We witnessed another torch changing hands during this Olympics (without the security or bloodied protesters) – as of yesterday, Rafa’s the new No. 1 and Roger’s now No. 2 (possibly No. 3 by the end of the year.) Click here for a fact-filled tribute to both players from the ATP and be sure to check out the great video above.
It’s an emotional time for hard core fans, as most of us have an affinity for one guy or the other, despite how much we may admire them both. Fed fans wonder if this is the end of Roger’s dominance or just a blip on his road to GOATness. Rafa’s followers see this as vindication for their hero’s steady rise to excellence on every surface after playing second fiddle for 160 weeks (Rafa was ranked No. 2 since July 25, 2005!)
Yes, yes, I know that all of us are reasonable people who can look past our biases towards one player or the other and appreciate what both bring to the game and to each other’s legacies. But come on, deep down do you feel like popping the champagne and toasting “VAMOS!” or are you curled up on the couch in your darkened living room, watching Federer vs. Hewitt in the 2004 U.S. Open Final on youtube? (Click here, if you must.)
I’ll be honest. A few weeks ago I was disturbed, holding onto the deranged hope that Roger would win Toronto, Cincy, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, Stockholm, Madrid, Bercy, and the Masters Cup. Roger couldn’t lose his No. 1 spot – it would be like Superman losing the “S” on his chest. I even started hoping Rafa would lose, mumbling stuff like “It’s so boring when one guy wins everything – where’s the competition?”
But I’m better now. Not happy, but happy for Rafa and his fans. I think he’ll hold the ranking for at least another season, and then whoever wrestles it away from him will have to win at least two Slams in the year to do so. I’m not thinking that guy will be Roger.
So what do you think?