To (mis)quote Depeche Mode, everyone has their own personal Nadal. The opponent who has that hold over you. Who beats you no matter what you try, how much you work on your strokes, or how you change your game plan.
I played my Nadal on Sunday, appropriately enough on an artificial clay court. It must be the 8th or 9th time we've played. They've all been some of the best matches I've been lucky enough to play in, and I've lost them all.
Sunday was no different, although like Federer in Rome a few years back, I did have a matchpoint which I failed to convert.
A few hours later the real Nadal destroyed Federer. For all us Federer fans it was a car crash of a match. That Nadal won is no surprise but to win with a bread stick and a bagel against Federer is simply unbelievable.
It wasn't just the scoreline that blew me away, but also the way Nadal's game has (further) improved, especially his backhand and serve.I won't try to explain why Nadal won and why Federer was made to look so out of his depth. Nick Bollettieri has already done it and his analysis is a must read.
The only grain (crumb would be overstating it) of comfort for Federer is that he defended his points and goes into grass season with a 1,000 points lead over Nadal and Djokovic in the rankings.
I really can't wait to see how will Federer respond not only to the drubbing but the fact that Nadal will come into Wimbledon with maximum confidence and momentum.