Is 2020 the year Nadal nudges Federer into retirement?
- Will we see one of the 3 living GOATs retire while another one cementing his claim?
It's the year 2015. Having already lost in the first week at the last three Wimbledon to players ranked over 100, Rafael Nadal kept the streak going against Dustin Brown, a 102-ranked qualifier. The critics, fans, and pundits ripped into him for his lack of confidence, a poor dwindling first serve, not so potent backhand and a visible discomfort against players with strong serves. More than a decade of Nadal's intensive and aggressive playing style seemed to be showing effects on his body and his fragile knee. If the alarm bells were put on hold after only his second ever defeat at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic, who was arguably at the peak of his career at the time, they were ringing overtime now. A miserable year and a half followed to that epic 2017 Australian Open Final between him and Roger Federer. Just when it felt in the final set that he had turned a page when he was a break up, a painful decline at the end saw him losing out to his arch-rival in the most heart-breaking fashion and left him some way off him on the Grand Slams chart. One was left wondering whether he could even maintain his lead over Djokovic, let alone chasing down a massive gap to Federer who would go on to consolidate that even further.
But he returned to form at his own hunting ground later that same year. He has since that 2017 Australian Open loss has, lost another Australian Open Final to a different arch-rival but in a very devastating manner, won a hat-trick of French Opens, a couple of US Opens and reached consecutive semis at Wimbledon.