He's fallen! Finally! Rafael Nadal, the indisputable 'King of Clay' has finally been defeated on his 'home' turf. My heart cries out for him.
Nadal along with his rival Roger Federer have been responsible for some of the best fought matches in tennis ever. Their match in the finals at Wimbledon last year was hailed as one of the best. They have single-handedly been the reason that tennis has been brought out of its popularity crisis due to waning interest. That is why I was eagerly awaiting the finale of Roland Garros this year. Not only because it could've been a record fifth consecutive win for Nadal but it also could have been (and now there's a strong chance of it happening) a Career Grand Slam for Federer - something that has been very elusive for Federer.
Unfortunately there won't be any nail-biting Nadal-Federer match this time around on the clay court. The French open (for me at least) has fizzled out. But I'm still hoping Federer won't win. Sadly, even Novak 'Djoker' Djokovic was out of the Open a couple of days back. Now my hopes are pinned on Fernando 'Speedy' Gonzalez. Or you never know what more havoc Robin Soderling might cause now!
But does this defeat mean the end of Nadal's dominance on clay? After all this is his second defeat on clay in two consecutive tournaments within a couple of weeks of each other. I would say no! Instead I feel that Nadal just let his guard down both the times. And anyway for Roger, the more times he plays Nadal, the more he'll be able to sort out his playing style. Didn't the same happen to the Fed-Express on grass? Nadal still has a long way to go. In Nadal's own words: It's not a tragedy. I had to lose one day. Wise words from a terrific player. And he still has to complete a Career Grand Slam with just the US Open awaiting him. Hopefully there won't be any spoilsports at Wimbledon and both champions will display their best wares out there and we shall get to see another enthralling finale.
And what's with Nadal losing out to lesser known players on the circuit at major Slams? He lost to Mikhail Youzhny at the 2006 US Open, to unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open, and now in the 2009 French Open to Robin Soderling. Something to chew upon...