When I think with a rather sane frame of mind, Rafael Nadal winning French open for the 8th time shouldn't be something I should be taking too much pride on coz he is neither my brother nor my best friend. But his victory today takes a very special place in my heart. I am a self confessed Rafa fan, but not the one, who shaves my head or tattoos Rafa's name on my hand. I admire him, but not obsessed with him and I believe there is a clear difference between the two. I am not a fan who would run for his autographs or Tees signed by him, but he is a role model for me in multiple facets of life.
I respect Roger Federer because he is the most talented person the sport of tennis has ever seen. I wasn't amused even when he amassed all those grand-slams because he was born to play tennis. I respected the man who would hit an unbelievable fore hand and stay at that stance for the phtotgraphers, but I started admiring a man who would run, run and run like he is running for his life and then return the shot with impeccable power and precision. There has been countless instances where Nadal pulls out the most impossible forehands and the opposition stands watching. Even Federer would have wondered, "How does he do it". Nadal defeated Federer when he was at the prime of his form. He didn't have the fear that he is playing against the World's greatest player, nor did he ever back off from chasing a seemingly impossible shot.
I admire him for how he has grown to become a legend. The relentless conquistador who still doesn't know what it means to give up. I haven't seen any other guy who would run the court's length to take a ball when he is 0-40 down. His incorruptible spirit has always been an inspiration to me, never to give up anything in life; just as someone said, "Pain is temporary, quitting is permanent". Seven months of time outside court battling injury wouldn't have been a great time for him. I still remember those reports that said Nadal would probably bid adieu to the game like Bjon Borg did. Even I feared it that way, But I just loved the way he does it, everytime when people writes him off, he comes back, fights back and wins back as an unstoppable force, always resilient, relentless and consistent. And now , there his is, at the best time of his career in terms of win percentage since his injury. He is far away from the class he is, but still he fights to regain what he is known for.
It must be an irony that when tomorrow, new rankings come up, Nadal would be pushed to 5th and Ferrer would be 4th. But thats what Nadal is made for, he is that human being who just keeps pushing the frontiers of human capabilities to nature defying levels. He would fight and win back whatever he has lost and keeprewriting history books.
Ferrer during the presentation ceremony said, "He is the greatest to have played in clay" and how true he is. Hats off to the greatest player to have graced the surface of clay.