Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Advent calendar day 21 #5 Rafael Nadal

We have reached the top 5 in our count down to the greatest tennis player of all time.

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5th Best Player of all time

Rafael Nadal

Grand Slams won - 9
Grand Slam Finals lost - 2
Overall amount of singles titles won - 43
Overall Match Winning percentage - 82.37% (472-101)
Top rank - 1

The king of clay makes an appearance today, as we reach the top 5 in our count down. He has already won 9 Grand Slams in 11 Finals and is on his way to many more. He is one of 7 players in the history of tennis to have won the career Grand Slam and the youngest in open era to do so. He won his first grand Slam at the 2005 French Open and after 3 more wins there, he won his first other Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2008. In 2009 he won the Australian Open and this year in 2010 he finished the career Grand Slam at the US Open. He is also one of 2 players to have won the career Golden Grand Slam, winning the Olympic Gold in 2008, as well as being the only player to hold Grand Slams on 3 different surfaces and the Olympic Gold. The career Golden Grand Slam is winning the four Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold. He is the first player since the 1967 to have won 3 consecutive Grand Slams in a year and is one of two players in open era, the other being Mats Wilander, to have won two or more Grand Slams on each surface:clay, grass and hard court. He is also the only player to have ever won Grand Slams on all 3 surfaces in a season. At the French Open he has won the most consecutive matches, with 31, as well as being the only player to have won 5 titles in 6 years. He is also one of two players, the other Bjorn Borg, who won 4 consecutive French Opens in Open era. He has qualified for the last 6 ATP World Tour Finals but retired from 2 of these before playing a match. The best he has done at the ATP World Tour Finals was runner-up in 2010, when he lost in 3 sets to Federer. For 6 consecutive years from 2005-2010 he has been ranked in the top 2 at the end of the year including 2 year end number 1 rankings and was number 2 for 160 consecutive weeks before becoming number 1. He is currently, at the end of 2010, he is world number 1 and has already been world number one for 77 weeks and is guaranteed more. This year he broke the record for the most ATP Masters 1000 titles won, with 18. He is the only player in history to have won all three masters on one surface in one year, there are 3 masters 1000 tournaments per surface, doing this in the 2010 clay court season. He also is the only player to have won a title more than 5 consecutive times in open era, winning the Monte Carlo masters 1000 title 6 times in a row and could make it seven in 2011. In 2005 he won 4 ATP 1000 Masters titles, a joint record with Federer and is the only player to have won at least 2 Masters 1000 title for 6 consecutive years as well as at least 3 masters 1000 titles for 4 consecutive years. In 2010 Nadal won 7 titles, had a winning record of 71-10 and won a record $10,171,998 in a season. In 2005 he had his best year in terms of tournaments and win record. He won 11 tournaments and had a 79-10 win record. He has won 3 Davis Cups with Spain in 2004, 2008 and 2009. Nadal is well known for his great defensive play, being able to run down balls that other players wouldn't even try to get to. He is also known for his piercing forehand with top spin, which is his trademark shot. He has tried to adapt his game to grass by attempting some volleying, which has been successful and this has contributed to his great runs at Wimbledon. He has recently improved his once weak serve. He used to be able to hit great serves other pressure but now all serves have improved greatly. After all this great play, we can expect much more from him in the future and I am certain he won't stop improving.

P.S. Nadal is a player, who is currently number 5 in this countdown but in the future, if he continues his great form, he will go up higher in ranking as the greatest player of all time, as he is still only 24 and a half years old.

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