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Daily Bagel: Can Rafael Nadal break the record for most Slam wins?

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The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• Video: There have been seven Masters 1000 events this year. Three men have won all of them. One man has won five of them.

• Can Rafael Nadal break the record for most Grand Slams in the Open Era? Jeff Sackman at Tennis Abstract says it’s all about the French Open:

Before diving into the numbers, there’s the argument I’ve always used in favor of Nadal piling up plenty of Slams.  They hold the French Open every year.  Each clay season that Rafa is healthy and playing like Rafa, he’s probably going to add at least one title to the list.

He’ll be just shy of his 28th birthday at the 2014 French Open, meaning that if he keeps winning every match he plays at Roland Garros, he’ll have four more French Open titles right about the time he turns 31, at the 2017 French Open.  With what seems like half the tour playing quality tennis at age 30, and with Rafa aggressively skipping events this year, it’s easy to imagine him winning four more Slams on clay.

Or seven more.  As long as he can stay healthy enough to play on his favorite surface, one gets the sense it’s up to him.

• Kamakshi Tandon looks at Roger Federer’s age  not via his birth certificate, but based on the number of matches he’s played.

Although Federer came into the US Open as one of 11 men in the draw aged 32 or older, he was by far the oldest in terms of matches at the pro level. The 17-time Grand Slam champ had played 1,119 ATP matches in his career coming into the tournament (winning 910), and a total of 1,177 on the tour and minor leagues.

Meanwhile, [Tommy] Haas — the oldest player in the draw and about 3 years and 4 months older than Federer — stood at 883 matches, or about three-quarters of Federer’s total. Michael Russell, also 35, came in at 802 matches, most of those at the minor league level.

Lleyton Hewitt is another 32-year-old former No. 1 still playing on tour, but Hewitt peaked and declined much earlier in his career, and has also had much more injury trouble than Federer. He has played 862 matches.

• Interesting profile on Victoria Azarenka. The author accompanied her back to Belarus.

• Andy Murray thinks Davis Cup should be mandatory.

• Just to show not everything goes at the U.S. Open: A foul-mouthed woman gets tossed at the U.S .Open (NSFW).

• Former No. 5 Anna Chakvetadze says she’s retiring from tennis (link in Russian). Another member of the WTA’s lost generation (Nicole Vaidisova, Tatiana Golovin) takes an early bow.

• I missed this from earlier this year: There was a play put on in Switzerland called “In Love with Federer”.

• Fun Q&A with Feliciano Lopez, who wants to go drinking with Megan Fox.

• Video: Bernard Tomic and Tony Roche bro it up.

• Non-tennis: New science give further insight in how Christopher McCandless, the subject of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, died.

  • Published On Sep 13, 2013
  • 7 comments
    Tom14
    Tom14

    Interesting that "number of matches played" is the new stat. Like Hank Aaron double the number of at bats vs Ruth's.  I have always thought and stated that in the end Roger Federer's record for wins and semi finals is his greatest legacy. In Rogers dominant years the tour began in January in Asia off to America off to Europe back to America off to Europe back to Asia to finish the year. Fed did this for multiple years with very few injuries. Remember very few players from the golden age of Open tennis went to Australia, Borg went once, Connors three times. If Rogers legacy was not Ruthian or Aaron like but would be like Gehrig or Ripkin.

    mangstadt
    mangstadt

    I think Nadal can catch up to Federer's 17 and that he will pass him in a couple of years or three. To do this he needs to stay healthy and continue to win an occasional off-clay slam every now and then (cement seems easier than grass, aside from the fact that there are two slams on cement), because Roland Garros is basically a staple on his diet every year (barring difficulties such as in 2009). 2014 seems to me the only year Rafa has left to go for the calendar year slam. I don't see him young enough any longer to try it in 2015. If he wins Australia (aka Djokovic Territory), then he can take it from there, step by step.

    One of the keys for remaining healthy is not to become a slave in terms of defending points from the previous year. If he needs to take a break and rest, then he should do so, regardless of having to defend 500 or 1000 points. Staying fit and adding up slams is more important than being No. 1.

    He's still hungry, he's playing as best as he's ever played. It's mainly a matter of watching those knees and tendons. Other than that, he still has the technical prowess, the strong, privileged mind and the drive to keep winning.

    I don't envision Roger adding to his slam tally, but even if he does, I still think he will get caught by his Nemesis.

    MichaelC
    MichaelC

    It's hard to predict ... when healthy, Rafa will be a favorite in every major. But his injury history is prolific and there's no telling how long his knees will hold up. And Rafa has never proven to play well WHEN injured - as it ties directly into his confidence on the court. So when injuries continue to become chronic and the mileage continues to pile up, there's really no telling how Rafa's body will react.

    And even though he's the GOAT on the soft stuff, Rafa has shown vulnerabilities. At the past FO, he was a couple points from being down two sets to zero against Daniel Brands in the first round. Klizan also took a set off him in the second round. Of course, many think Nole had the semifinals in hand (was up a break in the fifth) before crumbling. So there's no guarantee that Rafa will pile up FO titles from here on out.

    I agree about a more selective calendar. I see Rafa winning 3 more majors but falling just short of Fed. I do not see Rafa playing past 30 yo.

    PurityPrydain
    PurityPrydain

     Don't know what to expect from Nadal any more.  I thought he was finished after Wimbledon (other than his fortified bastion of the French Open).  Although, if Djokovic finally breaks him at the French (and Djoker is getting ever closer) it could be the tipping point for Nadal.  

    Great article on Azarenka.  Although people find her "grunt" annoying, Victoria is a pure athlete and extremely competitive.  Plus, she seems to be the only one that can test Serena at the moment.

    Maxshade71
    Maxshade71

    Yes, Nadal probably will. Probably will end up being the best of all time. Great Fed stat. He has a lot of mileage on him. Funny how they try to compare Fed and Serena at 32 when Serena has only played 700 matches all being best of 3.

    emma1
    emma1

    @Maxshade71 actually serena has played over 1,000 matches when you factor in doubles (which federer doesn't play), mixed doubles, fed cup, olympics, etc.

    bottomline is that serena has taken much better care of her fitness than federer has - i love fed but there is no way he should have a gut as a world class athlete