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Sports Then and Now



The 2011 Australian Open and Rafael Nadal’s Legacy 4

Posted on February 12, 2011 by Rob York

Rafael Nadal completed his career grand slam by winning the U.S. Open in 2010.

Rafael Nadal missed a chance at history when he fell short at the Australian Open, one short of having won four Grand Slams in a row.

He’s in good company, though; in the 42 years since Rod Laver’s 1969 season, a long list of greats from Jimmy Connors in 1974 to Roger Federer in 2006-07 had fallen short of that same designation.

It’s hard to imagine Nadal playing any better than he has in last 12 months, just as it’s difficult to see the 29 and a half year old Federer regaining his form from 4-5 years ago.

It is, therefore, unlikely for us to see anyone knocking on that door again anytime soon.

Does missing out on that bit of history, however, make a significant difference in how the Spaniard will be viewed in the record books? Not in my view, unless the injury he sustained is much more serious than indicated.

Natal has already done so much of historical import that missing out on the Rafa Slam is just a loss of increments. The record books already show that, from 2005-07, the most (if not only) dramatic time of the tennis season was the May-July period, when a young Nadal and some soft surfaces were the only things making Federer look somewhat less than invincible.

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is the only football player ever to capture college football’s top individual award twice.

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