Nadal a spent force? No! say his rivals
By Pritha Sarkar
PARIS (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal's brutal French Open defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic on Wednesday provoked the predictable question of whether the Spaniard's career is in terminal decline.
Those in the know, however, his fellow players, believe the 29-year-old remains a force to be reckoned with.
Great things had been expected of Nadal's quarter-final battle with Djokovic, but in reality the 44th meeting of the two gladiators was an anti-climax as world number one Djokovic dominated more or less throughout a 7-5 6-3 6-1 victory.
Yet having beaten Nadal for the first time in seven attempts at Roland Garros, Djokovic was not writing him off after becoming only the second man to beat him in 72 matches in Paris.
"At the end of the day, he's human. I understand that people are questioning his game and where he's going to be," 28-year-old Djokovic, who is now favorite for the title which would complete his career grand slam, said
"But if you need a reminder of who he is, just look at his career stats and grand slams that he won."
With 14 majors to his name, Nadal was going for the unprecedented 'decima' at the French Open -- a feat achieved by no man at a single grand slam.
But with injuries and appendicitis keeping Nadal off court during the second half of 2014, 2015 has not been a good year by his own high standards -- he arrived in Paris without winning a European claycourt event for the first time in over a decade. Continued...