Born To Run

Photo via EFE

Photo via EFE

Rosangel Valenti has posted about her experience watching and photographing the Wawrinka Hurlingham match.

First, if my aim for the day had been to create a collection of pictures entitled “The Many Grimaces of Rafa Nadal”, I was definitely in the right place at the right time. I really enjoy photographing players’ expressions, and have captured many of Nadal’s before now, but I’ve never been there before at a time when when he’s appeared so joyless about almost every aspect of his performance, whether indicating it with his face, harsh my-game-sucks-today growling noises, or by expressive sweeps of his arms. He seemed to be doing these things after almost every point, even some of those that he won.

Again, doesn’t sound like it was a fun match to watch…at all.

A few other small observations from the pictures. Rafa the bottle-arranger only had one water-bottle during the match. It was arranged neatly, but all by itself. It’s there in the pictures, by his feet. It also appears in some pictures that the right knee isn’t bending as much as I’d normally expect – you can decide for yourselves, if you wish to look, but it’s consistent with what we know about his injury. Oh, and finally, if you wish to avoid the unhappy expressions, you’ll find a smile or two at the end, though I don’t think the eyes were really involved in those, including the one at the top of this post.

21 Responses

  1. skyejaden says:

    Aw. :'( Makes my heart feel like it did in his US Open match with Ferrer. It tears me up to see him hurting and/or disappointed. Those pictures it just looks like he’s resigned to having to make the hard decision. *hugs him intensely*

    • Diane says:

      What you said. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat myself. I don’t care if he never picks up a racquet again, so long as he gets better and finds the passion again. I wish him the best, and a speedy recovery. And I hope we soon seen the “Vamos”es, and fist pumps, again. But to see him in this kind of pain and turmoil is excruciating.

      • CC says:

        “I don’t care if he never picks up a racquet again…”

        OMG, I might be a bad person, but it kills me to read that line! I care SO much if he picks up a racquet or not again. SO much…

        Hopefully the passion is still there for him. I think it is.

        • Diane says:

          I hope he does. But to me, it’s more important that he’s happy, and healthy. If that means he spends the rest of his days fishing, and hanging in the basement with his pals, so be it. I hope that he gets better, and comes roaring back. But I’m not going to stop being a Rafanatic if he doesn’t.

          • Esmmée says:

            listen to yourselves guys´´to never pick up araquet again´´??? it is insane, this is what makes him happy, playing tennis.let´s keep together so all our thoughts will find him and help him to never give up… he is so young…ALLER, LET´S GO, FORÇA, VAMOSSSSSS ALL AROUND A PLANET CALLED NADAL NEWS.

            • Diane says:

              I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. That is, Rafa’s health is foremost. All of the other stuff doesn’t matter, if he hurts himself too seriously. If I had to pick one or the other, I pick a healthy Rafa.
              I hope things work out for the best, for him.

              • An says:

                I understand what you mean Diane and i agree with you that if its not good for his health, and that that is the most important thing of all, he should leave the rackets in the bag!!

                But…. I think he needs the tennis to be happy again, for the moment he should rest and get that pain in his knees under control, but when thats realised he will be longing for the tenniscourts “no doobts” again and will be hungry for more titels, more stars on his bag and more flames on his shoes.
                He is a fighter, he loves the tennis, he always seeks competition in evrything he does, he can’t live without that what makes him the most happy of all in the end, play tennis for many more years. He’ll be back!

  2. johanne says:

    Wow. That article drained me. Beautifully written, but hard to read because of the subject matter: Sad Rafa! :*(

    Crap, I’m sad again!

    • CC says:

      Yeah, this afternoon I feel more sad than I did last night. I don’t want to have doobts, but I do. What if… No, he’ll be back soon!

      • johanne says:

        Must be the Rafahangover effect that’s keeping us bummed today. It’s still very fresh news. And it’s a sad new, no? But it is what it is. Wimby will def be harder to watch…especially come Monday with Rafa not being the first to step onto Centre Court.


        But he’ll be back! You can tell from his interviews that he’s still very much so invested in his career. He has more goals. :)

        • nic says:

          oh yeah, didn’t think of that, the first match. not being rafa. the thoughts running through my mind at that moment that he really really should have been the first one walking on court. honoured for his great achievement last year. ouch, this doesn’t stop to hurt! it’s like a bloody rollercoaster of emotions here!! what up!! but yes, i’m so reassured by rafa’s positive actitude in his pressers. oh yes, hell no, it’s not over. by a mile. and it’s not chronic either, he just needs rest!

  3. Ch F says:

    Did anyone read Federer’s interview at Wimbledon? What do you make of it?

    As for if he will ever pick up a racket again, he will alright, what worries me is the mental part. Even if he’s completely cured, I hope he is able to focus on his game and not think he might get injured again if he fights for every point and runs around the court…I hope his entourage tells him that the fact that he played too many tournaments in a row is mostly responsible for his injury and not the way he plays as such.

    • nic says:

      yeah i read it.

      i was mostly glad that rog said the one thing he i needed him to, that he was sad for rafa, and that he knew it was a tough decision for him to make.

      i liked that he mentioned that he was disappointed he couldn’t play rafa again at FO and Wimby to repeat their great rivalry, and that he ‘loves to play the guy’.

      bits and pieces in there there were flashes of roger’s very high regard of himself (especially in comparing himself to tiger), but i guess in order to get to the top, as an athlete you’ve got to have nothing but the strongest belief in yourself and what you’ve achieved.

      i’m just glad that rog gave rafa due respect in this interview. rog is a good guy. sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

      • killian says:

        You are much kinder about Roger than I could ever be. But it WAS nice that he spoke highly of Rafa.

      • Esmmée says:

        nic, i always liked Roger but since he won Madrid he became a bit like´´ i am the GOD of this game´´ and he is the one that is making hard for us to remember it. do not feel bad. .. it is just that we will miss Rafael a world lot!!! buáááááááááááá

        • Atch2 says:

          Fed has achieved so much in his career, beaten everyone and u can forgive most of his comments bec of it. But the one that I find hard to forgive & forget was fm the Aussie Open 09:

          Q. A lot of us felt at the end of the fourth set that the momentum probably had swung back in your direction. How tough is Nadal in a fifth set?
          Fed: Tough like many other guys. You know, in a fifth set, anything can happen. That’s the problem. NOT USUALLY THE BETTER PLAYER ALWAYS WINS. Just a matter of momentum sometimes.

          • nic says:

            Hey there, yes I totally agree, that one statement absolutely killed me after AO this year. I was sooo pissed with that. Shame that Rog can’t be as gracious in defeat as Rafa is. He usually lets his disappointment and emotions get in the way then makes sometimes disrespectful comments.

  4. patzin says:

    After reading the article and looking at the many photos of him – how sad I feel and tears are flowing for him. The comment about his eyes being joyless is the same as was observed at the French Open by the women (don’t remember which player) about him. When trying to deal with pain, the eyes reflect the inner turmoil; energy is mostly spent trying to deal with the pain. Hard to be joyful in that situation.

    I will miss watching Rafa at WMB but will try to find some interest in the rounds and outcome. Rafa needs to improve his health – as physical improves so will the mental. My chiropractor volunteered (in email to me) to go to Mallorca and treat him with some cold lazer. She and I could go together! Yeah right. Anyway – thanks for the “space” to set out some of my thoughts and feelings.

  5. miri says:

    The thing I think I liked the most about this article was that it really helped bring home Toni’s, “there’s no drama in tennis.” Having the “drama” of Rafa’s withdrawal stuck between mentions of the loss of a child, marriage and a colleague helps puts things into perspective.

  6. dutchgirl says:

    Down-to-earth-Toni! Like it alot.

  7. sia says:

    Too right Miri … and just wanted to say I really admire your ferocity at dealing with paparazzi images and gossip about Rafa’s personal life. I like the teasingly, naughty (sometimes), love that is shown here on this site for such a great tennis player.
    I wonder if he’ll be better by Montreal ? I really want him to take his time but Quebec is very close to me and La ville de Montreal is great in the summer … hot, sultry, full of jazz … kind of like one young Spanish tenista we all want to know.