He is one of the Big4 in tennis, the only one who has challenged Federer for the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ tag. It’s a pity that even after making to the final at Wimbledon five times and winning it twice- that also includes arguably the greatest match of all time, Final of 2008 – yet he never enters the tournament as the favorite. Such is the story of Rafa Nadal, for whom grass has never been a companion.
But can the grittiest fighter of the game, defy all odds and reclaim the glory he once achieved seven years back!?
Let alone winning the title, can Nadal even survive the first week? After losing to Rosol in 2012, then the opener in 2013 and going down to an Aussie teenager last year, many consider that he would never achieve the success on grass he once did, making three consecutive finals from 2006-08. The injuries have hit him badly in his glorious career, forcing him to give up his title defense in 2009 and a strong reason behind his early exits from the tournament in recent years. So did he reach his peak on grass way back? Or does Rafa still possess enough to trouble the best of this court? It is surely way tougher this time around.
Nadal will enter Wimbledon as the 10th seed, prospects of a gnawing journey. He can very well face one amongst Djokovic, Federer and Murray. Considering the current forms and the surface, every single one of these top guns can send Nadal packing home in straight sets. But let’s not get that far, to reach the quarters Nadal will have to fend off some serious tests in the first week and after having crashed out in his first match at the Queen’s, the chances aren’t very good. His backhand topspin becomes easier to handle for his opponents unlike on clay. He looks vulnerable at the net and his backhand hasn’t really fired since his comeback after surgery. For Rafa, his chances to win the title would severely depend on luck. He needs a few upsets, Djokovic or Murray losing early should help the cause of Spaniard. It has been pretty long since we had a Fedal tie on grass, and we would love to witness it this time- Rafa might just prevail over Roger.
That’s a long way ahead though. Even Nadal knows he needs to win his early encounters to even start thinking about having a shot at the title. It’d be no less than miracles if the Spaniard goes on to bite the pineapple this time around. Keeping everything into perspective, the best Nadal can do this Wimbledon is reach the Semis, going further – or even winning- would solely depend on the opponent he faces and the fight he puts in. It’s a slim chance, but that’s all what this man needs! And just like his good friend Federer, claiming the Wimbledon to go past Sampras would be something to cherish.