It's true that I am 31, I am not 25, but I still have the passion and the love for the game. I still want to compete and still feel the nerves every time that I go on court. While those things keep happening, I will be here.- Rafael Nadal
No, Nadel will not be able to overtake Federer, based on these calculated predictions of ours
1) Federer would maintain the form he has now until 2019/early 2020
Federer's ability to continue winning slams at such a slam cannot be analyzed without factoring in the state of his health, a most pertinent issue given how advanced his age is for a professional tennis player. Federer's maintenance of his physical state is centered around him planning each and every part of his annual schedule with the utmost care and intelligence. He forgoes competing professionally for months at once, and trains at a lower intensity than most tennis players with such tennis sessions having a focus on skill. However Andre Agassi's warning about Federer's potential retirement is very true - he said that when retirement comes, it comes very fast and most typically unexpectedly. We would thus like to see ourselves as adopting a conservative estimate when we predict that Federer would run out of steam physically by early 2020, and during that period we see him winning 2, despite a potential to win 6.
2) Nadal would continue having injuries, and retire from one eventually
Nadal's current injury absence is a cause for concern, he has only just been recovered for one full year from his bad form which lasted from 2015 to 2016. Although Nadal has always been more risk-prone than other players throughout the entire span of his career, given his uncharacteristically physical style of play, the rate at which he has been getting his injuries has been steadily rising. This is most definitely a sign that unlike Federer, Nadal is having a hard time battling the ageing process. One might argue that his resurgence in 2017 would demonstrate otherwise, but we argue that such resurgence was mainly due to tactical changes he made to his gameplay - he was much more aggressive and flat-penetrating in his shots. We predict that Nadal would have one full calendar yet, during which he would win only one grand slam.
3) The maturation of the next generation
The standards of the next generation of ATP tennis players are rising fast, and one must add that this a generation of a handful of dangerously talented youths. All of these players have - given their lack of age and experience - in them deficiencies or a deficiency, in some or a certain quality, which has been preventing them from reaching the very top (the stage at which it could be said to be tangibly close to winning a grand slam). For instance, the problem for Kyrgios would be his emotional control (interesting this was the exact same issue that Federer faced in his youth). For Zverev, he needs to be less hesitant in making his shot decisions. But were they to overcome such deficiencies and rise in the ranks, the rise would a rapid and unexpected one, such is the nature of things in the ATP tennis world throughout its recent history. As such, we predict that one amongst the member of this generation would win his first grand slam by the 2019 Australian Open - we wanted to say the 2018 US Open but we felt the need to be conservative. How does this relate to the topic of this article, you may wonder? We believe that the rapid rise of the next generation would affect Nadal more than Federer. The next generation players are largely known for their offensive capabilities, which have been used to deadly effect in normal rallies during which they manoeuvre their opponents across the court, or pummel them, with their amazing offensive baseliner abilities. This would trouble for Nadal whose game is centred around his defense in a conventional rally-centric situation (although he is trying to be less of such). For Federer, who disrupts rallies as much as possible before they get played, this poses not too much of a problem.
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