April 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
After a strong practice with Janko yesterday, Rafa took part in the draw ceremony at noon today :
And also managed to make an 18 year old very very happy 🙂 Happy Birthday Sara 🙂
Practiced with Milos Raonic:
3 easy-peasy steps to the Monte Carlo Masters 😉
See? It’s as simple as that 😀
Rafa also attended the Bacardi Champions Drink Responsibly Event in Monaco.
I think he is the only person living/dead who looks SOOOOO good in Pink 😉 It looks like one of those really comfy Cashmere buttery tees one slips into. ( ok stopping my swooning now 😀 )But I guess, I won’t be able to order a drink if he was to be my potential bartender 😉 ( the word potential always reminds me of the potential match-ups, once draws are released, and everybody scratches their heads and ponders over potential quarter final and semi finals clashes 😉 )
It was a glorious mañana. As glorious as can be, on a court, that practically juts into the beautiful mediterranean. Rafa practiced for 2 HOURS!!!!!!!!! today, and being the buena gente that he is, he did his rivals the courtesy 😉 to post that on Twitter 😉 I am just teasing, but Rafa did cheekily add the 2 hours at the end of the tweet 😀 Looks like someone is on fire already 🙂 #Vamos
Speaking of the Draw…here are the “potential” clashes for Rafa en-route to the historic 9th 😀
2nd Round: The winner of Aussie’s Marinko Matosevic or compatriot Fernando Verdasco.
3rd Round: The winner of Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci or Germany’s Philip Kohlschrieber
Quarters: Janko Tipsarevic ( one day the Serb could be cast on Miami Ink 😉 or Baguette bread ( French) Gilles Simon
Semis: The newly minted world no.2 Andy Murray
Finals: Novak Djokovic or Delpo
I am excited to see Ernests Gulbis in Novak’s part of the draw. He’s so funny, they need to erect a statue in his honor at Madame Tussaud’s 😀 And people need to pay to see this Latvian cuckoo! He opens against John Isner ( Serve as big as the Empire State ) and could potentially play Novak, in the third round. The lefty half of the draw, is quite challenging with big clay courters like Juan Monaco, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro, on the same side of the subway map 😉 . And not to forget Benneteau ( who upset Roger in straight sets ) and Jerzy Janowicz, who is an ATP find! Novak has to get through a tough section to “potentially” meet Rafa. Speaking of the right half, Baby Federer could meet Janko in the second round, and the first round between Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut ( who is surprisingly good) and France’s Gilles Simon, will be interesting to watch, as Agut has some very good shots in his arsenal. He played extremely well against Nole in Dubai, and created the same angles as Djokovic,accurate and unreturnable. He lacks playing experience, just like Gulbis lacks any mental fortitude. At one point Verdasco was considered the shadow of Rafa, as was evident in the 2009 Australian Open semis, but he quickly lost steam. Being a lefty and banking on past experience ( he did beat Rafa on the hated and banned blue clay last year) he could be difficult to put away, but overall he’s not scary in the sense, that his shots are very predictable unlike say a Delpo’s or Gulbis’s. Both gave Rafa such a hard time at Indian Wells, creating impossible shots out of thin air and making Rafa cover so much ground, by hitting crazy angles. The good news is that this is clay, which allows for sliding, and Rafa does have a pretty straight forward draw as compared to Novak. Rafa’s head to head with Tsonga is interesting. Not only has Rafa beat him on clay ( they have met only once), but he owns him on hard courts as well ( which is Rafa’s most hated surface). Tsonga did beat Rafa at the WTFs ’11, but Rafa has never won the WTFs, so Tsonga can’t be patted on the back for his effort back then, and Rafa did beat him in Miami last year. His head to head with Nico is lopsided as Rafa owns Nico 9-0. Kohlscrieber did beat him in Halle last year,but Rafa has successfully defeated him in their last eight meetings. As far as the rest of the subway map is concerned, Rafa need not be worried, although I am a little worried about Andy 2.o. Historically, Andy has never even made a clay final, but with his new training blocks, re-booted body and Ivan Lendl and slam dunk status,my feathers are a bit ruffled. ( Ivan is scary expressionless, he always looks like the agent from Matrix who eerily calls Keanu Reeves: Mr. Anderson!)
and replace it with this: 😉
Speaking of the mini-tennis, in front of Hotel de Paris, it was a mini match between Novak and Andy. Novak looked relaxed and fit. And Andy was surprisingly smiley and just as relaxed. The mini tennis court was flanked by fans ( one fan asked Djokovic about Pierre…) and reporters alike, and here’s a snippet off Youtube:
This article drives home very interesting points, especially the one about the world no.1 trying to find an in, to derail the clay no.1. The world no.1 and 2 may be lost to Rafa and Roger, but as far as clay is concerned, it has been a Rafa-centric universe. This summer it’s not just about the ninth crown at Monte Carlo, but an eighth Barcelona title, 7th in Rome,3rd in Madrid/Hamburg, and a legendary 8th in Paris. Rafa’s eighth at Paris is very likely, despite his greatness plagued by self-doubt and a certain Serb, standing in his shadow, adamant to be the seventh man in the Open Era to complete a Career Slam. But Rafa has had enough of being on the sidelines, and while many speculated his return to form, irrespective of him not feeling 100%, he has had a stellar comeback- a man on a mission,hungry for more. Andy has big plans to go deep this year, but with clay not being his area of expertise and Wimbledon just around the corner, his body language should show where his “real” conviction lies. It’s a shame Roger and David will not contest at Monte Carlo. Roger rejoins the tour after a two month hiatus on the red stuff at Madrid. Thankfully, none of us have to put up with the hideous blue clay anymore, I mean what were the ATP thinking? That’s right..the ATP weren’t thinking, it requires a certain grey stuff 😐 Ferru is out with thigh injury and he hopes to rejoin the tour very very soon. What is with all the injuries plaguing the tour all of a sudden? And not just Tennis mind you…Kobe was badly injured during a Lakers game, and it looked painful 😦
The never ending debate is whether Rafa can become the greatest of all time? For me, he already is and I can’t see why he can’t bag two slams a year to inch closer to Roger’s 17. The rankings don’t matter and neither does the head to head ( he has a head to head advantage over MOST rivals). What really matters, is whether he can remain fit and healthy and kick the chronic tendinitis to the curb. Martina beat it, and so can he. Andy and Nole are both amazing, with their sheer athleticism and determination to hang in there till the very end, but there will not be another Rafael Nadal. 🙂
March 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
We need a flamethrower to light up your candles Fedal 🙂 Thankyou for nine glorious years.Thankyou for making us fall in love with tennis, fall in love with you two 🙂
Age hasn’t spoilt you 🙂 Happy Birthday 🙂
What’s next? 😉
followed by doughnuts and cupcakes 🙂 It’s Fedal’s birthday people!!!!
The 28 grand slams between them, demand excess consumption of calories 😉
Birthday song 🙂
For years you have given us the gift of passion, motivation and will to believe that we can touch the sky 🙂
I love you Fedal! But Rafa you are my favorite 🙂 You inspire me everyday. Your fiery passion, humility, upbringing, iron clad will, that raw motivation and never die attitude are all great qualities to aspire to. Thank you for inspiring a generation. What a comeback!
Nutella for Rafa 🙂
Have a great 2013 Fedal…. Just dying for another 2008 🙂 🙂 🙂
March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Like the richly whipped tradition at Wimbledon, of downing strawberries with cream, I decided that it was high time I started a little tradition of my own. Traditions are quite comforting actually. Specially one that involves getting bludgeoned by Nutella. 🙂 It is a perfect morning- I wake up to more good news from camp Nadal. Only a couple of days back, Toni Nadal gave an illustrious interview concerning Rafa, his knees, and the future of the Fedal rivalry, and how Djokovic was the best player in the world right now. And this did not sit well, with most Rafans,and caused quite a stir in the land of http. After an exhaustive effort, Rafa had finally put the seven months of pain behind him, and had penned a brilliant comeback, with the career best start to a calendar ( 17-1) year.
Only a month into his return, and it feels like he never left! 🙂 Which just goes to show, that the heart cannot get tendonitis. The spirit cannot tear. And the will power cannot be sidelined.
Elisabeth Ross writes a befitting quote: ” People are like stained glass windows.They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,but when the darkness sets in,their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within”. In a race against time, the Nadals did not let the darkness glom them. Instead, they did what they always do- find a band-aid. 🙂 It’s been a week since his victory at Indian Wells, and I can still see the crinkles of his smiling eyes, dancing with the dappling sunlight of the Californian desert. And as he looked skywards,drenched in confetti,all that he had lost, did not matter anymore. For he was back! 🙂
Mulling over several reactions to Toni’s interview, I found a surprising majority of Rafans, disapproving of his praise for Novak Djokovic. They thought that Toni was being unfair again. Would it hurt him to praise his nephew for once? They said. First it was Roger, and now… It’s all very Shakespearian, Rafans painting Toni as the anti-hero. Yes, Toni is big on keeping the festivities under-wraps, as is evident in Rafa’s book, but this very quality of his, has always kept Rafa on his toes. Same goes, for his family, who have kept him grounded, humble to a fault, and given him an insatiable appetite to fight. It is amazing what he does on a tennis court. His tenacity, never-die attitude, tough-as-nails will power, everything that makes him the toughest opponent to beat. His knees have time and again, failed him, pulled him down, sidelined him with injury, but every single time he has come back, roaring with self-belief, disemboweling his opponents. Rafa offers great insight into his life, his childhood, his relationships with his father and uncle, and how the three concentric circles of his family, friends, and team ( who are practically family themselves) have cocooned him from the hurly burly that comes with money and fame. How each have played their part, and how that has positively impacted his game. Because anybody can pick up a racquet, hit the ball across the net, but how many can win after being a set and break down? How many can come back as better versions of themselves? And the answer is one! 🙂
The Nadals have found solutions in the darkest of places. Polar opposites in terms of personality, Sebastian and his brother Toni, have one thing in common- their mutual love for Rafa. I read in one of the chapters, that when Rafa was nineteen and the doctors had told him that his tarsal scaphoid might be career threatening, a cloud of darkness had descended onto the Nadals. At the very beginning of his career, the fates had plotted the end. Rafa recalls this time as his darkest, and that he had lost all vigour for life. Normally so positive and cheerful, he became distant, short and cold. The jabbing pain didn’t help, and he would spend hours lying on the sofa and sitting on the steps, weeping. Even chatty Toni, was at a loss for words. And this is when Sebastian, had stepped in. He said that the doctors had said that the foot “might” be career threatening, so there was still hope. And if all else failed, Rafa could still pursue his new and budding passion for Golf. This offered the faintest of hopes, and the doctors came up with a rather banal proposition of adjusting the insoles of his shoes, to add cushioning to Rafa’s tarsal scaphoid. The foot specialist got to work with Nike, and the ever so cheerful, and level headed, Sebastian, encouraged by this latest development, went about his business as usual.Rafa’s parents ferried him from doctor to doctor and instead of smothering and bombarding him with questions, firmly held his hand,respecting the space he needed, without offering any advise.Resting the foot completely, worked, but adjusting to the orthopaedic shoes was not easy.They were wider and higher, one size larger because the orthopaedic insoles were thick, and threw Rafa completely off-balance. The dislocated body weight now put pressure on his back and knees, and the consequence was chronic tendonitis. Something that would time and again, sideline him with injury.Toni played his part as well. To shake him off his gloom, he persuaded Rafa to start hitting balls, from the seat of the club chair. This mad idea, got a curious reception from other Mallorcans, who watched the nephew-uncle duo rapt in their own little world, which had no room for a pity party. And when Rafa exploded onto court, and chased Roger to the ends of the earth to snatch the no.1 ranking from him, Toni said in yet another interview- that Roger was the best in the world right now, and the number one player to beat.Fans saw this as an ill-intent to discourage Rafa’s greatness. But truthfully, it was tough love, something Rafa was so used to. Toni insists that he would not have said the things or done the things had it been another child.He knew that Rafa was tough. And that he could handle it. Toni made him play with bad balls ( the very balls used in Sao Paulo this year 😉 )that were flat and did not bounce as high, sweep the courts everyday after practice, verbally abused him in front of his peers and purposely made him play towards the sun.There are several examples of Toni’s Spartan regime in Rafa’s book,and I remember one, where Rafa had forgotten his water bottle at home, and it was an exceptionally hot day. He was just a kid then, but Toni refused to get him water. Rafa’s mother was baffled by the degree of mental torture, but had the smarts to control her temper. Nobody approved of Toni’s treatment of Rafa, as he was the favorite grandson, and the “toy” of the family, but noone dared meddle. Rafa himself, endured everything Toni threw his way, and for that, Toni is ever so grateful, that he praises Rafa’s mentality by saying that Rafa was an intelligent child, who knew what he could become, and what he had to endure to get there. Had he crumbled then, he would not have had the fortitude to put up with so many career-threatening injuries,over the years. Had Toni not made him believe that Roger was better than him, Rafa would not have put in as much, to own Roger, the way he has. Every relationship is a push and pull, and in his interview, Toni says that he is just an ordinary coach, coaching an extraordinary player. And he is right. Rafa is quite remarkable 🙂 . And the same brand of tough love continues to this day, in the name of Novak Djokovic. An extraordinarily gifted player himself, Novak has no obvious weakness,making him the only player after Roger, who has managed to beat Rafa so consistently. So to break through the Nole barrier, Toni has armed Rafa 2.0 with more ammunition, as seen in Rafa’s phenomnadal comeback! His serve is faster and deeper. His groundstrokes are deep and flatter. Backhand shots were very strong to begin with, but would always land short of the service line. And now, they land on the baseline. To cut down mindless grinding from the baseline, the new Rafa is also approaching the net more with some fabulous slice-volleys. 🙂 The psychological conditioning is key to breaking through Novak Robotic. Not that Nole is better. There’s noone in the galaxy quite like Fedal, but his so so strong physicality,the angles that he can play with, are a challenge, especially on hard courts. Rafa has an edge over him and everybody else, on clay, so it will be interesting to see, how his new avatar will launch him into the second half of the calendar,one that is dominated by the blues of hard-courts. So don’t lose heart Rafans! When Toni says Novak Djokovic is the best player right now, he is employing the same tactic as he did when Roger was dominating the tennis world. His emphasis on now,should be a big hint, of what is to come. 😉
We are on the verge of the European Clay season. A surface, he is the king of. The red dirt awaits, and so does Rafa. The knee is still not 100%, but armed with THAT will power, it is 200%. The Monte Carlo Masters commence April 15th. It will be nice to see Roger back, it’s not the same without him 🙂 Aren’t we all dying for another 2008? 🙂
March 16, 2013 § 8 Comments
Wow…. I mean WOW!
Inspired to quote the great Billie Jean King to felicidades Rafa : ” A champion is afraid of losing. Everybody else is afraid of winning.”
What a match!!! Simply ravishing tennis 🙂
Here are some of the congratulatory tweets. #RafaNadal is trending now… 🙂
Rafa being Rafa after his semi final win 🙂 #Rafafam