Can less be more?

Interesting article sent in by RC and appearing in the google feed below. It points out the catch-22 Rafa is in now. He’s often stated that he needs tons of court time (either during match play or practice) to play at his best, but tons of court time could continue to hurt the knees. Can he play his best without that court time? I’m sure he can physically, but what about mentally? I think that, perhaps, this is the most important hurdle he has to overcome right now. He has to learn how to feel confident in his play without putting in hours and hours on the practice courts and without having to play tournaments non-stop.

14 Responses

  1. johanne says:

    Definitely an interesting article. Refreshing that the author isn’t completely writing Rafa off, or worse, ENJOYING writing him off. I think he brings up some good points. Personally, I do think it will be an adjustment for Rafa to learn how to play less but still feel confident. But I don’t think it’s out of the question. No way. Rafa’s proven more often than not that he’s a good student – I say that in the sense that he’s a smart player and he’s a fast learner. Just think about all the things he’s improved on and all the accomplishments he’s had during his career. He’s proved a lot of naysayers wrong before, and I think he can do it again. But maybe that’s just the Rafanatic in me talking. ;)

    VAMOS!!!

    • Mary says:

      I totally agree. From what I saw when I watched his interview, it seems he’s on the right track to feeling that confidence that Miri mentioned. I think the fact that he realized it was a mistake to play in Madrid is so healthy for his career. Like the author said, even if we see Rafa less often, it means he’ll be healthy- which is much more important than anything thing else.

    • CC says:

      “He’s proved a lot of naysayers wrong before, and I think he can do it again.”

      I agree on this, but I think it will take a while for Rafa to come back and play amazing tennis again. I think maybe it SHOULD take a while, that he needs to just…take it easy. I’m rambling. Never mind. :)

    • johanne says:

      Yeah… basically I think that time and patience are Rafa’s best friends right now. But he can do it! :D

  2. Atch2 says:

    Good article. It’s appreciating Rafa’s tennis and not blaming Rafa’s style of play but the ATP schedule and Rafa’s choices of tournaments he plays.

    I think playing less to be fully fit for the Grand Slams will lengthen his career, even if it means missing some Master 1000 events bec I don’t think the Rafa camp will mind being fined points or money, or banned from the next tournament. I mean see what can happen when u try to do everything ATP requires of u or when u try to pls everybody.

    And I think the time off on the couch has let him think a lot and appreciate his health and the other things in life, e.g., watching his countryman win the Tour De France etc.

    • Suzanne says:

      I agree, but don’t you think it kinda stinks that a top player (and huge drawing card in popularity) like Rafa would be fined for skipping an event to protect his health? I still think someone should fine the ATP for those awful player photos (beat, beat, beating a dead horse!).

  3. mary says:

    Certain governing bodies like the ATP are a law unto themselves. They just can’t expect players to be in top form and no injury’s year in year out. I think the Williams sisters may have had an influence in ATP’s stance on fines for none appearance in mandatory tourneys. However, Rafa doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone except himself. He wants the USO above all at present and he will do whatever it takes to be ready for it including no shows & accepting fines for it.

    • Suzanne says:

      Actually the Williams sisters are part of the WTA, not the ATP. I think that the ATP could use some common sense in this as the jam packed schedule is the chief complaint all of the players have! The people who run the AO saw how their rebound ace “surfrace” was causing so many injuries, so at great expense but with great wisdom they changed the surface (Those courts were not very old prior to this change). I know that it’s a hassle to figure out how to fix all of the ills of the ATP schedule, but it’s worth it to keep the players healthy. Not rocket science to see that a better schedule would keep the players from temptation to skip “mandatory” tourneys, but no matter what, if a player is injured or in danger of injury worsening they should have the right to play or not as a matter of their own choice.

  4. loverafa4ever says:

    I am hoping that the new ATP head will make some changes and announcements during the USO. I think he is going to talk officially about the changes (if any) thats going to be made in the calender. I really hope he makes a few masters tournaments optional. Instead of Monte carlo, they shud have made Madrid optional and they shud make cincinatti or Montreal optional. The thing that u hav to play back to back 2 masters is the most difficult thing. They shud take the 500 series requirement (it still can b optional) from the top 4 or 5 players (4 players, coz they are the most consistent)… This wud help the players and also the tennis so much. Tennis will benefit frm this, coz then the number one ranked player will not hav to miss a tournament like Wimbledon or play with 30% on a tournament like French Open.

    Rafa shud gradually reduce the time he spends on court. Little by little he shud cut down the time, so that it doesn’t affect him mentally. Cutting down 3 hours of practicing could affect him. But cutting down half an hour of practice and then making it 1 and gradually making it 3 will not affect him much. From the interview what I have understood is that he wants to do some rescheduling in the tourneys he plays. But is he talking abt his practice routine as well? Is he planning on cutting that down? His uncle Tony shud make some drastic decisions and force Rafa to lessen the time he spends on court.

    • Suzanne says:

      As VP of the player’s counsel he should make his voice heard. They have got to know what a detriment it is to the tourneys to have someone of Rafa’s caliber missing…I wonder if they fined him for missing Wimbledon (she says with a wry smile in total sarcasm.)?

  5. An says:

    I think Rafa learnd his lesson from this one.

    And i agree with CC that maybe it will take a while longer before we see Rafa back as we know him because he needs to get more confident that he can do it even without training so hard or punishing himself after a match that he won, but in wich he felt he did not do evrything 100% perfect! What where you thinking Rafa…
    You always say you need to improve, sure i agree with you that you contantly need to work on improvement cause the opponents do too, but you do not need to improve it directly in the next match! You’ve done pretty well whit how good youre game is, no?
    I’m just an amature tennis player and i do not dare to compare us but when i loose a match and i played bad my trainer always says: “Girl, you got that one out of the way, the best thing of playing a realy, realy bad match is that it always will go better in the next!
    You too could maybe keep that in mind Rafa, and you should always keep in mind that we are here for you, with you, behind you and love you wherever you are and whatever results you achieve!
    If its a loss we could be dissapointed but in the first place for you and not for ourselfs and it will not change our support. Butif you win we always will be ” berry gappy”!

  6. faecoleman says:

    Interesting article and the editors view on things is refreshing from others that I have read. I would sarifice less Rafa for the sake of a healthy Rafa! He says here that Rafa is always better when he is playing(competing), but last year he finished early and barring the exho event and Doha, he didn’t compete before the A/O like other players, just trained hard. His form @ the A/O was awsome! If he trains sensibly there is no reason why he should have to compete consistently in order to keep his form! After reading his interview I really think he is being sensible about things a taken things as they come, all part of the maturing process I suppose, he said before @ Wimbledon, that he would not return unless he was 100% and I truly believe that he means it! He has also said that all the support he has had from his fans has made him really happier over these last two difficult months. (we will always support you Rafa, no matter what!)