El Matador

The US Open is finally underway.

At the time of my writing, Roger Federer has just beaten his opponent to advance to the second round. Nothing that earth-shattering of course (It would have been… had he FAILED to make it pass even the first round). The real headline was another spectacular “back-facing-opponent- between-the-leg” shot from him.

But my entry today would not be on the Federer (again), but *surprise, surprise*, on his longtime nemesis, Rafael Nadal.

For the record, I am not a Nadal fan,  but neither do I hate him. I only do whenever he beat Federer (which, sad to say, happens more often than not). It is one thing for him to do that on the claycourts of Roland Garros,. it is another to see it happen on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, which, for many years, was considered the latter’s “homeground”. It is akin to Manchester United losing to Liverpool at Old Trafford (urgh.. just the mere mention of it make me nauseous).

Despite my bias towards Federer, I have to admit that Nadal is up there as one of the greatest tennis player of all time. Only at 24 and already holding to 8 Grand Slam titles. Time is definitely on his side for him to overtake Federer. And if (God forbids!) he manages to to bag this US Open, he would complete his career Grand Slam, a feat which, even for someone as prolific as Federer, took quite a while to accomplish.

Achievements aside, what I really like about him is his humility. I mean, when you are the current World No 1,  you could be forgiven for displaying some amount of superiority complex . But no, this guy has his head firmly screwed on his neck. 

Whenever I read interviews of him, his answers were always so humble and down-to-earth, regardless of whether he is winning or losing. And most importantly, he maintains tremendous respect for Federer despite having a superior 14/7 head-to-head record against him .

Now, that is what I call a true winner!!

There is Barcelona, there is the Spanish national team… and then there is Rafael Nadal.


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