Rafael Nadal is my favorite male tennis player. His game has taken a dive over the last year and a half due in part to injuries. But, Nadal is a champion. He plays with heart.
I remember when the rise of Roger Federer occurred and it became apparent that he was unstoppable and arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. Those in the tennis world worried about what it may mean for the fans, since there were no rivals for Federer. The closest rival, #2 Andy Roddick, had a 1-18 losing record against Federer. John McEnroe noted that the other plays seemed intimidated by Federer’s mere presence, which was true of Roddick.
However, McEnroe also noted that the only player who seemed unfazed by Federer’s display of tennis brilliance was Nadal. He was the only opponent of Federer’s to walk unto the court with any confidence.
Fast forward to Wimbledon 2008, the greatest men’s tennis match ever played, Nadal defeated Federer on his strongest surface, which he dominated for five years. And, although Federer’s fall was prematurely predicted, Nadal went on to prove it was not luck by defeating Federer in Australia in 2009.
Sadly, Nadal’s injuries have taken their toll of his 23-yr-old body and though he’s still a champion with much potential, he is not the same.
However, what he remains is gutsy and tough, and need I mention incredibly hot. He’s by no means traditionally handsome, but what he lacks in that department, he makes up for in brooding and athletic sex appeal.
Shakira, an artist whose music I like, has decided to pay tribute to the brute, raw sexuality of Nadal by featuring him in her single “Gitana” or “Gypsy.”