Nadal’s Second Wimbledon/Eighth Grand Slam

19:34 Sun 04 Jul 2010
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Tomas Berdych overcame the world number two, Roger Federer, and the world number three, Novak Djokovic. But he couldn’t get anywhere near the world number one, Rafael Nadal, who dismantled him in three sets and made it look fairly easy.

It wasn’t a great match to watch. Berdych claimed not to be nervous, but he certainly looked tight. Against Federer and Djokovic he prevailed with heavy serves and heavy power strokes, but those weren’t evident today. Many of his groundstrokes were landing inside the service line, and Nadal is simply too good not to punish that. So he did. 6–3, 7–5, 6–4.

There were times where he looked shaky, and made errors that I wouldn’t expect him to have made. If Berdych had been able to capitalize on any of those, the match would have been quite different. Instead, Nadal held his serve throughout and increased in confidence as the match went on. Even when Berdych was hitting his shots deep, it looked as if he added a lot of spin to them to keep them in play, losing the power that might have threatened Nadal. It’s possible that the windy conditions were a big part of this, as they’re much worse for Berdych’s game than Nadal’s, but it didn’t look as if he would have prevailed in any conditions.

Eight Grand Slam titles is quite a lot. Nadal is now tied with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, and Ivan Lendl, trailing only Björn Borg (11), Pete Sampras (14), and Roger Federer (16). It seems likely indeed that he will win more French Open titles (if nothing else), but what about the other surfaces, and can he catch Federer? Catching Federer and reaching 16 might be two different tasks, however, as it’s still quite possible that Federer will add to his total. While you can’t know if this is his actual opinion or some kind of motivational tool, Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, was asked if Rafa would catch Roger. “Very difficult,” Toni said. “I don’t know, but if I put money, I say no.”

Nadal has already stated that he intends to make a major push this year to win the US Open, the only Grand Slam he hasn’t won. For Federer, too, the US Open has become extremely important, because he’s been slumping since January and his results in the last two Slams are (by his standards) poor. Nadal’s attempt to claim his first, Federer’s attempt to claim his sixth, and Juan Martin Del Potro’s attempt to defend his title (if his health allows it) are the major storylines for that tournament, and their outcomes may be critical to the careers of all three men.

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