Federer-Nadal Rivalry The Crown Of Men’s Tennis Revival

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Despite the lack of quality Americans in the sport, men’s tennis is seeing an apex in the game not seen since the Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras duels in the 1990’s.  This season has been dominated by one man:  Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic ran off a 43 match winning streak before being knocked off by Roger Federer in the French Open semifinal.  The victory gives us a fourth Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal final in six years.  The streak and the transcendent rivalry gives sports fans something amazing that few people are actually watching.  More on the greatness of tennis today served up after the jump.

 

Bryan Vickroy

Few people in America could actually name more than two or three players on the ATP Tour, if they could name any at all.  Part of the reason is much of the tennis season is spent on other continents, relatively obscure players  playing for weeks at a time in the middle of the night for the American viewing audience.  Another reasoning is that there is no real American presence on the circuit since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were exchanging volleys.  Andy Roddick looked to be a rising star, and to a degree has been successful.  Roddick has won a US Open, but has been unable to add a second Grand Slam title to his resume since.  Mardy Fish has been steady, but has yet to prove himself in the second week of tournaments.  The television ratings may not show how good the game is today, but the public is missing out on some of the greatest individual performances in sports.

 

Novak Djokovic has spent this season mowing down opponents and taking home tournament titles, and the ridiculous sums of money that come along with that glory.  With all the fuss people make about Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak, but Djokovic strung together 43 consecutive victories.  Djokovic fell just three matches shy of tying Guillermo Vilas’ 46 match streak.  The length and endurance and skill it takes not only to compete at the highest level, but beat every opponent is amazing.

 

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The streak by Novak Djokovic was snapped by someone with possibly an even more impressive streak.  Roger Federer reached a ridiculous 23 straight Open semifinals.  Despite struggles in the past months, Federer has shown a return of form by the greatest player in the last decade, some may argue THE greatest player ever.  Obviously the most intense, and entertaining, matchups in tennis have been between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  Both men have achieved a career grand slam, two of only seven players ever to accomplish the feat.  They have met in four of the last six French Open Finals at Roland Garros.  The stranglehold between these two players over the years may not bring the parity to the game like most American sports posses, they have brought some of the most intense, interesting, and invigorating competition matches over the last few years.

 

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While Roger Federer has been the most dominant player, Rafa Nadal has owned Roger Federer in Grand Slams.  Nadal has won six of eight showdowns, and sits one win away from tying Bjorn Borg’s record of six French Open titles.  Nadal is a magician on the red clay at Roland Garros, and no matter what shape his body is in, Nadal always finds a way to win in Paris.  The matchup is a blessing for NBC executives, as it showcases the game’s two best players in one of the most scenic venues in all of sports.  Despite the time difference, this matchup will be another one for the ages between the two, and promises to be historic.

 

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While I may be biased, having had a pretty damn good high school career (for Midwest standards), the men’s game is something America is missing.  While they may tune in to the women’s tour every now and then for an ogle or two of Maria Sharapova, the men’s game is where the true craft of tennis is so expertly displayed.  While technology has helped the game make quantum leaps from the days of wooden rackets, the game requires a deft touch and even quicker thinking.  Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, and the rest of the ATP tour will give any athlete in any sport a run for their money.  It’s a shame more people aren’t watching.  So get up early Sunday morning, make yourself a nice breakfast, and take in some of the most dramatic, entertaining, competitive sports that you can ever see.

 

 

bryan vickroy the sports bank

 

Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms.  He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long.  Look for new articles throughout the week.  He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy.  If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at bryan.vickroy@gmail.com .

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