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Old 08-18-2008, 08:04 AM   #1456
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:27 AM   #1457
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Quote:
There's no limit for Nadal
So far in '08, it seems life has denied him nothing

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune....8/41669062.jpg
Rafael Nadal holds up the Spanish flag on the podium after receiving the gold medal. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images / August 17, 2008)

Mike Downey | In the wake of the news
9:46 PM CDT, August 17, 2008


BEIJING

Tall and tan and young and handsome, the boy from España goes walking. And each girl he passes goes, "Aaah."

When he walks it's like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gentle. Orange bandana, sleeveless red shirt, orange wristbands and white Bermuda-length shorts — this is not an outfit that a plain old anybody can bring off.

In the next 2 hours 22 minutes of a Sunday afternoon, 22-year-old Rafael Nadal will win the Olympic men's tennis singles over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in fairly uncomplicated straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

After that, for the photographers, Nadal will bare his teeth and take a healthy bite into a gold medal, just as he did to his 2008 Wimbledon trophy and French Open tureen, continuing to be a remarkably good sport for the camera as well as the Hannibal Lecter of trophies.

Finally, first thing Monday morning, the new world rankings will come out, certifying the dashing young man from Manacor, Spain, as numero uno, breaking a stranglehold that Roger Federer has had on this No. 1 status symbol for the last 41/2 years.

And now, on to New York, no?

OK, yes, the U.S. Open is where Nadal does go from here. Cut the kid some slack, though, because as he says, in his charming Spanglish, "Now is the moment for enjoy this moment because I am having unbelievable year. Nowhere in my best dreams I can imagine something like what I did this year, so I want to enjoy these moments, no?"

Why not, no?

Phelps, schmelps. A swimmer — even a super swimmer — comes along every four years, captures your imagination for a couple of weeks, makes a round of personal appearances, then drops off the face of the earth. This will happen to the Michigan Wolverine of the chlorine, Michael Phelps, as sure as water is wet.

Ah, but a tennis champion, he trots around the globe, court after court, Grand Slam after Grand Slam, never too far from the public eye. Nadal could be the international sports ruler of the world right now, what with Tiger Woods out of commission and David Beckham no longer at the top of his game.

Nadal is a happy man to come so far in so short a time, no?

He said before Sunday's match, "For me, is a dream to be in this final, no?"

And: "Very happy for have this experience in my life, no?"

And: "Everyone have different goals. Not for every player is the same important the things, no?"

Yes. Take, for instance, Elena Dementieva, a Russian player who won the Olympic women's singles just before Nadal's turn on center court. She won a tough match against her friend Dinara Safina, who double-faulted a whopping 17 times, threw her racket three different times and angrily whacked a ball into the crowd.

Dementieva was as delighted as her opponent was demented. She said the Olympic gold medal had been a dream of hers since childhood — tennis became an Olympic sport only in 1992 — and called it such a thrill that "I cannot even compare Grand Slam and Olympic Games because this is just so much bigger. To be an Olympic champion, this is the top of the career."

Possibly.

And even a grande dame of the Grand Slams such as Venus Williams isn't beyond being overwhelmed by this, saying of her gold medal in doubles, which she won with sister Serena, "I have chill bumps."

Which is cool.

A guy like Nadal, though, can scarcely find words to explain what is happening to him. Wherever he plays these days, whatever the surface — clay, grass, hard court — he wins. Federer did not go into some kind of a slump to give up his standing as the world's No. 1 player. Nadal snatched it away from him.

Rafa acts almost embarrassed to replace Roger.

"I was very happy to be the No. 2," he said.

He has become a heartthrob as well. Nadal stayed in the Olympic Village rather than at a hotel, and women there mobbed him wherever he went. A lot of those who see him play would like to get him on a slow boat to China.

His opponent Sunday was the tri-color medalist Fernandez, who added a silver to the 2004 doubles gold and singles bronze he already possessed. Fernandez played villain to Nadal's hero, having alienated a few fans in his semifinal match against James Blake, who practically called out the Chilean as a cheat.

Fernandez went quietly in the final, squandering two set points in the second set and ending up cooked like a sea bass.

Not meaning to boast, Nadal said, "I think I played almost perfect match, no?"

Yes.

His reward was a gold medal bestowed by Juan Antonio Samaranch, the esteemed former International Olympic Committee president, who didn't look a day under 120.

Playing for his homeland was Nadal's favorite part. "It was for a lot of people, not only for me," he said.

A guy could get chill bumps, winning so many wonderful things one after another in his young life. No?
Hilarious article.

A shame he didn't seem to know Rafa played Gonzalez and not Fernandez.

Quote:
100,000 condoms. 16,500 competitors. Go figure


Marina Hyde in Beijing
The Guardian, Monday August 18 2008


In its Beijing incarnation, it is a place where you might spot a slightly glum-looking Rafael Nadal wandering about in pink clothes.

Fresh from his gold-medal triumph in the team sprint, the British cyclist Jamie Staff is good enough to explain.

"I was in the laundry the other night and I realised I was standing right next to Nadal," begins one reflection on this surreal community. "I didn't bother him, but he was shoving all his colours and whites in together. I really wanted to say, 'Dude, you're going to have a nightmare with that. You can't just put the whole bag in - there's reds in with whites.'" Staff gives a wry shrug. "But what can you do?"

You have to let them make their own way, is probably the answer - and given the vogue for athletes declaring they're learning lessons from their Olympic disappointments, Nadal will doubtless take the positives from his experiences down the Village laundrette. He may have taken gold in the tennis, but it would be nice to think he's looking to work up his garment-separation game in time for London 2012.

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Old 08-18-2008, 08:01 PM   #1458
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

^^ ROTFL. That explains why Rafa is often seen wearing pink shirts.

So, to commemorate Rafa's new status as World #1: headlines!

It is worth noting that Rafa ascends the world number one throne on 8-18-08, eight being a very lucky number in China (or so NBC has told us a thousand times).
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 08-18-2008, 08:02 PM   #1459
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

More.
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__________________
"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 08-18-2008, 08:32 PM   #1460
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Thanks tangy!



Quote:
Nadal atop the tennis world

August 17, 2008

BY GREG COUCH Sun-Times Columnist

BEIJING -- It was clear even from the way he walked out on the court, mixing long, proud steps with a little shadow boxing, while fans squealed. Before him, Fernando Gonzalez walked out to polite applause. But when Rafael Nadal traipsed out? The crowd went nuts.

Tennis is Nadal’s now. He’s a rock star at the Olympics, not only to the fans, but also to the other athletes in the Olympic Village, supposedly signing autographs for them all day long. He arrived at the finals Sunday wearing a bright red sleeveless shirt, yellow headband and wristbands, long hair flowing, muscles bulging.

He won the gold medal easily, ripping through Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. He dropped to his back on the court in celebration, tried to hit a ball into the upper deck, but in his excitement hit it all the way out of the stadium, threw his drenched wristbands to the crowd.

And today, he overtakes Roger Federer in the rankings. Nadal is No. 1. After nearly 240 weeks, Federer is not.

It’s a new era for tennis, and Nadal brought it in well in Beijing. But I wonder how he’s going to handle it, how it’s going to handle him. Can he take his international popularity, build on his classic Wimbledon win over Federer, and now Olympic gold, and make it work in the U.S., too?

So I asked him if he thought there would be different pressure at No. 1 than there was at No. 2.

"Different pressure?" he said. "No, I don’t think so. For me, it doesn’t change too much from two weeks ago to right now. The pressure is the same because I will be No. 1 tomorrow, but at the same time, I want to continue to win the same titles (as) when I was No. 2."

And then came a question from a reporter from Bangladesh, asking if Nadal, at No. 1, feels more responsibility to develop the game in underdeveloped parts of the world, for instance, Bangladesh.

But no new pressure. Just be No. 1, try to win and be the tennis Messiah in Bangladesh.

"If I can help with something to Bangladesh," he said, "the people just have to tell me and it’s going to be a pleasure for me always."

Nadal has all the characteristics and qualities that Americans want in athletes: flare, athleticism, muscle, good looks, relentlessness.

Will that fly in the U.S.? I don’t know. Somehow, we just don’t relate to him, even though he’s giving us everything we seem to be asking for. Maybe it’s the language barrier _ he’s Spanish _ or that he’s too nice.

But he’s doing something we haven’t seen before in tennis, playing a different style, sort of bloodying up the court. Tennis now is hoping to have a classic rivalry between Federer and Nadal, but I think Nadal has simply blown right past him.

Whatever, Federer’s grace and fluidity, admirable as they were, don’t sell. But Nadal’s act would play a lot better it he were from the U.S.

You should have seen the young girls swoon over this guy. : inlove: Tennis needed the change. The shelf life of a tennis champion isn’t usually that long, but Federer’s went on and on.

Nadal’s hunger is still there, and it shows in his attitude, his body language.

Federer chose not to stay in the Olympic Village. He had done it in previous Olympics, and loved the experience, but no thank you. Not anymore. Too many athletes asking for autographs.

Nadal? He credited his victory to the people he met while staying in the village.

"I did some photos; I did some autographs," he said. "But always (it) was a pleasure because I did it with another sport man. That’s always a very good feeling, having a photo with another sport man like me.

"I arrived very tired after flying directly from Cincinnati. And the reason probably that I won. . .is because I had a fantastic time here enjoying a lot in the village. I enjoyed it a lot more than a normal tournament."

During Federer’s shelf life, he became packaged. His agent, IMG, tried to do something with him that his play and personality weren’t doing: Turn him into an American star beyond the confines of the tennis world. They choreographed a relationship with Tiger Woods. They fixed up Federer some, dressed him better, put him on the road for an exhibition series with Pete Sampras, lined up appearances with Bjorn Borg.

Federer was to be the icon, drawing on the past to show his role in history. The problem is that he has bought into the idea of his grand artistry. Now, his confidence is wobbly.

And if Federer wants to come back, he’s going to have to role up his sleeves and get dirty.

You don’t have to add the pizzazz to Nadal. Watching him at the Olympics was to see something much more thrilling than artistic mastery. He always seemed to be storming the court, storming the ball.

But he’s not going to sell tennis to America by himself. He needs Federer. Also, he needs an American fighting him, and James Blake is the only hope.

Nadal said he’ll continue to improve, and that the key is staying humble enough to know you’re not perfect.

We’ll see how No. 1 affect him. But I’m pretty sure he can be tennis’ Messiah in Bangladesh, anyway.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/couch...081808.article
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:47 PM   #1461
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

Blee! Rafa made the New York Post's Page Six. I'm going to love the NY media in the coming days, it's going to be all Rafa all the time.

He was caught red-handed wearing those Mardy Fish ankle socks too.

Oh, and his New York magazine article ("The Beefcake in the Backcourt") is now:
- the 2nd most emailed story
- the 5th most viewed story
- the 5th most commented on

And like a good fangirl I went to my local bookstore to read it for free and decided to turn all the magazines over showing Rafa's face instead of Christie Brinkey's.

*edit*

Adding more headlines.
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"What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape." said Roddick with a laugh. "I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I've met every aspect of it: a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally — I've been completely committed ... The results have shown."


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Old 08-21-2008, 09:54 PM   #1462
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

"Grapple in the Apple"

Rafa is so going to crash out early again

edit: where are my manners, thanks tangy

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Old 08-22-2008, 03:47 AM   #1463
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

2 Sergio Garcia's articles mentioned him being in contact with Rafa.

Excerpts:-
nj.com
Quote:
Garcia honors Madrid crash victims with black ribbon

by Lisa Kennelly/The Star-Ledger
Thursday August 21, 2008, 7:54 PM

On a lighter note, Garcia said he has been in touch with countryman Rafael Nadal, the No. 1-ranked men's singles player who just won a gold medal at the Olympics. Nadal is in the New York area preparing for the U.S. Open, and Garcia said he'd certainly offer his friend tickets to The Barclays if he asked.

Don't bet on a Nadal sighting here in Paramus, though.

"It's not something I'm going to ask him to do," Garcia said. "He's the one that has to feel like he has some time, and obviously it wouldn't be easy for him to walk around here. But obviously if he asks me for a ticket, he can get as many as he wants. That would be nice but I don't expect it, because U.S. Open is coming up and it's a big week."

And if Garcia has his way, he'll be too busy competing in the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs to make time for his fellow athlete, at least until Monday.

"I hope not," he grinned when asked if the two would get together this weekend. "I hope I'm playing on the weekend."
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----------------------------------------

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Quote:
Garcia plays The Barclays with a heavy heart

Aug. 21, 2008
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Garcia has spoken with close friend Rafael Nadal, who won Spain's first Olympic gold medal in tennis, but doesn't think he'll be coming over from New York to watch him since Nadal is ranked No. 1 going into next week's U.S. Open Tennis at Flushing Meadows.

"I don't think it would be easy for him to come over here,'' said Garcia, who does plan to spend a few days at the U.S. Open. "Everyone knows him.''

Plus, it seems, he might need a little more sleep. That flight back from Beijing left him a bit jet-lagged.

"I did talk to him the other day,'' Garcia grinned. "He went to see a musical and fell asleep."
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:50 AM   #1464
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

New York The Sun
Quote:
Rafael Nadal, the Humble Champion, Eyes First U.S Open

By TOM PERROTTA | August 22, 2008

On Sunday, he won the gold medal in Beijing. On Monday, he boarded a plane for New York as the no. 1 tennis player in the world. On Tuesday, he soothed his jet lag with a round of golf. On Wednesday, he strolled into the National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, just before noon, signed a few autographs, and leisurely practiced with a young hitting partner for an hour without a coach, or anyone to retrieve stray balls, in sight. Let us reintroduce you to Rafael Nadal, the best tennis player in the world.

Roger Federer may have won this title the last four years, but Nadal is the man to beat at this year's U.S. Open. He won't admit it. Nadal says he still considers Federer the greatest player in history, still considers him the favorite to win his fifth consecutive U.S. Open, still considers him the favorite to regain the no. 1 ranking before the year ends. As confident as Nadal is these days, he remains unfailingly humble, perhaps the most humble no. 1 the game has ever known.

If you had been in Australia earlier this year, you might have witnessed a more telling scene about Nadal's true character. A few hours after he lost in the semifinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nadal walked into the players' cafeteria, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. The lights were low and the sun had set (he had played in the evening), and the place was mostly empty, with only two reporters killing time as they waited for an interview with Tsonga's coach. Nadal walked up to the cash register, dangled a bag of potato chips in front of the gentleman behind the counter, and presented his tournament badge for inspection. The man behind the register swiped it and then sheepishly informed Nadal that his food allowance had been used up. Nadal had no cash, so he put down the chips, said thank you, politely refused the man's offer for a free snack, and calmly walked back to the men's locker room.

Imagine this story with Jimmy Connors as its main character. Instead of a befuddled counterman, we might have a dead one. Connors could be vicious on court and off; Nadal, the most imposing and intimidating man on the court today, is well-mannered and often shy. Nadal still lives with his parents in Mallorca, Spain. On Sunday evenings, he eats dinner with his grandmother. After winning on the lawns of Queen's Club, a Wimbledon warm-up tournament, earlier this year, Nadal flew on EasyJet — known for its cheap prices and frequent flights, not its comforts — so he could play golf at home, and fish with his father, before returning to London for Wimbledon. In Beijing, he delighted in festive opening ceremonies and the atmosphere of the Olympic village as if he were a freshman in college spending his first week away from home. He was a popular freshman, too: Michael Phelps, the winner of eight gold medals, went out of his way to meet one athlete in Beijing, and it wasn't Federer. Jamie Staff, a British cyclist, had a chance encounter with Nadal in the village laundry room.

"I didn't bother him but he was shoving all his colors and whites in together," Staff told the BBC. "I really wanted to say, 'Dude, you're going to have a nightmare with that.'"

If you had never seen Nadal play tennis, you might wonder how such a harmless person instills so much fear in his opponents. It is his peculiar talent to be both friendly in life and merciless — and supremely determined — on court. He intimidates opponents with his biceps, his high-octane warm-up routine (he bounces in front of the net like a boxer), and his tireless legs. If he shows emotion during matches, it is positive emotion: You'll see very little whining from Nadal and only glimpses of self criticism, but more than a few fist-pumps and celebratory kicks. When a chair umpire warns Nadal for taking too much time between serves, he carries on as if the umpire does not exist. Bounce, bounce, serve, and prepare for the next point. Repeat. His powers of concentration are reminiscent of Bjorn Borg, the man who proved time and again that the mind is a more useful weapon than the forehand. In today's game, Nadal's mind is unmatched.

Nadal has never played well in New York. Last year, he lost in the fourth round. His best showing came in 2006, when he lost in the quarterfinals. Every year, the story has been the same: Nadal is tired, Nadal can't cope with the fast hard courts of Flushing, Nadal can't win with defense on a surface that rewards the game's hardest hitters.

This year, you can discard those plotlines. Rafael Nadal, circa 2008, is not the Rafael Nadal we once knew. For the first time, the 22-year-old from Spain has the tennis world at his command. He handles power with ease and produces plenty of his own. He serves better than ever. He takes more chances yet doesn't make more mistakes. His left-handed forehand, which produces twice as much spin, according to a recent study, as others in the sport, dips, bounces, and curves unlike any shot in the history of the game (and yes, he is naturally right-handed). In his finest moments this year — the Wimbledon final and the gold medal match in Beijing — Nadal didn't so much hit the ball but direct it to the perfect place, manipulating it like a video game wizard might aim a digital ball on his flat screen television.

Can he do the same thing in Flushing? The summer of Nadal continues on Monday. Here's saying he wins this major, too.

Mr. Perrotta is a senior editor at Tennis magazine. He can be reached at tperrotta@tennismagazine.com.
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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 08-22-2008, 04:20 AM   #1465
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

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Nadal walked up to the cash register, dangled a bag of potato chips in front of the gentleman behind the counter, and presented his tournament badge for inspection. The man behind the register swiped it and then sheepishly informed Nadal that his food allowance had been used up. Nadal had no cash, so he put down the chips, said thank you, politely refused the man's offer for a free snack, and calmly walked back to the men's locker room.
What a charming story. I would act in the complete opposite manner, though. I'd demand gratuities everywhere, and if I was denied, I'd just start overturning tables and throwing chairs.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:54 AM   #1466
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Nadal, Federer Prepare For Tennis Face-Off At U.S. Open
By: NY1 News

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkmvB_l7nrI

The two top-ranked men's tennis players in the world took questions from children in Midtown at the “Grapple in the Apple,” hosted by legendary boxing promoter Don King.

Nadal and Federer are gearing up for their next potential face-off at next week’s U.S. Open.

"These years I have always had one person in front of me, better than me in everything,” said Nadal. “So when I look to Roger in front of me all the time, having better forehand, better backhand."

"This is definitely one of the great, great rivalries I've been in,” said Federer. “And I mean he's definitely been also the one who has been pushing me the hardest to improve as a player and stay ahead of him. But you know, he got me in the end, but obviously I'm going to try to get it back."

The U.S. Open starts Monday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.
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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 08-22-2008, 07:51 AM   #1467
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Hiring Don King to promote tennis and Roger & Rafa as boxing rivals.

Nike Hires Don King to Trumpet Tennis Showdown

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Originally Posted by tangerine_dream View Post
And like a good fangirl I went to my local bookstore to read it for free and decided to turn all the magazines over showing Rafa's face instead of Christie Brinkey's.

Last edited by Castafiore : 08-22-2008 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:40 PM   #1468
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awwwww

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"I did talk to him the other day,'' Garcia grinned. "He went to see a musical and fell asleep."
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:42 PM   #1469
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BORIS Becker, who was with Ilie Nastase at Nello Summertimes in Southampton, sending over a $2,000 bottle of Krug rosé to Rafael Nadal and his entourage.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08222008...ngs_125505.htm
Boris Maybe Rafa had a break in the Hamptons
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:46 PM   #1470
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Boris Maybe Rafa had a break in the Hamptons
Maybe Boris doesn't know Rafa would appreciate potato chips more than champagne.
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