It seems like yesterday we were talking about Nadal and Djokovic’s U.S. final. Now, here we are four months later and the tennis gods have given us one more Rafa and Roger showdown in a Slam.
After the year Fed had in 2013, most predicted the end was near. He quietly came into the Australian Open as the lowly #6 seed. And the world waited for the inevitable: another Rafa and Novak final filled with bruising base-line rallies. But then, a few weird things started to happen: Wawrinka ousted Novak in a fantastic five-setter, Rafa struggled with a problematic blister and Roger looked like he discovered a time machine.
And now here we are, Roger and Rafa, Take #33. It’s been two long years since we’ve seen these two battle in a Slam. More importantly, they stand in each other’s way on their respective march to claim the greatest of all-time title. True, this is still only the semi-final and Wawrinka will have an extra day of rest, but whoever comes out on top will have an opportunity to move closer to that title.
With Fed sitting at 17 majors, Rafa is starting to breathe down his neck with 13. If Roger could pull off this win on his way to a fifth Australian Open, maybe, just maybe, it could be enough to hold off Rafa’s march towards Fed’s record. If Rafa wins, he could potentially begin 2014 with his 14th major, and with another French Open just around the corner, this could be the year of Rafa.
Whatever happens, we’re thankful they’ve given us one last dance.