Rafa lost today in three sets to…are you ready for this…Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Amazing. The number 53 ranked player taking Nadal out, on his best surface, hard courts. Yes, after dominating the U.S. Open as no one ever has, how can a player like that lose his next event (with time off!). Unlikely? Impossible?
Perhaps, athletes have down periods, slumps, if you will. Interesting that Nadal does not slump against top ten opponents at the majors lately. Until the clay court season this year, Nadal was thumped repeatedly by every player in the top ten for nearly 11 months. That’s right, check his record leading to the 2010 clay court season. Suddenly, this summer, he’s literally unstoppable at the slams. He wins all of them, going away. Going away.
When Fed was have 3-slam years, he rarely lost to anyone outside the top 10. He won the other tournaments with a rare hiccup here and there. He demonstrated remarkable consistence in his results, reflective of his level of play. Nadal, appears to be incredible, even unstoppable, then between Wimbledon and the US Open, got his butt kicked by everyone, including some of the players he beat like a drum at the US Open. After the US Open, he promptly gets beaten again.
Maybe he wants to see if he can win without using help. Maybe he has to cycle off for his general health. It’s just plain odd. It’s odd like Sampras suddenly winning his last US Open when he hadn’t won in over 2 years. All of that is odd. I am not a Nadal fan, however, I was a Sampras fan, but I cannot help but wonder when players suddenly have one great tournament out of nowhere. Institute stricter testing and make the results transparent, then I’ll stop asking questions. There’ll be no questions to ask.