A Substitute for War

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Posts Tagged ‘John McEnroe

On Nadal-Djokovic vs the Great Rivalries

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I’m a big fan of Peter Bodo‘s tennis analysis, but today he wrote something that makes me get up on my soapbox. On the plus side, he also forces  to try to make a definitive statement about what makes a rivalry great. Here’s the upshot of what he said:

Not that Federer-Rafael Nadal hasn’t been terrific — it only produced, among other things, that Wimbledon final of 2008, nominated by many as the greatest tennis match of all time. But the feeling grows that the real, defining rivalry of this generation will be the one between Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

He goes on to liken the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry to McEnroe-Lendl. This is interesting because it’s a pretty good analogy, and yet when I consider John McEnroe‘s great rivals, I think about Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors before I think of Ivan Lendl. The fact that he’s got the analogy right means that my real beef with Bodo is based on us valuing rivalries differently.

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Federer vs Nadal Debates, after 2010

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We’ve reached the end of the 2010 ATP tennis season, but it doesn’t make sense to actually talk too much about it because there’s not much to argue about.  Rafael Nadal is clearly the Player of the Year, Roger Federer is clearly #2.  Then Djokovic, Murray, and Soderling.  I do think though that it’s an appropriate time to talk about Nadal’s career year, and the Federer-Nadal rivalry.

My opinions:

1)      Nadal was great this year, but his peak still hasn’t match Federer, and possibly not John McEnroe either.

2)      Nadal’s edge in the rivalry over Federer remains far smaller than most people think.

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