Kelli DeMario’s new tennistalk.com article (The X-Factor: Rafa in the raw) does a good job of explaining why, for many of us, Rafa has “it”. It also includes this hilarious quote from a former pro:
“(Watching Federer win everything)…is the same as having sex (while) wearing a condom. It feels okay, but (it’s) not even close to how you feel when you don’t”.
But, *ahem*, moving along…
The Mallorcan projects an accessible, engaging warmth. Nadal, for all his international notoriety, remains congenial and friendly, retaining a measure of approachability present long before his evolution into a household name.
And, she recalls tennistalk.com’s Cheryl Murray talking about her first “face-to-face” with Rafa:
As I filed out of the room with the other English-speaking reporters, I passed by Mr. Nadal (I think he’d finished his chips by then). There is…something about him. Maybe his old-fashioned politeness or just the fact that he seemed so comfortable in his own skin. Whatever the case, I felt compelled to smile at him. I hadn’t expected anything in return. I just…felt like smiling. And Rafael Nadal smiled right back at me and gave me his most delightful yiddish-sounding “hccchellllooooo”.
I can’t say why that moment sticks in my mind except that in a room full of reporters, he made me feel welcomed. A guy who is hounded by reporters when he walks on the beach took the time to be nice to a nervous, unknown journalist. Is it any wonder that we are all so looking forward to his return to competition?
Okay everyone, all together now: Awwwww!