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Rivalry With Djokovic Will Define Nadal's Career

AP Photo

It's been pretty easy to feel for Rafael Nadal since the spring of this year, mainly because of the unexpected and savage way Novak Djokovic shattered the duopoly in men's tennis and, skipping steps that very few people might have deemed dispensable, ripped the world No. 1 ranking out of Rafa's hands.

You can almost envision Nadal standing hunched over in the midst of a howling windstorm, red clay-dust sanding his features and swirling madly all about him, blinking and asking, "What just happened?"

That's how quickly Djokovic established dominion over men's tennis.

But if you take the longer view, you could almost rationalize the course of the past 12 months as a fair example of the workings of fate, or karma. Truth be...

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