Pete Sampras was in the house at Rod Laver Arena watching the Federer-Nadal semifinal. He'll be staying for giving the Men's winners trophy this year. Anything significant? Pistol Pete post his retirement is not seen a lot in the box. He's enjoying his life away from Tennis. Still, he took an 18 hour flight on an invitation by Tennis Australia and we can only put two and two together to understand why he is here.
Last time he was seen watching was the final of Wimbledon 2009, where Federer was expected to make history by passing Pete. Today, Rafael Nadal is expected to match his record of staggering 14 Grand Slam titles. When Sampras retired in 2001, tennis experts believed that his record of 14 GS will hold for a long time to come. Unfortunately for him, just in about a dozen years, not one but two players have closed in/crossed his mark. In Wimby 2009 he watched an epic before giving the trophy, today he's least likely to witness anything of the sort.
No offense to Stanislas Wawrinka; he is a good man, a good player, the new Swiss No. 1, in great form currently but it is who he is facing makes this a one way affair. Welcome the Beast, Rafael Nadal, and this entire affair looks a mere formality before the trophy ceremony.
Why Nadal will win?
He is the biggest fighter the game has seen. Already cemented in the archives of Tennis, he has plenty left in his tank. He'll equal Pete Sampras' 14 titles if he wins today and will close the gap to only three from Federer. Enough motivation. About the game, he's playing as solid as ever and Wawrinka has zero experience at this level and is bound to be nervous. Rafa has lost only one set so far in the Quarters to Dimitrov before demolishing Federer. Nadal has never lost a Slam final to anybody named other than Djokovic or Federer. To top that, he holds a 12-0 lead in head to head vs Stan Wawrinka. And if all this is not enough, here comes another HUGE stat - Wawrinka has not only lost his all 12 meetings against Rafa, he has never ever been allowed to win even a set! 26-0 in Sets Played!
Let's all feel a bit for Stan here. Of all people, he'll face this guy in his first ever Grand Slam Final.
What can Stan do?
Justify his new nick name. Moving from 'Stan the Man', he is now called 'the Stanimal' - from the wild, beasty strokes that have punched holes through all his previous opponents. He'll need it much more than ever today. Stan can play with a heart of a fighter and give his best shot here. He has nothing to lose, absolutely nothing cause he has never won anything from Nadal. With no reputation to defend at this level, no odds favouring him, nobody expected to hold him to guilt if he fails to challenge Nadal - he should play freely, go for his shots and take it from there. It may still not be enough though!
Result - Hopefully, Stan will win his first set against Rafa but the Spanish Bull will equal Pete Sampras today and will become the only player (third ever) after the Greats Rod Laver and Roy Emerson to win all four Grand Slams at least TWICE!