There was a strain of thought common amongst pro-war commentators and politicians (which still exists in some places – tony blair I’m looking at you), that although the war didn’t turn out as expected, given the information available at the time it was the right decision. Therefore very conveniently, the people who supported the war (which in America was 90% of the political class) were right and those who opposed it were wrong.

Obviously I disagree with the application of that logic in that instance. Having said that, I think it does apply to Nadal’s loss at the French Open this year. I’m still in shock that it happened. It wasn’t just that Nadal was the favourite to win but that he was unbeatable. Never lost at Roland Garros – 4 straight French Opens – never taken to 5 sets – 32 straight sets – beatdown of Federer last year etc etc. Its hard to say, but I even think that Federer losing at Wimbledon during his streak there would have been less shocking. At least on fast courts you can envision someone having a great serving day combined with in the zone groundstrokes. On clay, against someone with Nadal’s quickness and mental toughness it didn’t seem possible.

Well it was and Robin Soderling coming off a 6-0 6-1 drubbing in Rome just a few weeks ago, managed to play at a level which he’s never done before (although judging by the score in the Davydenko match he’s kept it up, if not gone a step further).

Anyways, my point is that el kapitan was spot on in saying that a rested Nadal was unbeatable on clay. We had no reason to think otherwise. The only point I’ll accept is the one made by Steve Tignor who said afterwords;

“wasn’t surprised as the first set unfolded, 6-2 for the Swede. Nadal had looked under the gun to me for the last few weeks, ready for an off day, more defensive than offensive in his quest for a fifth straight French. But in the end I didn’t think he played badly. What surprised me, and then awed me as the afternoon went on, was Soderling’s play…”

This reminded me of this quote from Jahangir Khan on the pressures of playing with his 6 year unbeaten run (perhaps the most underappreciated record in all of sports).

“The pressure began to mount as I kept winning every time and people were anxious to see if I could be beaten. In that World Open final, Ross got me. It was exactly five years and eight months. I was unbeaten for another nine months after that defeat.”

Three things from that. Firstly that while it is true, I don’t think anyone could have predicted with a straight face that Jahangir would lose when he did. Going back to Tignor, despite his concerns over Nadal he did predict him to beat Djokovic in the final in straight sets.

Secondly, I know we didn’t get to watch a lot of the great man, but with Nadal’s combination of athleticism and mental toughness, is he the closest thing we’ve seen to Jahangir.

Finally, no one should be writing off or undermining Nadal. Seriously.