An article in the LA Times by Chuck Culpepper about the “Rafa factor.”
Talk of the dilapidation of American tennis has droned on for so long that it’s stale; talk of the dilapidation of Australian tennis has revved up long enough that it’s audible; and talk of the dilapidation of British tennis has blared roughly since dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Meanwhile, just look at the wake of the defending champion Rafael Nadal, even after he withdrew from this Wimbledon and took his muscles to Mallorca: six male Spaniards (plus two females) in the final 32.
And as this Wimbledon so clearly accentuates the various states of tennis, with Spain only one example (and France another), it also bolsters a point made last year by Manolo Santana, the Spanish 1966 Wimbledon champion.
“Do you know what?” he said. “The guy who changed the whole thing is Rafa. Because he has been talking since he was 17 or 16, because in his mind or in his dreams he will win Wimbledon, OK?. . . . The other guys, they seem like if Rafa goes there, why don’t we try.”
Some force, that Nadal. He’s palpable even in absentia.
That Rafa, he’s so palpable.