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You know, if he knew me or read my blog, Tennis Talk, Anyone? sometimes, Rafael Nadal could easily say that to me!

Over the course of the past couple of years, I haven't given him much credit for what he's done:

• He's won four French Opens in a row? "Big deal, there's always been clay-court specialists," I've thought before. "He just happens to be a really good one."

• He's won Wimbledon: "So? No way he would've beaten Edberg or Becker on grass."

• He's won Masters shields on hard courts, like his most recent one in Canada: "Win a Major on a hard court, then we'll talk."

• He's gaining on the top spot: "Roger's still the best all-around player. He's just in a funk."

Well, first let me say that I've always liked Rafa. I just never thought he could accomplish what he has with that game of his, which to me seems to lack the versatility of Federer's or even Novak Djokovic's. But something he has is an incredible drive to be the best he can. He's respectful to the game and his opponents, which I've never questioned and always admired.

I still plan on going with R-Fed to win the U.S. Open, but if Nadal were to pull it off I wouldn't be surprised, which is something I couldn't say before. And my apologies, Rafa, for ever doubting ya!

(Photo: Getty Images)

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