Rafael Nadal defeated the likes of Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Usain Bolt to win Spanish daily Marca’s male athlete of the last decade.
With 570 wins, 48 ATP titles, 13 Majors and 20 Masters, Nadal is finishing the decade as the second-most accomplished Tennis player behind Novak Djokovic.
However, Djokovic was out of Marca’s vote in the first round itself to Messi as the latter then went on to defeat Marc Marquez to set up a semifinal clash with Michael Phelps. Nadal toppled Eliud Kipchoge and Ronaldo to advance to the semifinal opposite Federer, who had come on top of Bolt and Lewis Hamilton in the preceding rounds.
One of the semifinals saw Messi registering a comfortable victory over Phelps, the champions swimmer with the most number of Olympic medals. In the other semifinal between Tennis’ greatest rivals, Nadal emerged the winner ahead of Federer.
In the end, almost 1,60,000 Marca readers had voted in the fight between Messi and Nadal where The Spaniard beat the Argentine superstar 62% to 38% to become the best male athlete of the previous decade.
With two Grand Slam wins in 2019 in the form of the French Open and the US Open and a Davis Cup win with Spain, Nadal is finishing 2019 as the top-ranked ATP player ahead of the age-old rivals Djokovic and Ronaldo.
Messi, on the other hand, won his sixth Ballon d’Or of the career in 2019. The veteran footballer had also led Barcelona to another La Liga victory other than leading his national team to a Copa America semifinal in Brazil earlier this year.