Nadal’s amazing streak tops

One of the biggest sports moments of the year took place Sunday when Rafael Nadal had his clay streak ended at 81 in a loss to Roger Federer. The event went almost unnoticed on this side of the globe. Sure, it was a tennis match, but the Nadal/Federer novelty match that saw the top two ranked tennis players in the world compete on a hybrid grass/clay court—each being the master of one of the surfaces—drew more ink earlier this month than it could have really deserved. Consider Nadal’s achievement with his 81-consecutive win streak in matches on clay—the longest such streak on a single surface among male players in the open era. Before this weekend, the Spaniard hadn’t lost on clay since April, 2005—along the way taking 13 titles and defeating Federer, the world’s top-ranked tennis player, five times on his choice surface. And while it may be a shame that Nadal’s streak ended so shortly after surpassing John McEnroe’s own streak of 75 wins on indoor carpet, no storyline could be scripted better than Nadal losing to none other than his rival, Federer. What’s more, Nadal started this streak when he was just 18, and while he may be considered in circles to be the lesser to the Swiss Federer, he’s also some five years his junior. While his 81-win streak may be over, with Nadal just turning 21 on June 3, his career is really just beginning. So to anyone who squirreled away some time between the NHL playoffs (not to mention the NBA playoffs, the Memorial Cup, an MLB season that is rapidly-gaining steam, and a myriad of assorted televised events) to see some tennis action from Hamburg, no doubt you already know just how decisive the loss was against Federer—one in which Nadal looked better at the start than he did during many of the matches on the road to the finals. For those unfamiliar with the world of professional tennis, the French Open begins this Sunday and, as one of the four Grand Slam events, will see major media coverage, including televised matches. The French Open will feature Nadal and Federer front-and-centre—as with seemingly everything in tennis at the moment—as Nadal will be seeking to defend his title at the tournament with a third-consecutive finals win. Federer, meanwhile, will be looking for his first-ever title at the French Open—the only Grand Slam event he has yet to win. And if they meet in the finals in a re-match of last year’s French Open, well, that will be a story that gets plenty of ink.

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