Federer and Nadal may be the two words on top of the 21st century's tennis vocabulary.
The last two years have been of great significance to these two men. These 730 odd days have scripted their life in a way that most of us would have never imagined.
When you look into the two years, Federer's 2009 and Nadal's 2010, you will find an uncanny similarity. Both the years began with misery and gave them great joy midsummer.
Federer lost 2008's French Open and Wimbledon to Nadal. His performance at Paris was relatively good, yet he got bageled in the finals and was embarrassed by Nadal.
He was chasing history at the All England Club where he could have become the first man to win six Wimbledon titles on a trot. Yet again, a certain gentleman from Majorca was there to spoil the party.
The Duo played an epic finals and Federer ultimately lost in five sets. He was seen weeping in the presentation ceremony—certainly not a new site—but it was hard for his fans to see him weep in the English grass.
Federer winded up 2008 with a US Open victory, one that he needed badly after a mediocre performance at the Slams. People started questioning his ability to win against Nadal, and that clearly made him uncomfortable.
Still, Nadal does not deserve the role of a villain
The certain theory is that people tend to forget Nadal due to the shine that Federer gave the game. Yes, Nadal's game is raw and physical and it suits the clay. but the way he played against Federer in that 2008 Finals was admirable, rather... titanic.
After all this, 2009 finally began.
Federer went to Dubai to train in extreme heat and came to the Australian Open on full adrenaline. Federer cruised past the first three rounds, which included a straight set drubbing of his old time rival Marat Safin.
Tomas Berdych was waiting next. Surprisingly, Berdych took the first two sets. Then Federer took his favourite "loo break". He then came out and blasted off Berdych. Then, followed a double bagel off Del Potro, and an easy win over Andy Roddick. He qualified to the finals!
Waiting in the finals was Rafa Nadal...obviously. He was coming from a marathon five-setter against his fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
Federer and Nadal battled for five long sets and Federer surrendered the match. This was one of Federer's worst ever final performances, given the fact that he had more than one chance to close up the game.
He stood weeping at the presentation ceremony. He couldn't finish his speech. Nadal consoled Federer by saying that he was a great champion—one that couldn't defeat him?
Federer married Mirka in the middle on things. Maybe it provided him luck because Federer defeated Nadal in the Madrid Master's finals in Clay.
He was inspired before the Roland Garros. The duo headed off to the French Open—a place where Nadal was undefeated. Surprisingly, hard-hitting Robin Soderling took care of the Spaniard in four sets.
Was this Federer's moment? Even before we started to question that, Federer ceased the opportunity and added that one elusive trophy to his cabinet. He was tied with Sampras now.
Defending Champion Nadal pulled off the 2009's Wimbledon due to a knee injury.
Maybe it was fate, maybe Federer was destined to dethrone Sampras at the All England Club. Who knows?
But that was what happened. Federer battled with Roddick in a marathon fifth set to claim his 15th Grand Slam in front of the legends of the game.
He finished runner-up to Juan Martin Del Potro in the finals of the 2009's US Open.
He was very calm in the presentation ceremony and commentated, "You couldn't have everything". So, thus ended the year that saw Federer lift the French Cup and become the greatest player in Grand Slam history.
Few months passed and 2010 came along.
You couldn't have wished for a better script, or even better, the same script.
Nadal came into the Australian Open without much hopes. People were talking about Murray and Federer. Nadal still didn't have his pace and his knee was still bothering him. He retired during his match against Murray, visibly sad.
Not many predicted him to come back strongly. They said that his game was physical and he couldn't last long. Nadal didn't change a thing. He came back as his old self and blew his critics off the stage.
Clay court season began, and Nadal bagged all three masters: Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid. He was the clear favourite going into the French Open.
He faced his victor of the previous year, Soderling, in the finals. Soderling had earlier defeated Federer in the quarterfinals so the match was set to be a classic. Nadal didn't give much time or thought into that.
He blew away Soderling and won his fifth French title.
The tournament for cows came next. Ah yes, the Wimbledon. I have always seen people underrate Nadal's abilities on Grass.
As such, Murray and Federer were the favourites, but both Federer and Nadal struggled in the opening games.
Federer lost in the quarter finals to Berdych but Nadal prevailed and defeated Murray on route to his fourth consecutive Wimbledon Final (Impressive ain't it?). Federer's victor was there in the finals and Nadal made a quick work of him and won his second Wimbledon title, and eigth over all.
The year isn't over yet. Will Nadal make it one better than Federer's 2009? Or Will Federer come back strongly? As always, only time can answer.
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