The Reuters global sports blog
If there was any doubt before, there is now no question that Rafa Nadal can and most probably will better Roger Federer’s record of 16 grand slam titles following the Spaniard’s French Open success over the Swiss.
Sunday’s 7-5 7-6 5-7 6-1 victory for his record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown and his 10th grand slam title overall underlined why Nadal just will not lie down even when the crowd and his own initial form are against him.
Nadal endured his first five-set match on the Paris clay in the first round but his play gradually improved over the fortnight so that when he came up against Federer and his vocal fans in the final, the world number one was ready to flourish.
He slipped 5-2 down in the first set but roared back and dealt with a 10-minute rain interruption to down what had been a resurgent Federer even on his least favorite clay surface.
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova rescued the
women’s singles at the Australian Open from anonymity on Sunday
when they contested a four hour 44 minute epic that contrasted sharply with some of the dross served up by their rivals.
The third set alone lasted three hours as Italian Schiavone, a breath of fresh air for women’s tennis at the ripe old age of 30, edged a fourth round thriller 4-6 6-1 16-14.
When Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were engaged in a constant merry-go-round for the world number one spot throughout the 1990s, little did they know that a decade later American tennis players would have been left feeling dizzy with disbelief after they were completely wiped out from the Top 10.
Andy Roddick woke up on Monday to discover he had slid down two spots to number 11 and his little stumble meant that for the first time since the inception of rankings in 1973, the Stars and Stripes will not feature in the ATP’s top 10.
Roger Federer’s epic five-set victory over Andy Roddick, heartbreaking for the American, has surely now settled the question of who is the Greatest of All Time.
That, at least, is the view of Pete Sampras, who was on hand to watch as Federer overtook him in the majors stakes with a 15-th grand slam title.