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He Dreamed A Dream Too Far: Nadal Echoes The Legacy Of Courier

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26:  Rafael Nadal of Spain recieves medical attention between games in his quarterfinal match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during day nine of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Boris GodzinevskiCorrespondent IIJanuary 26, 2010

Many months ago I stated Nadal's similairities with Jim Courier.

A history lesson for those of you who know little of Courier:

At 21, he broke through in Grand Slams by winning the French Open and making the U.S. Open Final that year as well.

The following season he won the Australian Open and defended his French Open crown.

He would stumble at Wimbledon and go down a notch at the U.S. Open.

He returned to win a Grand Slam for the third straight year, repeating at the Aussie Open, but would lose his French Open title in the final.

He would also make the Wimbledon Final becoming the first man since Rod Laver to make the Aussie Open, French and Wimbledon final in the same season.

He remains the only player to hold the Aussie Open and French at the same time for two years.

He was ranked No. 1 for roughly 40 weeks, like Nadal, and then took the  No. 1 spot briefly twice more.

Nadal by history, seems to be going downhill with No. 1 seemingly forever out of reach, barring a short spurt of greatness.

Not winning a tournament in eight months doesn't help either.

He stands to lose much of his points lead with his quarterfinal loss to Andy Murray and will soon fall out of the Top Two.

How can he rise above this?

A long break reminiscent of Andre Agassi is not only a possibility, it is required for another chance at greatness.

One thing is certain of this: Nadal will never touch Federer's all-time Grand Slam record, and that will make the next few years less intriguing.

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