Belfast Telegraph

Nadal and Djokovic a world apart

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

With David Kelly

Enjoy the passion, brilliance and humility of Rafael Nadal while you can, because we may never see his like again.

As a self-confessed Roger Federer fan I could never see anyone surpassing his Grand Slam men's singles record of 17 but the Spanish bull looks better than ever and at 27 he has at least three more exceptional years to take his current tally of 13 beyond that of the masterful Swiss.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Nadal and super Serb Novak Djokovic treated the world to another epic encounter – just confirming that their rivalry is now the hottest ticket in sport. Djokovic actually hit more winners, 46-27, but Nadal made only 20 unforced errors to 53 for the Serb.

Nadal's mental and physical resilience is an inspiration to any young sports person.

Having feared for his own career due to a chronic knee injury, which forced him to miss the Australian Open at the start of the year, he returned to defeat Djokovic in an even more exhilarating duel in the semi-final of the French Open before going on to win his eighth Roland Garros crown.

The King of Clay has this summer proved himself the the Lord of the Hardcourt – despite those knee issues ruining his Wimbledon bid just a month earlier.

He is quite simply a phenomenal athlete and together he and Djokovic are serving up tennis that is just jaw-dropping in its intensity.

Indeed, their spellbinding feats just shows why it is ridiculous that the women should have equal prize money. The men are playing a different game.

Belfast Telegraph

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