Nothing has changed over the years. It actually seems to be getting more one-sided. The venue? Rome, but it doesn’t really matter. While Roger Federer keeps getting older and weaker in both body and mind, Rafael Nadal is having one hell of a comeback season, winning his sixth title in 2013, making everyone who doubted his ability to return from a serious knee injury eat their words.
Nadal was dominant from start to finish in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Masters in Rome, making it his third Masters title of 2013 and third ATP singles title in a row, beating Federer 6-1, 6-3. The Swiss player, who reached a final of a tournament for the first time this season looked like a player out of his league. In the 30th meeting between the players, it was the 20th win for Nadal against his big rival, and improving his clay record against Federer to 13-2.
All the doubts about Nadal’s knee limiting him have been dispersed. Nadal has said more than once that it is still bothering him, but he’s undefeated in the European tournaments on clay this season when it’s not against Novak Djokovic so far, and while Novak Djokovic continues to look quite inconsistent, Nadal should be considered as the favorite going into the Roland Garros.
It’s a weird tennis season, that shows just how great Nadal is. Not just the greatest clay player of all-time, but really helping his credentials in the overall rankings, debates and discussions. After not playing for over six months, his dominance on his favorite surface has been damaged just a bit. It might suggest that there’s a problem with the ATP tour, as all the promising players and projected “giants” of tomorrow simply can’t break through.
But that’s not Nadal’s problem that Federer has grown old and can no longer hide it with his skill, umatched for so many years. It’s not his fault that Andy Murray seems to be a bit stuck in the glory he achieved last season. It’s not his fault that Novak Djokovic, the best player in the world, hasn’t been able to return to a consistent and dominant form.
Nadal is simply doing what he has always done – blowing players out the water with his aggression and superior shot making as the matches on clay progress. In a best of five scenario which we’ll see in Paris, it’s seems he’s once again impossible to beat.