RG Rafa blog & QA – May 25

Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Photo by REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Today’s entries are up on the Times Online site.

Blog – Slow start is nothing to be worried about, I will get better

Not too many questions about my match today and probably it is better like this. I didn’t play great, didn’t feel that comfortable on the court as I should have but in the end what counts is that I managed to win. I have to say that also last year I had a bad start. Clearly it is not only because of my but also because the way my opponent, Marcos [Daniel] today, played. As I say, I have had slow starts also in previous years and I am fine with it. Sure I need to improve and get better.

Was he expecting questions about the match? Hasn’t he, in the past, not really wanted to answer/talk about the matches much because he figured that was all covered by the press? I’m so confused. But I will improve and get better!

Some people ask why did I arrive so early to Roland Garros. Well, I arrived already on Wednesday night so that I could get a good practice on Thursday where I played an exhibition match here in Paris. I like to come early to tournaments. There are not that many tournaments where I arrive late, OK… I arrived on Monday to Queen’s in the last 3 years… but I have a good excuse there… When I come to back to back tournaments and I managed to get to the finals I obviously arrive a bit late but if not I arrive early to get used to the conditions where I will be playing. Specially at Grand Slams I like to arrive very early.

Makes perfect sense to me. I can imagine wanting to have time to play on the courts and see how they are playing and knowing what needs to be adjusted game wise. I hope he has another excuse for arriving late to Queens.

Questions for Rafa: I like being in the pink, what do you think?

What prompted you to decide to play in pink today?

RN: I knew these colours since the moment some months ago Nike showed us the proposed clothing. I like pink, and I specially like this outfit very much. The whole combination I find it really nice. We wear a lot of pink in Spain and I think it is a nice colour. If you look at my website it is also pink for this tournament.

Embrace the pink!

How would you cope with losing a match 6-0, 6-0, as a British girl did on Centre Court, the match before yours, today?

RN: It is tough to lose 6-0, 6-0, and probably to play Centre Court is tougher for some players. The important thing is to always learn.

If the court still feels big to him after all these years, imagine how it feels to a low ranking player who’s never/rarely been on a main court before.

What was the toughest part of today’s match for you?
William, Sydney

RN: It is always different the first round. I always had some kind of troubles. The most difficult part is to try to find the rhythm, my game.

And, like he said, last year’s first round was no different. So, let’s chill, okay?

Who do you think are your biggest rivals for this year’s title?
Sam, Yorkshire

RN: I am really only thinking on my next round on Wednesday. I don’t look ahead. So my next rival is my biggest. If you mean the ones that have been playing good and those who should arrive to the finals clearly those are Federer, Djokovic and Murray. But along the way there are many other good players

One step at a time.

What would it mean to win a record five titles in a row?
Pauline, England

RN: It would mean a lot but simply because it is winning another titleit doesn’t really matter if it is 5 or 6 or 4. But in any case I am only thinking on my next match on Wednesday, that’s all.

See? One at a time. Seriously.

Why do you bite your trophies after you win a tournament?
Jake, New York, age 9

RN: It is something I started doing with my first tournament and I kept doing it.

First tournament or first Masters? Hasn’t he said that his first trophy bite was Monte Carlo?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who was it from?
Julie Westbrook-Finch, England

RN: To stay always the same, it was my father who told me that.

And it helps to stay the same when one is always asked the same questions over and over again.

What made you finally decide to get your hair cut short? Good Luck.
Michelle McCarthy, New Fairfield, CT

RN: I don’t know. I just did it. I suppose I am not 18 anymore…

Just do it.

It’s great to see you blogging again. Are you on Facebook?
Jase Ng, Singapore

RN: No, I am not.

I think there’s at least one Facebook poser and a Twitter poser as well.

How do you decide which fingers to tape for practices and matches?

RN: I tape the ones that need protection to avoid and cover blisters.

Well, d’uh.

What is your favourite kind of chocolate?
Katrin, Germany

RN: With milk.


Do you wash and iron your own clothes?
Brandy, Memphis

RN: No, not really. I would lie if I say I do. At tournaments we have a laundry service and they do it.

Just at the Olympics…

Do you think you’ll ever try playing with a one-handed backhand?
Anjali, Mumbai, India

RN: No, never. I always played two handed and that’s how I know to play

What? The slice doesn’t count?

11 Responses

  1. loverafa4ever says:

    Rafa always takes a little time to adjust to the court and his game when he comes to a grand slam. Last years first round result shows it and look at the way he ended last years French Open. People are for no reason hyping this, saying that “Rafa was made to do extra work today”. Give him a break. He is a little slow, he takes time. It might sound strange even after winning 4 times in a row at this very own tournament. But that Rafa.

    I though he will update the blog on his website. Why is he not doing that? Does nebody knw?

  2. faecoleman says:

    I agree the blog on his website is never up to date! no one is as quick with Rafa news as they are on here! I agree, the
    Rafa was made to work for his victory today bla bla bla, “Feds to victory ” they don’t mention that he got broken in the first game or write up his unforced errors! all the negatives seem to be on Rafa giving him undue pressure!

  3. Trish says:

    Hopefully Rafa’s family (his protection) is keeping him from the news, etc so that he doesn’t feel too much of that pressure. I am glad that they are “hyping” up Fed — haha — puts more pressure on HIM!

  4. nereis says:

    He likes pink. Period. Moving on people.

    By the way, he’s answering questions here too (spanish), some of them are interesting.

  5. AnaR says:

    Yes, absolutely agree, you are absolutely right .. in Spain people says the same, how long it will need all the media for be aware that they give Rafael Nadal is the best? why Rafael has to endure this kind of discrimination? Perhaps it is for be Spanish? or what? .. These are the questions that people are doing here. There are still a few of TV channels and newspapers that speak of elegance and charisma of Roger, and so on. etc. Which are we talking about? about sport? about tennis? or fashion. What else needs to do him?

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    It’s awesome how straight-forward he is about his love of pink. No complicated justifications, nothing. He totally owns it.

    People have selective memories, but last year, he didn’t play that well the first three matches. Meh against Devilder, meh against Niemenen (although the scoreline looked good). I daresay the scoreline was even overinflated against Verdasco (who was a bit injured). After that, he was flying. But before – I remember rumors about muscle tears and ‘too much pressure,’ and so much hype for Federer, who was saying that he knew how to beat Rafa now and was closer than ever to the title. Sound familiar?

  7. AnaR says:

    of course, it sound familiar.

  8. faecoleman says:

    I like your optomism tiemyshoe, but I followed Rafa’s matches well last year, and he was! impressive, but I agree Roger was pretty much sailing through his rounds too and there was all the hype of Roger winning etc, its Rafa’s dips in focus and u/e count that has worried me, he seemed to improve in Rome where he likes to play and then had to cope with dislikable conditions in Madrid so its been tough for him, plus this year Djokovic is playing out of his socks, Murray seems to be on fire again so alot has changed. Rafa knows how to play on this surface better than most so its really down to his form rather than the latter I believe!

  9. loverafa4ever says:

    I don’t know for how long people have been saying this. Last year people were saying that Fed will win French and Rafa will win Wimbledon. Nothing of that sort happened. Even this year people are saying that its Fed’s turn to win the French, to complete his slam and to match pete’s record. Even my uncle is saying the same though he is not a Fed fan. I can’t wait for the next couple of rounds, and lets see how these people take back what they said.

  10. June says:

    AnaR, what were the people in Spain thinking about RAFA when he was kind of “dissing” (complaining about) the Madrid tournament where he wasn’t going to play in the first place — hopefully it wasn’t negative? I don’t think the media is discriminatory in their evaluation of RAFA — maybe it’s because of his youth and how far he’s come in his young years & is the best out there right now. Sometimes it’s hard for people to let go of another champion so quickly (Federer)& see them fall so hard. At least that’s my explanation of how it might be perceived right now although I’m not a reporter getting paid to do a story on RAFA (I just like to read what’s written about him).