Why Fans Swoon for Rafael Nadal, Shrug for Roger Federer

Nick NickelCorrespondent IJune 12, 2007

It's lonely at the top.

That's the rub, for Roger Federer: It's lonely at the top. Sure, everyone loves a winner—but if you win too often people start to take you for granted...and if you never stop winning people are wont to forget about you entirely.

There's been plenty of ink spilled in the last few days about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—and if anything's clear, it's that Nadal has the more passionate fanbase. People love Rafa, will defend Rafa's honor from now until the end of time. As for Roger, well—

Like I said: It's lonely at the top.

If I had to guess, I'd say the conspicuous lack of pro-Federer buzz—or at least the muted nature of whatever pro-Federer buzz is actually out there'has more to do with domination than anything else. Roger Federer is a victim of his own success. He's too good. When you win and win and win, rooting for you becomes almost pass'.

Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, has a distinctly mortal air about him. Yeah, he's unbeatable on clay...but his brilliance is more human than Federer's; messier, even; more Romantic. People are more inclined to throw their loyalty behind Rafael Nadal because they see themselves in him, are able to believe that maybe, in some slightly altered version of this world, they might even be him.

Or then again...maybe it's just because Rafa has better hair.