TENNIS: It’s been hailed as the greatest tennis rivalry of the modern era – Rafa Nadal versus Roger Federer. But after the Fed Express went out of Wimbledon with a whimper in the quarter-finals, the world is wondering if it would be a better rivalry if Nadal, still only 24, were to play himself by hitting a ball against a brick wall.

His 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Czech Tomas Berdych means he is now the owner of eight grand slams – half Federer’s current total but with two more than the great Swiss had at the same age.

Nadal now has five French Open crowns, two Wimbledon’s and one Australian Open. That leaves just the US Open to complete a career slam, but it’s a tournament the Spaniard – who has the knees of an arthritic 90-year old – traditionally enters already knackered.

But with critics wondering if he is actually better than Federer, Rafa is looking to crank his game up a notch further.

Asked what his target was from now on, Nadal said: “I keep working to try to be in the US Open, finally ready to try to win.

“But for sure the U.S. Open is going to be one of my goals for the rest of my career.”