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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-24-2015 10:53 PM
Scott Stevenett
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Why is Nadal playing Hamburg?: http://championshippoint.sportsblog....-hamburg-.html
06-14-2015 10:26 PM
Scott Stevenett
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Rafa claims first grass court title in 5 years:
05-16-2015 03:44 PM
Daniel Scott
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

My take on what the future may hold for Rafael Nadal.
01-03-2015 06:54 PM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Here's my 2015 predictions:
04-19-2014 05:14 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Monte Carlo: Ferrer d. Nadal

Looking at it on paper, there hardly seemed to be a reason for Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer to bother playing their quarterfinal in Monte Carlo on Friday. The last time Nadal had lost to his countryman on clay was back in 2004, in the first of their 26 career meetings. And in that same span of time, Rafa had amassed a 50-2 record, and eight titles, at this, his favorite tournament. We knew it would be tough, we knew it would be a grind, we knew it would took some time, we knew Ferrer might even have a chance or two, but we knew that Nadal would end up the winner.

All of those things turned out to be true except the last one, as Ferrer improved his record on clay against Nadal to 2-17 with a surprising 7-6 (1), 6-4 win. In fact, if you hadn’t known anything about the two players, you might have thought that Ferrer was the favorite and Nadal was the one who couldn’t quite make himself believe that he could beat this opponent.

Rafa was uncharacteristically subdued throughout, and he saved his worst, least confident tennis for the most crucial 10 minutes of the match, the first-set tiebreaker. Hanging his head and playing tentatively, he virtually conceded the breaker after falling behind early. At 1-4, Nadal had a chance to take a rip at his favorite shot, an inside-out forehand, from on top of the baseline. Instead, he tried to thread a risky drop shot; too risky, it turned out, as the ball caught the tape and fell back. The shot selection, the execution, the demeanor: None of it was what we've come to expect from Rafa at these stages.

What we usually expect from a match between these two is an elemental battle of wills. Ferrer grinds, until you think no one could possibly have the mental endurance to stay with him—nobody except Nadal, that is. Rafa’s superior shotmaking always gives him the last word. Today, though, Nadal didn’t have those shots; he finished with 24 winners and 44 unforced errors, his backhand was short and often shanked, and at the moment in the first set when he appeared ready to come up with something special, he came up with something pedestrian instead.

Serving at 5-5, Ferrer went from being ahead 40-15 to down a break point. The two engaged in a long rally, and both ended up at the net. With an opening for a backhand pass, Rafa slid forward and...chipped the ball right to Ferrer, who volleyed it away for a winner and eventually held. The usual roles between these two had been reversed.

Beyond that moment, though, it didn’t seem that Nadal had the psychological endurance to grind with Ferrer today. Rafa mustered his share of fist-pumps and his cries of "Vamos!", but they tended to come after the crucial points had been lost, when he was just trying to hang on. This time, when Ferrer, who squandered an early break in the first set and a late break in the second, gave him an opening, Rafa didn't take it. Perhaps 10 years of wins over Ferrer on clay, and eight titles at Monte Carlo, had finally sapped a little of Nadal’s motivation. You can only keep a Little Beast at bay for so long, and Rafa has done it for a long time.

In the end, after a few wobbles, the beast came up big when it mattered. He attacked from the start, created the baseline patterns he wanted, won 13 of 18 points at the net, and kept Nadal off balance with his drop shot. After going down 0-1 in the tiebreaker, Ferrer, often shaky in breakers, played error-free tennis. And after blowing his first chance to serve out the match at 5-2 in the second set, he held his nerve and his serve at 5-4. He did more than that, in fact.

From 30-0 up, Ferrer made two backhand errors for 30-30. Would he blow yet another chance? Last year Nadal had come back from the dead against him in Madrid and won a 6-0 third set; visions of a repeat performance must have danced in both players’ heads for a few seconds. But Ferrer wasn’t going to let it happen today. At 30-30, he stepped in and drilled a forehand winner, maybe the gutsiest forehand winner of his career, to reach match point. Ten years is a long time to wait for a second win over a player on any surface; Ferrer couldn't wait any longer.

The Spanish No. 2 has come a long way in a few weeks. After losing to Kei Nishikori in Miami, Ferrer, 32, said he was feeling a little less spry these days. But he obviously wasn’t over the hill, because he climbed a tall one today.
04-19-2014 05:08 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

From Twitter

@markalannixon Toni Nadal in l'Equipe: The warm-up didn't go well. But OK, it happens. We though it would be better after. But Rafael was really too nervous.

You can't live staying blocked by something that happened three months ago. You have to move on.
04-19-2014 05:07 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

From Twitter

@markalannixon Nadal after Ferrer match as quoted in l'Equipe 2014-04-19: I didn't have good intensity either on my forehand or in my legs. I played too short. I let him take control of the point almost every time. I don't have the playing style to finish points in two shots. Me, most of the time I construct the points, I fight, I don't make so many errors.

I should been more intense at the start of the second set. David is a fantastic player. Last year at Madrid I was two points away from losing to him. It's no surprise that he beats me. But when you know you could have done more, you can't be happy when you go back home.
02-15-2014 07:02 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Rafa is ready to play. And he also plans to take part in the Rio Olympics 2016.

Nadal Looking Forward To Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

by ATP Staff


Rafael Nadal is looking forward to competing at the inaugural Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv, an ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament.

The World No. 1 told reporters on Friday, “I have good feelings about competing in Brazil. I have a great connection with the fans here. This country is very special and I hope to enjoy the experience."

Nadal first competed in South America as an 18 year old in 2005, picking up ATP World Tour titles at Costa do Sauipe (d. A. Martin) and Acapulco (d. Montanes). Last year, he returned following a seven-month lay-off due to a knee injury. After he had finished runner-up at Vina del Mar (l. to Zeballos), he lifted trophies at Sao Paulo (d. Nalbandian) and again at Acapulco (d. Ferrer).

“When I won the tournament [at Costa do Sauipe] in Brazil in 2005, that was the start of my success,” he said. “I was able to play one of the best seasons of my career, winning 11 titles.

“Last year was an important one, playing in Sao Paulo after coming back from an important injury and a long-time not playing on the tour. To win in Sao Paulo gave me confidence again to compete well.”

There are five tournaments on the Latin American swing of the ATP World Tour in 2014. Nadal welcomes Rio de Janeiro’s addition to the professional tennis calendar.

“I think that tennis has to move to places where there is love and passion for the sport, so it is important to have tournaments in South America,” said Nadal. “Tennis is a global sport, so to have tournaments in new places is great for our sport. Cities and countries in Latin America have developed a lot over the years, so it is good to see tournaments are getting bigger and bigger in this part of the world.”

Nadal also expressed his desire to compete in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic Games in 2016.

“It is difficult to predict what will happen over the next two-and-a-half years, but I am motivated to arrive at the Olympic Games in 2016 and be competitive,” he said.
“The fact that the Olympic Games will be on clay gives me a little bit of extra motivation. Representing my country at an Olympic Games, at Beijing 2008, was one of the greatest moments of my career.”

Nadal beat Fernando Gonzalez to win the 2008 Beijing Olympics singles gold medal.
02-07-2014 11:09 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Oh gosh! Then we'll hear again about all that to no end. Whatever... And let the haters hate...
02-07-2014 10:42 AM
Just like heaven
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<
10-22-2013 08:32 PM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Rafa Nadal:
much more than a tennis player, than a sportsman

By Xavier Budó

It is three years ago now since we inaugurated our centre, NOVAELITE. It was an unforgettable day with many Olympic champions there, Rafa Nadal among them. You can imagine what it meant to us to count on his presence and support. We thought and thought about what gesture we could make for him. I got in touch with Miguel Ángel Calleja, one of those friends who always help you: "Miguel Ángel, could you prepare us an emotive video of the 50 best points in Rafa's career with the type of music he likes?"... and he, who is really good at it, prepared the video for us.

Before the official inauguration and in private... we put the video on for Rafa... the 50 best points of his career. There were points from matches at any time... the 4th game from the 2nd round in Australia years ago... the 7th game from the 4th round at Wimbledon... and you cannot imagine our surprise, our incredulity... when he began to be one step ahead when he saw what point it was... and he described the point to us... before it happened!!! He even told us to watch out for a bad bounce in one point from a match in Rome... three years before!!

We had to rub our eyes... we were not dreaming... I will never forget this moment.

There are many things I admire about Rafa, one of which is every time he speaks at press conferences. He always does it perfectly. Not long ago he said: "There is something that makes me even happier than being number one and that is the process, the effort, the path taken to get there."

I have always thought that one competes as one lives. Rafa is an example of the importance of day to day work, of getting up each day and trying to be a bit better than yesterday, and of an unlimited desire to improve. He manages to achieve levels on the mental side, in the capacity to overcome adversity, that you do not think exist, you think are impossible, and Rafa shows you they are possible for him (only for him).

A person who is capable of remembering the points we prepared for him on this video, in detail... shows you that he lives his passion - tennis, competition and everything it involves - in his interior like nobody else, to an extraordinary degree.

I think we have run out of adjectives and qualifications to use when speaking about Rafa Nadal the person and Rafa Nadal the tennis player. He is an authentic world number one both on and off the court, because of his values, his attitude, everything he communicates to us, his capacity for surpassing himself, his passion and many things more.

For some time now, everybody has been talking about the present economic crisis society is having to endure. I never tire of repeating that, to my mind, there is a much more worrying crisis (and that is saying something) than the economic one: the crisis in values/principles. That culture of effort, integrity in what one does, commitment and ethics, the value of one's word and one's actions, work done in silence, inner fortitude (and not exterior superficiality), fighting for one's dreams, etc...

We all need to have models to learn from, who give us hope and show us the path to take. Socially and politically we are living through times when society feels a great deal of impotence and sadness in front of all that is happening at present. And, precisely at this point, a person who embodies everything that makes us proud and which we so need at the moment: real values, authentic values, has appeared in our country, in the world of sport. He is Rafa Nadal.

Every time I talk with friends, with the family, at work, or with anybody at all and Rafa's name comes up, there is nobody I see whose eyes do not light up, or who does not pay him compliments each one better than the other, or who fails to speak about his/her admiration for him, or who does not rate him excellent as a person and as a professional... Is it coincidence? Not at all. There has never been such unanimity in speaking about anybody.

Jorge Valdano put it in words that delighted me: "Rafa Nadal is a monument to the dignity of sport."

Rafa has managed to go much further than being the world number one at tennis or than being the best or one of the best sportsmen in history and being recognised by us as such. Rafa has managed to become, and that we see him as, a model, an example to follow, in any of life's spheres. That is something unique.

I think the greatest success and personal satisfaction is feeling happy giving 100% of what you have and are, any day of the year. I think Rafa is unique in this sense.

Obviously the merit is his and his alone. But, the magnificent team and people he has around him have also contributed a great deal. Behind a great unique player... a great team.

I am a great believer in team-work, even more so nowadays when growing and improving in any aspect is the sum of many small details and only team-work gives you more opportunities to obtain whatever objective or goal you set out to achieve.

Toni Nadal once made an extraordinary reflection with which I could not be more in agreement: "We always talk about the importance of improving a tennis player's strokes, but why don't we talk about forming character? That is the most important." He has always given and gives priority to this view... and the results with Rafa are obvious, they are unbelievable. Toni is his mentor, the point of reference, and has worked very well on all aspects of the game throughout Rafa's career, but above all on the mental aspect (which I think is the main and most important part of tennis).

Everybody talks about the importance of the mental aspect in tennis. But, you have to work on it and know how to work on it. That is the key.

Rafa's team is tremendously homogeneous and each member stands out in his field: Carlos Costa, with the vision and knowledge of a manager who was once a magnificent player himself, Rafa Maymó who travels every week of the year with him and is much more than his physiotherapist, Francis Roig, with his profound sound knowledge of tennis, and Joan Forcades, someone I really admire. I think he is a magician, a visionary, a person with unusual out of the ordinary knowledge. He is always in the shade, but he is extraordinary.

And the many more people who make up Rafa's team and I do not have enough space to name.

Coaching team and family. Family and coaching team. Two pillars that must go hand in hand in any project. Using one language. Just like his team, Rafa's family have done much to strengthen these values, this identity that is Rafa's. They are sportsmen, fighters and 'persons'.

Nothing happens by chance in this world and managing to achieve everything Rafa has done even less so. It has all been built up from when he was very young, that is where the key to it all begins, with a coaching team, and a family, working in unison to make Rafa what he is today, a really fantastic human being and professional. An extraterrestrial.

I like it when Joan Forcades talks about Rafa's "theory of Mondays" - Finish one tournament and the next day.... work and work and work to become a bit better every day. That is Rafa's key.

At the moment of maximum pressure, of maximum stress in any match, in any situation on court, what always comes out is what is worked on every day. It is the sum of the visible training plus the training that cannot be seen.

"Four hours of match, both players at their limit... extremely hard difficult points... an infernal rhythm... a very important point... Rafa gets to it at full stretch... and hits an improbable winner... " We have experienced this situation many times now. Behind it lies not just a good week of practice sessions or a good year of work. Behind it lies a life. A life forged by him and all his team under two irremovable non-negotiable pillars: values and attitude. That is what builds a character, a personality, a unique mentality.

I only hope that with time we come to live in a world where values of which we feel proud predominate in all fields. For the moment, every day Rafa teaches us and conveys to us what they are. Let us enjoy him and take notice of him and, starting from there, each one of us try to do our little bit to help, in sport and in life. I have never learned so much watching and paying attention to anyone in the world of sport as I have with Rafa Nadal.

Thank you Rafa.

(Rafa Nadal: mucho más allá de un tenista, de un deportista
translated for
10-09-2013 03:23 PM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

I also think it has helped Nadal to know that the pain in his knee is not going to mean that he will be crippled later on. The fat pad is something that will reduce and be relieved when he ceases to play. Sometimes it is the fear of the pain that restricts movement.
10-09-2013 08:35 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

The thing is that most top athletes play through pain.
I believe it was Wozniacki who said that if she doesn't feel pain, it would mean that she's dead.
(I think, but I'm not sure it was her who said this, that she was also the one who added that those top players who claim to have no ongoing pains are lying).

Eddy Merckx once said that top sport is unhealthy because you push your body to the limit and cross that limit. When he was cycling, he did indicate that he would be surprised if he got really old and even if he does, it'll be by paying a price for how far he pushed his body when he was a pro cyclist.
10-09-2013 07:33 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Thanks for posting, Star!

"Even if I have pain, I am able to control that pain. In the past I was not able to control the pain, so I couldn't play. But the feeling is I would like to improve a little bit more."
Unbelievable. Indeed, we don't know what's going on with the knee, if it's going to be really bad on a given day, or get worse suddenly.
He is a masochist indeed, to keep going, and playing at the very top, simply unbelievable!
Safin and Andreev I know retired bc of the similar knee issues.
10-09-2013 03:48 AM
Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Daily mail referred to as the 'daily heil', where I live. They tend to have a problem with anyone not white, male, str8 & middle class < Whatever that is? Eastern European migration is the latest non-existent 'threat' to Britain. A long running one but now the gates are soon going to be open to Romania & Bulgaria - whose populations are (according to the DM), en masse going to travel to Britain & immediately steal all our jobs & fill our hospitals. The comedy value of the paper is world class, the fact the paper is Britain's second biggest selling tabloid - scary stuff.

'In part it is unfair that not all players have the same chances of winning this important tournament, which is a reward for the achievements throughout the year on all surfaces. Why does the tournament for which you qualify for playing well on all surfaces have to be [played] always on the same [surface]? It seems illogical and a little unfair.'

Preach the truth, Rafa!
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