Players of the decade

Photo by Beth Wilson

Photo by Beth Wilson

Rafa comes in at #2 in the ATP’s list of players of the decade:

In recent years, Rafael Nadal has emerged as the strongest challenger to Federer’s dominance and has established one of the most gripping rivalries in the history of men’s tennis with the Swiss. The Spaniard, who proudly displays the silhouette of a bull’s horns on his tennis shoes, has been the undoubted King of Clay in the past five years. Of the Spaniard’s 36 tour-level titles, 25 have come on his surface of choice.

The Mallorcan’s clay-court dominance has been at its zenith at Roland Garros, where he first made his debut in 2005. He won his first 31 matches at the clay-court major, capturing four successive titles, before his run came to and end at the hands of Robin Soderling in the fourth round this year. But it is not only on clay that the left-hander has excelled. He became the first Spaniard since Manuel Santana 1966 to win Wimbledon when he dethroned five-time champion Federer in 2008 and won his first hard-court major at the ‘09 Australian Open, once again defeating Federer.

The Manacor native, who has the following of a rock star, became the first Spaniard in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973) to finish as ATP World Tour Champion in 2008 and has featured in three of his nation’s four Davis Cup triumphs.

5 Responses

  1. Courtney says:

    I’m glad that Rafa is so high up on the list (but, seriously, DUH!)!

    However, I have to add… ANDY RODDICK IS NOT TEXAN. He was born in Omaha and only lived in Austin for a while as a child! Yes, he lives there now, but even he doesn’t call himself a Texan! Why do no one ever remember that he’s from Nebraska? I mean, I lived in London for just as many years, but I don’t think I would agree if someone called me British.

  2. Atch2 says:

    Can’t argue with the positioning of Fed and Rafa in the list.
    Imagine if Rafa wasn’t playing this decade, how great Fed’s results would be. Fed would probably have gotten about 21 grand slams by now. They made this decade fun and competitive. But besides their results on court, they’re damn good sportsmen and people too.

    • mary from cincinnati says:

      Thank God for RAFA! The Swiss Cheese is so full of himself that we would not have been able to stand Tennis this last decade were it not for Rafa’s outstanding fighting spirit and sportsmanship the past seven years(don’t have to remind you all of the 2009 AO Trophy presentation spectacle, do I?)! VENGA, TORO!!!

  3. olivia says:

    Rafa is the best tennis player of this era…Fedex fans look out for Rafa…he has determination,will,strength,mental support…..he knows how to achieve his goals…fedex is nothing infront of this GLADIATOR!!!

  4. faeaki7 says:

    So great to see Nadal high up on this list, also the list of incredible stats is impressive too! I too hope the GLADIATOR, the ultimate warrior of tennis comes back in 2010! Vamos!!!