Rafael Nadal Should Win Second Career ESPY Award

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 3, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09:  Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy as he celebrates victory in the men's singles final against David Ferrer of Spain during day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Why should Rafael Nadal win the 2013 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award for Best Male Tennis Player?

Because his return from tendinitis reads like a fairytale.

When Nadal was diagnosed with tendinitis last June, effectively shutting him down for eight months, the Spaniard's demise was pre-written for him. Many (including myself, I will honorably add) didn't believe he would be able to rise to an elite level again, most stating his ferocious style of play had already come back to bite him.

Flash-forward to now.

Nadal is 43-3 this year with seven singles titles. That includes his eighth career French Open title. No matter that he lost in the first round at Wimbledon—what he has done after a long recovery period has simply been stunning.

Even Nadal's greatest fans couldn't have pictured what the 27-year-old has done in 2013. He's defied the odds, dismissing his disappointing injury from last year to stun the tennis world. This year, he's already defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer (twice) and David Ferrer (four times).

Headed into Wimbledon this year, Nadal was ranked fifth on the ATP Tour in service games won, second in return games won, sixth in break points saved and sixth in break points converted, per ATPWorldTour.com. That's an alarming level of dominance overall.

The other finalists for the award are Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray. Djokovic hasn't been as dominant as he was in 2011 and 2012, Federer has noticeably declined as he's aged, and Murray has won fewer singles titles than Nadal this year (three), while failing to win a major so far.

Not only should Nadal be the sentimental favorite after what he went through for eight months, he deserves the award plain and simple. Even if you were incapable of emotion, his performance on the court simply stacks up better to Djokovic, Federer and Murray this year.

Vote for Rafael Nadal this year. It would be a crime not to do so.


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