Once upon a time there lived two young men who loved to dance. Dancing was in their blood, what they were born to do. They were considered the best male dancers this world has ever seen, each with their own unique style. Roger was elegant, graceful and executed fine finesse with each movement, and was the best danceur in all the land. That is French for a male ballet dancer…ballerino in Italian, if you will. Rafael on the other hand was strong, powerful, dominant on the dance floor…the best Flamenco bailaor in all of Spain. And yes, that is the correct term for the male dancer in Flamenco, which originated in Spain.
As time passed, the two dancers traveled the world over, swinging head to head, stepping toe to toe, at every competition under the sun for the illustrious title GOAT (greatest of all time). Time ticked on year after year, and each dancer became more dominant in their craft. But as one gets older, movement slows, injury creeps in, younger dancers are joining the party, and just when you think these two fine dancers are ready to exit the ballroom, there is a renaissance! An explosion of talent, will and hunger that both dancers possess, simultaneously saying “The lights aren’t out! The party is not over. This is not my final dance.”
A rebirth of their talents is exactly what happened to Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal this year. At the conclusion of last year, the tennis world was embracing Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. Roger and Rafa were in the conversation, but simply as sentimental favorites. They already made their mark and were in the process of making graceful exits. But in January, the Australian Open proved to tell a different story. The finalists were Roger and Rafa, with Roger winning. The French Open was Rafa’s red clay playground, where Wimbledon was Roger’s grass park. Then of course to bring a lovely balance between this dance, Rafa wins the US Open.
This past weekend, Roger played a flawless game against Rafa to win the Shanghai Masters title and to be the Rolex King. However, Rafa is still ranked #1 with Roger trailing him by around 2000 points. Will Roger be able to catch him before the ATP finals this November? I don’t know. But I do know it has been a fun and interesting year for tennis watching these two reclaim their dominance on the tennis dance floor.
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