Rafael Nadal from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Spaniard's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. Rafael Nadal's 2009 began with another win against Roger Federer. This time the Spaniard defeated his rival in the Australian Open final, winning in five sets and defeating the Swiss even on the Melbourne hard-courts.
After the semifinal of that edition against Verdasco, Rafa said to his uncle Toni: "It's easy to talk, Toni. It's really easy for you, but I assure you that I can't move. The legs don't respond. I can't run."
Toni he replied: "Bah, nonsense! Of course, you can run. If, when you enter the court, someone shot you when you stop running, I assure you that you wouldn't stop, you would run to Mallorca!" Nadal seemed to surpass Federer by now on every surface, in every tournament.
The Swiss said crying during the award ceremony on the Rod Laver Arena the famous words: "All this kills me." After the Australian Open, Rafa won Indian Wells, Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. At the French Open, he was the favorite, but on his way to the final, the impossible happened.
The fourth round of Paris put him ahead of Robin Soderling. The Swedish, unpredictably, defeated the Spaniard in four sets, becoming the first player to defeat Nadal at the Roland Garros. Soderling made it to the final, where he lost to Federer, who crowned the Career Grand Slam dream: "Federer? No, he never thanked me, I'm still waiting!
When he saw that I defeated Rafa I think he was quite happy, but perhaps he could have beaten him in the final. Who knows?" said Soderling about Federer. After the hard Parisian defeat, Federer's subsequent victory in Wimbledon and Andy Murray's semifinal in the Rogers Cup, Nadal dropped to the third place of the ATP Ranking.
In those months the Spaniard suffered a hamstring injury, which forced him to skip Wimbledon and conditioned his entire second half of the season. 2010 was an exceptional season for Nadal. Starting from the clay swing, where he won Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid and the Roland Garros, getting his revenge by beating Robin Soderling in the final.
At Wimbledon, he won his second title on the lawns of the All England Club, beating Tomas Berdych in the final. “I'm not sure, because if I think about our era, I don't see a big difference in winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
If you go all the way you have to do the same things. I managed to play well on grass. Novak Djokovic was able to play the final in Paris and win Wimbledon the same year. The difficult thing today is to manage mentally and physically the long season on earth," he said, some years after.
With the September 2010 victory of the US Open against Novak Djokovic Nadal was able to complete the Career Golden Slam, becoming the second man after Andre Agassi to get this goal. In October he also won in Tokyo, closing his best season so far, but other records were yet to come.