Rafael Nadal: Best athlete in the world?
With Rafael Nadal recently winning the US Open and becoming only the seventh individual in tennis history to complete a Career Grand Slam, many have been asking if he is the greatest sportsperson ever.
The amazing tennis player has some stiff competition though, not only in his own sport but also in various other sports as well, from boxing to swimming to basketball. So one would question, what exactly makes a great sportsperson?
Firstly, they have to be phenomenally good at their sport, maintain a very solid win record, have lots of titles under their belt, play with a lot of heart and determination and be humble about their success. Rafael Nadal has a few more years to go in his
tennis career and if he can continue at this pace, he might become the greatest tennis player ever – or maybe even the greatest athlete till date as well. But will he be able to?
Nadal is playing in his golden period at the moment. With his recent win over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, Nadal has become only the seventh tennis player ever to win all four major Grand Slams in a career. His four titles in 2010 include the US
Open, the French Open, the Australian Open and the Wimbledon Championship as well. He joins the ranks of Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Rod Laver and Steffi Graf.
His achievements in the game of tennis are phenomenal and at the moment, the current world number 1 does not look like he is going to slow down for anything. The factors which push Nadal into becoming the top athlete of all time, according to many people,
are that he is amazing at his sport, he has an unbelievable win-loss record, he plays with an immense amount of passion and determination and he has made a comeback after severe injuries to reach the top. At the end of it all, he is one of the most humble
tennis players in the world. And still at the age of 24, with even an Olympic Gold medal under his belt, he looks like he will achieve many more great things in his career.
In the sport of tennis itself, Nadal has some stiff competition. The likes of Federer, Agassi, Sampras, Navratilova, Graf and many others might challenge his supremacy as the greatest, but the difference is that unlike them, Nadal is still in the prime of
his career and has a lot of years left to play the game. Even Federer, who is still playing, is almost in his twilight. There will really be nobody left to challenge the Spaniard’s dominance after the Swiss player retires. However, only time and fans can be
the best judge.
Other sports stars can also lay claim to a shot at the greatest athlete of all time. Many names come to mind. These include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Paula Radcliffe, Lance Armstrong and many others. Each of them excelled in their respective
sports and for different reasons. One of them has stood up to racism and discrimination – Muhammad Ali. One has been the greatest ever at his sport after fighting racism – Michael Jordan while one has gone on to become the greatest Olympian of all time – Michael
One has battled against asthma to become a world renowned long distance runner – Paula Radcliffe and finally, he has battled and defeated cancer to become the greatest cyclist in the world – Lance Armstrong. These athletes are all recognised for their own
achievements and accomplishments. At the end of the day, it is only up to a person’s own choice who they feel is the greatest athlete of all time.
However, it is a never ending debate with fans having their own reasons for liking athletes and determining their greatness. There can never be one measure of greatness in sports, but at the rate that Nadal is moving ahead, the Spanish may fulfil all the
requirements very soon.