Becker thinks Rafael is best

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

Take it from no less a tennis authority than Boris Becker; Rafael Nadal, not Roger Federer, is king of the tennis world these days.

Becker, in Toronto for his induction into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame (he played here only three times although he does have a 9-2 record and a championship in those three trips), believes that tennis, the professional men's tour in particular, is in very good hands with the Federer/Nadal rivalry leading a very strong field of players.

"Tennis needs rivalries," Becker said before dropping his one-set exhibition with Canada's Daniel Nestor, 6-3 last night. "Tennis is in a good place right now having Federer and Nadal really at the very top of their careers.

"Tennis needs players that bring the best out in each other, and I think today we're again in a situation where, you know, whoever saw the Wimbledon final, I was just amazed at the quality of play from both players. I think that's important.

"You create stories. You know, you create superstars. I think tennis has that right now." Becker, who was working with the British Broadcasting Corporation at Wimbledon, had a front-row seat for that memorable final in which Nadal outlasted Federer in a five-set marathon, and believes that win marked the beginning of the Nadal ascension to world No. 1 regardless of what the rankings (which have Federer on top) currently say.

Becker sees that trend continuing on the hardcourt as well.

"I think it's a case where Nadal has just improved to a level that nobody expected him to play," Becker said. "I think even now on the hard courts (Nadal's) going to have big improvements. It's because of the serve. He has a much better serve and much better positioning on the court on a hard surface. I think that's the reason why he's at the position right now."

Nadal, for his part, prefers to leave the rankings and all the talk about who is No. 1 up to other people.

"First of all, you will never hear something like that from me," Nadal said. "Second, I don't think (I'm the No. 1)."

Outside of Federer himself and his immediate family, Nadal may be in very select company with that belief.


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