9th July 2018
Wimbledon 2018: The everlasting genius of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Just when we thought we had seen the very best of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, back they come leaving us mystified by their genius once again.
Federer, the 36-year-old wizard from Switzerland, and Nadal, Spain’s 32-year-old power house, have between them collected each of the last six majors, and are both favourites to make it seven at Wimbledon later this month. Ever since an epic five-set battle in the Australian Open final in 2017, the pair have been partying like it’s 2008 all over again.
With the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka all suffering injuries and questionable form, the golden pair – arguably the greatest to ever pick up a racket in the men’s game – have each continued to confound the experts and reach even dizzier heights.
Before the 2017 Australian final, Nadal’s French Open win in June 2014 was the last time either had won a major. Most of us had even resigned ourselves to the fact that Federer, the King of Centre Court, would reign no more following his 2012 triumph. But his 2017 win – a straight sets thrashing of Croatia’s Marin Cilic – turned back time.
What makes their staying power remarkable is each have had long spells out of the game through injury. Federer took six months off and missed the second half of the 2016 season to recover from a knee injury. He wasn’t expected to make it past the first week of his come back at the Australian Open in January 2017… he won it. Likewise, Nadal has suffered even more. His knees, hip, back and wrist have all given him major concern over the years, perhaps partly to do with his aggressive playing style. But each time Rafa recovers, he regains his form and wins on the biggest stage.
Just like with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, we’re privileged to live in a time where two magnificent individuals are driving each other into unchartered territories of brilliance. Federer, who has 20 majors to his name, and Nadal, 17, are to be admired, cherished and spoken about in the most hyperbolic tones possible.
Enjoy them while you can. Well, until they come back for a third time.