I thought it was fitting that Rafael Nadal picked up some dirt stains as he somersaulted on the Centre Court lawn today. The best dirt baller in history had just beaten Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 for his second career Wimbledon title, his second Roland Garros-Wimby double, and his eighth Major title. Three of those eight Majors have come on surfaces other than clay, but Nadal hasn’t forgotten his roots.
So what’s next, Rafa? The career slam at the US Open? A run at Roger’s 16? GOAT or bust?
“Right now is enjoy the beach, fishing, golf, friends, party, and Mallorca,” he said afterwards. Take that, Disney World.
Given Rafa’s triumphal 2010 – including titles at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and an historic sweep of all three clay court Masters events – it’s amazing to remember that up to this May, he’d gone nearly a year without winning a tournament. We were wondering if he’d burnt himself out for good – now we’re doing the math to numero 16. (Two a year, given he can play until 28.)
Rafa talked about his comeback after the match today.
Q. Did you expect this kind of return?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. For sure, no. I gonna say another time the same. I go day by day, and I wake up every morning with the illusion to practice and to improve, with the allusion to play well another time.
So last seven months or six months of 2009 season I wasn’t ready to play at this level. I was ready to fight, but not to play like I am doing now.
The positive thing in that seven months is I didn’t lose in first round, second round, no? I wasn’t ready to win, but I was there all the time, semifinals, quarterfinals, one time one final in Shanghai. So without playing well, I had not bad results. So that’s very important for the confidence.
And when I finish the season 2009 and I went to Mallorca and I start to practice, well, you see the difference. If you play semifinals and quarterfinals, you see everything a little bit more easier, because without play well I was there.
So just keep working, be ready to work hard to be ready for 2010, and if I improve, I gonna have the chance another time to win.
As for Berdych, he struggled to find the game that would challenge the World No. One. No doubt he had his chances, especially during Rafa’s first service game in the second set. But there’s a big difference between the ability to beat Rafa on any given day and beating Rafa on The Day. As both Serena and Nadal demonstrated once again this weekend, Wimbledon is for Champions with a capital “C”.
A few more photos from the trophy ceremony:
Congrats also go to Leander Paes and Cara Black for winning the mixed doubles title vs. Wesley Moodie/Lisa Raymond. Commiserations to Vera Zvonareva for losing two big ones in one day – Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova took out the Wimbledon singles finalist and Elena Vesnina in Saturday’s doubles final.