Rafa blog and Q&A – June 1

From the Times Online site

From the Times Online site

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.

I lost but it’s not a tragedy

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.


Questions for Rafa: dealing with defeat and the curse of the pink shirt

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.

48 Responses

  1. BEE says:

    What a great Q&A.
    “Note to anyone submitting questions: if the questions have two parts, only one will get answered.” – This is so true Miri…How funny…

  2. rez says:

    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:

    Unfortunately in tennis, as opposed to team sports, having one bad day is enough to lose at this level.

    He’s a great person and he really sounds calm. Also his comment about the fans around the world and the UK suggests that he’s really annoyed with the fans at RG:(

  3. johanne says:

    OMG I’m in love. What a sweet guy. Perfect blog.

    Also, I encourage anyone who’s still in pain from the loss to read Roger Federer’s presser from today. I’m totally serious. It made me feel a lot better for some reason. He really surprised me today with how he talked about Rafa and Rafa’s loss.

    “Note to anyone submitting questions: if the questions have two parts, only one will get answered.”

    SO TRUE. He does it all the time. Classic Rafa.

    “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.”

    I would freaking LOVE to see those 2 play together. I think they would be hilarious together, for some reason. And I wonder who would be in charge of strategy? Both seem bossy! ;)

    • johanne says:

      I didn’t leave a link, sorry. He even talks about the crowd a bit.


      • dutchgirl says:

        Thank you johanne, this presser makes me look more nuanced to Federer and I think that’s a good thing. I like the way he talks about Rafa, seems to me he’s feeling they’re sharing experiences right now.

    • rez says:

      Thanks Johanne, where can I find Federer’s comment? I browsed a bit on his web site and face book and couldn’t find it. His good comments will make my day and will make it much easier for me to see him wining RG.

      • johanne says:

        I posted a link above, let me know if I doesn’t work!

        It’s a pretty long presser (both English and French questions (French part is translated into English, of course) and I just sort of scanned to see when they were asking him about Rafa. :)

    • tiemyshoe says:

      Thanks for that link – it actually does make me feel better to read Fed’s words. I have some antipathy toward Fed at times, but it has to be said that no one understands what Rafa must be going through like Fed does, and vice versa (Rafa only understood all too well why Fed would burst into tears at AO).

      Also, count me in as a supporter of the formation of the Bossiest Doubles Team Eva.

      • johanne says:

        I know…I can be really hard on Fed because his snarky comments and backhanded compliments have always gotten under my skin (esp if the snark is directed at Rafa!) but he can be nice too. I really like the part when he has a go at the press for creating too much hype and calling a player invincible. Also like when he talks about the crowd getting up in arms when he’d lose a set during his super dominant period…seems he knows how Rafa might be feeling, just like you said.

      • rez says:

        right with you on Fed. His comments are much better when he’s winning. Frankly, since AO all I’ve seen is him praising and supporting Rafa.

        wow, I’m posting a comment every minute:)

    • miri says:

      I would freaking LOVE to see those 2 play together. I think they would be hilarious together, for some reason. And I wonder who would be in charge of strategy? Both seem bossy! ;)

      Exactly! It could a fun comedy of things like “I thought you were getting that” or both of them heading to the ball at the same time and colliding.

      • johanne says:

        Good call. Also wonder if their raquets would ever collide (lefty & righty playing together). HA!

        • miri says:

          I want to have the money to put on an exhibition and bribe them to play: Borg/McEnroe vs. Nadal/Federer…while wearing 70/80s style shorts…

          • johanne says:

            The skin-tight shirts and shorty-shorts are a REQUIREMENT!!!

          • natch says:

            OMG! I am SO in on that!!!
            *gets out checkbook*

          • tiemyshoe says:

            Omigod, it’d be awesome seeing Rafa decked out in the entire Borg outfit – thin headband and everything. Nike can slap a logo on it, whateva. Someone needs to make this happen!

            • miri says:

              You know, maybe it should be Borg/Federer vs. Nadal/McEnroe – to balance out age and baseline/net play, flat/topspin. Either way, like johanne said, the shorty-shorts are a requirement.

              • niki says:

                ANY/ALL OF THE ABOVE. We need to get your idea to the right people immediately. Unless, of course, one of the commenters is independently uberwealthy and can fund this match on his/her own…that would not, unfortunately, be me.

    • rez says:

      sorry I posted my reply after the link. I also remember him saying something about keeping the high level of motivation after winning so many times in a particular tournament as Wimbledon for him. He said it before RG and that Rafa one day may not have the same level of motivation. I guess, we as fans take things for granted and Rafa has done so well in the past 3-4 years that a loss seems as the end of the world to us.

      I was really sad yesterday, but now, seeing Rafa’s blog I feel much better. One constant these about Rafa is his heavenly attitude and for me that what makes him an idol. I bet we’ll forget this loss very soon.

      • dutchgirl says:

        Reading Rafa’s blog made me feel better as well, rez. Maybe he needed this in a way to find his motivation back – I’m not saying he didn’t have any, but it seemed to me he didn’t want it bad enough.

    • faecoleman says:

      I remember johanne last year when Rafa strangley lost to Ferrero in Rome 2nd round when he had a huge gaping blister on his foot! he couldn’t slide at all, Federer had said that it was a great shame and everyone was expecting Roger to win Rome and he lost to Stepanek in the end. If anybody saw Rogers match today, Rafa’s loss had definately effected him he wasn’t focused at all. Federer has also said in the past that people underestimate Rafa and his game and just don’t realise how good he is.. that could be because Rafa was beating him all the time of course. He also said after his straight sets loss to Rafa last year that Rafa was sublime, flawless! its strange isn’t it? and a shame that sometimes he can be quite conceited and less complementry towards Rafa. I guess it goes without saying that for Rafa to go out in the 4th round @ Roland Garros is as just as much sad and confusing for alot of the players as it is for his fans….

      • loverafa4ever says:

        I think the players are more shocked and confused than sad… Rafa’s exit is such a huge bonus for the rest of the players out there… and I think Roger backs Rafa when Rog is not too upset with his loss… Like in Wimbledon and Australian he was totally upset, coz it used to be his kingdom and he lost so close… But in Roland Garros he was not even in the vicinity of being close…

        But did he say that its a shame that Rafa lost at Rome last year? In a gud way or a bad way??? Shame can never be intended in a gud way tho…

        • johanne says:

          If Roger did indeed say “it’s a shame” (I’ve never read an interview about the Rome 2008 loss) there’s no way it would be said in a bad way. It’s just a phrase…kinda like saying it’s unfortunate…bad luck for Rafa.

          • CC says:

            Yeah, I remember Fed saying that too.

            *flove* the last blog, was waiting and hoping that he would write one!

            But Rafa, you must be more specific with when you’re arriving in London. Are you flying easyjet to Gatwick? At what time can I pick you up…eh, on my bicycle?

            Feel like I must prepare myself for having him within an hour’s reach!
            *fans self*

            • An says:

              You lucky you… Having Rafa within an hour is such a special feeling!
              I know from Rotterdam but that is only one week and ( if al goes well, and i have no “doobts” )he’ll be in London for almost a whole mont or so!!!

              • dutchgirl says:

                I’m thinking the same An. I work near the Ahoy in Rotterdam, where the tournament took place, and I kept thinking that I was so close to Rafa all the time and it felt good. I was so lucky to get to see him for real later on, on the practice court and in the semifinal against Monfils.

                • CC says:

                  Hm…I don’t expect to get to see him for real, although it would be awesome! I don’t think I could stand the crowds and to even try to get hold of a ticket to Queens and Wimbledon is ridiculously hard.

                  Maybe I’ll bump into him at the supermarket, buying his gambas for cooking… ;)

                  • miri says:

                    Queens tickets were still on sale from the website last week. I know. Because I couldn’t find decent airfare to London or I would have bought some!

                  • dutchgirl says:

                    I had hoped I’d bump into him when he was working out at the gym of one of my collegeas… The rumour had it that all the players would have their workout there. But she’s in the gym all the time (that is, when not at work) and never got to see any of them.
                    Would have been nice though, if she gave me a call and I’d rush over there to do some exercises next to him! ;)

                • An says:

                  I was lucky too… I got to see his match at Thursday night. Dont get me wrong, before that time he already had made a HUGE impression on me but ( WARNING!! ) seeing him for real brought me totally under his spell.

                  Excercising next to him in the gym, Ha, Impossible!

  4. Nada H. T says:

    Thank you :)

    I like it alot

  5. faecoleman says:

    Btw Miri love your comments on the blog, funny :)

  6. Josh says:

    Why do I get the feeling that Rafa was smiling and cheered up by this question:

    “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… :-)”

    It seems a sort of lovely type question that makes you feel good.

    • tiemyshoe says:

      I knowwww, right. The whole tone of the blog and q&a is soothing to me. Ahhhh … Rafa would make a good life coach. “Had a bad semester at school? Is not tragedy, no?”

  7. loverafa4ever says:

    It wud be awesome to see fed and Rafa playing doubles… I guess this time at Arthur Ashe’s kids day they shud plan on something like this… And may be against Pete/ Agassi… Dat wud b fun… I dont knw if Agassi was number 2 when Pete’s was number one or vice versa… But if it was the case at some point of time, it will be great to see the current top 2 players against the former top 2 players… It wud b real fun… I can kind of imagine them having a lot of fun playing together… and yea McEnroe/ Borg wud b great too… John is pretty funny on court… wow… i am getting too many combinations here… Rafa/ Murray and Fed/ Roddick… wud b great too…

    And Fed really said it right… He is right and it was really nice of him to mention the presss’ hype over the invincible, unbeatable part… I guess he is also saying it for himself… the fact that he was defeated last year on grass… or may b I am reading b/w lines… Newayz… It was nice frm Fed’s side… His chances of winning the slam looks slim, coz Monfils was totally fantastic today… And I wudnt b surprised if Monfils takes him out…

  8. Christian says:

    Rafa,as a fan, siding with you all along, I was bitterly shocked at what happened in Paris.
    Now, as a doctor, proficient in screening physical effort over extended periods, I daresay your sudden drop has been caused by your overtaxing strain since January: incessant action, relentless pursuit of victory in all tournaments, lack of time for enough physiological and emotional rest. I am hereby friendly advising you to measure out your effort and constantly allow due periods for recovery. By so doing you’ll always be safe.Am confident your star keeps shining!

  9. Atch2 says:

    Anyone need a Rafa pick me up?


    This always cheers me up. Classic adorable Rafa.

    • An says:

      Thanks, i like this one soooo much too!

      Hurrah for the Australian public, they know how to tread a true Champ.

      And Rafa, the “doobts” again? :)

  10. Suzanne says:

    I think that the matches referenced above would be fun. They could raise a lot of money for charity…On the other hand, I have to say it; please let Andre Agassi hand the RG trophy on Sunday to anyone other than Soderling. That was the saddest part of this loss. If he could have lost to anyone else on the planet (my 84 year old mother!!!) it would have been palatabale. On a “positive aktitude” note, “Happy Birthday tomorrow, Rafa. Enjoy your beloved family, friends, and Mallorca. May there be NO CAMERAS or reporters anywhere in sight!!! You deserve a little privacy.” Rafans…I know it’s fun to be close to the guy (I was in row 8 at Indian Wells the first time he won it) and see in person how sweet he is and how he seems to embrace the whole crowd, but let’s not make him into Princess Di and ruin his “colm” life. If you love him, let him have some time to himself. One last thing; I’m glad that he’s next in the UK where the fans appreciate players with tact, manners, class, kindness, fighting spirit, honor, honesty, sense of fair play…we could all go on and on with adjectives that laud Rafa as the cutest professional tennis player EVER (sorry, Patrick Rafter…you are a close second along with Andre Agassi). May Rafa be appreciated, understood, and left alone for at least a little bit of the time there (3 1/2 weeks!!!).

  11. sia says:

    Miri, I thank you so much for all of your dedication to this site (positively Nadalesque).
    I’m sorry I can’t stand to look at this photo.
    It makes think of the ‘dreadful’ match and reminds me how many ranking points he will lose and how hard he had to work for them. Maybe something less scary.

  12. patzin says:

    There is a great article in The TimesOnline dtd 6/2 re: Rafa’s attitude. Very nice indeed – Rafael Finds Deep Meaning in Defeat.

  13. patzin says:


    Here is the link for today’s article TimesOnline.

    • CC says:

      Thanks, Patzin. Great article. The Times normally pull out some good stuff (apart from Pat Cash’s ramblings about pink shirts and time errors…).