It’s gotta be weird for Roger Federer. Last year at this time, people were saying that he was the best tennis player of all time. Now, near the top of his game and height of his powers, he might not even be the best current tennis player. And if you look at the statistics, Rafael Nadal may turn out to be the best tennis player ever.
Federer won his first Grand Slam title at age 21 and, by his 23rd birthday, had won two more. Sampras had won four by that age. Nadal is well ahead of that pace, having won his first Grand Slam at the precocious age of 18. The Australian was Nadal’s sixth and he will be a prohibitive favorite to capture his fifth consecutive French Open just a few days after he turns 23 in June.
I am powerless against YouTube videos with names like Federer Madness. The video’s so crappy that I can’t even see the ball most of the time and yet I cannot stop watching. From there, it’s federer legendary 10 top shots, Rafael Nadal neat ball trick, and Michael Chang’s underhand serve at the 1989 French Open. Send help and Gatorade!
1. The Federer/Nadal final at Wimbledon was epic. I was tense for the entire duration of the final three sets, which lasted about 2.5 to 3 hours. After years of sportswriters declaring that Roger Federer is the best player of all time, we might be faced with the possibility that he’s not even the best player of his generation. Two data points: 1) Nadal has shown that he can win on any surface, including Federer’s specialty, and 2) Nadal’s head-to-head record against Federer is 10-5 (although many of those wins came on clay). The match also clearly reveals the idiocy of this lame Bill Simmons article about how tennis needs to change.
2. Joey Chestnut successfully defended his title this weekend at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, eating 59 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. He needed a 5-dog overtime to hold off long-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, who has lost to Chestnut the last two years. Chestnut weighs 230 pounds while Kobayashi is only 160 pounds.
3. The US Olympic swimming trials are over and Michael Phelps qualified in 5 individual events and will likely participate in three relays as well, giving him a chance to break Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympics. Overshadowing Phelps’ achievements was “41-year-old mom” (that’s how they kept describing her on TV) Dara Torres, who qualified in both the 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter freestyle.
Update: Ok, Nadal can’t consistently win on hardcourt. But he’s 22…give him time. (thx, everyone)
Novak Djokovic lost the US Open final to Roger Federer last night but the 20-yo Serb clearly left his — how do I put this? — impression on the tournament. Here’s some video of Djokovic impersonating Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal at the US Open. He does several other players as well, including a fine Andy Roddick.
Update: In case you’re unfamiliar with the mannerisms of the players mentioned above, here’s video of Roddick, Sharapova, and Nadal. (thx, flip)