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纳达尔:世界第一没什么不同

  For Rafael Nadal's rivals the bad news is that the Spaniard thinks he can get even better.

  The 22-year-old woke up on Monday as the new world number one with an Olympic gold medal in his pocket after Sunday's victory over Fernando Gonzalez in Beijing.

  Typically modest, or perhaps using some clever kidology, Nadal insisted on Sunday that Roger Federer was still the best player in the world, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

  The level of his play at the Olympic Tennis Centre, as it has been for the past six months, was astounding but the Majorcan powerhouse is still not satisfied.

  "For me Federer is still technically the best. He is the best player in the history of tennis," Nadal told reporters after his Olympic triumph.

  "If Federer can improve, I can too for sure. I can improve the serve 100 percent, I can improve my volley. I'm happy but it's important to be humble if you want to continue improving.

  Nadal had barely stepped down from the podium on Sunday before his thoughts turned to the US Open which starts next Monday. Few would bet against him completing a golden quadruple after his French Open and Wimbledon triumphs.

  "I don't have time to celebrate," he said. "I have to focus on New York."

  From the moment Nadal won his first ATP Tour match as a 15-year-old, his rise to the top of the sport has been widely predicted, although it has still been astonishing in its speed.

  He won 11 of his 12 claycourt tournaments in 2005, including his first slam at the French Open. His career defeats on red dust can be almost counted on one hand.

  Some doubted whether his extreme grip and massive topspin game which is made for clay could shine on other surfaces.

  Three consecutive Wimbledon finals culminating in his epic defeat of Federer this year combined with titles at the big American hardcourt events put that theory to bed.

  The contrast between the raging bull that is Nadal on court and the almost sheepish boy next door still surprises those who do not follow Nadal regularly.

  Fellow Spanish athletes and those from other countries described Nadal as the friendliest kid on the block in the Olympic Village.

  Nadal said nothing would change now that he was the number one player in the world.

  "I have very good people around me so nothing will change," he said. "I was happy at number two, I'm happy to be number one."

  All eyes will be on Nadal at Flushing Meadows, a venue that has yet to see the best of him. But he will take it all in his stride.

  "There's no different pressure now I'm number one," he said. "It doesn't change. I'll probably be number two in a few months ... you never know."

  拉斐尔?纳达尔说他其实可以打得更好,这对他的对手们来说可不是什么好消息。

  22岁的纳达尔周日刚刚在北京奥运会上击败费尔南多?冈萨雷斯将金牌收入囊中,本周一又坐上了世界网坛的头把交椅。

  或许是生性谦虚,抑或是聪明的调侃,纳达尔在周日的时候还坚称费德勒仍然是全世界最优秀的网球运动员,而事实却并非如此。

  他在北京奥运网球中心的表现,以及过去半年的成绩可以用惊世骇俗来形容,但是这位来自马略卡岛的壮汉对此并不满意。

  纳达尔在获得奥运冠军后对记者说:“对我来说,费德勒的球技依然是世界上最好的,他是网球史上最优秀的选手。”

  “如果费德勒能提高,我肯定也能进步。我能百分之百提高我的发球水平,我也可以增强我的截击能力。我很开心,但要想不断进步,保持谦逊是非常重要的。”

  纳达尔刚走下奥运会领奖台就开始想下周一即将打响的美国网球公开赛了。在他赢得了法网、温网、及奥运会三项冠军之后,几乎没有人会怀疑他有能力拿下第四个冠军头衔。

  他说:“我没有时间庆祝胜利,我得集中精力准备纽约的比赛。”

  从他15岁获得国际职业网联巡回赛冠军开始,人们就料到他日后会成为顶尖的网球选手,只是他的成长速度确实有些惊人。

  2005年他在红土赛场的12场比赛中赢了11场,其中包括他在法网赢得的第一次大满贯。在红土球场上,他鲜有失利。

  有人曾经怀疑他极端的握拍方式以及强劲有力的上旋球等适合土场作战的技术是否能在其他赛场上所向无敌。

  结果,今年在温网决赛中连续三次大胜费德勒以及在美国硬土赛场上的接连夺冠让这些怀疑销声匿迹。

  纳达尔在赛场上像一头愤怒的公牛,在场下却是个羞涩的邻家男孩。这判若两人的表现让不太熟悉他的人们有些惊讶。

  他的队友和其它国家的运动员都说纳达尔是奥运村里最友善的孩子。

  纳达尔说,虽然他现在是世界冠军,但一切还是跟以前一样。

  他说:“我周围还有很多优秀的选手,所以现在和以前没什么区别。以前是第二名的时候,我很开心;如今成了世界第一,我一样开心。”

  法拉盛草原公园(译者注:位于纽约的美网公开赛举办地)将会见证纳达尔最出色的表现,他将成为这个赛场上倍受瞩目的焦点。但他会从容应对这一切。

  他说:“作为世界冠军我没有感到什么与众不同的压力。其实没有什么区别。没准几个月后我又成世界第二了呢。这事儿谁也说不准。”