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Old 06-18-2005, 01:58 PM   #91
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http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/s...509442,00.html

Nadal thrives on home help

Family team behind the remarkable Spaniard hope to guide him to his great dream of victory in SW19

Stephen Bierley and Peter Jenson
Saturday June 18, 2005
The Guardian

Rafael Nadal's mum, Ana María, had other things on her mind on the Sunday that her 19-year-old son was playing in the French Open final. "I watch him on court and the way he behaves is the way he behaves in life - all heart, very responsible, hard-working and much more mature than most boys his age. But he is very untidy and disorganised. On the day of the final I went into his room and I was shocked ... it was a complete mess."
Unlike the rest of his life. At the beginning of this year Rafa was ranked outside the top 50 with one title. Now, after less than six months, the young Spaniard is the French champion, the winner of five other titles, including the Monte Carlo and Italian Opens, and poised to challenge Roger Federer for the world No1 spot. It has been a remarkable rise.

The Nadals are a close-knit family. As Rafa's manager, Carlos Costa, puts it: "They have not only educated him to be a mature tennis player but also to be a mature person." The head of the family is Nadal's grandfather, also called Rafael. Heis a musician, the director of the orchestra in his home town of Manacor in Mallorca.

He wanted his five children to live close by him so bought a stretch of land at Puerto Cristo on the Mediterranean coast where Rafa lives with his dad, Sebastián, his mum, and his sister, Maribel. The extended family live in the same complex, including his three uncles: Rafael, who played third division football in Spain, and Miguel Angel, an uncompromising defender in Johan Cruyff's Barcelona team that won four Spanish titles and the 1992 European Cup.

However, it has been Uncle Toni, a top-30 Spanish tennis pro in the 80s, who has been the major influence. As Nadal's grandfather recalled: "Rafael was a good attacking midfielder who could play the perfect pass and score goals. He could easily have chosen football but with advice from his Uncle Toni it was decided that he would go further with a racket in his hand than with a ball at his feet."

He was bought his first racket at four. "I was amazed at how well he handled it," Uncle Miguel remembered. "Even though it weighed more than he did." By eight years old Rafa had won his first title - the Community of Baleares under-12s, a victory gained by playing all of his shots two-handed.

But it was not something of which his uncle Toni approved. "Have you ever seen a great tennis player playing with two hands?" he asked, and so Nadal began practising his forehand shots with his stronger right hand. It was then that Toni encouraged his ambidextrous nephew to play his forehand shots with his slightly weaker left hand. This gave him the full weight of his powerful right arm behind his double-fisted backhand.

Jofre Porta, who worked at the same tennis club and now forms part of Rafa's coaching team, was one of the first to notice his raw power. "He was just brutal. The first time I saw him I could see he was going to be a great player. It didn't take much for him to master playing with his left hand because he was so disciplined. He would sometimes deliberately play to his weaknesses so as to improve them even at the expense of winning matches."

At 12 Nadal reached the final of Europe's most prestigious under-14s tournament in Barbès, France and two years later the Spanish federation offered him the chance to train in Barcelona. He turned it down, feeling more comfortable with his Uncle Toni, Porta and Carlos Moyá, the 1998 French Open champion, who was also born in Mallorca.

In 2000 Rafa was chosen as a flag bearer at the Davis Cup final in Barcelona when Spain won the trophy for the first time against Australia. But the public in Spain took no more notice of him than those at Wimbledon two years ago when, as a 17-year-old, Nadal reached the third round, the youngest man to advance that far at the All England Club since a 16-year-old Boris Becker in 1984.

Last year he won his first ATP title at Sopot, while also becoming the youngest man in the history of the Davis Cup to win a singles match in a final for the winning team, his victory over Andy Roddick giving Spain the momentum to defeat the US. His aptitude to play at his best on the big occasion was immediately apparent, though few would have guessed how quickly he would rise this year.

Some already worry that his star may burn brightly but briefly in the tennis firmament. Not Toni and the family. "Once when he had just won a big tournament I spent the whole night going over the match in my head," said Costa. "But Toni and Rafa had forgotten about it almost immediately and were talking about other things besides tennis."

His grandfather further highlights the relaxed relationship between Rafa and Toni. "He was playing one of his first matches against a professional and his uncle told him: 'Don't worry, just stay calm and relaxed. If things don't go well I will make it rain and get the game stopped.' Rafa was behind and then pulled back to level, and it started raining. He went over to his uncle and said: 'It's OK, you can stop the rain. I think I can beat this guy.'"

Grandad Rafael led the cheering in Manacor when the French Open final was beamed live to the town's 30,000 residents on a huge screen in the main square. "We buy the newspapers and then we notice that some of the pages seem to have gone missing," says Rafa's auntie, María Elena, of her father's habit of keeping all Rafa's cuttings.

For all the natural exuberance of Nadal's play on court - the fist-pumping, the bounding leaps, and the stentorian shouts of "Vamos", there is nothing of the brat about his behaviour. "He has never broken a racket in anger," said Toni. "It would be showing a lack of respect to people who actually have to buy the equipment to play the sport."

"It's a long road ahead. He has to keep his feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds," said his grandfather. "But he will. He has always been someone who is able to come off the court happier having lost and played well than having won and played badly. And you know something else - despite being a clay-court player his great dream has always been to win the title at Wimbledon."

Rising star

June 3 1986 Born in Mallorca, Spain

September 2001 Aged 15, reaches second round at Seville Challenger, turns professional

April 2002 Wins first ATP match, becoming only ninth player in open era to do so before age of 16

January 2003 Reaches final in Hamburg ATP tournament without dropping a set, loses to Mario Ancic in final

June 2003 At 17 becomes youngest player to reach third round at Wimbledon since Becker (aged 16) in 1984

September 2004 Wins first ATP singles title at Sopot, Poland

December 2004 Wins Davis Cup, becomes youngest player ever to record singles victory in cup final, beating Andy Roddick in four sets

February-May 2005 Wins five ATP singles titles

May 2005 Wins French Open to become youngest winner of a major since 1989. First player since 1982 to win French title on debut. Undefeated in 24 matches during clay-court season.
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Old 06-18-2005, 02:59 PM   #92
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a very nice article! thanks
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:36 PM   #93
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I've read an article in a dutch tennis magazine and Rafa said in that article that he's addicted to chocolate and that he sometimes eat so much of it that he gets sick of it!!!
How cute, still a little boy!!!
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:33 AM   #94
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That was a fantastic article. Thank you very much, crimson.

To Rafa's family for keeping him so level-headed.
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Old 06-19-2005, 07:00 AM   #95
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Quote:
Originally Posted by crimson
His grandfather further highlights the relaxed relationship between Rafa and Toni. "He was playing one of his first matches against a professional and his uncle told him: 'Don't worry, just stay calm and relaxed. If things don't go well I will make it rain and get the game stopped.' Rafa was behind and then pulled back to level, and it started raining. He went over to his uncle and said: 'It's OK, you can stop the rain. I think I can beat this guy.'"
That's so sweet! It's nice to know he has that team behind him, watching over him. Please don't ever change Rafa!
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Old 06-20-2005, 11:35 PM   #96
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

http://vamosrafael.smugmug.com/galle...94114/Original
Hey guys I'm new (as u might figure out since I have not posted on these boards before.). But, anyways, I was just browsing around on VamosRafael when I found the article. Enjoy and sry if it's been posted here before!
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Old 06-21-2005, 05:16 AM   #97
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http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsands...xclusive_4.asp

It will be available this week!! Exclusive excerpt on Rafael Nadal from Summer's Issue Of Deuce:-

Rafael Nadal: Spain's Raging Bull



From DEUCE, Summer 2005:

By Pedro Hernandez

The kid’s timing, like his shotmaking, is impeccable. Just when it appeared that Roger Federer would dominate the game for the foreseeable future, young Rafael Nadal appeared in a blaze of orange to shake the sport’s foundation.

Boasting the muscular body of a kick boxer and a lethal left-handed forehand that he rips with ruthless brutality, the shaggy-haired Spaniard is an intimidating force despite his tender age—he turned 19 on June 3, when he dispatched Federer in the Roland Garros semifinals. Complemented by an eye-popping outfit of white pirate pants and sleeveless green and orange shirts that showcase his bulging biceps and Mediterranean complexion, Nadal is unquestionably the hottest personality in the game, if not all of sport.

By spring 2005, after dismantling nearly everyone who dared face him on clay, the then-18-year-old had become the youngest player in the ATP’s Top 5 since Michael Chang 16 years prior. That was before Roland Garros, where he stormed to the title in his first appearance, rocketing himself into the world’s Top 3, and creating a wave of attention that the sport hasn’t seen since 1985, when Boris Becker won Wimbledon at age 17. “My only secret is that I like this sport, I like getting better every day,” says Nadal. “Then, once I’m on court, there is no other secret but to fight ’til the end.

“I’m just a young guy who plays tennis, and I like to see people enjoy themselves and have a good time when I’m on the court. I’d like to shake all of their hands, give them all the autographs they are asking me for, but it is impossible.” As he talks he looks at his arms, lined with the marks from the felt-tips of the fans who swarmed him after one of his matches, while security guards scrambled to get him to the locker room.

Nadal mastered tennis with amazing precocity. Boys his own age couldn’t challenge him, and he couldn’t have cared less about the birth certificates—or the résumés—of the rest. “I remember that he came to my academy one day, when he was barely 12 years old,” says Emilio Sanchez Vicario about his first encounter with Nadal. “I rallied with him for a while and we decided to play a set. Each time he won a point, he celebrated as if it was the best one of his life, and when we changed sides, he didn’t look at me at all. He had one desire and that was to beat me.”

That fire is nothing new to Carlos Moya, Nadal’s friend from the Spanish island of Mallorca, with whom Nadal has an almost brotherly relationship. “A few years ago I asked him if he would like to have a career like mine,” Moya says. “He looked at me with the sincerity that you usually find in small children and said, quite seriously, that he aspired to more. And I knew that he would be a better player than I.”

What's In DEUCE Magazine Summer Issue?
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:58 AM   #98
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Ya es el más popular de España

Rafa desbancó a Alonso en la encuesta sobre los preferidos de la afición deportiva

Efe / Á. R. / MADRID / LONDRES


24/06/05 03:00 h.La eclosión internacional de Rafa Nadal, sellada sobre todo con su reciente triunfo en Roland Garros, le ha convertido en el deportista más popular y admirado en España, según los datos de junio del barómetro mensual elaborado por la firma Havas Sports, firma de márketing deportivo integrada en la empresa Media Planning Group (MPG). El tenista manacorense, nº 3 del ránking mundial y ganador de seis torneos en 2005, encabeza ambas encuestas por delante del piloto asturiano Fernando Alonso, que era el primer clasificado en mayo avalado por sus victorias y su liderato en el Mundial de Fórmula-1.

Nadal, de 19 años, ocupó el mes pasado la 6ª posición en términos de popularidad con un 16,24% de votos, pero su primera victoria en un torneo del Grand Slam le ha catapultado a lo más alto de la lista con un 46,34%, mejor que Alonso (41,88%) y los futbolistas Raúl, Ronaldinho, Beckham y Ronaldo, el delantero del Real Madrid que ha bajado de la 2ª plaza de mayo a la 6ª de junio. Los pilotos de motociclismo Dani Pedrosa (7º) y Sete Gibernau (13º) y el jugador de basket Pau Gasol (12º) son los otras figuras no futbolistas en la lista de los 15 deportistas más populares en España. En admiración, Nadal fue 3º en mayo (4,99%), pero ha subido en junio al primer lugar (18,43%) por delante de Alonso, Ronaldinho –el 'crack' del Barça–, Pedrosa, Raúl, Zidane, Casillas, Ronaldo, Eto'o y Carles Puyol.

“Estoy agradecido a todos. Es un halago que la gente esté pendiente de mí y se interese por mí. Son cosas que yo valoro mucho”, comentó ayer Rafa sobre su nº 1 en popularidad y admiración

Would someone please translate this article to me?
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:28 AM   #99
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This is what the Google Language Tool feature comes up with:

Quote:
He is already most popular of Spain Rafa supplanted to Alonso in the survey on the favourites of the sport liking

Efe/Á. R./MADRID/LONDON
24/06/05 03:00 h.

La international appearance of Rafa Nadal, sealed mainly with its recent triumph in Roland Garros, has turned to him the most popular and admired sportsman in Spain, according to the data of June of the monthly barometer elaborated by the company Havas Sports, sport company/signature of márketing integrated in the company Media Planning Group (MPG).
The manacorense tennis player, nº 3 of ránking world-wide and winning of six matches in 2005, heads both surveys in front of the Asturian pilot Fernando Alonso, who was first classified in May guaranteed by his victories and their leadership in the World-wide one of Formula-1.

Nadal, of 19 years, occupied the last month 6ª position in terms of popularity with a 16.24% of votes, but his first victory in a match of the Grand Slam has to him catapult to highest of the list with a 46.34%, better than Alonso (41,88%) and the soccer players Raul, Ronaldinho, Beckham and Ronaldo, the forward of the Real Madrid that has lowered of 2ª May seat 6ª of June.
The pilots of motociclismo Dani Pedrosa (7º) and Sete Gibernau (13º) and the player of basket Pau Gasol (12º) are the other figures nonsoccer players in the list of the 15 more popular sportsmen in Spain.
In admiration, Nadal was 3º in May (4,99%), but has raised in June the first place (18,43%) in front of Alonso, Ronaldinho - ' crack' of the Barça -, Pedrosa, Raul, Zidane, Squares, Ronaldo, Etóo and Carles Puyol.

"I am been thankful to all. It is a flattery that people are pending of me and she is interested in me. They are things that I value much ", commented yesterday Rafa on his nº 1 in popularity and admiration
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Old 06-26-2005, 09:45 AM   #100
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Quite an article this, from a man who seems quite taken by Nadal:
Quote:
I want a cashmere armband and a pair of Nadalians

Bud Collins
Sunday June 26, 2005
The Observer


Did Rafael Nadal's tailor make his shorts too long or his trousers too short? We are left to ponder this sartorial teaser at least until the US Open two months' hence. Then it should be clear whether the piratical pantaloons will complete a circumnavigational groan slam that began in Australia where he almost beat Lleyton Hewitt, and continued through his French championship.
Many were the traditionalists' groans of disapproval, similar to those heard in 1919 when the French goddess, Suzanne Lenglen, raised her hemline (and much British blood pressure), flashing calf, even thigh, liberating female colleagues from whalebone corsets while winning the first of her six Wimbledons.

But many more this year were the ecstatic groans of maidens (and otherwise) who would gladly embrace the beguiling Spanish lad in whatever he is or isn't wearing.
'He's a cuddly puppy dog with those soulful eyes,' suggested an American woman saddened by his departure from the Big W. All right, but a great-dane puppy, wouldn't you say. Alas, he is gone for a year. Of the passing parade of first-week losers, I miss most ' El Niño ', the kid, the storm out of Mallorca.

Oh, of course I'll miss Tiny Tim, and the daily soap opera, 'As the Henman Turns/Yearns/Burns'. And I've ordered a black cashmere armband from Turnbull & Asser out of respect. (Wouldn't his clothier, Adidas, be well advised to put Henman hairshirts, with polo collars, on the market for the faithful?)

We from the Colonies were never able to understand how much one tennis player could mean to these isles. John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, whether enraging or engaging, never had that kind of grip on their compatriots.

But Henman is the past. Nadal is the future. And young Murray? He reminded some of us colonial ignoramuses (namely me) that he is a Scot. Not to be confused with anything English, although he generously lends his body to an otherwise English enterprise called the British Davis Cup team. Should he come along as well as Henman, can you doubt that Scotch will be an added ingredient in Pimm's Cup?

But Nadal. I thought he would go farther, and so did he - although I can't imagine why the committee seeded a man with so little grass experience (four matches) as high as fourth. Totally illogical. Still, he did deliver one decent win, over seasoned world number 41 Vinnie Spadea, before falling to the left-handed Luxembourger Gilles Muller in four sets. Who knew that Luxembourg was large enough to contain a tennis court? Further, Nadal, who had defeated another southpaw, Mariano Puerta, to capture the French title, learned that left-handedness on green grass is a much dirtier proposition than on the crimson dirt.

But he will learn. That's one of the things I like about Nadal. He was eager to write his own tale of two cities, knowing full well that the guillotine awaited him at the London end. He wanted to assault those grassblades to see if they'd slash him back, which they did. But that only made him more anxious to return.

So different from such grassophobes as Guga Kuerten, Albert Costa and Gaston Gaudio, recent winners of the French who ducked the hazardous journey to Wimbledon. Perhaps they dreaded seaward sickness on the Channel as well as chlorophyll poisoning from groundsman Seaward's lawn.

Whatever the excuse, Nadal will never use it. He lusts to be in a class with those who have conquered both Paris and London. His lone countryman to carry it off was Manolo Santana: French '61, '64, Wimbledon '66. Rafael's quest to catch up underlines the greatness of Björn Borg, who Channel-hopped to double-dip, winning both in 1978-79-80, and Rod Laver, doing the same in 1962 and 1969.

I believe Nadal will win Wimbledon one day because he believes it. He has a heart the size of Luxembourg, determination that could paint the White Cliffs of Dover Spanish red and yellow and a rare speed and athleticism.

Gianni Clerici of Italy's La Repubblica , an ex-Wimbledon player and Europe's leading tennis journalist, disagrees. 'Never with those grips.' Beyond the striking of small, yellow rubber balls, Rafael is blessed with the quality that Spaniards call duende. This is flair, style, poise, a certain magnetism. It's one reason Rafa, as he's called, can get away with those raffish leggings. They should be called Nadalians. But anybody else who dons them will be branded a shameless copycat. At least by me.

Loaded with presence, Nadal, on the victory stand after his magnificent triumph in Paris, gestured toward one of his fans among the 15,171 witnesses and introduced the crowd to Juan Carlos, the king of Spain. What teenager - or anybody else for that matter - would be so cool and collected to do that, especially after labouring three hours to reach the moment of his life? His warm, good-humoured personality spills over. Wonderboys have come along periodically in tennis. The Aussies Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Boris Becker, Michael Chang, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras. But none with duende at so tender an age as Nadal.

On alien ground, separated from his native clay, he hasn't the knack for grass yet. He says: 'I need improve my serve, my volley, my confidence in grass. And my English. I think when I improve a lot of myself I can won a lot of matches here because I am fast.'

He will. Nadal plans to 'build a grass court near my home in Mallorca'. There's a guy who really wants to get ahead. Mallorca isn't that far from Trafalgar. But Rafa won't be celebrating the current anniversary of Lord Nelson's last battle because Spanish sailors (probably early wearers of Nadalians) were one of the losing sides. That was 200 years ago. They won't lose often these days wherever Nadal is involved.

Admired by men, fantasised by women, El Niño has blown out of town leaving them panting.
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/wimbledo...515063,00.html
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:10 AM   #101
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Telegraph
27 June 2005
By Sarah Edworthy

What a funny article...

Shorts taken in

Result! Rafael Nadal's shorts will go down in history. Following an appeal made by Radio Wimbledon on behalf of the museum, a plastic dirty laundry bag was surreptitiously dropped into the studio at the weekend. Inside were a pair of Nike Dri-Fit, 100 per cent polyester, GB size 31-33" white shorts, made in Taiwan - complete with grass stain and black felt-pen autograph.

"I've never seen anyone so interested in a pair of dirty shorts," laughed the station editor Steve Butterick, triumphant in procuring the cool Spaniard's pirate shorts for curator Honor Godfrey.

Each year Godfrey collects a time-capsule box of notable items from players. Last year she obtained the outfits worn in the finals by Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer. Number one on her 2005 wish-list was Nadal's kit, particularly the below-the-knee shorts, as they were a length last modelled by Sidney Wood in 1927.

She plans to wash Nadal's shorts by hand, taking care to keep the autograph and stain intact. The fabric would deteriorate faster if left sweat-soaked. They will be on display in the museum later in the summer.


[img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img][img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img][img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img][img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img][img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img][img]http://smileys.******************/cat/18/18_1_103v.gif[/img]
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Djokovic after his Madrid 2009 Semi with Rafa: “Next time I’ll probably take two rackets on the match point and try to hit with both of them. It’s frustrating that when you play so well you can’t win.”
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:48 AM   #102
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Not sure if this is posted before.. Excerpts from the article:-

The New York Times

A Champion and the People's Champion Fall
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: June 24, 2005


WIMBLEDON, England, June 23 -

The most prominent victim Thursday was Rafael Nadal, the 19-year-old Spaniard who turned the clay courts of the world into his private playground this season, winning four consecutive titles, including his first Grand Slam title at the French Open.

Unlike many of his clay-loving predecessors, Nadal seems genuinely excited by the prospect of plying his trade on grass.

"If Federer can do well on grass hitting topspin from the baseline, why can't I do well someday?" he said earlier this week of Roger Federer, the two-time Wimbledon champion.

But Nadal, though seeded No. 4, was always quick to dismiss his own chances of winning this year, and he proved himself right on Court One by losing to a much more anonymous fellow left-hander, Gilles Muller of Luxemburg, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

On clay earlier this year, Muller won two games in two sets against Nadal, but on quicker surfaces he is more dangerous, as he demonstrated by reaching the final in Washington on hardcourts last August, defeating Andre Agassi along the way.

Nadal did not sound dejected on Thursday and was even considering the possibility of financing the construction of a natural grass court on his home island, Majorca.

"Not at my house," he said with a laugh. "I don't have a big enough yard. But I think it's something to consider doing because this is such an important tournament, and it would be good to prepare for it the best I can. If you want to be good at something, I think the most important thing is to want it. Winning this tournament will be my goal until the end of my career."


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Djokovic after his Madrid 2009 Semi with Rafa: “Next time I’ll probably take two rackets on the match point and try to hit with both of them. It’s frustrating that when you play so well you can’t win.”
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Old 06-27-2005, 10:16 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veyonce
Telegraph
27 June 2005
By Sarah Edworthy

What a funny article...

Shorts taken in

Result! Rafael Nadal's shorts will go down in history. Following an appeal made by Radio Wimbledon on behalf of the museum, a plastic dirty laundry bag was surreptitiously dropped into the studio at the weekend. Inside were a pair of Nike Dri-Fit, 100 per cent polyester, GB size 31-33" white shorts, made in Taiwan - complete with grass stain and black felt-pen autograph.

"I've never seen anyone so interested in a pair of dirty shorts," laughed the station editor Steve Butterick, triumphant in procuring the cool Spaniard's pirate shorts for curator Honor Godfrey.

Each year Godfrey collects a time-capsule box of notable items from players. Last year she obtained the outfits worn in the finals by Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer. Number one on her 2005 wish-list was Nadal's kit, particularly the below-the-knee shorts, as they were a length last modelled by Sidney Wood in 1927.

She plans to wash Nadal's shorts by hand, taking care to keep the autograph and stain intact. The fabric would deteriorate faster if left sweat-soaked. They will be on display in the museum later in the summer.


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Great article

It's the size "31-33" of Rafael
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Old 06-27-2005, 04:14 PM   #104
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Wimbledon Official Website
Monday, 27 June, 2005

Nadal Consigns His Togs to Posterity


French Open champion Rafael Nadal has lost his trousers in his bid to win the Gentlemen's Singles title at Wimbledon this year.

Rafael, the 6th youngest Grand Slam winner of the open era and first man in 23 years to win the French Open on his debut has agreed to donate his trousers to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, to be displayed alongside exhibits such as the Williams' sisters winning dresses and Anna Kournikova's underwear.

The 'pirata' style trousers which Nadal wore at Wimbledon this year were delivered to the museum on Saturday. But Rafael won't be playing future matches without his trousers as he does have another pair.

The pirata pants were recently cited by Honor Godfrey, Curator of the Wimbledon Museum, as the one exhibit she would most like to display in the Museum from this year's Championships.

Honor says of the donation: "We are absolutely delighted that Rafael has decided to give us his trousers - he's the first person to wear three-quarter length trousers on Centre Court since 1927 and a true champion. We are confident that there will be many more firsts from this young man."

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, located within Centre Court, Wimbledon, is home to what is amongst the world's greatest collections of tennis memorabilia, with the oldest exhibit dating from 1555. Many items are of immense historical importance and some, not least the Championship Trophies, are unique.

Visitors can enjoy the views of Centre Court (outside of The Championship), the audio-visual theatre, and the Gallery, which currently exhibits some real gems from the poster collection from 1890 to 1940.

The Museum does not simply recount the history of the game of tennis, Wimbledon and The Championships, but reflects the state of the current game and champions of today, hopefully providing inspiration to the potential champions of tomorrow.

Outside of the tournament period the Museum runs award-winning behind-the-scenes tours of the grounds for individuals and groups which give access to areas out-of-bounds even during The Championships.

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Djokovic after his Madrid 2009 Semi with Rafa: “Next time I’ll probably take two rackets on the match point and try to hit with both of them. It’s frustrating that when you play so well you can’t win.”
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:29 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crimson
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/s...509442,00.html

Nadal thrives on home help

Family team behind the remarkable Spaniard hope to guide him to his great dream of victory in SW19

Stephen Bierley and Peter Jenson
Saturday June 18, 2005
The Guardian

Rafael Nadal's mum, Ana María, had other things on her mind on the Sunday that her 19-year-old son was playing in the French Open final. "I watch him on court and the way he behaves is the way he behaves in life - all heart, very responsible, hard-working and much more mature than most boys his age. But he is very untidy and disorganised. On the day of the final I went into his room and I was shocked ... it was a complete mess."
Unlike the rest of his life. At the beginning of this year Rafa was ranked outside the top 50 with one title. Now, after less than six months, the young Spaniard is the French champion, the winner of five other titles, including the Monte Carlo and Italian Opens, and poised to challenge Roger Federer for the world No1 spot. It has been a remarkable rise.

The Nadals are a close-knit family. As Rafa's manager, Carlos Costa, puts it: "They have not only educated him to be a mature tennis player but also to be a mature person." The head of the family is Nadal's grandfather, also called Rafael. Heis a musician, the director of the orchestra in his home town of Manacor in Mallorca.

He wanted his five children to live close by him so bought a stretch of land at Puerto Cristo on the Mediterranean coast where Rafa lives with his dad, Sebastián, his mum, and his sister, Maribel. The extended family live in the same complex, including his three uncles: Rafael, who played third division football in Spain, and Miguel Angel, an uncompromising defender in Johan Cruyff's Barcelona team that won four Spanish titles and the 1992 European Cup.

However, it has been Uncle Toni, a top-30 Spanish tennis pro in the 80s, who has been the major influence. As Nadal's grandfather recalled: "Rafael was a good attacking midfielder who could play the perfect pass and score goals. He could easily have chosen football but with advice from his Uncle Toni it was decided that he would go further with a racket in his hand than with a ball at his feet."

He was bought his first racket at four. "I was amazed at how well he handled it," Uncle Miguel remembered. "Even though it weighed more than he did." By eight years old Rafa had won his first title - the Community of Baleares under-12s, a victory gained by playing all of his shots two-handed.

But it was not something of which his uncle Toni approved. "Have you ever seen a great tennis player playing with two hands?" he asked, and so Nadal began practising his forehand shots with his stronger right hand. It was then that Toni encouraged his ambidextrous nephew to play his forehand shots with his slightly weaker left hand. This gave him the full weight of his powerful right arm behind his double-fisted backhand.

Jofre Porta, who worked at the same tennis club and now forms part of Rafa's coaching team, was one of the first to notice his raw power. "He was just brutal. The first time I saw him I could see he was going to be a great player. It didn't take much for him to master playing with his left hand because he was so disciplined. He would sometimes deliberately play to his weaknesses so as to improve them even at the expense of winning matches."

At 12 Nadal reached the final of Europe's most prestigious under-14s tournament in Barbès, France and two years later the Spanish federation offered him the chance to train in Barcelona. He turned it down, feeling more comfortable with his Uncle Toni, Porta and Carlos Moyá, the 1998 French Open champion, who was also born in Mallorca.

In 2000 Rafa was chosen as a flag bearer at the Davis Cup final in Barcelona when Spain won the trophy for the first time against Australia. But the public in Spain took no more notice of him than those at Wimbledon two years ago when, as a 17-year-old, Nadal reached the third round, the youngest man to advance that far at the All England Club since a 16-year-old Boris Becker in 1984.

Last year he won his first ATP title at Sopot, while also becoming the youngest man in the history of the Davis Cup to win a singles match in a final for the winning team, his victory over Andy Roddick giving Spain the momentum to defeat the US. His aptitude to play at his best on the big occasion was immediately apparent, though few would have guessed how quickly he would rise this year.

Some already worry that his star may burn brightly but briefly in the tennis firmament. Not Toni and the family. "Once when he had just won a big tournament I spent the whole night going over the match in my head," said Costa. "But Toni and Rafa had forgotten about it almost immediately and were talking about other things besides tennis."

His grandfather further highlights the relaxed relationship between Rafa and Toni. "He was playing one of his first matches against a professional and his uncle told him: 'Don't worry, just stay calm and relaxed. If things don't go well I will make it rain and get the game stopped.' Rafa was behind and then pulled back to level, and it started raining. He went over to his uncle and said: 'It's OK, you can stop the rain. I think I can beat this guy.'"

Grandad Rafael led the cheering in Manacor when the French Open final was beamed live to the town's 30,000 residents on a huge screen in the main square. "We buy the newspapers and then we notice that some of the pages seem to have gone missing," says Rafa's auntie, María Elena, of her father's habit of keeping all Rafa's cuttings.

For all the natural exuberance of Nadal's play on court - the fist-pumping, the bounding leaps, and the stentorian shouts of "Vamos", there is nothing of the brat about his behaviour. "He has never broken a racket in anger," said Toni. "It would be showing a lack of respect to people who actually have to buy the equipment to play the sport."

"It's a long road ahead. He has to keep his feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds," said his grandfather. "But he will. He has always been someone who is able to come off the court happier having lost and played well than having won and played badly. And you know something else - despite being a clay-court player his great dream has always been to win the title at Wimbledon."

Rising star

June 3 1986 Born in Mallorca, Spain

September 2001 Aged 15, reaches second round at Seville Challenger, turns professional

April 2002 Wins first ATP match, becoming only ninth player in open era to do so before age of 16

January 2003 Reaches final in Hamburg ATP tournament without dropping a set, loses to Mario Ancic in final

June 2003 At 17 becomes youngest player to reach third round at Wimbledon since Becker (aged 16) in 1984

September 2004 Wins first ATP singles title at Sopot, Poland

December 2004 Wins Davis Cup, becomes youngest player ever to record singles victory in cup final, beating Andy Roddick in four sets

February-May 2005 Wins five ATP singles titles

May 2005 Wins French Open to become youngest winner of a major since 1989. First player since 1982 to win French title on debut. Undefeated in 24 matches during clay-court season.


Thats a really nice and interesting article there. I believe that his dream of winning Wimbledon will one day come true.
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Go Federer, Nadal!!!
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