Rafael Nadal won the 2013 US Open with an impressive victory over Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to capture his 13th Grand Slam title. He now trails only Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (17) for the most Grand Slam titles in the history of men's tennis. Does his latest accomplishment put him in the conversation as the greatest player of all time?
In my opinion he's certainly a top 5 candidate. He's won a major on every surface and held his own against the main rivals of his era Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He has no weaknesses to exploit and covers the court better than anyone else in the game.
The problem I have with Nadal is that he doesn't have a dominant shot. Sampras had the big serve. Agassi had the blistering service return. McEnroe had the devastating volleys. Federer has unbelievable wrist control. Nadal is solid with his all around game, but none of his shots strike fear in his opponents. That leaves him vulnerable against players that have a go to shot during critical points of a match.
Although Nadal has had health issues in the past he's only 26 years old so there's plenty of time to rack up Grand Slam titles. Federer is on his way out leaving Djokovic (at present) as his only proven adversary.
If titles are how you measure greatness Nadal has a good chance to pass Federer and build a compelling case as the greatest player ever. If total dominance in a particular facet of the game is your criteria Nadal comes up a bit short.