The numbers are with Nadal as he gears up for a semi-final appearance against former world number 1 Roger Federer at the Australian Open. The Swiss tennis genius hasn’t beaten Nadal in a grand slam tournament for 5 years, the last victory against him coming half a decade ago at Wimbledon.
And Nadal’s record in grand slams is phenomenal – at the semi-finals of the major competitions he has won 14 and lost just 3. The longer matches play right into the Spaniard’s hands too, as he can bring his superb physical fitness into play, even if (or perhaps especially when) he loses a set or two.
In contrast, although Federer looked magnificent in his recent game versus the Argentinean giant Juan Martin Del Potro, Roger is 30 now, and coming slowly towards the end of his career. He sees the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray approaching their prime, and it is a tough ask to compete against their physicality in the potential 5 set matches of grand slams.
Federer is considered by many the greatest tennis player of all time, with his unrivalled record of 16 grand slams, and he still has the talent to beat the best of them if he can close out the match in 3 sets, but the odds turn against him as soon as a set is dropped, and the heat of the Australian competition won’t help him.
It is also the first time since the 2005 French Open that Nadal and Federer have met in a semifinal, which adds an extra spark of interest to the game. After so many years of dominating the number 1 and 2 spots they have finally been ousted by Djokovic, and it will be interesting to see whether this will affect their mindsets.
Nadal also looked a little shaky against Berdych, losing the first set before coming through in four against his Czech opponent. Regardless of what happens, we should be in for a fantastic game, and both of them are fully capable of winning it. Punters have been placing tennis bets mainly on Nadal, but Djokovic is a fierce competitor.