Rafa’s final blog and Q&A are up on the Times Online site. I used the “sad” photo because after looking at it, I thought, “Yeah, that could be a ‘I’m sad for losing’ photo, but having watched many an interview with Rafa, it could also be a ‘I don’t like cheese’ face…or a ‘No, no – clay not my favorite surfrace’ face…or a ‘Phppht – well, I’m not thinking of the final, just the next match’ face.”
I’m posting the blog in full because it’s just perfect.
Hello everyone and I suppose you understand the reason for not sending the blog post yesterday… Not because I didn’t feel like doing it, I am not like that. I simply I didn’t have time for it. After the match was over, and after spending some time with my team in the locker room, I had to do all the work at the tournament and went back to the hotel to pack my bags quickly.
My flight was leaving at 10 pm and with the andi-doping control, the press Conference, the TV and radio inteviews and the travel back to the hotel it got really late. We managed to leave the hotel just in time to get on the plane at arrive past midnight in Mallorca. We send a message to the people here and advised them I would do it today.
The first thing I want to say is that it was only a tennis match yesteday. No big drama. It happens, and I knew it would happen one day. It had to be yesterday and well, now I just have to look at that match and see what I did wrong.
It is not a tragedy since as I say it had to happen one day. It is something I have to live with and that’s it. I played really bad, very short, not agressive enough (or not at all) with out any calm and on top of that he played well… I simply did not play my tennis. Clearly it was not the best day of my life and I am not happy, but there is nothing I can do. It is hard to lose at a Grand Slam tournament, I know, but I must have confidence to keep working and fighting again.
One thing is also clear now to the public and that I have always said it: Every match is important, every round is difficult and anything can happen.
Yesterday was the proof. When I am asked about the final, about the semifinals and who is on my side of the draw… you see? I am not liying when I say that every match and every round is important. Tennis is a very difficult sport since you can go home on any bad day, and I had that bad day yesterday. I felt good at the warm up, believe me, but never felt good during the match.
So what I am going to do now is rest in Mallorca, at home, with my family and friends and analyze with Toni what happened yesterday. I will travel to London on Saturday or Sunday to defend my title at the Queen’s Club and prepare for Wimbledon the following week. Everything normal.
Thanks to all for your support. I know I have a lot of fans there in the UK and around the world and I am truly thankful for that. I know the messages that I have received are sincere and honest.
Rafa, whatever you tried today did not seem to work and even your famous fighting qualities failed to turn the match around. How were you feeling during the match, and what do you feel were the reasons for your shock defeat?
RN: Thanks, I think I did fight but as I always said, fighting is not enough. I didn’t play well and Soderling played well. That was the key and the difference.
How do you react to a defeat like this – do you try to dissect exactly what went wrong, or do you try and forget about it as quickly as possible?
RN: No drama, it’s only a tennis match. I always said when I won that it was only tennis match and that one day I would lose. It happened yesterday and here I am today. No problem. I will have to analyse what happened at the match and try to improve as I always say. I am only 22 (23 on Wednesday) and still young.
It’s only a tennis match. There will be more soon. Very soon. (I keep telling myself that.)
Boy, he keeps reminding us of that birthday, doesn’t he? Think he’s wanting someone to throw him a surprise party?
Robin Soderling’s tactics when you met at Wimbledon last year upset you a little. Is there still any animosity between you or has that all been forgotten?
RN: I don’t pay too much attention to those things.
Non-answer answer – but the best way to answer that one.
Rafa: we know you love the pink shirt, but that you are also very superstitious. Do you think you will ever wear it again?
RN: I am not superstitious and I change the colour of the shirts every few tournaments. That has nothing to do with the defeat. Following those lines I should have lost the first match?
Okay, Rafa, we get it. Your not superstitious. So, next time you knock over your water bottles mid-Vamos, you’re just going to leave them there, right? ;)
How do you feel when you receive a warning or a penalty point against you for taking time between points? Luisa Mandato
RN: I know that sometimes I can play slow. If I get that warning I will try to play a bit fasters, meaning in between points.
‘Cause he already runs fast enough during the points.
Did you ever consider playing doubles with Roger Federer? Tjasa
RN: Yes I did and asked him as well but he had other commitments with other colleagues to play when I asked. Hopefully one day, I am sure it will be fun.
I might be in the minority in saying this, but that would be so much fun to see. They’d either be unstopable or a total nightmare.
Ok, the pink shirt is growing on me. So I have to ask…what’s next? We know Wimbledon will be all white, but what do you have up your sleeve for the summer? Sharon Roberts
RN: It wouldn’t be a surprise if I tell you, right?
Since you started playing tennis what is the longest period of time that you have done no physical training and played no tennis at all, and did you put on any weight during that time? Adeisha, Jamaica.
RN: No, not really.
Note to anyone submitting questions: if the questions have two parts, only one will get answered.
Since you probably will not be playing a match on your birthday but the day before (hopefully), have you any plans to do anything special to celebrate or will you stick to your normal routine? Louise
RN: Well, now that I am back in Mallorca and will not celebrate my birthday in Paris as in the past years, I wil definitely spend time with my family and celebrate with them and my friends at night.
After all, there’s that surprise party he’s not expecting.
How in the world did the man who was just named the “most fit” manage to fail PE? Cheryl Travelstead
RN: It’s a long story… but it was not because I was not fit… One day I’ll tell you the story… :-)
He’s enjoying this tease thing much too much.