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Old 05-30-2006, 03:36 PM   #91
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Rafa's 29 May 2006 Post Match Press Conference

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

http://media.putfile.com/Eurosport-R...ess-Conference
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Djokovic after his Madrid 2009 Semi with Rafa: ďNext time Iíll probably take two rackets on the match point and try to hit with both of them. Itís frustrating that when you play so well you canít win.Ē

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Old 05-31-2006, 01:00 PM   #92
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Gee, I'm so behind...damn work.

Some more articles. From The Age:
Quote:
Clay king leaves rivals in the dust


Rafael Nadal with his trophy and former record-holder Guillermo Vilas.
Photo: Getty Images


May 31, 2006

THE King of Clay already conquered his own generation, so Rafael Nadal found a new challenge as he reached back into another era with his left hand and took out another legend on Monday.

On a crisp, windswept day at the French Open, the Spaniard won his 54th consecutive match on clay, surpassing Guillermo Vilas' Open era record of 53 straight wins.

Nadal defeated Robin Soderling of Sweden in the first round, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1. His most recent loss on clay was on April 7, 2005, in Valencia, Spain, against Igor Andreev.

"For me, it's special because 54 victories is very, very difficult," Nadal said. "A lot of tournaments, a lot of matches. It's not normal because one day you can have bad luck, anything. It's important for me to be in the history."

The precocious left-hander hit 54 before reaching 20 ó his 20th birthday is on Saturday. Last year, he celebrated his birthday by beating Roger Federer in the semi-finals here on his way to the title.

Who knows what he will do for an encore? On Monday, Nadal wasn't about to spoil a party. Vilas was on hand to watch as well as participate in a post-match ceremony.

Belief in Nadal's ability was such that officials were poised to give him a glass trophy representing the geological formation of a claycourt. A loss, and the trophy probably would have landed on eBay by the end of the week.

Still, 54 didn't come without a brief spell of drama. Soderling broke Nadal's serve in the sixth game of the second set, and later had a game point for a 5-2 lead. The other area of concern came with wind gusts blowing the clay off court, making players and spectators shield their eyes.

Nadal wasn't pleased by the conditions and asked that the chair umpire have more clay put down during the second set. The King of Clay didn't want his kingdom vanishing, but his request was denied.

It didn't matter. Soderling put a forehand into the net on the final point. Nadal, though thrilled, somewhat tempered his celebration. He clapped his hands above his head in acknowledgement of the fans, and later hugged Vilas.

The second of three days of first-round action followed form, with the 18th-seeded Russian Elena Likhovtseva, who reached the semi-finals last year, the only upset, hammered 6-1, 6-1 by Croatia's Karolina Sprem.

Kim Clijsters blew hot and cold before advancing with a 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) victory over France's Virginie Razzano, while Venus Williams, who is seeded 11th, looked sharp enough in a 6-4, 6-3 win over Austrian Sybille Bammer.

"I'm fit and strong, pretty healthy," said Williams, whose year has been badly disrupted by injury. "I should be pretty fresh compared to some other players."

Another Russian, men's sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko, started with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 triumph against American Vince Spadea. His compatriot, eighth seed James Blake, overcame Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Blake has not gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros and he next faces Wayne Arthurs' conqueror, Spanish clay specialist Nicolas Almagro.

But the day belonged to Nadal. Vilas' record, set in 1977, came to a halt in a controversial match against Ilie Nastase in Aix-en-Provence, France, when Nastase used a double-strung racquet, which was later banned.

"It was really the racquet," Vilas said yesterday, somewhat ungraciously. "I didn't lose against a player, I lost against a racquet."

Legends often have a problem losing certain records, and Vilas was no exception. In an interview before Monday's match, he downplayed Nadal's accomplishment, saying it came over two years and he thought Nadal added "easy tournaments" to his schedule to achieve the feat.

After Nadal's victory, Vilas opted to travel the high road. "Great player. Very good for tennis," Vilas said. "He will inspire a new generation of players. I think (Bjorn) Borg and myself, we made every player train harder, prepare physically to endure long matches. This guy is going to tell the guys to get tougher in their head, the way he is."

Nadal's next opponent is American Kevin Kim, a qualifying tournament "lucky loser", who defeated qualifier Julio Silva of Brazil, 7-5, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3). Kim has never played, practised or spoken with Nadal. But there was a moment of connection with the Kim family and Nadal on Monday.

"My mum got his autograph today. So I guess I'm going down already," Kim said, smiling.

LOS ANGELES TIMES, AGENCIES
http://www.theage.com.au/news/tennis...e#contentSwap1
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:02 PM   #93
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

From The South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Quote:
FRENCH OPEN
From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Nadal seizes the day on clay

54th consecutive victory surpasses Vilas' mark

By Charles Bricker | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted May 30, 2006

PARIS ? Side-by-side flags above the Philippe Chatrier stadium court already were blowing in different directions when Rafael Nadal went on court near 6 p.m. to begin defense of his French Open title Monday.

Less than an hour later, with the temperature dropping into the 50s, the swirling winds became so bad that the irrepressible Spanish champion was moved to call this first-round match "one of the worst days for play on clay."

At one point, as the ground brick dust was blown across the court, Nadal's opening victim, Robin Soderling, pulled his shirt up over his face to keep from getting grains in his eyes. Eventually, Nadal had to appeal to the chair umpire to have crews throw more material onto the court because it was becoming dangerous to slide into the bald spots.

But as bad as it was, nothing on this second day of the tournament was going to prevent Nadal from surpassing the great Guillermo Vilas by winning a record 54th consecutive clay-court match, 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 over the tall young Swede.

Nadal's victory thrust him into the second round against lucky loser Kevin Kim, who needed four sets to get past another qualifier, Julio Silva of Brazil.

On balance, it wasn't a bad day at Roland Garros. Long before the weather deteriorated, No. 8 seed James Blake of Tampa blasted past another big hitter, Paradorn Srichaphan, to gain the second round against Nicolas Almagro.

Other winners: No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko, who beat Vince Spadea of Boca Raton, No. 10 Gaston Gaudio, No. 11 Radek Stepanek, No. 12 Mario Ancic and No. 13 Nicolas Kiefer.

Sixteenth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen quit his match with Raemon Sluiter, claiming an upset stomach.

No. 11 seed Venus Williams, in only her 10th match of the season but looking very quick and fit, swept by Sybille Bammer of Austria 6-4, 6-3.

She's into the second round with No. 2 Kim Clijsters, No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 7 Patty Schnyder, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 9 Francesca Schiavone and No. 16 Nicole Vaidisova.

Even with Vilas in attendance, giving the day a celebratory feel, Nadal's victory seemed more like an anticlimax. Few if any expected him to lose to Soderling and, though he had some anxious moments in the latter stages of the second set, Nadal regained control in the third set and was off the court in two hours and eight minutes.

"Sure, sure I was a bit nervous," he said of his series of shanks and wild strokes in the second set. "The wind was unbelievable. I was down 4-2 and going to 5-2. The set was very complicated, no?"

It was particularly complicated for Nadal because he imparts so much spin to the ball, and on this day the ball was wiggling and knuckling as it was driven toward him by the slugging Swede. That made it tricky for Nadal to make contact in his extreme manner.

He was serving for the second set at 5-4 when Soderling finally scored on his fifth break point. But that was his last good streak of play.

Williams has a friendly draw -- at least through the first week. She'll next play Finland's only major woman player, Emma Laine, and that shouldn't be difficult.

There were no signs of the injuries that kept her out of a succession of tournaments this season. "I've been seeing myself progress, playing better and better each round. I'm strong, pretty healthy," she said.

She'll want to cut out some or all of the seven double faults she registered, but she'll want to keep attacking the net on the short balls. Williams was very effective inside the service line, converting 19 of 25 points she played at net.

Charles Bricker can be reached at cbricker@sun-sentinel.com.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sport...orts-headlines
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:03 PM   #94
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Translated by Gaby of vr.com.
Quote:
From Elpais.es (link from Moondancer!)

http://www.elpais.es/articulo/deport...pepidep_1/Tes/

Nadal: "Federer is much more complete and much more elegant than me"
Manel Serras - Paris

EL PAIS - Sports - 30-05-2006

When Rafael Nadal (Manacor, June 3rd 1986) exploded, in 2005, the whole world was conscious that he would be a star on the tennis firmament. He won 11 titles, among them Roland Garros, and he placed himself as world's number two, right after Swiss Roger Federer, whom he's beaten four times in a row, the last time in Rome, where he saved two match points. In Paris, where yesterday he marked on 54 the record of consecutive victories in clay courts, after imposing over Swede Robin Soderling by 6-2, 7-5 and 6-1 -- he was tied at 53 with the argentine Guillermo Vilas--, and his participation in the final is expected. But his successes don't make Nadal lose sight on reality.

Question. How can you be so high up and still keep your feet on the ground?
Answer. I've never been floating high up. Whether I've won or lost, my motto has always been the same: to work every day so things won't twist the wrong way. It's the only way to achieve something.

Q. Last year you won 11 tournaments. You're on that road again...
A. No, no... I'm on a really great road, but not in the road to winning 11 tournaments again. I can't complain. I would've never imagined that, at this point of the year, I'd already have four titles out of seven that I've tried to win and that I'd only lost once on the first round. I think it's incredible.

Q. It's harder to stay there than to get there. Is that your case?
A. Everything's complicated, hard. When one becomes number two, you have to work really hard to defend the points and you play with a lot of pressure. On the other hand, when you're ascending (positions), everything comes really straight-forward. You don't think much. If you're young, your nerves don't oppress you or anything. When you're already up, you are the head of the series. If you know how to use it [the not confronting the best players at the beginning], it's hard to go too far back.

Q. Do you intimidate your rivals even before going into the court?
A. I always go with the intention of giving it a hundred percent. They know that and that helps me. They see me so determined that they get nervous.

Q. Did that help on the Rome final against Federer? You were down 5-3 on the fifth set and you kept on fighting.
A. I did what I always do: fight until the end. When you see someone in front of you that won't give up no matter if you're winning or not, you hesitate. Federer had all the chances to beat me. And I had the luck to avoid him beating me.

Q. Did you think at that point about the record of 53 straight wins on clay courts that you were going to tie?
A. Yes. It wasn't very important for me, but I started to value it as I got closer to beating it. It's hard to achieve that. And, on top of all, against the number one player and in a master series. It's not easy to win a master series. Juan Carlos Ferrero, that got to be number one, has won four; Carlos Moya, three; Lleyton Hewitt, two; Federer, the best player in history, 11.

Q. Do you like the statistics?
A. Yes. I rule myself based on its logic. I'm conscious of how much it takes to win so many straight matches and I'm surprised to have done it. You can always have a bad day. I looked at my results and truly I only suffered a lot in two or three of them. That means that I maintained a great level of focus. When problems arose, I got lucky, but I also was mentally strong.

Q. Do you think about renewing the RG title?
A. One always has the illusion. But the probabilities of winning are slimmer than one thinks. Having won in Montecarlo, Barcelona and Roma helps me because now I can confront Roland Garros with more tranquility, knowing that I've already accumulated many points. If I played a good tournament, and I don't mean winning, some catastrophe should happen in the second half of the year to make me not end at least among the top four by the end of the year.

Q. Do you already visualize a final against Federer?
A. No. I almost never think about the finals until they come. I only worry about my next rival. But there are too many things that you can't control. It would be my wish to play a final against Federer or some other player. But it's too soon to think about that.

Q. Everything seems to indicate that the ĎNadal-Federerí battle will mark history. How do you feel about this?
A. When I play against him, I always have the feeling that he's better than me. He plays more aggressive, has more ease on his volley, serves better, and has more resources to attack... I have to play my best and try to hold on as much as I can. My only possibility is to drive him to despair, make him realize that he should win a point plenty of times, that he should do something else that he doesn't do when playing against others, and try to place him in a situation more extreme than those that he's used to. And, then, anything can happen. Up until now I've had the luck to be in a better situation than him or that he's made a mistake when playing a point.

Q. Are you becoming Federer's curse?
A. No. He's a great player on court and an excellent person outside of it. I have a good relationship with him, although for me it's easier because I'm beating him. But he's human. We've seen him throw his racket, get mad when he's about to lose: against Nalbandian, against Almagro; against me, in Montecarlo, when he threw a ball to the sea. He's got attitude. But he's number one. The logic thing is for him to beat me.

Q. What makes you different from him?
A. He's more complete and more elegant than me. He's got every right shot. But he's also older [August 8th 1981] than me. The issue is to try to copy him. When one does it so well, you have to take his techniques as a model and better them. He's also colder and doesn't show his emotions much, especially when he wins. Maybe that's why he's so good. But I like to play with a bit more of blood, showing my feelings more.

Q. You seem prepared to win the Australian Open and even the US Open. What about Wimbledon?
A. I give myself three years to try it. In order to play well there you have to have good feelings with the court, and actually understand playing on grass. On a normal court, in ground, you have to have a really defined way of playing. Not on grass. You have to learn to move better, to run better, to serve better, and to move to the front or to the back..., get used to the sliding balls. I understand concrete and clay. I'm only missing grass. But when I retire, I want to have a clean conscience and know that I've done everything I could in order to play well on grass. It's a special tournament and I always look forward to playing it each year.

Q. You said while receiving your trophy in the Godů Tournament that you thank your parents for yelling at you when you do stuff wrong.
A. When I do things right, I know it. When I do them wrong, there's a lot of people around me that don't have enough guts to tell me so. They don't have the courage to tell me "Eh! Where are you going?". They don't realize that you're an actual person just like everybody else. However, my parents don't really care if I'm number two, or three, or 200. They treat me the same way. And I thank them.

Q. And don't you get mad at them?
A. Evidently, just like every other 19-year-old kid. When they tell me the same thing over and over again, I get annoyed. I'm proud and I can have strong impulses. But I end up realizing that I'm the one mistaken.

Q. Is it true that you've never thrown a racket against the floor?
A. I've never done it. I've always had the temptation several times, but I've always controlled myself just in time. Ever since I was a little kid, my uncle has educated me that way. I don't think I'll change.

Q. How do you control yourself?
A. I get angry very rarely. When playing against Federer, after losing 7-6 in the first set, I got to the tiebreak in the second and he was up 2-1. That's when I missed an easy volley on the net. That's when I was just about to throw my racket. It just was the object closer to me. But I said to myself: "Hold on". Had I thrown it when I was smaller, my uncle would have thrown me off the court.

Q. Have you argued with him? (Uncle Toni)
A. Plenty of times. In my formation phase it was really hard. When I used to go training, I felt almost upset. He always put tons of intensity in the training, always yelled at me a lot, he was always on my case... I guess all of that's helped me to be who I am and to have so much self-control.

Q. Why did he chose to make you play with your left hand when you were about eight or nine years of age?
A. There wasn't any other option. I was playing with both hands both the drive as well as the backhand, and I was even switching hands when going from one hit to the other. He decided that the time of playing with just one hand had come. He chose the left one because I played soccer with my left leg. I accepted because that's what seemed most appropriate for me too. I felt comfortable.

Q. What do you think when your uncle tells you that you're only the best when passing balls over a net?
A. He's a very special person, that thinks a lot and that, if you listen to him, says things that aren't the usual. You just have to do as he says.

Q. Do you feel privileged?
A. It's been hard to get to where I am now. When I was little, my friends went playing after school and I went training. But I've always loved sports: soccer, tennis, golf... that's what made it easier. Yes, I feel a bit privileged for doing what I love to do.

Q. Are your aspirations to have a great car, a huge mansion..?
A. Not at all. I live with my parents, very calm. I have a KIA that my sponsors gave to me because they sponsor me. And a Mercedes that I won in Stuttgart and that is still there. My illusion is to be happy. Have a small boat so that I can go fishing and... Not much more. Not having the best car, or the best computer, nothing of that kind. I don't need those things.

Q. Is your aspiration becoming number one?
A. My main objective is to become a better player and to be happy. Right now I have slim chances of becoming number one because I'm in a time period where I have to play against the best player in history. In any other time period I would already be number one because of all the points that I have. And that makes me very happy. But it's true that someday I'd like to become number one.
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:06 PM   #95
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Translated by Moondancer of vr.com
Quote:
Rafael Nadal starts his second Roland Garros, knowing that he will give it everything he has, as usual.

L'Equipe - May 29, 2006

Heís never lost in Roland Garros. Today against Soderling, he has beaten the absolute record of consecutive victories on clay (53), held by of Guillermo Vilas. He has an easygoing view on life and on tennis: do what he loves to do and give it everything he has without looking back. Rafael is not yet 20 years old but he already has a solid foundation for the construction of a career that could turn out extraordinary.

Q: What do you like about tennis?
RN: What I like about it? The competition!

Q: But what else?
RN: ErÖwell, what I like about it is that I love playing tennis, I like playing well. I love to find the sensation of tranquility on court. When I do find that within me, I tell myself that there is no reason for me not to gain the control of the match.

Q: Control of the opponent or of the match?
RN: The match, no matter if Iím in a defensive or in an attacking position since I like both very much. It doesnít matter as long as I have control of the match.

Q: When you run back and forth on the courts all over the world, sometimes without showing any sign of letting go, we assume that you must be doing a lot of running in the streets of Manacor non-stop to get the level of endurance and resistance you have.
RN: Not at all. Me, I like to put in major efforts during training and when I prepare myself, when Iím on the court. But what I donít like is ďrunning for the sake of runningĒ. That is really not my thing. Itís not that I train more than others but I work at 100% during the entire duration of the training session. I think that this is where I get my good physical preparation from.

Q: When you were 14 years old, you declined an offer from the Spanish Federation to come to their academy in Barcelona. You were able to enjoy being surrounded by your family in Manacor on your island of Majorca. Do you sometimes wonder if you would have become an even better player if you would have said yes to the Federation?
RN: Well, betterÖyou never know. Iíve heard people say that I could have been stronger but I am happy with the choice that Iíve made at the time and Iím happy with the level that I have reached now. I think that it was very important for me to stay with my family rather than staying at a boarding school in Barcelona. This way, I could lead the life I liked.

Q: When you started to play tennis at the age of 3, you used your right hand to eat or to draw for example and yet, you played tennis with your left hand from the start and itís an important element in your game. How is it possible that nobody convinced you at the time to play with your right hand?
RN: They never really questioned it at the time because I played football with my left fool so it never was a shockÖ

Q: Brad Gilbert declared recently that if he would go back on tour as coach, he would do it to coach you and nobody else. What do you think of that?
RN: Me, I want to stay with my uncle for as long as he wants to. I really canít imagine having another trainer to be honest. It would really be odd. He knows me better than anybody else. I owe it to him that I am where I am now. Iím a believer in continuity.

Q: Could you describe this uncle of yours in a few words. He seems to have managed your trajectory, your personal development and your progress so well for 15 years now.
RN: Toni is somebody very special really. Very disciplinedÖI donít know but heís a hard worker who thinks a lot. He loves training and to train hard. He loves to push and he loves to see that I give myself a 100% during each training session.

Q: Toni was the target of criticism by Roger Federer because of the final in Rome. He complained that you were coached by your uncle during that match. A reaction?
RN: The court is the court and thatís where itís got to stay. I have nothing to add to that.

Q: Still, could you please elaborate just a bit more? Is it true that Toni helps you during your matches?
RN: (hesitant at first but heís willing to talk about it soon after that) There is nothing more or less than with other players. Toni tells me little things, he encourages me but all the trainers do that. In what other sport do you see a trainer who is static? In what sport is it forbidden? The umpire of the Rome final (the Italian Romano Grillci) understands Spanish. If I havenít received a warning, itís because he estimates that everything happened within the rules. In any case, I think that the coaching rules need to be modified.

Q: Andre Agassi has declared that you would lose 10 matches out of 10 against Federer if you had been a righthanded player and that your singularity is a huge factor in your level of play. Does something like that affect you?
RN: I will never say that being a lefty is not important but it is not the most important factor. The most important element is your mind, your mentality and that is something that does not depend on being a lefthander or a righthander.

Q: To explain the danger you represent for your opponents and in particular to explain your domination over Federer (5 to 1 in their head-to-head) people say that your most powerful weapon is your left forehand that goes to the backhandÖ
RN: Itís because it allows me to open up the court on their backhand side but you must not forget that others are in the exact same situation because their forehand goes to my backhandÖI annoys me a bit that I have to hear that so often because the situation is the same on both sides.

Q: One of your most impressive qualities is your extraordinary ability to adapt (to a situation). How do you explain that?
RN: Itís not easy. When youíve had to stay away from the tour for some time, itís hard to find your rhythm of competition again and especially, a good level of concentration and even if you change surface, itís important to win your first match Ė plain and simple. Once youíve got that, everything changes. It does for me anyway.

Q: Do you take special care of your material. Certain players take special care of it as a matter of superstition. Are you like that?
RN: Iím not a maniac about that. I donít really think about this sort of thing. I donít think that things like the balance of the racquet is that important really. The tension of the strings? I have played the same tension all my life. The same with my grip. Itís impossible for me to talk about the balance of my racket frame. I donít even know the weight of my racket. Once again: the most important factor is your state of mind and not the state of your material.

Q: And the tension of the strings? Some are obsessed about a precision within 500 grams.
RN: I keep things simple. If I feel that my shots go too far, I put a bit more topspin on the ball and my shots become heavier. Itís not that I play with the same tension in every tournament because it does certainly depend on the playing circumstances. It does happen that I go to the man who takes care of the strings to tell him that Iím not happy with the results but I often donít change it in the course of a tournament.

Q: One would say that no external element can affect you. Nothing seems to disturb you; not your competitiveness or your confidence. Is that impression wrong?
RN: Iím just trying to be the best tennis player I can be. Iím happy when I play and even happier when I play well. I love the competition so much that I donít have any problem being extremely concentrated during an entire match. I benefit from tennis! I think that I can say that I have fairly good mentality for this job.

Q: Recently, you could not that famous job of yours because of a foot injury that kept you at the sidelines for almost four months. There was even some talk of a premature end of your career. Were you that scared at the time?
RN: Some people said that I could never come back but people in my entourage have never though that, not my doctors and neither did I think that. Of course I shed tears when I could not play, when the pain wouldnít go away. There were days when I would start again but I had to stop because the pain came back right away. Itís true that this was the most difficult period in my career but I never thought of stopping.

Q: Is there a player that makes you think: ďI always play well against him, I feel that Iím in total controlĒ or a type of opponent that suits you better than others?
RN: Iím not going to give any names but I prefer players who put rhythm into the match. Letís just say that the Spanish style of playing suits me well for example (Nadal has won 26 of the last 27 matches against Spaniards). I like to counter topspin.

Q: Your interest in golf could be surprising to some. What pleasure do you take from that sport?
RN: I am calm for 3 or 4 hours, cut off from the everyday problems with nothing else to think about than playing golf and try to play well. Besides, it's often in a very beautiful environment soÖ

Q: But donít you miss the physical effort in that sport?
RN: No, not at all because thereís also competition in that sport and Iím a person who seeks out competition. Itís a sport that requires concentration and I love doing that.

Q: Whatís your level in golf?
RN: My handicap is 14

Q: Two examples of some of your most striking exploits: one is your victory against Coria in the final of Rome in 2005 after 5 hours and 15 minutes of intense battle and the other one is against Gasquet in Estoril in 2004 when you broke your foot during the match. What is your viewpoint on those two exceptional events?
RN: I was exhausted that Sunday after a beautiful victory 7-5 in the third set against David Ferrer (after a very intense 2 hours, 30 minutes) and on the day of my final against Coria, I could not hold my rhythm in my warming up session against Thomas Muster! However, after that there was this incredible match against GuillermoÖIím sure that Iím repeating myself but I think that itís mostly a matter of mentality.
The situation was different against Gasquet. I did not want to stop because I had to do so in one of our previous duels in a tournament challenger of St.-Jean-de-Luz a couple of months before that. I wanted to keep on fighting until the very end. Sure, it was painful. But I won (6-4, 3-6, 6-2). After that, I was injured for a good time, thatís true but it did set my mind at ease (make me sleep well).

Q: Another characteristic of yours is that your incredible competitive soul seems to go hand in hand with the utmost respect for your opponent. Is that true?
RN: Sportsmanship is one of things that are important to me. I feel that itís really good in a competitive environment to behave in a respectful way off and on the court. I believe that itís important. In any case, itís possible.

Q: After having qualified for the Davis Cup final in 2004 in Alicante, we remember that your first reaction was to salute the French team.
RN: Yes, but thatís a matter of education and profound sentiments. I was taught to act and think like that and so, it comes natural to me.

Q: How does it inspire you when people talk to you about ďlimitsĒ
RN: Limits, thatís something you impose on yourself, I think. I believe that you can always improve and that nobody is perfect.

Q: Are you eager to find out how far you can go, where your limits are exactly?
RN: What interests me is to never find my limits!

Q: What are the odds you would put on Federer winning Roland Garros and what are the odds you would give to yourself on winning Wimbledon?
RN: The time that Federer will one day win in Paris looks near to me. Heís very close according to me. I think that the odds to win are great for Federer, even this year since he reached the final in Monte Carlo and in RomeÖHe doesnít lose often on clay, does he? For me to win WimbledonÖthatís not really an item in the current news. I have much less experience on grass than Roger has on clay. But, Iím working on it and I do hope to make progress and why not win it one day. Iím going to play at Queens this year, and then Iím going to have a week of training in London. If I play well and luck is on my side, maybe I can make quite a bit of progress on my road to Wimbledon.

Q: Here you are, back in Roland Garros after your first title last year. What sort of memories came up first thinking about 2005 before arriving here?
RN:I remember a certain nervousness and I believe my first clear memories are from the match against Gasquet in the third round. There was a very strong atmosphere. Iím really happy to come back here and Iím eager to playÖand to get a good result as wellÖ

Q: ďA good resultĒÖdo you say that to take away the pressure? Is there a high pressure on your shoulders by the way?
RN: Not at all really. Have you forgotten last year? It was my first time here and they were already expecting me to get it on my first try. The pressure was tougher to carry back then. There is less the feeling of Ďobligationí this year but maybe there is less freshness this time because everything was new in 2005 when I discovered the tournament for the first time. But, I know that Iím a better player now. Most of all, the huge difference with last year is that I now already have a trophy standing in my room at home.


Julien Reboullet
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:47 PM   #96
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

LENGLEN 11:00 Start
Ana Ivanovic (SCG)[19] vs. Emilie Loit (FRA)
Dick Norman (BEL) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)[25]
Kevin Kim (USA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]
C. Martinez Granados (ESP) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]

Vamos Rafa Good Luck
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Interviewer: It surprises people how well you get on with Nadal
Carlos Moya: I can't conceal that. I love him very much and I knew that one day he would be better than me. He's on another level.
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:13 PM   #97
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

I won't get Rafa's match on TV unless there's no rain and everyone finishes in record time!
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"Pero para mŪ el mejor es Roger Federer. / For me, the best is Roger Federer." - D. Nalbandian
"He's the best sportsman, I think, in the world. He has a lot of humble." - Rafael Nadal
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:55 PM   #98
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

I'll be at work. At least I can record it though.

Or it could rain and then I might catch it live after all.



VAMOS RAFA!

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Old 05-31-2006, 09:07 PM   #99
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

It'll be on later than we thought, the OOP has changed:

LENGLEN 11:00 Start

Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Ana Ivanovic (SCG)[19] vs. Emilie Loit (FRA)

Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)[21] vs. Martin Vassallo Arguello (ARG)
T/F 6-1 4-6 6-4

followed by

Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Dick Norman (BEL) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)[25]

Men's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Kevin Kim (USA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

Women's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
C. Martinez Granados (ESP) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2]


I almost forgot to post this (hard to keep up with all the articles etc.). From Vince Spadea's blog from two days ago:

Quote:
It Begins

Posted 5/29/2006 @ 2:27 PM



The French Open has started, the fans are excited, and the stands are as full as ever. But something is different this year: It's the first time that Roland Garros started on Sunday. I just finished practicing with Kristof Vlgien from Belgium, and now I'm coming to you from a computer in the men's locker room. Carlos Moya's coach is on a computer next to me, and Alberto Martin is on a computer next to him.

Rafael Nadal is chilling out in the players' lounge on the best seat in the house--the sofa in front of the 18 television monitors. Each one displays a match from a different court. Rafa's eyes are plastered to the one broadcasting the action on Philippe Chatrier stadium court. He looks like a kid watching a cartoon. Nothing distracts him. He's mesmerized. He occasionally spits out a comment or two in his high pitched youthful Spanish speaking voice.

Nadal is watching Roger Federer, of course. Roger was down two breaks in the first set, but he came back. He's winning comfortably now, but Rafael still watches, with his legs draped along the sofa.

Sitting next to Nadal is Argentine Fernando Gonzalez. The players' lounge is crazy with players, coaches, and friends. I've seen Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, and Venus Williams.

Are you ready? If you're not ready, get ready.
I think I'm ready. It's here, live from the French Open, Vince Spadea reporting. Smashtennis.com. That's my word.
http://www.smashtennis.com/blogs/spadea/index.asp
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:08 PM   #100
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

I wish the weather in Paris would get better. I don't think Rafa likes it so rainy and windy. But the forecast is not too good, no?
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:10 PM   #101
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Fed was lucky he got his match finished fast today. I hope Rafa can make it fast and easy tomorrow too.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:15 PM   #102
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

I think it's the wind that really bothers him. The forecast for tomorrow is mostly cloudy, temp up to 15 degrees, but it'll probably be colder by the time he gets on the court.

I think the SL court is better though, the wind is less of a factor there.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:25 PM   #103
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Let's hope so Mallorn, let's hope so.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:51 PM   #104
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Keep that wind down please! I forget exactly which one of the earlier U.S. Tournaments that Rafa played in and I was afraid he was going to get blown away--no not by the person he was playing, but it was sooooo windy that it looked like it was all he could do to stand up on the court The wind was blowing the players clothes--now that could have gotten interesting But you could tell Rafa did not like the wind at all
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:34 PM   #105
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Seems like Rafa's not gonna finish his match tonight. I wonder if they're gonna start tonight even? Poor Rafa, his rhythm is gonna be completely f**ed up.
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