Federer, Nadal. The good old days.
From my column in FoxSports.com:
Imagine a cartoon: Roger Federer standing on top of a mountain, or maybe floating a few inches above it, saying “This is the golden era of tennis.” Meanwhile, a bunch of other players, including Rafael Nadal, hurt with crutches and bandages are in a pile at his feet.
You might have heard that Federer and Nadal — the greatest, nicest individual rivalry in sports — are having a tiff. Nadal complains that the tour has too many mandatory events, is too grueling, has almost no offseason and is beating up the players. Federer, as the president of the player council, doesn’t seem to notice.
“For him, it’s good to say nothing,” Nadal said. “Everything positive. ‘It’s all well and good for me. I look like a gentleman,’ and the rest can burn themselves.”
Nadal is right. Federer is oblivious. But this is a much bigger problem than two superstars bickering. The players are in serious need of a union. So many of them know it, but they just can’t seem to figure out how to get it done. At the US Open in September, Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick went in unity to tournament officials to complain about being forced to play on slippery, rained-on courts just to make TV networks happy.
“It’s the same old story,” Nadal said. “All you think about is money.”
That seemed to be the beginnings of a union. Now, Federer suddenly is an obstacle. And Nadal is example No. 1 of why the union is needed. So the rivalry takes on a different tone.
What makes Nadal an example? The thing is, at just 25, he is starting to get old. He can feel it. He can see it.
Please read the rest of the column at FoxSports.com