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Rafa's blogs are always very interesting so I thought that a thread should be started for easy reference. Rafa will be blogging for tennis.com in Miami Open.



THURSDAY, MARCH 27

Hi everyone,

It is the first time I write a blog on this website and on this country, although I wrote a blog from the US Open for other outlets.

Let me say that I want to thank you for this opportunity and that obviously, someone is helping me with it, with my English, with what I write, since as you all know my English is not that good. So this is not fake, simply I get some help so that you can understand it :)

I am starting this blog the day before I play and as usual at night when I have the chance at my hotel (now in Miami) to sit down, think and write. Tomorrow I play my first round match and I am excited about it. I arrived to Miami on Monday very early morning and have been getting ready since then. I actually, we, landed at 6.30 am local time since we flew from Palm Springs to Miami that same Sunday night. We were supposed to get to Miami that day since I had to do a photo shoot for the Sony Ericsson Open here in Miami with Serena Williams. For this reason the tournament was so kind to have a private jet to bring me and my team here so that I could be at the shoot on time.

I have had some questions about the passengers in that plane and I think it is no secret that I asked Ana Ivanovic and her team to join us. I knew she had some problems to find a ticket to Miami, she was on a waiting list and we had room left so I thought I could ask them to join us. The tournament also thought it was OK and they actually supported the idea so everyone happy. I remember Roger gave me a ride from Montreal to Cincy last summer and I know how it feels to be stuck in a place when you want/have to leave to play the next tournament. I didn't know much Ana before that but now that I had the chance to meet her during the flight I think she is a very nice person, a really nice person. Also her mother and her physical trainer who all flew with us and it was very nice to meet them too.

So we landed that early and I went straight to sleep. I got up around noon and after having a quick lunch I went to do the gig for the tournament at the Swimming pool in South Beach. I thought it was nice and I enjoyed the time there. I also think that all these gigs benefits our sport and I am happy to do them. I know it is painful sometimes but I know it is important. After this I went to practice to the site since I had not done so on Sunday in Indian Wells (I went to play golf and rested that day).

On Tuesday I had also some work to do but again it was more to support a friend. I practiced in the morning twice and after a very quick lunch I went to Wellington (near Palm Beach) to a charity event with David Nalbandian and his foundation. He had prepared a surprise and we played one set in front of polo players, patrons, team owners, members and general public. I went to the International Polo Club. I didn't know that's the place where the US Open of Polo is played. I actually don't know much that sport but had the chance to meet the "Roger Federer" of the sport, Adolfo Cambiaso. We had some fun playing and also managed to raise some money for David's foundation. It was a nice experience. The only thing is that we drove over two hours on a very heavy traffic and on a busy day since I'd practiced twice. But the cause was good and I am very happy we did it.

On Wednesday I had a lot of motivation for that day. You all know I love to compete, I love the feeling and flavor of competition. I prepared an early double session of practice in the morning since I the Sony Ericsson Open people got me a tee-time on the Blue Monster course at the Doral. Big match against Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan (his physical trainer) and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Two against two and also the one against one, you know...

I better keep for myself the result since we lost badly to them and I personally also played bad and lost :) Well done Lleyton and Ivan! I will be back, don't worry ! :). At night we had the players party that I thought was really good and cool. Miami is a special place and one of the best places to do a thing like this.

And Thursday I had another typical tennis day. I practiced at 12 and at 4 and getting ready for tomorrow. I also did some media work that we have to do before a big tournament (press conference, TV interviews, etc.) and got back to the hotel pretty early (around 6.30 pm).

As I say Friday is my first match and I am really excited about it. Hope it goes well.

See you all,

Rafa
 

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Oops, I posted his entry aswell. I posted in the Rafa blog bit.:angel:

I wish he gave more info about the jet ride.:devil: i'm all for Rafa and Ana! :devil:
 

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Rafa's blogs are detailed, he certainly tells us what happens to him.

But what does he think? What does he feel? The small terror in the late watches of the night, his pet peeves, his gossip, his favourite colour??? I fear these things will remain a mystery to us. :sad:
 

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Rafa's blogs are detailed, he certainly tells us what happens to him.

But what does he think? What does he feel? The small terror in the late watches of the night, his pet peeves, his gossip, his favourite colour??? I fear these things will remain a mystery to us. :sad:
I wonder also which is Rafa's favorite color??????
 

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I wonder also which is Rafa's favorite color??????
He doesn't have a favourite colour :rolls:

He's scared of lots of things .. heights, horses, dogs :haha: :haha: He's not a very brave boy. His pet peeves are ATP players not saying hello to him in the locker room, and the press making out he is constantly injured :mad:

He'll never give us gossip :(
 

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Day 2 Blog :D

FRIDAY, MARCH 28

Hi everybody,

Here we go with my second blog entry from Miami. I am sorry it is always coming late at night but I only have the time to sit down and write it after I come back from dinner. This is true, believe me, since I don't have that much free time during the day. I do think from time to time on what I can write, but physically I don't have much time during a normal day. I finished tonight all my work at 10 pm!. Then I went for dinner (a very Spanish time) and here I am.

So to explain you my day, we had decided the day before to meet at the lobby of the hotel at 11 am. We went to have a coffee next door to the hotel and got on the car to drive to Key Biscayne at around noon. I had a warm up practice court at 1 pm so we thought we had plenty of time. Bu the truth is that we got to the site very late. It took us over 45 minutes to do a very little distance because of the heavy traffic. I am staying at a hotel in Brickell and so it is not far away. But the traffic was unbelievable. I normally need like 30 to 45 minutes to get ready for a practice or warm up since I have to do the taping of both feet and the taping I use on my knees. Lots of people keep asking me about those tapes I wear. I simply have them for protection, just in case. Since I had that injury on my knees, I wear them. It worked with the first one and then I got injured the second one so that's the only reason.

So as I say, I got late and had to do everything really fast, which I don't like to do when it is about this. Got my warm up and then simply waited in the locker room for the start of my match. I don't think I need to talk about the match since you probably read here, on this website, the reports about it. It is always good to start well and with a striahgt-set win to build up more confidence, but it is also not that important. At least for me.

I left the tournament site around 7.30 pm and had a meeting at my hotel with my manager Carlos Costa. Initially it was supposed to be a 30 minutes meeting but in the end it lasted for almost two hours. Not a problem but I had to do a TV interview and I started the interview at 9.45 pm! I am sorry Aarthi (the woman that interviewed me) for being so late...

Anyway, tomorrow I have also a match but this time doubles. I have a practice at 12 noon and then the routine work to get ready for the match.

See you tomorrow and thanks,

Rafa

http://www.tennis.com/tournaments/2008/sonyericsson/sonyericsson.aspx?id=123358
 

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Day 3 Entry
SATURDAY, MARCH 29


Hi everybody,

Here I am again writing this blog for Tennis.com. I hear that this is one of the biggest web sites in tennis so I am happy that the tennis fans are the ones really getting to read this.

Today I would like to talk about doubles. I do this since I played today a fantastic doubles match. I don't refer to the way I played. This comment is more about the atmosphere we lived today out there on court. It was Tommy Robredo and me against the Bryan brothers. We played on Court No. 1 and it was really a fantastic atmosphere. I hear there were really big queues to come to the court. The match was also a great match and I think the people had a great time watching it. I had a lot of fun playing it since I love to play. I love to compete and also in doubles since as I have said many times it is a team playing. Really, I had a great time out there today. We lost but that's not the most important thing...

As I say the atmosphere on court was unbelievable and I also feel we had a lot of support from the crowds although we were playing against two locals. But well, maybe in Miami with so many Spanish speaking people we are also locals... :)

I have always said I like doubles and I like to play doubles. But I also think that there are some rules nowadays that make us not play as often. It is true it is easier now to play since we can get in the doubles draw with our singles ranking but there are also times that when we have an injury, or we lost in singles and don't want to stay for doubles, only we have to stay and play or we lose ranking points and prize money. Then we play with no motivation and it is kind of ridiculous. They explain that the rule is to avoid that we sign in and then we retire, but in the end I am not sure what's worst, specially for the spectators. I would redo these rules and make them better, to tell you the truth.

Coming back now to my day and singles, tomorrow I play my second match against Nicolas Kiefer. I know it is not easy but it is important for me to go through this round here and go into the second week. I am planning on leaving at 11 am the hotel since I have my warm up at noon. My father and some of his friends arrived today so I also take the opportunity to thank the tournament organizers who very kindly gave me some extra tickets for them. My family normally never travels but when they do they always come with friends and it is not easy to find tickets for a tournament like this. So really, thanks... they are really nice to me and I have to thank them also here.

Let's see how it goes tomorrow.

Many thanks to all,

Rafa
 

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I don't refer to the way I played.
No? :awww:
I know it is not easy but it is important for me to go through this round here and go into the second week.
:yeah:

I hope dad and friends coming over will be supportive not distracting.
 

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Day 4:

SUNDAY, MARCH 30

Hi everybody,

Today it was a match day, and first of all I want to say that I played really good and that I am very happy with my performance out there. The funny thing is the rain in Miami. Lot of people asked me about that but after Wimbledon I can't complain if things like this happen. This was nothing, only a couple of times in and out. At Wimbledon it was the whole day, for more than a couple of days!

So we came back a few minutes to the locker room and I simply had a little chat with Francis Roig, my coach here during this March swing. I was playing great and I was feeling really good about the match so we didn't talk much. Only a few tips here and there on a few shots that I made some mistakes. But as I say, I was feeling great and really enjoying my time out there.

The day was long at the tournament. In the end we (or I should say I) spend a lot of time on-site. I left the hotel at 11 and got back at 9.15 pm. That's 10 hours on site. I like to get there early rather than late and hang around and wait for my match rather than the other way around. Beside, yesterday my soccer team was playing and I managed to watch it in the locer room before I went on court. A few of us gathered to watch the match and the atmosphere was pretty funny.

As I said yesterday, my father came to Miami (you know that he normally doesn't travel much to tournaments) with some friends. I say this because then at night we are a few of us going out for dinner. I think we were 10 tonight and we went to a Spanish restaurant here very close to the hotel. New restaurant called Dolores Lolita or something like that. Good food. We just came back from the restaurant.

Tomorrow I have a "free day" since I don't play. Still got some work to do since I am practicing at 12 noon and then I have some autograph sessions at 1.15 pm at the Babolat stand. I hope I can see a few of you there. After that I think I am going to play some golf with my uncle Miguel Angel, my coach Francis and my PR manager Benito Perez-Barbadillo. Well, he will try to play and the three of us will play :)

See you all.

Rafa

http://www.tennis.com/tournaments/2008/sonyericsson/sonyericsson.aspx?id=123358





The blog got me thinking abour Francis Roig. Is he Feli's coach? What part of the season is he with Rafa, just the American hardcourt spring? If that's right, could he possibly be part of the reason Rafa has done well at IW/Miami the last 2 years (especially the serve) rather than just the surface speed?
 

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The blog got me thinking abour Francis Roig. Is he Feli's coach? What part of the season is he with Rafa, just the American hardcourt spring? If that's right, could he possibly be part of the reason Rafa has done well at IW/Miami the last 2 years (especially the serve) rather than just the surface speed?
Isn't Albert Costa Feli's coach now? :scratch:

Roig travels with Rafa to the USA in spring and summer. Toni usually joins Rafa at the USO, I think. So I'd say his coaching success is qualified ;) and the surface does play a big role.
 

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Albert Costa has been Feli's coach for a while ... Roig does work with someone else, but I can't remember who right now.
 

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Heh, I knew Costa was his main coach, but I could have sworn Roig was also working with Feli or at least was.

Yep, found it. http://www.feliciano-lopez.com/ingles/37.php

But if he's there for the summer, so much for the theory
Yeah, Roig is always with Rafa in Canada/Cinci.

Those courts are a lot faster and lower bouncing than IW/Miami. I honestly think that's the difference rather than Roig vs Toni.
 

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Yup, I agree that it probably has more to do with surface characteristics


my PR manager Benito Perez-Barbadillo. Well, he will try to play and the three of us will play :)
:lol:
Didn't he mention in a previous blog that Benito is a bad playstation player as well?

I also get the feeling that the translation from Spanish to English is not really fantastic but...hey, I'm not complaining.
 

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Yeah, Roig is always with Rafa in Canada/Cinci.

Those courts are a lot faster and lower bouncing than IW/Miami. I honestly think that's the difference rather than Roig vs Toni.
But it doesn't really explain the improvements to his serve. Perhaps a confidence thing, once the rest of it starts working?
 

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But it doesn't really explain the improvements to his serve. Perhaps a confidence thing, once the rest of it starts working?
His serve has been good in patches this year, and even the end of last. DOn't be tricked into thinking it is truly improved :lol: He served very well some matches in AO, Montreal last year etc.
 

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His serve has been good in patches this year, and even the end of last. DOn't be tricked into thinking it is truly improved :lol: He served very well some matches in AO, Montreal last year etc.
Good point, although during those tournaments his "good serving" was basically just a high serve percentage, an increase in speed, and thus more aces. But the placement was still the usual. During the Miami/IW tournaments it seems the placement is also improved, but it could just be a trick of the memory. We'll see when he loses to PHM tomorrow.
 
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