Nadal Captures Olympic Gold

by John on August 17, 2008

Rafael Nadal assumes the No. 1 ranking in the world tomorrow. In reality, he’s been Numero Uno ever since his epic five-set victory over Roger Federer at the Wimbledon final in early July. Nadal’s convincing 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over Chilean Fernando Gonzalez for the Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing today only solidifies the fact that Rafa is the best tennis player on the planet. It’s been a phenomenal run for the Spaniard. Nadal won five tournaments in a row prior to losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Cincinnati Masters two weeks ago. He has won 38 of his last 39 matches and the six championships in the run include two titles each on clay, grass and hard courts. The French Open, Wimbledon and Gold Medal triple is astounding. Herculean might be a better term. The Spaniard has an ATP best 70-8 match record this year and eight titles overall. “Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something like what I did this year,” Nadal said after the medal match. “I know how difficult it is to win these things, and especially here, because you only have one chance every four years.” Conventional wisdom said Nadal was wearing down coming into the Olympics. In Cincinnati, Rafa chided the ATP for promoting so many tournaments on hard courts, a surface he said was the toughest on the bodies of the players. While preparing for the Olympics in Beijing, Nadal referred to the calendar as “terrorizing” this season. “I arrived very tired,” Nadal said. “The reason probably I won this title is because I have a fantastic time here enjoying a lot in the village. That was amazing experience for me. Always was a pleasure to know new people, no?” Catch your breath quick, Rafa. The U.S. Open starts a week from tomorrow.

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