The Nadal dominance that never happened

Records are meant to be broken, so they say. This principle looked inapplicable to the sport of tennis, until 2010. Then, all of a shocking sudden, in that year Federer lost in the quarter-finals of two consecutive grand slams, after lasting till at least the semi-finals for every single grand slam since the 2004 Wimbledon championships. The next shocking defeat of that year came in the 2010 US Open, when Federer lost to the man whom he had beaten their three previous US Open encounters. All of a sudden, Federer was losing to both Djokovic and Nadal at the same time. (He suffered the same situation in 2008 but that could be excused given his suffering from a long bout of mononucleosis throughout the first half of that year! Things were very certain back then at that point in time, the path ahead seemed crystal clear. The absolute dominance of Federer would be replaced that of Nadal, and be put forever to ashes, for he is nearing retiring age. But two black swan trends emerged.

1) The Rise of Djokovic

Djokovic is known today as an incredible player with 12 grand slams under his belt. What most people did not realize however, is how unexpected and sudden the rise of Djokovic came - only tennis fans who are equally or more absorbed in their following of the professional tennis matches during the period before 2011, when compared to now, would be able to understand this remark about Djokovic's rise. Before 2011, despite his winning of one grand slam, Djokovic was deemed in the eyes of the general tennis followership to be a great and talented player - in fact he would ranked alongside Murray - but not good enough and will probably never be good enough, to continue snatching grand slams from Nadal or Federer. That is, until Djokovic took the tennis world by storm. Having only been defeated a few months back by Nadal quite lopsidedly in the US Open final, Djokovic went on one of the longest tennis winning streaks in tennis history, and come the year's end, had 3 of that year' grand slams under his pocket, and that was only the start. What a contrast the the few months between September 2010 and January 2011 brought, completely overturning the prediction models that saw 2010 as the start of Nadal's climb to become GOAT!

2) The frequency of Nadal's injury beating estimates

Before 2012, I only remember Nadal suffering one injury period which affected his performance during a grand slam or prevented his participation in one - the 2009 Wimbledon championships. In 2012, he had a knee injury in the later part of the year which made him miss the London Olympics, the US Open and the next year's Australian Open. Hi 'mysterious' loss to Rosol in the Wimbledon championships of 2012 was most likely due to such injury too. And then, not too long later, Nadal failed to win the 2014 Australian Open title when he suffered a back injury, which affected his performance for the next few tournaments etc. the Indian Wells. A wrist injury that year then forced him to withdraw from the US Open series tournaments and the US Open itself. The nightmare continued into 2015 and 2016 in what appeared to be a hangover from those injuries, when a bad form throughout prevented him from reaching the semifinals of any of the grand slams. After a resurgence for one year, Nadal is back to where he frequently went - a state of injury. All that missed time could have been translated into 4-6 grand slam titles based on our estimate.

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