[Updated] Rafael Nadal, if you were …

(Photo by S. Bânziger/Lanvin)

(Photo by S. Bânziger/Lanvin)

Thanks to Rich from Down the Line! for posting a link to this French article. (Google Translation.) Check Rich’s site for a good translation of the most interesting question about Fed. I’ve often felt that the reason Rafa refuses to say he’s better than Federer is that he needs a goal to chase (beyond titles) and wondered what would happen when that goal was gone. Could some of his recent tennis frustration be related to this? If it is, I feel positive he’ll settle down and realize that his most important competition is himself and as long as he’s improving on that, he has a goal and a more steps to take up that mountain.

Update
Kefuoe’s translation – thanks!

If you were … A place of celebration
My island, Majorca, where I grew up. My ancestors came to settle in the fourteenth century! I’ve always lived there with my family in the house where I was born. My grandparents live in the ground floor. My uncle Toni [coach] is on the second. My parents live in the third. And I share the top floor with my sister, Maria Isabel.

Flaw
My strength, I cannot always control it. My grandmother watches all my matches on TV with her friends of 80 years. One of them told her: “He hits hard, but with great politeness.”

Music
I love Spanish pop groups like La Oreja de Van Gogh and singers like Alejandro Sanz and Julio Iglesias. Before all my matches, I sit by myself with my iPod. I have a ritual: before playing, I always have to listen to a song from the musical Phantom of the Paradise. [I wonder if this is supposed to be Phantom of the Opera? – Kefuoe.] [I don’t know. There is a movie musical called Phantom of the Paradise, but he has mentioned he likes Phantom of the Opera. – miri]

A book
City of Beasts, Isabel Allende. I am very touched by the commitment of the writer. Since the departure of Pinochet, she returned to Chile and fight for the rights of her people.

A landscape that creates the dream
I was 4 years old when my father put me on a fishing boat to take me to the other side of the island. The land seen from the the sea… There is nothing more beautiful. When I stop playing tennis, I will buy a boat to spend the rest of my days. This will be a motorboat. I love the speed.

A meeting that you hope
Roger Federer. When I was small, I had a dream: I was at the foot of a huge mountain and I looked at the top. When I beat Federer in January, in Melbourne, in the final of the Australian Open, I felt excitement animal. But then I felt an emptiness and a loneliness indescribable, as if I had no other purpose. For me Federer is still the No. 1 in the world. I want to meet again on the court. I know he can beat me.

A word that serves as a motto
Gandhi said: “I do not like the word tolerance, but I can find no better.”

A painting
I have taken a passion for a painter of Majorca, Ricard Chiang. He makes very strange paintings, black and silver, of forests, crucifixes, caravels [small sailing ships] …

A revolt [rebellion?]
Success will not change my life. My room is still the same, my friends are guys I met at school, my girlfriend is a friend of my sister. Holidays in Monaco or St. Barth don’t interest me.

A garment that makes it beautiful
I know nothing about the fashion trends, but like all Spaniards and Italians, I choose what I wear. My favorite apparel [gear, get-up]: jeans, a white shirt, a tailored jacket and Santiages [a shoe from Chili is my guess, but I’m not sure].

17 Responses

  1. Babz says:

    Now THAT’S a good picture. WHY AREN’T THEY USING THAT ONE???

  2. kefuoe says:

    That pic is nice. The article was very nice, too. In addition to the usual stuff about loving Majorca, being on a boat and his family, he talks about art, books (Isabelle Allende) and even quotes Ghandi. Based on other stuff I’ve seen written by Nadal in French, it seems that they really like him and see him as a much more multi-dimensional person. Since they ask different questions, they get different answers.

    • miri says:

      I agree – even the way he talks about some of the “standard” things sounds different. Kefuoe – any chance you can help us out with a better translation than Google?

  3. Babz says:

    Miri – you mind if I nab that pic for El Toro?

  4. Diane says:

    If it’s all good, Imma snag that pic, just for me.

  5. Diane says:

    Thanks for the re-translate. I did have it, but this is much more readable.

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    Uh-oh, I’m feelin’ verbose!

    Such an interesting article. He’s quite different (in a good way) from the way he was even two years ago at twenty – I think his interests are deepening and widening beyond the tennis world. And, well, I get melty at the thought that, of all the lavish dreams of the future post-retirement Rafa could have, he thinks of the sea and a boat. Damn.

    I feel positive he’ll settle down and realize that his most important competition is himself and as long as he’s improving on that, he has a goal and a more steps to take up that mountain.

    Yeah, I totally agree – I think he’ll need to find that fire. The ’emptiness and loneliness’ thing I thought was so poignant. I wonder if he feels isolated from his friends on tour now that he’s undisputed #1, if those relationships have changed. At #2, he was one of the other players, and now he’s distinct and truly on his own. It must be kinda hard for Rafa.

    Plus, I think he has a lot of empathy for Roger – even for me, it’s depressing looking at a great athlete’s decline, you know?

    Anyway, clay = Rafa happytimes. Can’t wait.

    P.S. – That photo is purty. Especially when he was a bit younger, I thought Rafa was cute and off-beat sexy, but nowadays he’s just, like, beautiful.

    • miri says:

      No need to say “uh-oh” for that kind of verbose. :)

      Such an interesting article. He’s quite different (in a good way) from the way he was even two years ago at twenty – I think his interests are deepening and widening beyond the tennis world.

      I know. I keep having to remind myself how young he is. He’s been playing tennis on the pro tour for so long, I keep thinking he’s older. It’s interesting to watch him grow up.

      I’ve also wondered if he’s feeling isolated. He seems to be a people person and likes to hang with his buds. Can he still do that like he used to? Seems like a lot of his tour friends are losing earlier and earlier and are probably leaving the tournament sites early as well whereas he’s usually there until the bitter end. Also, he can’t go out and about on his own easily anymore. He draws crowds everywhere.

      Plus, I think he has a lot of empathy for Roger – even for me, it’s depressing looking at a great athlete’s decline, you know?

      And a stark reminder of what his future could well hold.

      • tiemyshoe says:

        And a stark reminder of what his future could well hold.

        Yeah, absolutely.

        Well, I just hope it happens differently for Rafa. His circumstances are really different from Roger’s. For one thing, tennis purists have an allergy and won’t elevate him to demigod status like they did Fed. Which is an absolute blessing. And he’s not surrounded by sycophants – also important.

        I’d like to think he’d have a more serene attitude, too. He’s got a nice boat to look forward to. Plus, his uncle Miguel Angel is a retired pro and that’s got to be a useful model to look toward. It would break my heart if any of this stuff happened to Rafa, so I actually do feel sympathy for Fed fans right now. Saaad.

        • miri says:

          I don’t think it will either mainly because Rafa has always been quick to adapt his game and adapt the “outside” part of his life while his core self remains the same. And even if others elevate him to demigod status, I hope he can maintain the attitude he’s shown so far. It’s amazing he’s remained so grounded and the temptations to turn diva will only get worse for awhile. I think his lack of ego will be his saving grace – tennis-wise and life-wise.

        • Diane says:

          I think his head is already in a better place. In the Time article, he said that “this isn’t work. This is hobby work.” He knows that in a few years, all this hue and cry will be over, and he’ll get to live a normal life. I don’t know where I saw it, but he said just that. And that tells me that when his time at the top is over, he’ll go gracefully, and probably gratefully. But he knows to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak. That normal, sane, realistic outlook is, for me, one of his bigger charms. He’s not some ego-mad athlete on a star trip.

          • tiemyshoe says:

            WORD, Diane.

            I think his ability to think about a life outside and after sport is awesome. A lot of athletes seem to be in a permanent state of holding-on. No matter if I’m a fan or not, I always get kind of sad seeing a player fight and flail against closing out. Hewitt now, for instance, or Moya – all the more because they’re not getting any of the column inches Fed is. Or Gaudio playing qualies to get through in Houston.

            Anyway, far too early to think of that for Rafa! He’s got plenty more time left – and enough self-awareness to enjoy it. Like miri, I always seem to forget he’s ONLY 22. Craziness.

  7. Diane says:

    Beautifully said, TMS.

  8. zola says:

    I am amazed at the richness of Rafa’s soul. He reads Allende, quotes Ghandi and dreams of a boat in retirement. He is proud to be normal and ordinary . Is he real?

    Exactly as one of the comments say, this humility is his biggest charm for me.