October 25, 2020

Nadal confines his only rival, by Matías Vallés


Rafa Nadal, excited, listens to the Spanish anthem

Rafa Nadal, excited, listens to the Spanish anthem
Reuters

A bad day to be a ball boy in Paris, the only good news for Djokovic is that no one was hurt in their ridiculous pretense of interrupting the invincibility of Rafael Nadal in thirteen finals already of Roland Garros. What do you expect to name this tournament after its only champion.

Antonio Díaz Miguel assured that, despite the apparent exuberance and variability of a marker of basketball, whoever gets the first basket usually wins the game. Therefore, Nadal secured the Roland Garros of 2020 and several of the successive ones with his starting six to zero against Djokovic, who seemed to be supplanted by a lousy copycat. After the final, he did not have to undergo an anti-doping test, but rather a PCR.

The thirteen victories over thirteen finals in Paris lead to a dispute over hierarchies. Yes Federer is the best player of all time, and Djokovic the momentary number one, what place in the ladder should the player occupy has sunk them both not only on the track, but also emotionally. Victory in Sunday’s final is defined by its ease and infallibility.

They were measured seriousness versus frivolity. Nadal deserves the credit for having reduced the incomparable Djokovic to a puppet, because in no case would the Serb manage to play as badly as in the final, nor voluntarily. Low reflexes, crashing the first serve four inches below the tape, with a sick abuse of the short balls that were his undoing. It took him twenty games to obtain a merely decorative break of service, he lived confined by an opponent whom he had previously defeated miserably.

It was a embarrassing ending, caught up in the clown contortion that Djokovic staged in as much that it sank it five to zero. After the annihilation of the Serbian, the question is not if Nadal will win Roland Garros at the age of forty, but how it is possible that he will not obtain it at that age or any other. The fifteen tournaments for the Mallorcan are no longer possible, to become predictable. It would seem that it is enough for him to appear in Paris to consolidate his victory, either under the command of Toni Nadal or Carlos Moyá, either with or without a pandemic, either with or without his admirer Juan Carlos I in the stands.

Just as the appeal to the fetish of embraced Spaniards is insufficient to explain the spread of the coronavirus, neither does the clay court argument by itself explain Nadal’s supremacy. In that dusty setting you can realize your power, but the best Spanish athlete of all time does not limit himself to winning, he terrifies. No human being would like to be in the Serbian’s shoes yesterday.

The Grand Slams ranking continues to be the most reliable statistic for calibrating champions. Nadal (20) not only equals Federer (20) in the classics, thus fracturing the dike that the lovers of filigree tennis had interposed against the Mallorcan. Above all, he moves away from Djokovic (17), who in the next two years aspired to overwhelm the advantage of his rivals.

Therefore, it is quite possible that Nadal sealed the condition of greatest tennis player of all time, apart from the fact that his harvest in Paris seems inexhaustible. And no, there is no one else, it should be remembered that for the seventh time the Mallorcan has not lost a single set in two weeks of Roland Garros.

In fact, the most curious match was the quarterfinals against Jannik Skinner, a teenager with cetacean manners. This Italian only dominated the game when he did not threaten Nadal. The three times he got ahead of the Mallorcan, he then collapsed as if he had committed a crime, losing the advantage and the game. Despite this manifest psychological fragility, he did not reach the level of degradation suffered by Djokovic at the hands of the champion.

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