Blog: Nadal chases 14th Grand Slam title
It seems only a miracle can stop Rafael Nadal winning a 14th Grand Slam title tomorrow evening, which will further cement his status as one of the greatest players of all time.
Standing in his way is Stanislas Wawrinka, who has had a wonderful tournament and is certainly no slouch – but Nadal has a way of making great players look thoroughly foolish.
The manner with which he dispatched arguably the greatest player in history last night – Roger Federer – had fans and media alike shaking their heads in disbelief.
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Nadal has a great record against Federer, of course. He’s one of the very few who do, having won 23 of their 33 meetings. Federer still hasn’t beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam since Wimbledon way back in 2007. But to completely dismantle a player with 17 major titles of his own, in straight sets, is something else.
If Nadal wins, he’ll join Pete Sampras with 14 majors and become the first man in the open era, and just the third ever – after the legendary Rod Laver and Roy Emerson – to win each Grand Slam title twice.
Wawrinka, affectionately known as ‘The Stanimal’ by countryman Federer, hasn’t beaten Nadal in 12 attempts.
But what spells even more trouble for Wawrinka is the way Nadal is playing. He has horrible blisters on his hands which require extensive taping before each match, but instead he puts his opponents through agonising pain. Nadal wears you down, he drives you into the corners of the court, and once he’s in front, he makes you feel as if there’s no way back.
If Wawrinka is to have any chance, he has to be the front-runner. A fast start is crucial, and he must win the first set. Easier said than done.