back.
Rafa is unanimously considered one of the best tennis players of all time. He has won ten grand slam titles and is only 25 years old. In 2010, after winning the U.S. Open, he became the youngest player ever to complete the career grand slam. Earlier this week at the Australian Open, Rafa beat Roger Federer in the semi-finals to move on to the finals.
Where does that rank Novak Djokovic then? Novak is Rafa’s opponent in tomorrow mornings Australian Open final and currently holds the world’s No. 1 ranking. Novak has beaten Rafa in six consecutive matches including two consecutive Grand Slam finals. When Novak beat Nadal in the 2011 Wimbledon final he became the only player other than Federer to beat Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament final.
In 2011, Novak had one of the best years ever for an individual. He went 70-6 with ten
titles. He won three majors: the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open Championship. Novak has won 30 of his last 31 matches. On Friday morning, Djokovic outlasted No. 4 Andy Murray in an epic five setter that lasted ten minutes shy of five hours.
Tomorrow will feature the third straight Grand Slam final that pits Novak v Rafa. Between the two, they have captured the last seven Grand Slam championships.
The two champs are polar opposites though.
Novak is a slender 6’2 -175lb and is the quickest player in the game and the best returner. Given his size, he has a unique ability to hit powerful winners.
Rafa is a bulky 6-1-190 lb who plays his game from the baseline smashing forehands at his opponents. Rafa has an uncanny ability to run the baseline at a high speed for a man his size.
The Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer rivalry is still considered one of the greatest rivalries of all time. Federer has five years on Nadal, and it shows. The overall series is 18-9 in favor of Rafa. Federer handed the torch over to Rafa a long time ago.