Everything has been written about Rafael Nadal's game that could ever possibly be written. I don't mean that to break Rafa down to the sum of his parts or anything, but just as a comment on the sheer amount said and written about Rafa. We've talked about the forehand. We've talked about the movement. We've talked about the mental toughness. We've talked about all the things.
But one thing which is talked about, but probably not enough, is Rafa's ability to hang tough on all the big points. I cannot name one moment when I have seen that boy crack. And that, right there, is why he is one of the greats.
Take today's match against Stan Wawrinka, for example. That tiebreak could have gone either way. When a tiebreak gets to 12-all, that's a fact you just can't deny. That set could so easily have been Stan's.
But it wasn't. It was Rafa's. And this is not a one off. The close sets, the tight ones, the ones where anyone could win... Rafa wins those matches a whole lot more often than not. I don't know his record in tiebreaks, but I presume it's amazing. Just like all players, Rafa plays a lot of close matches. But he nearly always wins them.
So sorry Stan. Woulda shoulda coulda. You had chances. And in most tennis matches, the other guy is always going to have chances. But what separates Rafa out from most everyone else is that he takes just about every chance he can - and makes sure the other guy doesn't take theirs. And that - that latter point - is one which is not talked about enough. Because Rafa is, far and away, the best at that in the world.
3 weeks ago