If you see the happenings at the very top of professional tennis as one long and ongoing story - which is not too hard to do, given all the drama-material peak points such as the 2008 Wimbledon men's singles final or the 2017 Australian Open men's singles final - a supreme and ultimately outrageous plot twist may be in the process of being unfolded. In the same fashion as how the Mandarin in the Iron Man 3 film turned out to be a wimp, the un-publicly foreordained (the public seems to be treating Federer as the 'chosen one') GOAT will turn out no to be Federer, but Nadal
As mentioned in a previous article, Federer's position as a GOAT has never been as unassailable as it seems, ever since Nadal emerged onto he tennis scene.
How then could this unthinkable thing happen?
The probability of such happening has increased massively given the obvious (at least that's what we think) drop in Federer's game since last year, which was written about in an earlier article. His performance in the Halle final against Coric was shaky to say the least, and if such performance was allowed to be carried into the upcoming Wimbledon championship, we do not see his chances being anywhere that can be considered high. A failure to win the championship would most probably mean that his Australian Open 2018 win will be his last. The legend, despite the amazement generated by his apparently successful struggle against age, is enjoying his very last sparks, and his Halle loss may just be the beginning of the end.
Condemned to having 20 grand slam titles, a catch-up from Nadal would seem very probable
Nadal, although at the age of 32, would not be growing old for another 3 years at least, if the standards of today among his peers are to be followed. This would most probably mean 3 more French Open titles, and perhaps 1 or 2 more US Opens. However, it must be noted that this is not a very conservative prediction. The basis of such is that Nadal will win the remaining the French Open championships throughout the rest of his career, and at least one in a grand slam championship that is not the French Open. Of grave threat to this assumption is the rapid rise of the NextGen players. Thiem might just overtake Nadal in clay court prowess in his prime, or players like Zverev or Kyrgios by the time of their prime will be too formidable for Nadal on any court surface that is not clay. On top of that, Federer's Halle performance might just be a glitch, in what is still a highly-functioning killing machine. We can never know, but nevertheless, the revelation of a supreme plot twist might just be on the horizon.
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