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Old 05-19-2006, 05:51 PM   #16
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Good luck Rafa! I hope you will defend your title and win RG again!Vamos Rafa!!!
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Ok, I'm not exactly an optimist myself, but I think you're underestimating Rafa, the_natural.

Yes, the Rome final was very close. Rafa even said he was lucky Roger couldn't convert the match points. Still, I wouldn't agree Rafa owes the victory to luck. He earned it all the way. He came back from 1-4 down in the fifth set and made Roger nervous and uncertain. His earlier victories and his unshaken belief that he could win made Roger rush and in the end blow his chances. Against how many other players would Roger have made such mistakes?

I don't agree they both played their best tennis. Roger was visibly more confident than in MC, had a better game plan and execution (much better BH, serve (!) and net play). As for Rafa, I'm not saying he didn't play well, but he made a lot of UEs (for his standards) and his passing shots were below par. Of course, some will argue that it was because of Roger's play, but it's only partially true, and in fact Rafa's level dropped already in his two previous matches; don’t be fooled by the straight sets wins against Gonzalez and Monfils.

What I'm about to say now is pure speculation, I could be totally wrong, so don't quote me on this, but…it occurred to me that Rafa, despite his protestations that he isn't the favourite and Roger is far better, might have been just a tiny bit surprised by Roger's level of play. After all, he had won their previous two matches on clay relatively comfortably and Roger hadn't played great in the earlier rounds in Rome; many fans even expected him to lose the final in three sets. Now it's clear he's got a real dogfight on his hands, and fight is what Rafas…I mean Tiggers…like best.

So, even though the Rome final was extremely close, I'm not ready to write Rafa off just yet. He can play better than he did in that match, I absolutely believe it. The problem is that he will have to play better, otherwise I don't see Roger letting him get away with it again. The good news is Rafa got a taste of Roger's changed strategy and he has the time to come up with a solution (and fine tune his passing shots, which surprisingly let him down in Rome). Of course, knowing what to expect and actually dealing with it are two different things (right, Roger?), but at least he won't be caught completely off guard.

Now, you say that there'll be too much pressure on Rafa. We'll have to wait and see, but so far he's been handling pressure extremely well, taking it one match at a time. Do you know what he said when asked about the stress of defending RG? The pressure is on the people who haven't won it yet. Roger doesn't have anything to lose? Come on! What about a Grand Slam chance and the GOAT label? He believes it is his to take; there is enormous pressure on him too.

Roger seems absolutely furious about the losses, even to the point of slightly losing control of his behaviour. I don't think it's to his disadvantage; he used to be nervous about playing Rafa, and now there seems to be this cold rage in him, which, judging by the last match, is better for him. Now I could be wrong (again) but I had a feeling Rafa too was furious - about the attack on Toni. The fact that Rafa, who is always so diplomatic and almost reverential about Rogelio, said Fed should learn how to lose, indicates to me that the accusation really stung him. It'll be very interesting to see what kind of effect, if any, this will have on Rafa.

Having said all this, the final is very far off and an unpleasant surprise might happen on the way, even if it seems unlikely now. If both Rafa and Roger do get to the final, I'll most definitely need Valium. But then, I'm faint-hearted, unlike Rafa.

PS. Sorry for the LONG post.
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

From Tennis.Reporters.net:
Quote:
Waiting for Rafa-Roger VII
Venus rising and dangerous

By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net


Mark Lyons
Rafael Nadal continues his commanding role in the sport's biggest current rivalry: him v. Roger Federer.

Anticipation is the sweetest feeling in sports. In the next three-and-a-half weeks, at least 10,000 articles and a few thousand households or so of TV time will be devoted to analyzing the probable (but not definite) Roland Garros men's final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Every nook and cranny will be unearthed, every angle exhausted, every word out of both competitor's mouths cherished.

That's what great rivalries are all about and this one has the potential to be a classic in the Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe, Andre Agassi-Pete Sampras mode. But Federer has to win a few more first, not just play Rafa down to the wire every time.

Given who wide open the Roland Garros women's side is, it's amazing how closed the men's drama appears. Seriously, who can really beat Roger or Rafa on clay right now? There's three maybe-maybe's out there: David Nalbandian, Nicolas Almagro and Nicolay Davydenko. And how much would you wager on any of these men pulling an upset. A Euro? Two?

I talked to Todd Martin a few days ago (see my column on foxsports.com) and we got to discussing Guillermo Coria, the Argentine who should have won RG two years ago, Coria is being coached by Todd's old coach, Jose Higueras. Coria is double faulting a ton and a result is losing to players he is much better then. Martin says he has the yips and that Higueras can't do much about it. It's up to "El Mago" to straighten his head off court so when he gets on court, he believes that he can get a second serve in.

If he was playing up to form, Coria is one of the guys who could challenge Federer or Nadal. So could three-time RG champ Gustavo Kuerten, who is likely to retire soon as he can't get his hip right. That will be a very sad day and what's sadder is that fans cannot watch Rafa v. Guga, which would be a scintillating match-up. In fact, if they both played as well as they can on RG red clay, I'd still take Guga, because he's one-handed backhand isn't as vulnerable to high hooking balls from Nadal as Fed's is (remember how well Guga played Thomas Muster?) and he isn't committed to the inside-out forehand, which often allows him superior court position.

(...)
http://www.tennisreporters.net/nadal_venus_051806.html
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Old 05-20-2006, 03:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallorn
Ok, I'm not exactly an optimist myself, but I think you're underestimating Rafa, the_natural.

Yes, the Rome final was very close. Rafa even said he was lucky Roger couldn't convert the match points. Still, I wouldn't agree Rafa owes the victory to luck. He earned it all the way. He came back from 1-4 down in the fifth set and made Roger nervous and uncertain. His earlier victories and his unshaken belief that he could win made Roger rush and in the end blow his chances. Against how many other players would Roger have made such mistakes?

I don't agree they both played their best tennis. Roger was visibly more confident than in MC, had a better game plan and execution (much better BH, serve (!) and net play). As for Rafa, I'm not saying he didn't play well, but he made a lot of UEs (for his standards) and his passing shots were below par. Of course, some will argue that it was because of Roger's play, but it's only partially true, and in fact Rafa's level dropped already in his two previous matches; don’t be fooled by the straight sets wins against Gonzalez and Monfils.

What I'm about to say now is pure speculation, I could be totally wrong, so don't quote me on this, but…it occurred to me that Rafa, despite his protestations that he isn't the favourite and Roger is far better, might have been just a tiny bit surprised by Roger's level of play. After all, he had won their previous two matches on clay relatively comfortably and Roger hadn't played great in the earlier rounds in Rome; many fans even expected him to lose the final in three sets. Now it's clear he's got a real dogfight on his hands, and fight is what Rafas…I mean Tiggers…like best.

So, even though the Rome final was extremely close, I'm not ready to write Rafa off just yet. He can play better than he did in that match, I absolutely believe it. The problem is that he will have to play better, otherwise I don't see Roger letting him get away with it again. The good news is Rafa got a taste of Roger's changed strategy and he has the time to come up with a solution (and fine tune his passing shots, which surprisingly let him down in Rome). Of course, knowing what to expect and actually dealing with it are two different things (right, Roger?), but at least he won't be caught completely off guard.

Now, you say that there'll be too much pressure on Rafa. We'll have to wait and see, but so far he's been handling pressure extremely well, taking it one match at a time. Do you know what he said when asked about the stress of defending RG? The pressure is on the people who haven't won it yet. Roger doesn't have anything to lose? Come on! What about a Grand Slam chance and the GOAT label? He believes it is his to take; there is enormous pressure on him too.

Roger seems absolutely furious about the losses, even to the point of slightly losing control of his behaviour. I don't think it's to his disadvantage; he used to be nervous about playing Rafa, and now there seems to be this cold rage in him, which, judging by the last match, is better for him. Now I could be wrong (again) but I had a feeling Rafa too was furious - about the attack on Toni. The fact that Rafa, who is always so diplomatic and almost reverential about Rogelio, said Fed should learn how to lose, indicates to me that the accusation really stung him. It'll be very interesting to see what kind of effect, if any, this will have on Rafa.

Having said all this, the final is very far off and an unpleasant surprise might happen on the way, even if it seems unlikely now. If both Rafa and Roger do get to the final, I'll most definitely need Valium. But then, I'm faint-hearted, unlike Rafa.

PS. Sorry for the LONG post.

Thank you *hugz* I feel much better now. And today I felt better cos I thought about what toni said about more time=more training (If Rafa plays tuesday instead of Sunday), I forgot that hes got time off to not just relax but to train very hard to get in even better physical shape, Id love to see him get more fit, because thats the most important weapon at RG, and regardless of how fit one is, one can always improve and in a short amount of time also, whereas in terms of tennis strokes, well u cant really get much more of an improvement on the groundies (when ur at this level of competition) in only 2 weeks. However he could work on the serve if he wanted to, you can really improve the serve in a week with just lots of training, doing literally 1000 (if not more) serves in a single training session
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Old 05-22-2006, 05:13 PM   #20
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

From Reuters...Roger is saying Rafa is the favourite to win RG but he knows exactly how to beat him.

Quote:
Federer accepts role of underdog in Paris

Mon May 22, 2006 3:56 PM BST

By Ben Harding

BARCELONA, May 22 (Reuters) - Roger Federer believes he is on the verge of beating claycourt rival Rafael Nadal but still rates the Spaniard as favourite for the French Open a week after losing their five-hour epic in Rome.

"I've never beaten him on clay but every time I've played him I've got closer and closer and I should have won in Rome... I really hope we do play (in Paris)," the 24-year-old Swiss told reporters at the Laureus World Sports awards on Monday.

"He's going to be the big, big favourite for the French Open," the world number one added.

Asked what more he needed to do to beat Nadal, Federer said: "Nothing more. I should have won. I was one shot away."

Both Federer and 19-year-old Nadal pulled out of the Hamburg Masters after the Spaniard saved two match points to win an exhausting five-hour Rome Masters final to claim his fourth successive victory over Federer.

"It was one of the most memorable matches in my career, playing for such a long time against a player like Rafael who plays so well on clay. That was a big boost knowing that I can handle him," Federer said.

"I need to play him a little more often to figure him out, and that's what I've had."

Federer is up for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award in Barcelona after winning the same title in Estoril 12 months ago. He holds the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, but has never won the French Open which starts on Sunday. As last year the powerful frame of Nadal, the defending champion, is likely to be his greatest obstacle to glory at Roland Garros.

"I would think it's between the two of us, maybe (Argentina's David) Nalbandian as an outsider ... or the ones who won other tournaments on clay like (Spaniard Tommy) Robredo in Hamburg," Federer said.

If Federer can win in Paris, he would become the first man to hold all four grand slams at the same time since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969. Federer said he was glad of the rest after pulling out of Hamburg.

"I was defending champion and really ready to play but after the final against Rafael, the five hours we played plus the semis ... it really took too much out of me.

"I got sick too, a little bit, a sore throat and a cold, so it was definitely the right choice not to play. Now I feel fine. I'm on good form."
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/news...=13&WTModLoc=2
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:09 PM   #21
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

from the moment in which federer is the world number one...he is the favorite, that's what Tony Nadal says and he is right !!

Federer should record his declarations...he always tell the same thing !!!
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:09 PM   #22
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaDALiTa
from the moment in which federer is the world number one...he is the favorite, that's what Tony Nadal says and he is right !!
Yeah, I can definitely see why Rafa has always said Roger is the favourite - with his ranking, records and results it's hard to see him as anything but the favourite. Rafa has never denied he can beat Roger, in fact he's said the opposite, but he realises who he's up against and he's always said that he must play really well to have a chance.

I think there was only one match they played where it could be truly said Rafa was the favourite, and that was Rome, because Rafa was playing well and had just won MC. In MC we didn't really know what to expect because Roger played a great tournament while Rafa struggled (before the final). And look what happened in Rome, now we're back to not knowing what to expect next.

What's funny to me is that in that article I posted above Roger says Rafa is the "big, big favourite", only to add that he knows exactly how to beat him, that he should've won Rome, that he's getting closer and closer, and that he "can handle him." Make up your mind, Roger - Rafa's a big, big favourite or you're one shot away from victory?

Personally, I'd say they are both favourites at the moment, and there is very little separating them. The past is the past, and whoever has better form in RG will probably win.

Quote:
Federer should record his declarations...he always tell the same thing !!!
To be fair to athletes, who sometimes come across as...hmmm...shall we say dull and repetitive, they get asked the same questions over and over again, so no wonder their answers always sound the same. It must be such a boring job, those press conferences. Why can't reporters ask more imaginative/original questions from time to time?
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:10 PM   #23
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Mr Bill Barclay agrees with me that Rafa should be able to handle the pressure of defending RG.

From Reuters:
Quote:
Expectation unlikely to weigh down buoyant Nadal

Tue May 23, 2006 8:33 AM GMT
By Bill Barclay

LONDON (Reuters) - A year after he stepped into Roland Garros as a hopeful debutant, Rafael Nadal will return to the French Open with the tag of favourite flapping round his neck.

The Spanish teenager made light of his inexperience last year to win his first grand slam and his astonishing transformation from apprentice to master on clay suggests he will thrive on the added burden of expectation this time around.

Nadal will turn 20 during the tournament, which starts on Sunday, but he has long since matured into the only player capable of ousting Roger Federer from the pinnacle of the men's game.

Nadal boasts a 5-1 win-loss record against the Swiss world number one and has beaten him in all three of their claycourt contests, including the finals of the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters events this year.

At Roland Garros last year, he beat the Swiss in the semi-finals.

It is a record that engenders confidence, but definitely not complacency.

"I just have one grand slam, for example. Federer has how many, seven?" was Nadal's response following the breathtaking five-set win in Rome when he saved two match points.

"He's a great champion and he has won very many tougher matches. He's definitely better than any other player at the moment."

MORE AGGRESSIVE

Nadal is astute enough to have recognised that Federer is closing the gap between the two, having adopted a more attacking approach, notably on his backhand, in Rome compared to Monte Carlo the previous month.

"I think Federer was maybe tougher to beat. He's more aggressive," the Spaniard noted.

Aggression is key to Nadal's game and he exudes a level of intensity on the court that no-one else on tour can match.

The result is that the Mallorcan is better known this year for his awesome statistics rather than the bandana, sleeveless top and pirate pants that make him such an arresting sight on court.

Nadal's streak has brought him a record-equalling 53 consecutive claycourt victories so far and he looks certain to surpass Argentine Guillermo Vilas's 1977 mark in the first round at Roland Garros.

However, his withdrawal due to fatigue from the Hamburg Masters last week means he cannot quite surpass Bjorn Borg's record of 16 titles as a teenager. Nadal turns 20 on June 3, the middle Saturday at Roland Garros.

Time may have caught up with him on that regard but so far on clay no-one else has.
http://za.today.reuters.com/news/new...L-20060523.XML
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:13 PM   #24
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Oh gosh!!!!!!! I haven't been here to wish Rafa good luck at RG yet? What a bad bad fan.
Anyway, I'm sure he'll do just fine. VAMOS!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:19 PM   #25
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallorn
And finally my favourite picture from last year's tournament.



BUENA SUERTE, Rafa!
Oh yeah, that's beautiful.
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Old 05-24-2006, 07:46 PM   #26
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Oh my I hadn't gotten here for a while either and then to be greeted by great articles and a lovely Rafa picture--what more can I ask for?
That's right you guessed it another win at RG Vamos Rafa
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:17 AM   #27
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

News translated by nou.amic of vr.com:
Quote:
Rafa Nadal is already practising with the balls to be used at Roland Garros

THE HIGH BOUNCE IS IN HIS FAVOUR... AND FEDERER'S, TOO

By Joan Solsona

Ever since Rafael Nadal won the Rome tournament, he has had one thought in his mind: Roland Garros. Because of this, last week he began training with the official balls that will be used at Roland Garros. "We've had a couple of sessions and the ball bounces a lot, which favours Rafa's game... and Federer's as well," stated Toni Nadal.

For the two leaders of the ATP tour base part of their game on the effect they put on the ball. "In the Rome final, Federer gave us a lot of problems with his second serve that opens the court. He also gets great effect on his forehand," explained Rafa's mentor.

Clay court specialists play with their racket head held very high and do not have problems returning when the ball rises up off the ground. Nadal especially likes the Penn ATP balls that are used in the Masters Series because they have a high bounce. Last year, he won four TMS and he is on the way to equalling this in 2006 after his victories in Monte Carlo and Rome.

While Federer was training on the Philippe Chartier court after having collected his Laureus Award for best sportsman in 2005, Nadal, who also won an award at the sports 'Oscar' ceremony, was doing a physical training session in Mallorca with his physical therapist Juan Martorell.
Original Spanish report:
http://www.marca.com/edicion/marca/t...lo/652078.html
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:58 AM   #28
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

A humorous preview of RG for a change.
Quote:
Best part of tennis starts with French kiss

JAY CLARK, Packet columnist
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Who doesn't love Paris in the springtime? If you answered Nicole Richie ... touché, and quit watching the E! Channel.

Two words to get you surfing elsewhere -- Ryan Seacrest. However, for tennis fans and disappointed ESPN2 browsers looking for hot dog eating contests (quick, someone enter Nicole and Teri Hatcher), the end of May means their television screens will soon be filled with the unmistakable orange color of red clay. The French Open is here, and Grand Slam season is upon us.

Allez! Vamos!

Trainer! Bathroom break!

Those who subscribe to the tennis channel already have witnessed some great tournaments leading up to Roland Garros. For those who don't, or who more likely can't because of uncooperative cable companies, the Australian guy actually won The World Series of Poker a year ago.

Anyway, quickly skipping over Tommy Robredo's confounding victory at the Hamburg Masters event last week, how about the five-hour Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer classic at the Italian Open, in which Nadal pulled through in five close sets? Federer is probably still pouting to Tony Roche. Roche, in all his age and wisdom, is probably wondering, "Where am I? I thought I was going to Shady Pines."

If there is a silver lining for R-Fed, it is that Nadal can't pull a Federer and accuse Federer's camp of on-court coaching. Roche is half asleep and Mirka (her?) has all the facial expression of a Steffi Graf scrapbook collage.

Anything short of a rematch between these Nike-dressed foes on the second Sunday of the fortnight would be a disappointment. Let's keep the Tommy Robredo Adidas stripes out of there, and throw in Nadia Petrova for good measure. Otherwise, Roche won't be the only one sleeping.

Martina Hingis's win this past week in the Italian Open women's event certainly adds some much needed intrigue to the forthcoming women's draw sheet. This put the final stamp of validation on her LL Cool J "Don't call it a comeback" comeback tour. Venus Williams has also taken a break from taking a break and has strung together some recent clay court wins.

And for anyone concerned by the guttural choking noises already emanating from court Suzanne Lenglen, that's just current number one Amelie Mauresmo translating her Grand Slam success into a home crowd performance reminiscent of the great Jana Novotna.

One of the big stories in Paris will certainly be whether she can hold her nerve. But Justine Henin-Hardenne appears to be in Irritable Bowel Syndrome remission, so her path won't be as easy as Australia.

Despite all the negative talk in tennis of topics like steroids, medieval prize money distribution practices and an American tennis meltdown, there is nothing quite like the late spring to late summer Roland Garros, Wimbledon, U.S. Open trifecta. With this commencement of the year's most important tournaments comes a sense of optimism about our sport.

Anything can happen. Careers can be made and broken in the course of three months. This is the kind of excitement that makes people want to dust off that Dunlop metal contraption from the decades of lore and go play again. Now if the sport could carry some of this momentum into the rest of the season, it might make ESPN think twice about that 23rd poker repeat.

No program beats tennis 23 times in a row.
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:32 AM   #29
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

I enjoyed your long post, mallorn!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallorn
The good news is Rafa got a taste of Roger's changed strategy and he has the time to come up with a solution (and fine tune his passing shots, which surprisingly let him down in Rome). Of course, knowing what to expect and actually dealing with it are two different things (right, Roger?), but at least he won't be caught completely off guard.
That's a good thing I took away from the Rome final as well. Rafa has had a look at the changed strategy and he had two weeks to analyse it.
People always say that Roger is figuring out Nadal but that goes in two ways...Rafa is learning a thing or two as well.

Quote:
Roger seems absolutely furious about the losses, even to the point of slightly losing control of his behaviour. I don't think it's to his disadvantage; he used to be nervous about playing Rafa, and now there seems to be this cold rage in him, which, judging by the last match, is better for him. Now I could be wrong (again) but I had a feeling Rafa too was furious - about the attack on Toni. The fact that Rafa, who is always so diplomatic and almost reverential about Rogelio, said Fed should learn how to lose, indicates to me that the accusation really stung him. It'll be very interesting to see what kind of effect, if any, this will have on Rafa.
Me too. Jeez....that cold stare from Roger after the Monte Carlo final and after the Rome final (and I don't really blame him for that...I wouldn't be able to smile, that much I can tell...I'm not that much of a gracious loser myself. You should see me when I lose playing monopoly or something like that, throwing fits, accusing people of cheating. ...I'm the racquet smashing/fits throwing type...sometimes in a McEnroe way: lets throw a fit and see if that helps to put the opponent out of concentration)



Well, all this talk of Roger and Rafa. They both have a lot of matches to play before a final and I actually think that BOTH of them are beatable. There are a few guys who can manage an upset.


Vamos RAFA!

Last edited by Castafiore : 05-25-2006 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:58 AM   #30
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

LMAO! Racket throwing the MARAT way, Castafiore, the MARAT way is the right way, not Johnny Mac.

About the ... stuff. I'm not gonna comment any more right now. Just that NOT a Fed-Rafa megafinal it would be a HUGE disappointment for all the media .... and for me too ... I'd say. Unless one of my other faves were involved.
Take care girls & boys.
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