Now that Rafael Nadal has staked his claim to being the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT), let us examine the reasons why tennis aficionados are still leery of anointing him the heir to Federer’s not yet vacated throne.
Is it that he is a Spaniard not too familiar with the nuances of the English language?
Is it that he does not typify the usual tennis player? Is it that he appears to be a muscle-bound hulk?
Is it that he’s built more like a boxer or a sprinter?
Is that what blinds us to his ever improving court craft?
Or are we just peeved with the alleged illegal coaching by his Uncle Toni from the sidelines?
Or that he is perpetually scowl-bound and not the beautiful competitor?
Or that he does not make it look ridiculously easy and that effort shows in every sinew?
Or that he demolished our hero Federer without so much as a by your leave? How could he eliminate someone so aesthetic?
Or is it that we , the fans, cannot come to terms and admit that we are blessed to witness in the span of two decades four great players, four great champions, four marvels: Sampras, Agassi, Federer and now Nadal? Are we unwilling to accept the gifts from tennis deities?
Or maybe we do not like the machine the current Nadal is with no apparent chinks in his armour? Not a hint of fragility unlike his predecessor Federer.
Have we conveniently cast aside the memories of a self-deprecating Fed when he started out and paid obeisance to his idols? And consider Nadal’s humility a sign of weakness?
Or perhaps we refuse to believe that an eternally taped antagonist should dare to covet the highest glory? Surely he will not last the climb!
Is the anguish of watching Federer perish and vaporize himself thrice this year too much for our hardy souls to bear?
So much so that we are unable grasp the enormity of Nadal’s feat caught up as we are in Roger’s eclipse?
Or is it probable that we prefer our heroes chasing shadows and ghosts, not playing legends?
Or maybe because perversely Nadal resembles no angel? Not cherubic enough! Not seraphic enough! Belying his name!
Or is it because he’s a sinister – a lefty and we all know a left-hander is naturally advantaged. Or that he’s just twenty four?
Or maybe because he shouldn’t have? I mean, how could he? How dare he?
It definitely isn’t because of his girlfriend, Maria Francisca Perello, – she’s the cutest button in the stands.
Or maybe its because he’s not American or Australian or South American? There should be some justice in the world. Rotate our champs across continents, please!
Or it could be that Nadal is not the Great Communicator? He prefers being the Great Dictator instead! Dictating oppressing terms to his opponents.
Perchance , its time we took a cue from the next generation, the YouTube generation, the NOW generation who are already asking the pertinent question “Who’s Roger Federer?”