The return of two maestros Downunder!

As the Australian Open starts today in Melbourne, it is great for the the Men’s game that both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are amongst the entrants. Both had injury plagued seasons last year. Between them, they have won a staggering 31 major titles and both are adamant that they can add to that amazing haul and neither has any plans to retire quite yet.

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Novak Djokovic wins Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the winners trophy after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain (R) in the men’s singles final at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Things are getting pretty interesting in men’s tennis with Novak Djokovic’s victory over Rafael Nadal to win Wimbledon. Nadal has now lost five times to Djokovic this year, and here’s his quote after today’s loss:

Today my game don’t bother him a lot,” Nadal told reporters. “He’s playing better than my level. And find solutions, that’s what I have to try. When I was healthy, I only lost against him. Probably the mental part is little bit dangerous for me. To win these kind of matches, I have to play well these kind of points [that] can change the match. I didn’t play well these moments. That’s what happened in Indian Wells, that’s what happened in Miami, and that’s what happened here. I don’t want to count in Madrid and Rome because he played much better than me. And to change to be little bit less nervous than these times, play more aggressive, and all the time be confident with myself. That’s what I gonna try next time. If not, I gonna be here explaining the sixth [loss].

Nadal handles Federer to win the French Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men’s final at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 5, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge (FRANCE – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Rafael Nadal has defeated Roger Federer, again, to win the French Open. It’s his sixth French Open championship. Many consider Federer to be the best player of all time, but surface means everything in tennis, and Nadal has owned him on clay.

This is also Nadal’s tenth grand slam title, so who knows what people will be saying about the all-time greats in a couple of years if he keeps this up.

Did ESPN do anything wrong in cutting away from the U.S. Open trophy ceremony? [video]

The person who posted this video on YouTube calls ESPN’s actions ‘disgraceful.’

What do you think?

Nadal back in top form, takes Wimbledon

While Nadal’s recent French Open title again solidified himself as the top clay court player of his era, doubts remained whether or not another Wimbledon was in the cards. It was. Facing 12th-seeded Thomas Berdych, Nadal defeated the Czech today 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 to claim his second Wimbledon championship.

From ESPN.com:

Nadal broke Berdych four times and never lost serve in 15 service games.

It’s the second time Nadal has won the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back. He is now 5-0 in his last Grand Slam finals.

With eight Grand Slam titles, Nadal joins a list of greats that includes Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall. He also has five French Open championships and one Australian Open title.

After ripping a crosscourt forehand passing shot on match point, Nadal collapsed on his back on the turf at the baseline and covered his face with his hands. After congratulating Berdych, Nadal leaped out of his chair and did a front somersault on the grass, rising to his feet with both fists clenched.

I’m skeptical to call Nadal the dominant player in men’s tennis, not because all of you will rip on me (I’m fine with that), but because we still need him to beat Roger Federer one more time in a Grand Slam. When Nadal and Federer squared off at Wimbledon in 2008, Nadal’s breakthrough victory alerted the world of his talent and justifiably shook Federer. Flash forward to January of 2009 and Nadal is defeating Federer in the Australian Open final, driving the point home further.

But directly after that, everything seemed to collapse. Nadal’s knees started to crumble and, even more surprising, Federer got better. After falling in the fourth round to Robin Soderling at the 2009 French Open, Nadal took heed of health concerns and withdrew from the upcoming Wimbledon. Federer, on the other hand, won both of those tournaments, surpassing Pete Sampras on the all-time Grand Slam list in the process.

Now Nadal is mowin’ em down once again, and his Wimbledon win today proves that he’s deserving of the world No. 1 recognition. What’s interesting to me is that Berdych beat Federer in the quarterfinals, but was thwarted in straight sets by Nadal in the final. Is there something we can glean from this about the stages of Federer and Nadal’s careers? You might not think so. I do. But like anyone else I think Nadal needs to win one more epic Grand Slam final between the two if he wants to deserve that extra praise.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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