Rafael Nadal – a great player to have on your side

All-England Notebook: Wimbledon winner is unquestionably the sport's fiercest competitor.

rafael nadal 311 (photo credit: AP)
rafael nadal 311
(photo credit: AP)
WIMBLEDON, England – Imagine you arrive at the gates of heaven and are told that you can return to Earth for a second chance, but only if a tennis player of your choice is able to overcome a divine representative in a best-of-five setter.
Who would you take? I would go with Rafael Nadal.
He may not end his career as the greatest player of all time, and thanks to Roger Federer, he will probably not even be remembered as the best player of his generation.
However, he is the one player I’d want to fight for my life.
For sheer entertainment, Federer is surely better value. If it’s serving you are after, then Pete Sampras should be your man.
In every aspect of the game you could likely find a better candidate, and that’s even without mentioning such past greats as Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.
But when it comes down to it, I’d want Nadal on my side.
Even after adding an eighth Grand Slam title to his name by dismantling Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon final on Sunday afternoon, Nadal has a long way to go before becoming the greatest champion the game has seen.
However, he is unquestionably its fiercest competitor.
Nadal not only seems to be entirely fearless, but he scares the hell out of virtually every opponent he faces.
When at his best, even the godly could well struggle to keep pace with his relentless intensity.
His never-say-die attitude, combined with the fact that his game simply has no real weaknesses, make him the last man you would want to see across the net.
It is difficult to predict what Nadal will go on to achieve in the rest of his career.
He has only just turned 24, but he has been coping with the rigors of being one of the world’s best players for five years now, and has struggled desperately with his knees time and again, even missing Wimbledon last year because of the injury.
But as long as he’s healthy, his passion for winning will ensure he continues to claim Grand Slam titles on a regular basis.
After all, Nadal plays every point as if he’s fighting for his own life. And that is really all you can ask for.