The Madrid Masters is over. While Roger Federer has come away with the title, it seems clear that, in the grand scheme of things, the true victor emerging from the mountain dusts is Rafael Nadal. Now this is not to take any credit away from Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. They're great players. But we must understand and accept the reality of what happened in Madrid. Nadal played horribly throughout the event. Anyone who follows Nadal could see that he didn't stand a chance at taking the title because he is not the type of player who can turn on his form midway through a tournament. It either had to be there from the start, or it would never be there. After the semifinal ended, I predicted a repeat of Hamburg 2007. In the semifinal, Djokovic came out blazing, playing some of the best tennis of his career. Nadal played horribly, spewing error after error. In the end, Nadal was able to take the match by a razor-thin margin by emptying his tank of every ounce of mental energy he could muster. After the match, Novak lamented that he couldn''t imagine how he could have played so well and still lost. Nadal carried the same poor play that had been dodging him the entire tournament into the final. The major difference between Saturday and Sunday was that the semifinal had drained him of his mental strength. Federer came out playing the tennis of life. He pushed to and even reached beyond the limits of his talents and abilities. Fed had given the performance of a lifetime while Rafa had laid the ultimate egg. And yet, it took two careless errors in the final game to secure victory. Now, Roger played great and fully deserved to claim to title. I am not taking anything away from Roger's glorious triumph. He beat his opponent in the final, but he did not beat The Rafa. You could see the pain on Federer's face the moment the match ended. He is looking to the bigger picture, and at that moment it became clear to him that Nadal had evolved to level of ability that could no longer be beaten by conventional means. It required a combination of unfavorable conditions, non-existant play, and an empty mental tank to finally overcome The Rafa. Therein lies Nadal's ultimate triumph. Even without winning the title, he has convinced his chief rivals that he is now beyond their reaches.