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
March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
First order of business: Ernests Gulbis! Where have you been and what is with your ranking? With players like you, it’s a shame that people like Berdych,Richard Gasquet, Tipsarevic and Jo Willy exist in the top 10. #respect
What a match. Still catching my breath here…
Wow. Tonight’s match will be shelved in the library as one of the greatest matches of all time. Ernest Gulbis, if he keeps playing, the way he is playing, will certainly be a top contender as THE man to watch out for in the future. It gives me great pleasure to see, a player so committed in his belief. That I can. That I am not afraid of Rafael Nadal. The shot choices, the excellent offence and the humour, everything about Gulbis, has suddenly become so much more appealing. The crowd gave him a tepid applause as he entered. Gulbis who? And after, even though he lost, the crowds bent down with the jumbo tennis balls to get an autograph from the man of the hour. His cheeky “muy bien”, after he hurt his knuckles before Rafa was about to serve was such a heart-warming moment. Both shared a warm smile across the net and then it was back to business.
The silver lining with Fedal, is that their similarities are as contrasting as their game play. Both bring out the best in each other. Both were dragged into a third setter, by fired up opponents, both dropped a set, and when it really mattered…they stepped up and sealed the deal. Even their winning set points were the same figure of 7-5. When two countrymen play singles they call them compatriots. And when they play as a team for Davis Cup, they are Comrades, brothers in arms. But when Fedal play, I only see blood brothers. They make off hand comments about each other, but at the end of the day, stick up for each other when it really matters.They genuinely thrive in their rivalry and bring so much to the sport. Djokovic and Murray just bring their physicality to the match. Sure, Nole is a passionate guy, and has come a long way, but you can’t see both him and Murray producing an epic battle. Not without either of the opponents facing Rafa. Just see the contrast of game play between the Australian Open of 2012 and 2013! That brute force, clever serves, and sheer fire power, cannot be rivalled even by someone as temperamentally strong as Djokovic. All the matches tonight, were nothing short of inspired. I bet 1 in 4 kids watching all the four matches tonight, will be inspired to lift the racquet. If not for the love for tennis. Then definitely for the love of Rafael Nadal. He may not be there yet. He may be struggling to be at a 100%. But he has not lost his never-die attitude. Which just goes to prove that mind over matter does really exist. Every time during breaks and change overs, after Rafa finishes towelling off and performing his on-court rituals, one sees him staring at the court in front of him. And every time I try and read his stoic expression, to read his body language, to get an insight into his mind, I reach nowhere. But tonight I am going to go out on a limb and shoot the arrow in the dark, hoping it catches bulls-eye. I think he sits there, having a conversation with his rodillas. That hey, you can put me down, you can even keep me from moving, but you cannot overpower my mind. That you can’t send me packing as much as I love home. Yes fishing and golfing, and spending time with the family, is all very tempting. And yes, I am taped up and not 100%, but I am not about to give away any more free points that my lack of movement is already producing. To beat me, knees, you have to squash me, over and over again. Every match is played against two opponents- his body and the guy across the net. He never has an easy match. And that makes for more compelling tennis. I bet , up and coming players, in tennis 101, are showed the Wimbledon final of 2008, and then the coach points at Rafa and goes: to beat everybody you have to become him. And to their charge’s chagrin and my delight- you cannot create a Rafael Nadal. There is only one Rafael Nadal, and he was born to win. 🙂 * watery eyes with a proud smile*
He has finally come to terms with his 7 month lay off. Yes, the disappointment still shows on his face. He lost so many golden opportunities. But what is so positive about him is that he is not apologetic about playing for so many months with pain, before unravelling completely in the second round at Wimbledon. He knew he had to beat Novak and create HISTO7Y. And history he created. If you have seen the movie 300, you can identify with uncle Toni’s charge. Although Roland Garros, is not his immediate concern, with each passing match, win or lose, he is slowly and steadily getting there. Getting back to his former champion self. And much to the delight of his fans, and me, he is going to Miami. My favourite spectator was Larry Ellison. He did not once look down or sport disdain, like many Rafa supporters did, after Rafa produced a barrage of errors tonight. He hung in there. He is such a Rafa fan-boy it ‘s adorable, to the point of Sugarpova. And to think back to the time that Indian Wells was almost sold off, when he swooped in & vamosed it out of crisis.
The real question that was bothering me after Rafa lost 6-4, was that has the lack of play resulted in his nervous game tonight? What is going on in that mind Rafa? just loosen up. Just pretend you are playing on clay. First set was a solid bad. Like there is no alternate word for it. Ok, maybe horrendous. But he picked himself up, like he usually does. Stood his ground. erased the 1st set loss completely from his mind and took control. These marginal gaps in mental durability separate the true champion from an ordinary player. At practice, even world no. 500 can look like world no.1, but then you see the qualifier being sent home, and champions lifting the trophy. The only qualifier who has left a mark on everybody’s mind is Ernests Gulbis. Hope we see great things from him in the future 🙂
Tomorrow will be the first time, Fedal will meet at such an early stage after 2004,when Rafa was the newborn with six-packs. 😉 I am sure Rafa will lift his game just like he lifts it with his top seeded rivals. As observed at Acapulco. What is scary though, is that both guys, have forensic knowledge about the other. If Rafa knows to attack the backhand, Roger knows that Rafa likes his patterns, and will not budge. The fact that he was serving and sprinting to the right to hit his rocket forehand, so often, that Gulbis immediately spotted the pattern, and made the most of it. At full stretch with his taped knees displayed like a trophy, all the opponents have managed to put him in a corner, raking up on free points. They know that he will not pound from the baseline anymore. He is coming to the net more often. No luck tonight with net points though. Rafa needs to mix it up for Roger tomorrow. Needs to be inspired like he was in the FINAL of ’08. I remember reading it in his book, that suddenly something hit him, and on the verge of championship point, he decided to serve to Roger’s forehand instead of his backhand. So for tomorrow, it will be like homecoming. Both know the other well. There is no dirty laundry not seen or smelt. Rafa needs to hold serve, engage Roger in endless rallies, to tire him out, and needs to serve wide to both his back and fore hands. He needs to run up to the net more and cut rallies short and try, just try to get an early break. If not, take it into a third set. After tonight’s match, Rafa has nothing to lose. He overcame his weaknesses and won despite stars aligning for Gulbis. In my books he has more than made a successful comeback! Win or lose, tomorrow night will be a scorcher. Can’t wait….Faith can move mountains…and Rafa is one hell of a mountain-climber 😉 Just believe Rafa…. 50% of belief and 50% play = 100% Rafa. #VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!
To sum up my felling for tomorrow’s match, I want Rafa to win, but I am also uncertain. But uncertainty is a good thing, because it is the only refuge of hope. So with hope less than 24 hours away, I am going to lavish once more,in Rafa’s victories, especially the one below 🙂