Hi Dana and Rose,
I am Tim and I'm an Independent Middle Tier SOA Specialist and Software Engineer. My direct relatives are from Killarney, Ireland, but I travel for my livlihood for short term technical contracts. I am about as independent as a person can be, thus my love of my 2 cats, and players like Nole, Nalby, Rafa and Robin. I'm a long time Nalby fan and first started posting in Tennis Forums in 2006 in the now defunct davidnalbandian.com Forum. That forum is now gone, but it's coolest member creates a blogspot that is miles better anyway. Cue another shameless plug for Julia's great Daveed website
This is strange...I was a David and Rafa fan for many years because they we're the only two players that made tennis interesting by daring to challenge Mr. Federer. Without these two players, tennis might have become so boring and predictable, I would have stopped watching it. When the charasmatic and independently minded Nole arrived on the scene, he became my second favorite player next to Nalby. But while being a Nalby fan, I was first saddened by the loss of David's form after the 2007 Madrid and Paris Masters, that ultimately led to him getting the hip surgery that he has spent the past 7-8 months recovering from. I was not sure he was going to ever return to tennis, and it remains to be seen whether he will compete at the same level. This left me as a Nole and Rafa fan. At the same time, I was growing frustrated with Nole for not "being himself" and always floating under radar since the US Open Fiasco in 2008.
I noticed Robin's talent many years ago when he played Henman in the 3rd round of Wimbledon in 2003, and being a Nalby fan, I was obviously impressed with this guy's game because Robin and David have had some epic matches, including an unforgettable 5 set thriller in Davis Cup action last year that may be one of the most fascinating matches of David's career (the one where he cried after finally beating Robin). And then Robin and David met in the Stockholm Open final last year. With David out, I was surprised, but not shocked as most when I saw the Rafa match. That obviously intrigued me, but it was the matches after that one against Kolya, where he smoked him 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 and then his epic comeback in the 5 set RG Gonzo Semi-Final that cemented my fascination with his game and with his personality (towel over the head on all changeovers
Maybe it would be fair to say that no other player reminded me of me more than Robin Soderling (same identification thing with Nole, Rafa and Nalby), and that realization increased once I started reading about him, following and watching all his matches from RG to Bastad to the WTFs. I also have been reading about Jenni, following them on twitter. So what a journey it has been becoming a Robin fan, and I never would have dreamed it would have been this rewarding a trip to be his fan. Once Nalby comes back, I will be pulling for him as always, but I found myself cheering for Robin over any other players in the U.S. Open and beyond, and that included Nole and Rafa and it will probably include Nalby too....but I'll have to wait and see on that one as I have followed David since 2002.