NY Times: 18 y.o. Nadal Comes of Age [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

NY Times: 18 y.o. Nadal Comes of Age

Tennis Fool
04-18-2005, 02:58 AM
I'm not sure how many of you read Chris Clarey's articles, but he does a good job of describing the atmosphere of matches.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/04/18/sports/18tennis.lg.jpg

April 18, 2005
18-Year-Old Nadal Comes of Age on the Slow Clay of Monte Carlo
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

ONACO, April 17 - As it turned out on this day of rain and sun and long rallies on the Cote d'Azur, Guillermo Coria was absolutely right.

For the moment, Rafael Nadal is indeed the best player in the world on clay, just as Coria insisted he was on the eve of this Monte Carlo Masters Series final. Although Nadal was quick to wave off the compliment, the evidence is too compelling to refute after his 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 victory over Coria on Sunday.

At 18, Nadal had already won three minor Tour titles on the game's slowest, most demanding surface, and he had already helped Spain win the Davis Cup on clay. But this was the week when he showed the true depth of his talent.

Every leading candidate for this year's French Open title was in Monte Carlo for the first significant clay-court event of the season; the absent Americans Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick are not leading contenders. Among those in this tiny principality were last year's French Open champion, Gaston Gaudio, and last year's French Open runner-up, Coria, both of Argentina.

Nadal, seeded 11th, trumped each of them, allowing Gaudio just three games in the quarterfinals and outplaying the 23-year-old Coria, who was also the defending champion here, in a 3-hour, 7-minute final that was full of shifts in momentum and weather.

"My first big title," Nadal said. "I think I am very happy when I won the Davis Cup, but now is unbelievable."

The victory moved him into second place in the season-long points race behind Roger Federer. It also moved Nadal to No. 12 in the rankings, up from 51st at the start of the season.

It has been quite a month for Nadal, a flashy Majorcan with a ruffian's swagger and an angelic grin. Two weeks ago, he reached his first Masters Series final on the hard courts of Key Biscayne, Fla., taking a two-set and 4-1 lead on Federer before Federer roared back to win the tournament.

But Nadal is obviously a quick study as well as a quick mover. And although he again let a 4-1 lead slip away in the fourth set against the sixth-seeded Coria on Sunday, he managed to avoid letting the title escape with some spirited, phenomenally steady play under intense pressure down the stretch.

"I am sure it helped," Nadal said of his experience against Federer. "I know what happened in Miami, and today I was very, very concentrated all the time. When I lost 4-1 to 4-4 in the fourth, I had a lot of concentration to win the match."

The key game came on Nadal's serve at 4-4. Coria was lifting his level of play, taking big risks with his forehand and controlling the rallies, but Nadal managed to fight off a break point at 30-40, surprising Coria with a forehand winner that caught him leaning in the wrong direction.

Two good serves later, Nadal had stopped Coria's momentum. When they took their seats on the changeover, Nadal looked much more at peace with himself as he munched on a banana than did Coria, who was muttering darkly and shaking his head.

After each player held serve with ease, Nadal jumped out to a 15-40 lead on Coria's serve in the 12th game. Coria saved the first match point with a forehand winner, but he could not save the second. Nadal tracked down the last of Coria's many drop shots and slashed a forehand winner down the line.

"He hits the drop shot very, very well," Nadal said. "I think it is the best in the world. You know, he won a lot of points with that. But I won some very important points, no? The last one, for example."

For the first two sets, Coria struggled with his tactics and the weather. Although he seems mild-mannered off the court, he has a habit of complaining to chair umpires that has not helped his popularity with his peers, including his fellow Argentines. But Coria certainly had a case to make late in the first set, when he continually lobbied for a rain delay, arguing that the lines were getting slippery.

It was pouring, but with the weather report indicating that the downpour would be brief, the tournament organizers elected to keep Coria and Nadal on the court.

"The conditions were not favorable for me today, because it was raining pretty hard and the balls were very heavy," Coria said. "I was not able to hurt him as much as I wanted to and as much as I did at the end. I was almost able to turn it around. I'm still very pleased."

He did not look pleased as he stood on the podium after the match, declining to salute the crowd by showing his trophy. The postmatch handshake was also less than enthusiastic, but Coria did not ration his praise for Nadal afterward.

"I lost against the best player on clay," Coria said. "I thought that if the match was going to go long enough, he might get tired. But he was able to run very well."

That is quite a statement from a player who is considered one of the quickest in the game. But Coria clearly knows what he is talking about, and now Nadal, with one of the most prestigious trophies in tennis in his possession, is no longer in a position to argue.

liptea
04-18-2005, 03:04 AM
Wow. Nadal gets American press? :eek:


AMAZING.

tangerine_dream
04-18-2005, 03:33 AM
There were quite a number of articles written about Nadal in the US press during Nasdaq, liptea.

What's strange is that I think I've read more press on Nadal in the past month than I did on Federer when he won USO. :scratch:

Chloe le Bopper
04-18-2005, 03:36 AM
Everybody loves a prodigy :p

Tennis Fool
04-18-2005, 03:55 AM
Here are two more CC articles. Maybe someone would like them reposted in the Nadal/Gasquet/Fed forums?

April 17, 2005
Nadal Outlasts Gasquet in Match of the Future
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

ONACO, April 16 - When the undercard in a clay-court tournament is Juan Carlos Ferrero versus Guillermo Coria, it is clear that the main event must be something special.

Ferrero is a former French Open champion and a two-time winner of this Masters Series tournament in Monte Carlo. Coria was the dominant player on European clay last season, when he won the title here and was one point from winning the French Open.

But on this intermittently soggy Saturday, Ferrero and Coria were relegated to warm-up duty for two charismatic 18-year-olds, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Richard Gasquet of France. Though the crowd at center court clapped politely for the highlights of Coria's impressive 6-2, 7-5 victory over Ferrero, the roars and goose bumps came later, and not just because the temperature next to the Mediterranean dropped below 50 degrees in the late afternoon.

Nadal and Gasquet put on quite a show, particularly in the first set, which was long on flashy winners and remarkably short on unforced errors. Gasquet played at the same level as he did Friday, when he produced the biggest surprise of the season by ending the 25-match winning streak of Roger Federer, the world's No. 1 player.

But Nadal, an imposing player, has taken his game to a higher level in the past six months, and he defeated Gasquet, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3.

Nadal won back-to-back clay-court events in South America in February, then used his forehand and positive energy to reach the final of the Masters Series event on the hard courts in Key Biscayne, Fla. He lost to Federer in the final after winning the first two sets.

Nadal will be facing Coria for just the second time. Their first meeting was at this tournament in 2003, when Nadal was still a raw talent. Coria won in straight sets.

"I believe Nadal is the best player on this surface in the world," Coria said this week.

It is rare to see two teenage talents of the same caliber emerge at roughly the same time. For now, it is no contest in the world rankings. Nadal, No. 17, is banging on the door of the top 10. Gasquet arrived here ranked 101st. But Saturday's close contest was a better reflection of the narrow gap in their abilities.

Nadal is a left-hander who relies on a wrenching topspin forehand and plays some of the best defense on the Tour. Gasquet is a more creative right-hander who is at ease in all sections of the court; he has a flat one-handed backhand that ranks among the most eye-catching shots in the sport.

The comparisons between these teenagers, who were born 15 days apart (Nadal is older), were inevitable. But their paths to success diverged; Gasquet struggled to put the pieces of his more complex game together and struggled to cope with the burden of his own and others' expectations.

When they first played each other on the Tour - last year in the third round in Estoril, Portugal - Nadal won in three sets but sustained a stress fracture in his left ankle that kept him off the Tour for nearly three months. He quickly resumed winning after his return, and for the moment at least, he still has the edge on his fellow prodigy, in the rankings and on clay.

Henin-Hardenne in Final

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 16 (AP) - The former No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne reached the final of the Family Circle Cup on Saturday, beating Tatiana Golovin, 7-6 (4), 7-5.

Henin-Hardenne spent most of last year ranked No. 1, but after the United States Open, she had a viral illness and then injured a knee. Now, in her second event since returning , she is ranked No. 43 and was unseeded going into this event.

"It's great to feel this again," Henin-Hardenne said. "It's been a very hard time and I'll have to keep going."

She advanced to the championship match against second-seeded Elena Dementieva, who defeated eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, in the other semifinal.

The 17-year-old Golovin, ranked No. 25 and seeded No. 13, had upset the defending tournament champion, Venus Williams, and 12th-ranked Nadia Petrova.

Henin-Hardenne reached the semifinals when top-seeded and top-ranked Lindsay Davenport retired with a muscle pull in their quarterfinal Friday.

Tennis Fool
04-18-2005, 03:56 AM
April 16, 2005
Federer Stopped by French Teenager
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

ONACO, April 15 - It was an afternoon of starkly different moods at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

It began in somber quiet with the national flags over center court flapping gently at half-staff and with the footpaths and buffet tables of the club close to empty. Employees and early-arriving spectators gathered around television sets to watch the funeral of Prince Rainier III.

But by the time the sun dropped low on the hazy blue horizon of the Mediterranean, the atmosphere inside one of sport's most scenic stadiums had turned festive. Watching a young man come of age can improve one's world view in a hurry, and Richard Gasquet's 6-7 (1), 6-2, 7-6 (8) upset of top-ranked Roger Federer was unquestionably a milestone.

To add to the drama, Gasquet saved three match points in the decisive tie breaker.

Coming into Friday's quarterfinal at this Masters Series event, Federer had won 25 matches in a row. He had lost just once all season - in the semifinals of the Australian Open to the eventual champion, Marat Safin. He was 35-1 this year and was 52-1 since the beginning of the United States Open in August.

Even Gasquet, ranked 101st, found the outcome Friday "illogical." But perhaps the result was more comprehensible than Gasquet, a shy, immensely talented 18-year-old from France, realized. Federer had been winning, but he had been in less imperial form in recent weeks. He has played a lot of tennis in a lot of time zones lately.

"It's tough to wake up every morning knowing that you have to defend your streak," Federer said. "I feel at the moment I'm playing against history."

Less than two weeks ago, in the final of the Nasdaq-100 Open, another Masters Series event, Federer had to rally from two sets down to beat Rafael Nadal of Spain, another 18-year-old with a bright present and even brighter future. In his third-round match on Thursday, Federer had to dig into his reserves to beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in three sets.

Against Gasquet, Federer was far from his best: mis-hitting ground strokes in bunches and even shanking a forehand that flew into the highest section of the bleachers during the first set. His serve was inconsistent, although Gasquet's often-spectacular returns played a big role in his breaking Federer's serve six times.

"You just don't face opponents like this these days," Federer said. "He played great in the second set, in the beginning of the third. He really played into this zone where you had the feeling there was no more you could do. I would have to play him more often to really get a sense of how consistent he is. But he definitely played a great match today."

The most impressive part of Gasquet's performance was not his returns, his explosive one-handed backhand or his timely touch volleys. It was his resilience. After dropping the first set in a lopsided tie breaker, he came out roaring in the second set to take a 3-0 lead. When he had his first match point, at 5-3 in the third set, Gasquet missed a straightforward forehand volley.

Still, he stayed positive after losing his serve. He pushed hard in the next game, when Federer saved another match point with an overhead.

Federer's match points came in the tie breaker, at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. Gasquet saved the first with a forceful service winner. He saved the next two match points when Federer missed forehands. At 8-8, Gasquet did not shank the shots that mattered. He smacked a clean forehand winner to win the next point, then hit a gorgeous backhand passing shot down the line on the run to win the match.

"Even if I had lost, I would have been happy, because I was competitive when facing the No. 1 in the world," Gasquet said. "I would have thought that I'm still young and still have possibilities. But of course, it would have been frustrating after having a match point. But I was able to come back into the match, and I played a very beautiful tie breaker."

Long labeled the next great French player, Gasquet was on the cover of a national magazine before he turned 10. At 15, he became the youngest player in more than a decade to win a Tour-level match when he defeated Franco Squillari of Argentina in Monte Carlo in 2002.

But his immaturity off the court made it difficult for him to handle the weight of expectations. The more physically imposing Nadal, who is just 15 days older than Gasquet, soon broke through and began beating the world's top players consistently. Nadal played a leading role in Spain's Davis Cup title last year.

Despite winning events on the challenger circuit, tennis's version of the minor leagues, Gasquet lost momentum again in January after contracting chicken pox and declaring forfeit for the Australian Open.

Until last week, it was still unclear whether he would be able to play in the qualifying tournament here, but doctors gave him their approval and he has taken the opportunity all the way to the semifinals, where he will face Nadal.

Nadal made quick work of last year's French Open champion, Gaston Gaudio of Argentina, in his quarterfinal, winning by 6-3, 6-0. The other semifinal Saturday will match Guillermo Coria of Argentina, the defending champion, against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, who won this tournament in 2002 and 2003.

In normal circumstances, Nadal's rout of Gaudio would have been the talk of the tournament, but there was nothing normal about Friday in Monaco, from the melancholy way it began to the surprisingly upbeat way it ended.

Clara Bow
04-18-2005, 05:14 AM
There were quite a number of articles written about Nadal in the US press during Nasdaq, liptea.

What's strange is that I think I've read more press on Nadal in the past month than I did on Federer when he won USO.

Believe it or not, there was a pretty good amount of press for Federer during the US Open, particularly in the New York papers. Some of that press was in the second page of the sports section or something to that effect- but still the press was there. (I use Lexis-Nexis for work and I must admit that I tend to look up press about tennis when I need a brain break and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of articles that Federer was mentioned in at the time of the USO).

But Nadal is getting a rather decent amount of press, which I think is refreshing in the US media since they are not too often keen on covering non-US male players. I imagine when/if Gasquet and Monfils start to get consistant results and go deeper in ATP tournies they will get some similar buzz as well since like, Nadal, they are expressive on the court, etc. There was even a short write-up about Monfils in last weeks Sports Illustrated and I would not be surpirsed in Richard got a mention in the upcoming issue.

NATAS81
04-18-2005, 05:34 AM
Two good serves later, Nadal had stopped Coria's momentum. When they took their seats on the changeover, Nadal looked much more at peace with himself as he munched on a banana than did Coria, who was muttering darkly and shaking his head.
Potassium - The X-Factor :yeah:

jacobhiggins
04-18-2005, 08:58 AM
Some players are just liked more. Roddick, Agassi , Safin! Nadal is young, good looking, and is on fire right now. Federer while he is the best player in the world is not a heartthrob to say the least, so in hotness vote, he'll always lose! Lets face it we live in a superfical world, Scott Peterson gets mail from woman who think he's innocent, or woman who knows he's guilty but wants to marry him, just because he's a goodlooking fella. Nadal is a good player and he's a young kid so let him have some fun and get some attention! I wouldn't worry too much about it though, God gave Federer a great equilaizer, superior talent!

Becarina
04-18-2005, 09:01 AM
seeing it put that way...eww. Americans need to join together and all worship federer

euroka1
04-18-2005, 09:42 AM
I'm not sure how many of you read Chris Clarey's articles, but he does a good job of describing the atmosphere of matches.

For the moment, Rafael Nadal is indeed the best player in the world on clay, just as Coria insisted he was on the eve of this Monte Carlo Masters Series final. Although Nadal was quick to wave off the compliment, the evidence is too compelling to refute after his 6-3, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 victory over Coria on Sunday.


Got up at 3:30am to see the nuggets dealt out to us by ESPN. So fragmentary, that the matches lacked all tension but there were enough great points to convince me that these are the people I am going to watch on clay this year. We deserve better coverage of European events.

Allure
04-18-2005, 10:31 AM
Some players are just liked more. Roddick, Agassi , Safin! Nadal is young, good looking, and is on fire right now. Federer while he is the best player in the world is not a heartthrob to say the least, so in hotness vote, he'll always lose! Lets face it we live in a superfical world, Scott Peterson gets mail from woman who think he's innocent, or woman who knows he's guilty but wants to marry him, just because he's a goodlooking fella. Nadal is a good player and he's a young kid so let him have some fun and get some attention! I wouldn't worry too much about it though, God gave Federer a great equilaizer, superior talent!

ITA. One of the reasons why Roddick is so popular is because of his arguable good looks. (Girls go crazy over him) But while Federer is the best tennis player in the world, he is not exactly the "heartthrob" type. But yeah people can debate me on this and say he's hot and that's their opinion. It's all good. :)

Becarina
04-18-2005, 10:37 AM
ITA. One of the reasons why Roddick is so popular is because of his arguable good looks. (Girls go crazy over him) But while Federer is the best tennis player in the world, he is not exactly the "heartthrob" type. But yeah people can debate me on this and say he's hot and that's their opinion. It's all good. :)


hmm...why do you like him?

jmp
04-18-2005, 10:55 AM
"He hits the drop shot very, very well," Nadal said. "I think it is the best in the world. You know, he won a lot of points with that. But I won some very important points, no? The last one, for example."


Rafa has a real wit and charm. :) Is there a smiley for teenage girls squealling? Oh, Rafa is soooo dreamy... ;)

TF, I'm not familiar with this reporter. Thanks for posting the article. It was very descriptive for those of us who didn't see the match. You were absolutely correct about him giving a real feel for the atmosphere. I feel so bad for Coria. I'm sure his behavior didn't go over well. But, I understand his frustration. How would it feel to be the 23 year old defending champion and have an 18 year old phenom take you out under those nasty conditions? I bet Serena felt the same way at Wimby. Guille was very forthright and complimentary to Rafa afterwards, though. I wish him well.

Now...

Go Rafa! :banana: :D

onewoman74
04-18-2005, 02:28 PM
Some players are just liked more. Roddick, Agassi , Safin! Nadal is young, good looking, and is on fire right now. Federer while he is the best player in the world is not a heartthrob to say the least, so in hotness vote, he'll always lose! Lets face it we live in a superfical world, Scott Peterson gets mail from woman who think he's innocent, or woman who knows he's guilty but wants to marry him, just because he's a goodlooking fella. Nadal is a good player and he's a young kid so let him have some fun and get some attention! I wouldn't worry too much about it though, God gave Federer a great equilaizer, superior talent!

I agree w/ that assesement about attractive looks equals more press. Yes, if Fed was a stunner...he wouldn't be able to leave his home or hotel room...that's the way the world turns!!

I found an article from the Guardian Online in the UK:


Teenagers Nadal, Gasquet lead the new generation
By Martyn Herman
MONTE CARLO, April 17 (Reuters) - The evolution of men's tennis took another leap forward in Monte Carlo last week when two 18-year-olds showed they are equipped to challenge the sport's established hierarchy.
Spanish left-hander Rafael Nadal became the youngest winner of the prestigious Masters Series claycourt tournament since Mats Wilander in 1983 and is already a favourite for this year's French Open.
French qualifier Richard Gasquet may be a little way behind his fellow 18-year-old, but his performance in ending world number one Roger Federer's 25-match winning streak in the quarter-finals was breathtaking.
While Gasquet is still a work in progress after a rocky start to life on the Tour, Nadal looks certain to challenge at the game's highest level.
He has the best record on clay this year, with three titles already under his belt, and came within two games of beating Federer earlier this month in the final of the Masters Series in Miami.
"That was a great match for me because he's going to be a great player, we'll see a lot from him in the future," four-times grand slam champion Federer said after their Miami showdown.
The 23-year-old Swiss also got a first-hand look at Gasquet in Monte Carlo and believes the French player has the tools to challenge for major titles, providing the hype does not weigh to heavily on his shoulders.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS
"I hope for him that he's had his good times off court, maybe now it's all about tennis business for him," said Federer, who like Gasquet struggled initially to cope with the great expectations heaped upon him.
"I know exactly what he is going through but he's shown in the last few weeks that he wants to get to the top."
Gasquet burst on to the scene three years ago as a 15-year-old at Monte Carlo, gaining a wildcard into qualifying before beating tough Argentine Franco Squillari in the first round to become the youngest player to win a main tour match.
Since then he has struggled, languishing at 101 in the world rankings and drawing criticism from a French media desperate to discover the next Yannick Noah.
Nadal, who remembers playing Gasquet as a 13-year-old, said he often used to wonder what had happened to the Frenchman in the past two years.
However, the Spaniard believes Gasquet's victory over Federer will launch him up the rankings with plenty of self-belief.
"Gasquet has a lot of potential," said Nadal. "It's taken him a while, but he's going to climb the rankings now, he's going to keep on improving."
GETTING BETTER
Nadal took his first Masters Series title firmly in his stride, and is already looking at how he can get better.
"I've got lots to improve -- my serve, my volley, my slice. When I do that, I think I can win a lot of matches," he said with a hefty slice of under-statement.
While Nadal and Gasquet have grabbed the headlines in the past week, there are others waiting in the wings for their chance to break through.
Gael Monfils, another 18-year-old French player, reached the fourth round in Miami last month and looks destined to compete at the highest levels of the game.
Donald Young, the 15-year-old American prodigy who gained wildcards at Indian Wells and Miami this year after becoming the youngest ever winner of the Australian Open junior, also offers a glimpse of an exciting future.
The imperious Federer, together with Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt will not be waving the white flags for a few years yet, but they know it will not be long before today's promising teenagers are snapping at their heels.
In Nadal's case, he is already there and may even join that exclusive quartet of grand slam champions on June 5 in the French capital.

Tennis Fool
04-18-2005, 09:45 PM
Some players are just liked more. Roddick, Agassi , Safin! Nadal is young, good looking, and is on fire right now. Federer while he is the best player in the world is not a heartthrob to say the least, so in hotness vote, he'll always lose! Lets face it we live in a superfical world, Scott Peterson gets mail from woman who think he's innocent, or woman who knows he's guilty but wants to marry him, just because he's a goodlooking fella. Nadal is a good player and he's a young kid so let him have some fun and get some attention! I wouldn't worry too much about it though, God gave Federer a great equilaizer, superior talent!

In this case, Nadal was just the lucky recipient of being in the right place at that right time. For some reason, The NY Times decided to send a reporter to cover MC first hand. Maybe CC begged to go??? Working vacation???

Anyway, even Wertheim picked up on this:

"It was nice to see The New York Times sports section -- which hasn't given tennis much love lately, USTA ad revenue be damned -- devote serious space and prominent placement to the Monte Carlo results."

euroka1
04-18-2005, 09:53 PM
I agree w/ that assesement about attractive looks equals more press. Yes, if Fed was a stunner...he wouldn't be able to leave his home or hotel room...that's the way the world turns!!

.

That's one of the reasons Federer plays such good tennis. He can focus more on the game and doesn't have to worry about image.

Jennay
04-18-2005, 10:01 PM
Thanks a lot, TF!

Rafa has a real wit and charm. :) Is there a smiley for teenage girls squealling? Oh, Rafa is soooo dreamy... ;)
:haha: :haha:

smucav
04-19-2005, 12:36 AM
TF, I'm not familiar with this reporter.Christopher Clarey is the regular tennis columnist for the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune (English-language newspaper published in Paris). The IHT is syndicated around the world (or at least it was when it was owned by the Washington Post; it's now owned by the NYT).

Chloe le Bopper
04-19-2005, 02:39 AM
I'm not sure what all this talk of Fed's looks is... Rafa isn't any more attractive than he is. Rafa still looks like a kid. Unless we're ignoring faces, then yes. Rafa wins ;)

Scotso
04-19-2005, 03:21 AM
Nice articles :) thanks.

Mimi
04-19-2005, 03:31 AM
nadal :bigclap: :woohoo: , yes nada is not handsome, but he has a cute baby face, strangely, i dislike hewitt's way of shouting aloud and pumping his fist, nadal also does it, i am biased, i like him, so young, and cute, may be i treat him as my son, hehe :dance: :yippee: :baby:

Allure
04-19-2005, 03:48 AM
I'm not sure what all this talk of Fed's looks is... Rafa isn't any more attractive than he is. Rafa still looks like a kid. Unless we're ignoring faces, then yes. Rafa wins ;)

Yeah Nadal is not really handsome, especially when I first saw him I thought he wasn't attractive at all, but like someone else said, he has this "baby face" that's cute.

jmp
04-19-2005, 04:02 AM
Christopher Clarey is the regular tennis columnist for the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune (English-language newspaper published in Paris). The IHT is syndicated around the world (or at least it was when it was owned by the Washington Post; it's now owned by the NYT).

Thank you. :)

Armada~121
04-19-2005, 05:03 AM
nadal :bigclap: :woohoo: , yes nada is not handsome, but he has a cute baby face, strangely, i dislike hewitt's way of shouting aloud and pumping his fist, nadal also does it, i am biased, i like him, so young, and cute, may be i treat him as my son, hehe :dance: :yippee: :baby:

I think it's because Rafa doesn't do it in his opponent's face, and he doesn't exactly cheer for his opponent's errors. He might express glee sometimes when they commit errors on important points, i.e. their breakpoints or his breakpoints, but not in such manners that is meant to irritate like Hewitt's. IMHO, he is simply showing his feelings, while with Hewitt, you couldn't help but suspect that some psychological tactics are going on there.

I think US press is interested in Rafa simply becoz he is not just a teen prodigy, something which they love to talk about, but also becoz of his exciting on-court personalities. He wears his heart on his sleeve(less). He is a fighter. And he's more likable than Hewitt; you hardly feel there's anything dishonest or unsportsmanlike about him. Sitting close to press box in AO during his match against Hewitt, I can see the impressed look on almost all the journalists' face. One of them even said "can you see the future RG champion?"

Fed's tennis is so divine people who watch him mostly cry out in awe. But Rafa just makes people smile, I guess, and that's why the press is interested in him.

Mimi
04-19-2005, 05:06 AM
agreed, you are so smart :angel:

I think it's because Rafa doesn't do it in his opponent's face, and he doesn't exactly cheer for his opponent's errors. He might express glee sometimes when they commit errors on important points, i.e. their breakpoints or his breakpoints, but not in such manners that is meant to irritate like Hewitt's. IMHO, he is simply showing his feelings, while with Hewitt, you couldn't help but suspect that some psychological tactics are going on there.

I think US press is interested in Rafa simply becoz he is not just a teen prodigy, something which they love to talk about, but also becoz of his exciting on-court personalities. He wears his heart on his sleeve(less). He is a fighter. And he's more likable than Hewitt; you hardly feel there's anything dishonest or unsportsmanlike about him. Sitting close to press box in AO during his match against Hewitt, I can see the impressed look on almost all the journalists' face. One of them even said "can you see the future RG champion?"

Fed's tennis is so divine people who watch him mostly cry out in awe. But Rafa just makes people smile, I guess, and that's why the press is interested in him.

Tennis Fool
04-19-2005, 05:17 AM
I agree w/ that assesement about attractive looks equals more press. Yes, if Fed was a stunner...he wouldn't be able to leave his home or hotel room...that's the way the world turns!!

.
Well Fed isn't exactly Radek Stepanek. And even if he were, and he was American, he'd still get a lot more press.

Thanks for the article, BTW>

onewoman74
04-19-2005, 01:51 PM
Well Fed isn't exactly Radek Stepanek. And even if he were, and he was American, he'd still get a lot more press.

Thanks for the article, BTW>

Thank goodness for that!!! Radek is definitely not the bees knees ;)

avocadoe
04-19-2005, 02:44 PM
lol looks discussion...in agreement that Rafa's personality and fire on court, plus youth, & game make him irresistible. I am one of those who think Federer is gorgeous and becomes more so every day. He, too, is funny, a wit, and plays sublime tennis. Looking forward to seeing Gasquet play on TV when the French gets here :) Sounds like he has a game I'll like.

smucav
04-20-2005, 05:03 PM
There's another article about Nadal in today's NYT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/20/sports/tennis/20nadal.html
April 20, 2005
Nadal Proves He's Leader of the New Wave in Men's Tennis
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY

ONACO, April 18 - It would have been entirely logical if Rafael Nadal had grown up to be a precocious soccer star. As a child, he was a promising striker, and soccer remains the sport of the masses in Spain and on Nadal's home island of Majorca.

He also had an excellent role model in the family, his uncle Miguel Angel Nadal, a fine defender with an imposing physique; he was a fixture on the Spanish national soccer team and had a long, successful club career before retiring this year.

But at age 12, Rafael Nadal chose a different game, and tennis will never be the same because of it.

He has yet to match the early work of prodigies like Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Michael Chang or Pete Sampras, who all won Grand Slam singles titles as teenagers. But at 18, Nadal is already making a habit of winning tournaments, and when the French Open begins May 23 at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, he will be on the very short list of favorites - if he can stay healthy this time.

"I am not the favorite," Nadal said. "It is going to be my first Roland Garros. But right now I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about the next few tournaments in Barcelona, Rome and Hamburg, and I'd love to play very well. And only after that am I going to think about Roland Garros."

He played very well last week. He picked and hustled through a varied and daunting draw to win the Masters Series event in Monte Carlo. On his way to the title, Nadal defeated clay-court masters like Gaston Gaudio, the defending French Open champion, and Guillermo Coria, last year's French Open runner-up. He also reminded other members of the new wave in tennis that he remains the leader of their peer group by defeating 18-year-olds Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, both from France.

But watching him whip bold shots and track down the best efforts of others is, for the moment, one of the better spectacles in sports. During a week of mourning the death of Prince Rainier III, Nadal's vitality in Monaco was an upbeat counterpoint on the red clay that best suits his slashing topspin forehand and great footwork.

But clay is hardly the only surface that suits him. On grass, Nadal reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2003, just after he turned 17. On hard courts, he pushed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia to five sets in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, then was 2 points away from beating Roger Federer, the world's No. 1 player, in the final of the Masters Series event April 3 in Key Biscayne, Fla.

He has also won critical Davis Cup matches for Spain on quick indoor surfaces. Though his serve remains a work in progress, such versatility was part of the plan when another of Nadal's uncles, Toni, taught him the game in Majorca. He insisted that Rafael polish his all-court skills in junior tournaments by rushing the net, even though he could have beaten the opposition more handily by camping on the baseline.

Toni, who remains his coach, is one of the reasons Rafael picked tennis over soccer. Toni is the brother of Miguel Angel and of Rafael's father, Sebastian, and was a competitive tennis player who had some success on the national level in Spain. Rafael was 3 when he first hit balls with him in Majorca.

"When he was 4 and 5, he would come two days a week to the club to play, but he always preferred soccer," Toni said. "Until he was 12, he played more soccer than tennis."

By then, he had won Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group, Toni said, adding: "It was clear that he had great talent, but it was still a difficult choice. His father said he needed to make a commitment to his studies and to either soccer or tennis."

Carlos Moya, also a Majorcan, had already proved it was possible to make it big, winning the French Open in 1998 and becoming the first Spaniard to reach No. 1 in the world the next year. Moya, who is 10 years older than Nadal, left Majorca as a teenager to train in Barcelona, the hub of Spanish tennis.

Nadal was 14 when the Spanish tennis federation suggested he make the same move. But his parents balked, partly because they wanted to stay involved in his education. Remaining in Majorca meant that Nadal received less financial support from the federation, but his father, a successful businessman who owns a window company, was prepared to pay for his training.

"His father just felt it was the best decision for Rafael to stay home, surrounded by his family with people to back him up," Toni Nadal said. "When you're young and you leave home, the tennis can go well, but as a person, it doesn't always go well. We had problems at times with the training, finding the same level of players as Rafael. But with hard work we managed it."

In 2002, Nadal was just 15 when he beat the Paraguayan veteran Ramon Delgado in the opening round of the ATP event in Majorca. A year later, he was ranked in the top 50 in the world, and by 2004, he and Moya were the leaders of the Spanish Davis Cup team that defeated the United States in the final in front of record crowds in Seville.

The only storm clouds have been injuries. The most serious was a stress fracture in his left ankle last year that kept him off the Tour for nearly three months. It also forced him to miss nearly all of the 2004 clay-court season, including the French Open.

"Of course that's been hard for me, because I had high hopes of doing well there," Nadal said. "Those are tough moments, but you have to keep working and staying positive, so when your time does come, you're prepared."

He looked thoroughly prepared in Monte Carlo, and he has a heavy schedule, including an opening-round match in Barcelona on Wednesday. It would be wise to prepare for something special in Paris, too.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Devotee
04-21-2005, 06:13 AM
This is marvelous that a non-American is getting press in U.S. newspapers!
especially an important paper like the N.Y. Times

This may mean fans in the U.S. will have the opportunity to see more matches of non-Americans! One can always hope.

ugotlobbed
04-21-2005, 06:46 AM
hahah nadal is looking at some 30 year old lady saying come here baby .....jk