But there’s a whole other kind of intimidation — a much scarier kind to me — that comes from someone or something being inescapable. The thing that made the original Terminator such an intimidating movie character, I think, is that he would not stop. He could not stop. He was programmed to kill, and this goal took up 100% of his circuitry. He wanted to kill Sarah Connor more than she wanted to stay alive. That feeling of no escape is suffocating in ways that sheer force and will and power is not. Andy Roddick hits perhaps the hardest serve in the history of tennis. But somehow that doesn’t feel as intimidating to me as a player who runs everything down and never stops and returns the ball harder than you hit it in the first place. For that moment, during that point, while watching Nadal return shot after shot against Federer — this bloodless pummeling of Federer’s body — I imagined myself in Federer’s place on the other side of the court from Nadal. I imagined hitting the best shots available in my imagination. I was hitting lines. I was moving him side to side. I angled a brilliant forehand to hit to the deuce court. Then, upon the inevitable return, I hit the perfect backhand off the line on the ad court. He reached that too. Back and forth. I hit the ball so hard it turned into fire. He returned it. I overhead slammed the ball so the bounce went to the 23rd row. He ran into the crowd and hit it back. Even in my imagination, even with only my own mind to hold me back, I could not figure out a way to put Rafael Nadal away. I think, when he’s done playing, Nadal will be universally accepted as the best who ever lived. He will need to win at least seven more Grand Slam titles, because that’s how many he needs (right now) to pass Federer on the list, and we do base our greatness on numbers*. But I suspect that he will retire with the Grand Slam record. He’s 25 years old. He is all but invincible in Paris. He has won the last two Wimbledons in which he has played. He has won 10 Grand Slam events. At 25, Federer had won eight.