Ever since Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open, the pair has been locked in an intense and electrifying tennis rivalry. Analyst Andrew Prochnow told Bleacher Report, that the “gladiator from Spain” will meet Federer’s Grand Slam record in the next two years and maybe even surpass it by 2017.
Federer has a record 17 Grand Slam championships, more than any other male tennis player. Rafael Nadal, thanks to nine French Open wins, is chasing Federer with 14. He is currently tied with Pete Sampras for No. 2.
“It’s completely plausible that Nadal could come up with three major victories in the next nine events,” wrote Prochnow, “[he] now must scale the steepest part of the mountain, and the gravity of this final effort will only get heavier as he closes on the peak.”
Prochnow went on to calculate that Nadal wins an average of 1.4 grand slam titles a year, and believes that if he continues playing as he has so far, he can easily break Federer’s record in the years to come. Nadal holds a huge advantage when it comes to the French Open. On clay, he has the highest win percentage in ATP history, so it comes as no surprise that he is expected to dominate there again.
When asked in a Time magazine interview about his feelings for the surface Nadal said, “I always like to play on this beautiful surface that gives you an opportunity to attack, an opportunity to defend. I like this… I understand the sport this way. It needs strategy, it needs suffering, and it needs good possibilities to make the game interesting.”
As for Federer, Prochnow believes that the recent Wimbledon final may have been the tennis icon’s last chance at winning another Grand Slam. Federer had come second in the high stakes match that saw Serbian Novak Djokovic win his second Wimbledon title. “I personally believed prior to the 2014 season that he had one more title in him. However, I think Djokovic may have stolen that one away. While I continue to believe Federer will be a force on tour for the next couple of years, I don’t see him lifting another major title in his career” Prochnow wrote.
Nadal could have it in him to make tennis history and surpass Federer’s grand slam record, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have to overcome some big obstacles along the way. Novak Djokovic has established himself as a serious contender, especially since tennis legend Boris Becker has come on-board as Coach.
Either way fans can expect to see some truly amazing tennis in the years to come.