Rafa blog & Q/A – May 26th

Phtoo by AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Phtoo by AP Photo/Christophe Ena

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

On the practice court looking to put things right

Not much today, just the usual day off after a match. It is true that after the first round match, the tension is not the same as it was last year on the day off before the final. It is a day that I thought about the match yesterday. Analyze what I did right (not too many things) and what I did wrong. Try to correct things. I went to practice with that mentality, thinking on the things I have to improve. It is important to have a close look at things. Tennis is not maths and you just can’t see things and automatically change them, you need to work on them at the practice.

Aww…”not too many things”? (And some people need a lot of practice at maths too…)

MY TEAM: Now that the tournament has just started, I wanted to talk about the people here with me. I have most of my team here with me this week. Each one of them has its role and they also support me when is needed. My coach and uncle Toni, my physio Rafel Maymo are the ones that came with me on Wednesday night last week. Carlos Costa, my manager, came on Thursday morning and left. He is back in Paris now and I am sure he would have loved to be in Rome tomorrow watching his team FC Barcelona. Benito, “filete Barbadillo”, my PR guy came for the weekend and left Sunday night. He is coming back tomorrow. The doctor, Angel Cotorro, is also here and is a great help in case things go wrong with any injury that might happen. Roy Sakaguchi from Nike is also here, he is part of the team as well as Tuts who will be coming later in the tournament if I am still here.

Costa making the supportive sacrifice!

Questions for Rafa: who will you be supporting in the Champions League final?

We know you support Real Madrid and Manchester United, but your uncle famously played for Barcelona. So who will you be supporting in the Champions League final?
Jackie, London

RN: Hi Jackie, tricky question? The answer is easy, I am Spanish so I would like to see the Spanish team win. I like ManU a lot and I always play with them at Play Station but Barcelona is Spain so I will cheer for them. If they would be playing another team not Spanish, I would support them. It will be an interesting match.

Where do you plan to watch the match?
Kate, Wigan

RN: Well I have been scheduled last match tomorrow so it could be I watch it on-site after my match. If not I plan to watch it at my hotel with my team and other players staying there as well.

Party in Rafa’s room!

Who’s better at football, you or Andy Murray?
Robert, Wapping

RN: I don’t know. Good question. We both like football a lot and I see him paying foot-tennis too. He’s pretty good.

I smell a future exhibition match: Nadal v. Murray in foot-tennis.

Do you think that gamesmanship is a necessary part of sporting success.

RN: Absolutely. this is very important. In the end sport is a game, tennis is a game. When it’s over, it’s over and the competition stays on-court.

But none of his stuff is gamesmanship, right? (strobi makes an excellent point that perhaps Rafa was thinking gamesmanship = sportsmanship.)

Are you happy with changes made this year by the ATP? Is there a way to make the schedule less demanding for players?

RN: Not many changes to be honest. The calendar last year was a bit crazy, but specially for being an Olympic year. I would have liked Monte Carlo to stay as a Mandatory Event but in the end almost every top player was there anyway.

He’s been pretty solid in his support of Monte Carlo as a mandatory event.

You have said that you really like your new pink outfit. Does it disappoint you that you can only wear white at Wimbledon?
Ashvini, London

RN: No, it doesn’t. I like this outfit but I also know that Wimbledon has it’s rules so I respect that.


20 Responses

  1. loverafa4ever says:

    What happens when a tournament is not made mandatory. Like Monte Carlo. Is that a disadvantage to the players played there in any wihc way? I don’t understand what Rafa said.

    • strobi says:

      It hurts the tournament more since many top players will simply not go. Roger and Rafa were against it since Montecarlo is one of the oldest tournaments in the tour (more than 100 years old). The amount of points is the same.

  2. Charles A. says:

    It’s too bad that in the question about “gamesmanship” it looks like Nadal didn’t get the negative connotation to the word and maybe was thinking it meant only that “tennis is just a game”. Since Nadal has been accused of sometimes playing mind games with his opponents, especially when it comes to slowing down the serve, I would’ve liked him to dispel that myth. I think Nadal does not use tactics or gamesmanship; he’s internally motivated.

    • miri says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t too sure which way he was taking it. I thought the “When it’s over, it’s over and the competition stays on-court.” could be read both ways – it doesn’t matter what happens on the court because it stays on the court, it’s just a game after all or you have to be nice on the court because when the game is over, you still have to deal with these people it’s just a game and not worth pissing people off.

    • strobi says:

      Actually i had quite a difficult time understanding what gamemanship means since there isn’t such a term in spanish. Thankfully the wikipedia helped. But i am not entirely sure that Rafa knew what he was being asked about. Word-wise the difference between sportmanship and gamemanship seems slight, but the meaning is entirely different. If you do a literal translation, it seems quite harmless and I think what Rafa said will burn in the next few days.

      • miri says:

        Interesting, strobi. Perhaps I should edit my assy comment after the quote to change things. I hadn’t thought about confusing the word with sportsmanship.

        • strobi says:

          When i read his answer i was wondering because it didn’t quite fit the question, so i thought he didn’t get it or was thinking about sportsmanship. Easy mistake. I am fluent in english and i came across the term gamesmanship until very recently, and as i said i had to read about it in the wikipedia to understand it. However, i think the term is too broad, since it includes borderline cheating to walk slowly to get to serve. Sometimes you just need to focus and catch your breath, not mess with the other player’s mind.

          • johanne says:

            When I read it I assumed he & his team didn’t know the difference between gamesmanship and sportsmanship. His answer doesn’t match the question, so I don’t think anyone will be calling him out on this. I can just imagine what his face would look like if someone clarified it for him!

  3. johanne says:

    “Aww…”not too many things”?”

    Maybe there was a snort laugh after that comment of his…they should learn how to transcribe those into his blog, lol.

    I love when he says their name back to them, i.e. “Hi Jackie, tricky question?” Too cute!

  4. ekattor says:

    nothing about his suppoused injury then. In another blog some ppl said uncle T & Rafa’s Doc have confirmed he had a knee injury during practice( sorce Radio RG). I didnt see anything elsewhere, but surely this kind of things are a bit unsettling for rafafans….

    • An says:

      Annoying i would call it, rumours about a supposed injury…

      I dont hope so and i don’t think so.. According to his home page he trained for over 2 hours yesterday on his day off. If there was an injury training sessions sure would be shortened in my opinion!!


    • tiemyshoe says:

      OK, here’s the source of the speculation and what they wrote on El Pais (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/Obligaciones/numero/elpepudep/20090527elpepidep_10/Tes), via Google translation:

      Just raining in Paris and Rafael Nadal are trained under the dark sky. The champion, which plays today against Gabashvili, practice hard. His debut on Monday, however, left a doubt. “It hurt a little left knee, saying in his team. “He made a wrong move during training. Noted something slip. The cost and bother you flex. Played with care. We are no longer concerned,” added after the tennis pass through the hands of Rafael Maymó, his physiotherapist, and Julián Casanova, of the federation.

      So there it is. A slip during training, and Rafa took precautions during his match, and rightly so. Doesn’t seem to be serious.

      Can I request that people hold off on the injury rumors unless they find something substantive that backs it up? Blogs don’t count. Injury-mongering is the bane of my tennis-spectator life.

      • tiemyshoe says:

        P.S. Sorry for the grouchiness. 1) It’s really early, and 2) me hates injury rumors.

      • Josh says:

        That makes sense, cause in his first round I was getting worried cause he kept doing like knee bends when he was waiting for Daneil to start serving he was like fully bending them, like he does in that exercise on the net post, though so it couldnt hurt that much if at all, he was prolly just flexing it.

        Well if Maymo says its good then I believe in Maymo!

        • Josh says:

          P.S. If he was injured the betting and gambling community (i.e. all the betting websites) would somehow know about it and his odds would go down and Federer would be much closer, seen as nothing has happened on that end I am expecting no injury.

          And anyway on Rafa’s website it says he is expecting to play well. But in my eyes Gabashvili is not an opponent who can test your skills, he is like Gulbis in a sense that he hits it so hard but he always makes loads of really bad errors. Strange style of tennis really.

    • nereis says:

      About that there’s something here in the first paragraph (google translation)
      So I guess everything is fine :)

  5. Ekattor says:

    No need b sory.;-) I wud feel d same. Thanks 4 d link & typing. (and i’m also glad u didnt hav to see those blogs where fed & murray extremists were gloating with expectations. It wudnt make ur mood lift up. Trust me.) i knew there cudnt be anything serious as i didnt find nything noteworthy. I dont know how some ppl actually HOPE a player gets injured so their favourites can win! It just makes NO SENSE!

    • June says:

      Yes, I agree. There are some really nasty people out there especially in the sports arena. I would never ever wish that kind of thing on my worst enemy. VAMOS RAFA!!!

  6. Nada H. T says:

    WOW .. He is Wow ..

    incredible !