Nadal’s Legacy ≠ Federer’s Legacy

By: Prad

Courtesy of wnflam.com
Courtesy of WN Flam

Rafael Nadal is officially 34-1 in first rounds at grand slams. He lost to Steve Darcis in straight sets, an older 135th ranked Belgian who lacks the experience of even appearing in the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam. Though this will go down as one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history, the famed Spaniard has two Wimbeldon trophies under his belt from 2008 and 2010, both times beating Federer. Tennis experts call his Wimbledon Final in 2008 against Roger Federer the greatest match ever played. Federer had 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles by that point, the previous two against Nadal. That final was just a 4 hour 48 minute display of the most storied rivalry in tennis history that saw a total of eight grand slam finals matches just between the two and six consecutive years with them having the #1 and #2 rankings in the world. Together, they have won 29 of the last 36 grand slams. Although the last couple of years have seen the tail end of this historic rivalry which has been lauded by critics every match of the way, the two still generally win at least a couple grand slams a year. Both have cemented their legacy in the record books, Rafa as the greatest tennis player in the history of clay and Federer as the greatest tennis player in history period.

Courtesy of odt.co.nz
Courtesy of ODT

I don’t believe that anybody doubts Nadal’s dominance on clay. The “King of Clay” is 59-1 in the French Open. Roger Federer took full advantage of Nadal’s loss in 2009 beating Robin Söderling in the finals of the French Open of that year, the only player Nadal has ever lost to in the French. Roger Federer is 1-4 in all time French Open Finals while Nadal boasts a 7-0 record in French Finals. All of  Federer’s four losses came at the hands of Rafael Nadal. Still, Federer has the upper-hand on Nadal on both hard court and of course, grass. Nobody can say that grass surface wasn’t dominated by Federer in the past decade. For five years from 2003-2008, Federer didn’t lose a match on his best surface. He won a record tying 7 Wimbledon titles in 9 years with a chance of a record 8th in a decade if he can prevail at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. It’s hard to believe that hard court isn’t his best surface considering he has won a record tying 4 Australian Open titles and a record tying 5 U.S. Open titles. Both Nadal and Federer have career grand slams, two of four men in the Open Era (1968-present) to have attained all four grand slam championships.

Although both athletes have had significant achievements and noteworthy contributions to the sport of tennis, Nadal lacks the consistency that Federer is noted with having. Many fans know that this year’s Wimbledon isn’t the first time Nadal lost in the early rounds of the most prestigious slam. Last year, Lukáš Rosol, a 99th ranked Czech, eliminated Rafa in a five set grinder. This loss coupled with this year’s first round defeat highlights Nadal’s inconsistency and questionable endurance.

On the other hand, the 17 time Grand Slam champion has made a record 36 consecutive grand slam quarterfinals and hasn’t lost in the first round of a grand slam since he broke out onto the world stage when he won the 2003 Wimbledon. The next longest streak of grand slam quarterfinals is Novak Djokovic’s current streak of 16. Federer’s streak of grand slam semifinals, 23 will also go unchallenged for years to come. Guess who’s second? Again, not Nadal, but Djokovic has the second best record with his active streak of 12. The list goes on and on with most consecutive wins in grand slams and the best and second best consecutive grand slam finals appearances. Now, I understand that this list may seem tedious after awhile but all of his statistics and aforementioned records are a testament to Roger Federer’s durability.

Courtesy of tennis-prose.com
Courtesy of Tennis-Prose

Federer’s streaks can attest to another one of his active streaks: the second most consecutive number of grand slam appearances, one shy of tying the record. Barring any major setback or injury, Federer will break this record during the 2014 Australian Open. However, Nadal has not even come close to this record. His personal record is 13 consecutive grand slam appearances. Yet, Nadal never complains or makes excuses regarding his injuries. Many excluding Rafa blamed his first round exit on his persistent left knee issue. Similarly, Federer seems to compliment his opponent and appears to be gracious in defeat. After his quarterfinal exit in the 2013 French Open Final to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, he said “I struggled a little bit everywhere. To be honest, personally, I’m pretty sad about the match and the way I played. But that’s how it goes. I tried to figure things out, but it was difficult. And Jo does a good job keeping the pressure on. He was just better in all areas.” Evidently, both of these extraordinary athletes are sportsmen of their generation and are courteous in defeat, who choose not to blame their poor performances on anything but themselves.

 

Writers Note: Well, this article seems a little more stupid because of Federer’s second round exit to a 100th ranked player. Fortunately,  all the facts are still true.

Top First Baseman and Future Star

By: Jon

Top First Baseman:

1. Joey Votto – Reds

Joey Votto
Joey Votto

Although Votto does not have the stats that Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Davis has accumulated this season, Votto has been the most consistent first baseman over the past few years. The 2010 NL MVP has hit over .300 every year except for one and has hit 24 HR or more every year except twice. Votto has led the NL in OBP for the last four consecutive years. Along with his dynamic offense, Votto won the 2011 Gold Glove award and could have repeated last year if he did not injury himself. The 29 year old first baseman is in the prime of his career and should produce more outstanding stats, while leading the Reds.

2. Chris Davis – Orioles

Chris Davis
Chris Davis

Most years, Davis would be the clear cut MVP front runner with his .333 average, 28 HR, and 72 RBI. Although Davis is a new name for most baseball fans, Davis has always been known as a player with a lot of potential and an immense amount of power. Although he never had a great batting average, Davis has always been able to hit the long ball. Last year, Davis launched 33 HR while posting a solid .270 average. Finally given the chance to start, Davis has shown his potential and skill. AL pitchers should be on red alert as Davis will not falter any time soon.

3. Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt

The Diamondbacks’ 23 year-old first baseman is one day going to be a superstar in MLB. In only his second full season in the bigs, Paul has hit 19 HR and knock in 66 RBI, the most in the NL. Along with Yadier, Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate because of how he has lead the Diamondbacks to first place in the NL West. Along with his power potential, Paul has the ability to steal a few bases. Last year he stole 18 bases, which is impressive for a big first baseman. Do not be surprised if in a few years Paul is on top of this list.

Future Star: Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman

Another young 23 year old first baseman that will take baseball by storm over the next few years is Freddie Freeman. Entering his third full season, Freeman has been very productive. He is currently hitting .304 with 7 homers and 48 RBI. The last two years Freeman has hit over 20 HR and last year he batted in 94 runners. Although Freeman hit only .259 last year, it was due to an eye problem that caused him a lot of problems. Freeman is on pace to top the numbers he put up the last two years. Although Freeman will never be a batter that hits 35 HR, he will be an occasional All-Star, who hits over .300 and bats in 100+ runs.

All stats from Baseball Reference

What to expect from Wimbledon?

By: Jon

After one of the biggest upsets in tennis history that left Nadal and the rest of the world stunned, the bottom half of the draw is wide open. Every person in the bottom half of the draw has errors and can be upset at any point.

Courtesy of nytimes.com
Rafael Nadal

Although Federer has been the greatest player ever at Wimbledon, he is currently playing very inconsistent and has only won once this entire season, last week at the Gerry Weber Open. During the French Open, Federer was destroyed by Tsonga in the quarterfinals, which showed his age. Andy Murray just came back from a back injury that caused him to withdraw from the French Open. At any point his back can act up and cause him trouble. Murray will also face the pressure of succeeding in his home country, which has caused him to act emotional and fail in the past. Similar to Federer, Tsonga has been extremely inconsistent and looked like Jackal and Hyde. After his big win against Federer, Tsonga followed it up with a stinker against Ferrer, which made him look clueless.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Once considered the group of death, the bottom half of the draw is now looking extremely weak. After Tsonga, Isner, and Marian Cilic defaulted and Federer stunning upset today during their respective matches, only one of the original five top ten ranked players in the tournament are still alive in the tournament. The prior results has opened the door for Murray to cruise into the finals. Murray faces a similar script as the highest person ranked in his half is Nicholas Almagro, 15th, who barely  survived a tough four set match against Rufin. Almagro is an inconsistent player and probably will not reach the semifinals to play Murray. With the Wimbledon crowd behind him, Murray will definitely not fall to a player outside the top 15. Now the harder section of the draw is located on the upper half with five players in the top 10 including major champion Juan Del Potro, Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berydch, and French Open finalist David Ferrer.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

On the other side of the draw, Djokovic will cruise to the finals after defeating Del Potro in the semi. Although Murray will reach the finals for the second straight year, he will again fall in 4 sets in the final to Djokovic, instead of Federer. As long as Djokovic does not hurt himself on his path to a championship, he will earn his second career Wimbledon win and 7th career major championship.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

However, if there has been one thing that we’ve learned from this tournament, we should expect the unexpected and keep your body healthy. Leave comments about your predictions and feelings about the tournament so far.

All info from Wimbledon.com