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The Championships - Post Wimbledon Diary

Wimbledon, England

Rafael Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal has already won eight major titles at the age of just 24. takes a look at the news and talking points the day after Rafael Nadal's triumph at The Championships.

What The Papers Are Saying

“Viva La Rafa-lution” leads The Telegraph as it ponders whether we should now consider Rafael Nadal to be the greatest player. “Usually people ask ‘is he the greatest’ when they are deep into emotional extra time after an epic match, but it is a deeper question after an anticlimax like this. Yesterday's final took place in the shadowlands of greatness because Nadal was far too good for Tomas Berdych. Is he now the best tennis player of all time? It is that purity of thought at the big moments that gives Nadal the vote over Federer. It's the brain against the body. It's Fangio against his Ferrari. Surely no one has ever moved better than Federer on a tennis court, but he has never had Nadal's strength of mind.”

Simon Barnes, The Times’ chief sports writer, considers the same debate. “He modestly assumed his rightful place as the line, the undisputed, the unquestioned master of his sport. Forget Roger Federer - no, not possible – set Federer aside, then, at least for now, because Nadal is not just champion of Wimbledon, he is not just the official world-ranked No. 1, he is not the supreme champion of his sport and the man all others – yes, Rodge included – must look up to. It’d Nadal’s game right now. Nadal’s game, Nadal’s world.”

Also in The Telegraph, three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker credits Nadal’s big-match experience as the key to his victory over Tomas Berdych in Sunday’s final. “He won not because he was much better than Tomas Berdych, but because he had been in that situation before, he knew what to do, and because he has a ‘B’ – or even a ‘C’ – game. of course, is the key to winning a major tournament, and the reason that Nadal is such a great champion. It is impossible to play seven straight matches at your best. That is what sets champions apart from finalists. Nadal finds a way to win — scrambling, fighting, putting the ball back one more time. It is not down to technique, but attitude, and it just goes to show the kind of player he is.”

The Telegraph provided another interesting nugget when it reported: “The Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood accepted an invitation to join the Nadal family's post-match celebrations, but declined to partake in any of their champagne. When quizzed on the subject, he explained that he had reached the 100th day of a self-imposed booze ban.”

American legend and two-time Wimbledon winner John McEnroe told the ATP Champions Tour web site that he is tipping Nadal to complete the career Grand Slam at the US Open in September. “Nadal wants to win the US Open so badly. It’d be hard not to pick him at this time even though he’s never won it. The guy’s just an animal; he’s mentally and physically incredible and he can definitely do it if he’s in this shape. The conditions in New York don’t suit Nadal so well and he needs to make his body hold up. So I think after Wimbledon he is going to take some time off and get his knees recovered and then maybe not play too many matches before the Open.”

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Writing in his column in the Independent, world-renowned coach Nick Bollettieri believes it is not outside the realm of possibility that Nadal could yet go on to match, or even break, Federer’s record of 16 Grand Slam singles titles. “Rafael Nadal bounded up another couple of steps at the tennis pantheon yesterday, overtaking Johnny McEnroe in the number of Grand Slam singles titles he's now won (eight), looking ahead to see who else he can muscle past. The beef from Majorca is phenomenal, amazing. He's only 24. The limit to what he can achieve in the rest of his career will be determined only by whether his body allows him to continue. Could he even win another eight Slams to match Roger Federer's 16? It's utterly extraordinary that we can even pose the question. But it's not outside the realms of possibility. Rafa is one of the greatest and can go further.”

Finally, The Guardian reflects on an astonishing Wimbledon fortnight that kept fans and media compelled right from the start, not least because of the record-breaking 11-hour, 5-minute first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. “It is a pity Wimbledon did not end with a bang, but a blessing the whimper did not last too long. Perhaps it was too much to expect that the drama which sustained the narrative almost from the very first day could survive until the last. Sport is not usually like that; otherwise such occasions would not be special. Tennis provides its protagonists with a stage on which to express themselves to the limits of their skills – even when the setting is some way removed from the heat of the action. It was there (on Court 18) that the longest and possibly strangest match in the history of tennis, the two-man marathon between the American John Isner and the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, was played out. Some thought it masochistic; others reckoned it was pointless; and nearly everyone was in awe.” 

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