Rafa a tennis marvel

FOR all his quirks and rituals, Spanish ace Rafael Nadal is a marvel on the tennis court.

Nadal's on-court rituals fascinate or infuriate fans

I am yet to see a player hit a running forehand better than Nadal

Over the past fortnight, fans at Melbourne Park or at home have witnessed Rafa's run to his 19th final at a Grand Slam tournament.

Rafa started hot favourite in Sunday night's final against Switzerland's Stanilas Wawrinka, contesting his first slam final.

Throughout the tournament and across many summers, there's been plenty of talk about Rafa's on-court mannerisms.

Some fans believe they are infuriating, others a little perplexing, and some just don't care.

No stepping on the lines as he walks on or off the court, the grabbing at his undies, walking on the Melbourne sign, drink bottles perfectly aligned, and towelling down are just some of the rituals.

Let's remember, Rafa's not the only one.

Watch Maria Sharapova's ritualistic steps, or Novak Djovokovic bouncing the ball before serve.

When it comes to crunching forehand winners there are few better than the world No. 1.

If there's a player who hits a running forehand better than Nadal then I am yet to see it.

He has already achieved some records that will take some beating and still has plenty more years to play, if he wants to.

A winner of eight French Open crowns, Nadal has also won at Wimbledon and the US Open twice, and had one Australian Open title.

It's been an amazing era for tennis in which the likes of Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have fought out many rallies.

I am yet to see a player hit a running forehand better than Nadal

As a left-hander, I have always barracked for the likes of Nadal, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova.

Not only have they won plenty of tournaments, but they are or were always great to watch.

If Bernard Tomic believes he is misunderstood, then what about McEnroe.

All these years later, McEnroe's tantrums, which included the 'You can't be serious call', are part of tennis folklore, as much as his artistry at the net.

The legendary Rod Laver had finished playing long before I became a massive fan of tennis.

I have read and heard plenty about Laver's incredible record.

Just who is the greatest tennis player could be debated for a long time.

What is indisputable is that Rod Laver is the only man to have won the Grand Slam twice, 1962 and 1969.

His record and influence on the game is so profound that centre court at Melbourne Park is Rod Laver Arena.

Although he won 11 grand slam finals, Laver's career earnings were just over $1.5 million.

Nadal's tally is at $64m and growing.

For Rafa the game is so much more than money.

There's plenty of serves, forehand drives, volleys and smashes to be struck, as well as the quirky mannerisms before and after points.

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