Backtrack to 2012 and Rafael Nadal looked a spent force with dodgy knees, but after securing his second Grand Slam of 2013 in New York, his 13th overall, suddenly this looks like a man capable of eclipsing the great Roger Federer’s record of 17 career Slams to date.
In beating Novak Djokovic to his second US Open title, Rafa moved into third on the all-time men’s singles list of Grand Slam champions, one behind Pete Sampras on 14 and now only four behind his old nemesis Federer.
What makes this race to be remembered as the best of all time so interesting, though, is that Rafa, who turned 27 in June, is actually two months younger than Federer was when he secured his 13th Slam, which happened to be the 2008 US Open.
This begs the obvious question of whether Federer’s record can be surpassed by the Spaniard, with Ladbrokes offering 7/2 that Nadal reels the Swiss in before hanging up his racket.
Meanwhile, it’s 1/6 Federer retires with more Grand Slams than Rafa and 12/1 they finish level-pegging.
If 2013 is anything to go by, then you’d have to assume there is every chance. Nadal has not only gone 22-0 on hard courts, he’s 60-3 overall, having racked up an astonishing 10 tour titles.
The ‘King of Clay’ looks hungrier than ever to win, after spending so long on the physio table and being written off by so many observers during his battle with fitness.
Nadal has won all four of the Grand Slams, while only the Australian Open has eluded him multiple times as yet. The only real question marks remain over his susceptibility to injury and the fact that he still has to contend with the likes of Djokovic and Andy Murray, who have both proven they have what it takes to win multiple Slams as well.
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Federer’s miserable year at the four landmark tennis events makes the possibility of winning another look more and more remote.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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