Nadal Grounds Federer Express

Say, that was some beatdown (as Patrick McEnroe labeled it) Rafael Nadal laid on Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson bakeoff, yeah?

From the Los Angeles Times:

Rafael Nadal easily beats Roger Federer

The top-ranked Spaniard defeats the former world No. 1 Swiss, 6-3, 6-2, in a Sony Ericsson Open semifinal.

That’s a serious gutcheck for Federer, a.k.a. The Greatest of All Time.

The hardwatching staff has always been uneasy with that designation, largely because for most of his 16 Grand Slam titles, Federer lacked a worthy archrival to truly test him.

No Agassi to his Sampras, for instance. No Connors to his McEnroe (John, that is).

Federer’s Grand Slam finals history (via espn.com):

2010 Australian Open Roger Federer Andy Murray
2009 U.S. Open Juan Martin del Potro Roger Federer
2009 Wimbledon Roger Federer Andy Roddick
2009 French Open Roger Federer Robin Soderling
2009 Australian Open Rafael Nadal Roger Federer
2008 U.S. Open Roger Federer Andy Murray
2008 Wimbledon Rafael Nadal Roger Federer
2008 French Open Rafael Nadal Roger Federer
2008 Australian Open Novak Djokovic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2007 U.S. Open Roger Federer Novak Djokovic
2007 Wimbledon Roger Federer Rafael Nadal
2007 French Open Rafael Nadal Roger Federer
2007 Australian Open Roger Federer Fernando Gonzalez
2006 U.S. Open Roger Federer Andy Roddick
2006 Wimbledon Roger Federer Rafael Nadal
2006 French Open Rafael Nadal Roger Federer
2006 Australian Open Roger Federer Marcos Baghdatis
2005 U.S. Open Roger Federer Andre Agassi
2005 Wimbledon Roger Federer Andy Roddick
2005 French Open Rafael Nadal Mariano Puerta
2005 Australian Open Marat Safin Lleyton Hewitt
2004 U.S. Open Roger Federer Lleyton Hewitt
2004 Wimbledon Roger Federer Andy Roddick
2004 French Open Gaston Gaudio Guillermo Coria
2004 Australian Open Roger Federer Marat Safin
2003 U.S. Open Andy Roddick Juan Carlos Ferrero
2003 Wimbledon Roger Federer Mark Philippoussis

Roddick, Soderling, Gonzalez, Hewitt, Safin, Baghdatis, Philippoussis?

Sure, he beat Andy Murray and Nadal twice (mostly when they were green) and Andre Agassi once (well past his prime), but really, wasn’t Federer in the end a product of his opponents?

That’s not to detract from his overall achievements.

Just to put them in context.

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