You can’t keep him away

Patzin sent in this Times Online article where Nole talks a bit about Rafa.

Rafael Nadal is in touch by text, asking how everyone is without him. He will probably spend today kicking at the sand on a Majorcan beach while the man who did more than anyone to send him there is picking at a bowl of strawberries on the Wimbledon players’ lawn talking about how fresh he feels. Somehow it does not seem right.

It goes on to basically say that it’s bittersweet for Nole that he lost to Rafa in that epic Madrid match, lost earlier than Rafa in the French Open and yet, he’s the one playing in Wimbledon.

Nadal spent three hours on a conference call on Saturday night to discuss the finer points of the scheduling dilemmas that afflict the game. Djokovic is also on the ATP Player Council and the pair are working in a vice-presidential tandem behind Roger Federer, the president.

“Rafa has been playing so much through the year and though he is a physically strong guy, he’s a human,” Djokovic said. “It doesn’t surprise me that he pulled out from two very important events and it will affect him mentally \ the rest of the season. We are not superhuman yet all the time we have to do things in order to recover our body as quickly as possible or to maintain physical endurance. You have to have a good maintenance of your body and players have to pay so much attention to it because the season is so long.

“It comes to the point when your body can’t take it any more and you either have to stop or you keep playing and you cannot perform at the level you want.

“Everybody has it in their interest to see the players performing their best and compromises are going to have to be made.”

And Jon Wertheim stands up for Rafa in his latest SI Mailbag installment. When asked if Rafa wasn’t being a coward for withdrawing, Wertheim replied:

Several of you wrote in making the same point and I think it bears addressing. Yes, claiming you are withdrawing because you are “not 100 percent” rang odd. What athlete is fully healthy, especially midway through a season? Yet I would encourage you to cut Nadal some slack here. For one, there’s the lost-in-translation factor. Second, as Roger notes, given what we know about Nadal, he’s the last guy who would be cavalier about his commitments. (Spark up the 2009 Australian Open video.) Particularly, as the defending champion, you know he had to be awfully banged up not to even attempt to play. And while Nadal is the last person you’d call mercenary, it’s safe to assume his decision came at a steep financial price. The forfeited endorsement bonuses alone surely exceeded seven figures.

Followed by the usual bitch about scheduling.

13 Responses

  1. loverafa4ever says:

    What do they do at the ATP players council? I would like to get more information on this. How many players are in the council?

    I knew there was a players council but I didnt knw that Roger was the president. And Rafa had a three hour long chat? He must have really protested with the current schedule.

  2. sia says:

    He really should !! Protest loud and long Rafa. As a tennis fan I want to see these players at their best. They train all their lives to become dazzling sports stars, not to have to overcome gruelling schedules. Granted I know they go hand in hand to some extent in the sporting world but the are penalised over and over for winning. Sorry for the rant … Let me on that council. I could be a fan rep.

  3. patzin says:

    Roger is the President and Rafa is the Vice President of the Players Council. I’m not sure of Nole’s role on the council, perhaps he is a member and perhaps he is working with Rafa during his absence on issues being discussed. The council interacts with the ATP on issues affecting the players, including scheduling I would assume.

    I was interpreting the 3-hour chat from Mallorca as a conference call during a council meeting.

    • johanne says:

      According to the above article, seems like Rafa & Nole are co-VPs.

      • loverafa4ever says:

        yea… but officially Rafa is the V.P. I think Nole is jst helping him out… he mst b “acting” V.P.

  4. loverafa4ever says:

    I read almost every possible article I cud get about the council. Roger is the president and Rafa the V.C. There are 4 players from the top 50 in the council, a total of 10 members. The newest member is Gonzales. I thot Murray wud be interested. But till 2010 these are the members.

  5. CC says:

    “He will probably spend today kicking at the sand on a Majorcan beach while the man who did more than anyone to send him there is picking at a bowl of strawberries on the Wimbledon players’ lawn talking about how fresh he feels.”

    Is Neil Harman suggesting that it’s Novak’s fault Rafa cannot play Wimbly? Slightly unfair.

    The talk about the schedule being too harsh and unfair is always interesting. I don’t know enough about it, really, but most players seem fine with it, no? It’s just that, as we’ve said before, Rafa’s happened to win a lot and therefore has played a lot of matches! More than most. If his body cannot take the toll of that, then… Oh, I dunno.

    • Esmmée says:

      People should PLEASE stop with the not being 100% thing, he was definitely talking about his health, have they forget that Rafael played with blisters in his feet last year in Rome Masters rather than withdrawing????? and why would any other player complaint about about the schedule??? if they lose every tournament between the 1st and 3rd round it is ok. i think they need to change the top players schedule…

    • aRafaelite says:

      I like Nole and I agree that the start of this article is unnecessarily harsh and unfair toward him. It takes two to play a match and if Rafa had played better earlier in their epic Madrid semi final, it wouldn’t have gone on so long and Rafa might have had a better chance of defeating Federer in the final. You can’t blame Nole for that (even though I did enjoy all the Rafan suggestions that Roger should send Nole half his winnings)!

      Re. the player council. Rafa clearly takes his role on the council very seriously, and has spoken out against the number of tournaments played on hard courts and the toll that has on player’s bodies, not just his own – most of the top players have experienced injuries and withdrawn from tournaments this year, so no, I don’t think most players are fine with it although I suspect few would be willing to admit it for fear of being slammed (Rafa’s own comments were very telling – he felt he needed to win a GS on a hard court to prove he could before he could really speak out on this issue).

      He’s also spoken out strongly against the draconian drug-testing rules, and successfully fought for revised distribution of tournament prize pools to lower winnings deep into the tournament and raise winnings for players who don’t go so deep, but probably need the money more than the higher-ranked well-sponsored players (like himself). I’d like to see a few more players speaking out on some of these issues, and I look forward to the likes of Nole and Gonzo getting more involved. Good stuff.

  6. faecoleman says:

    Yes its good that these issues are raised. Nearly all the players seem to have there ankles strapped with supports, knee problems everywhere, less h/c tournaments would help, they treat the players like robots and to be a top player where you have to play all the majors and masters at least, plus are invited to play at other prestigious tournaments for the good of the sport is really tough, even Federer who had suffered from back problems had said he couldn’t wait to get on to clay!! At least players should not be penalised because of injury withdrawal its insane.

  7. naaz says:

    As far as I remember, when this council was being set up early last year, only one top ten player should have been elected. But Roger, Rafa & Novak all stood 4 d election and ultimately all 3 were elected. I think the players vote or something.

    Anyway, James Blake who lost his 1st round match in Wimbleton, did talk about the schedule and how Rafa had basically suffered 4 it as he goes deep in almost all the tournaments he enters, winning it or at least reaching the final (5 titles, 2 finals). He’s bound 2 b tired.

    • Atch2 says:

      Fm Hewitt’s presser, abt Rafa:

      Q. You probably share with Nadal that at a young age you played a lot of matches, and you’re both pretty labor intensive players. With your hip and his knees, do you ascribe the five set format in majors as contributing to injuries of that kind?

      LLEYTON HEWITT: No, I don’t think the five set format at slams. More so the schedule I think more than anything, and the amount of matches that you’ve got to play, especially if you are top five in the world.
      Yeah, he, as I was, the way he moves around the court and hustles for everything, it’s gonna take wear and tear on your body over years. I think everyone realized, you know, it was going to happen at some point. It just depends when it was gonna happen I guess for him.
      But over five sets for Grand Slams, I don’t think it’s a big deal.
      Q. You were just talking about how you do recover now during Grand Slams. Is that some advice you would like to give Rafa, as well? You had a lot of injuries as well. Is there something you can tell him?

      LLEYTON HEWITT: I think Rafa, he knows what to do in Grand Slams. You know, he’s yeah, this is obviously disappointing for him to miss this Grand Slam.
      But the way that he prepares and goes about his business in the majors is second to none. You know, he’s as professional as anyone. So, yeah, he would have been taking doing an enormous amount of training and recovery work.
      Yeah, at the Australian Open earlier this year, the way that he bounced back from his five setter against Verdasco, to come out and beat Roger in another five setter, there’s not too many guys that can do that.

  8. Atch2 says:

    The thing that really gets me mad is when people call Rafa’s withdraw fm Wimby ‘cowardly’ like in above SI Mailbag question:
    ” Doesn’t it sound like a cowardly act for Rafael Nadal to pull out of Wimbledon just because he’s “not 100 percent”? If you’re No. 1 in the world and known for your never-say-die, never-give-up attitude on the court, wouldn’t you at least try to defend your title even at “only 70 or 80 percent capacity”?”

    Each player has the right to put their health first. Rafa didn’t withdraw bec he has a blister on his thumb. It’s an injury that affects mobility around the court and possibly his future career.
    I have always thought that some unfit or injured players are rather selfish for playing even though they know they cannot last the tournament if they make it thru. Watching a 1st or 2nd round match where a player retires sucks for the viewer bec I want to see the whole match and the winner also wants to get a lot of match practice and he wants to win proudly. Rafa gave another guy his spot that probably needs the money and experience, the chance to play at Wimby.

    Rafa has respect for the tournament, the opponent, the viewer and his body. I respect his decision totally.