miri at the Rogers Cup – day three

Slightly shorter report today because I’m tired but want to catch up. I started the day with breakfast with my friend and when we went to the very lovely church across the street from our hotel to take some pictures. We then hung out a bit as it was her last day here. After saying our good-byes, I headed over to the tournament. On the way there, I finally met Nima from Tennis Connected. We walked into the site and then I went into the media room to pick up the practice schedule (I figured I’d missed Rafa’s practice, but wanted to make sure). Well, they weren’t happy I was there. They said my pass was just until yesterday. I had thought that was the case, but no one mentioned it when I turned in my special photography pass yesterday, so I figured, “why not try?” Well, the “why not” is that they took the pass and now I don’t have it as a souvenir. Oh well. I have the memories and pictures and that’s much better.

Headed off to center court to watch Verdasco/Roddick. It was a really good match and went down to the wire. Nando got head-casey a few times, but managed to not entirely freak out and let those moments lose the match for him. He and Roddick exchanged a fairly long hug at the end of the match – think they were talking about close losses in Grand Slams?

Next, it was Rafa time! He looked a bit more sure of himself today, but I admit there was one moment that scared me. He half slid into a shot and then kind of pulled up. He turned and looked to his team, but then seemed okay. Then, the next change-over, he was sending hand-signals to his team and that had me worried again. I’m horrible at judging whether he’s moving freely or not, so…I don’t know. There were many small fist pumps throughout the match, so perhaps he was trying to work on that confidence bugger-boo. But, he won the match without much stress and that’s good.

After the match, they had him help with another on-court ceremony thing. They had two lucky people who got chances to hit a serve at a target and if they hit it, they won a prize. If they didn’t, they would tell Rafa which item they wanted and he had two chances to hit the target and win the prize for them. The first person was a youngish lad and he didn’t manage to hit his target, but Rafa got it in the first try. The next was a lady who had the same luck as the lad. She picked a racket bag that was laying on the court as her prize – not an easy target to hit. Rafa tried once. No luck. Again with no luck and he looked very embarrassed. They gave him a third try and…again he missed. He dropped his racket and grabbed his head. Okay, they gave him one more chance. He acted like he was going to serve, but instead he ran up to the net and then just hit the ball towards the bag…and missed! Finally, he just walked over the net, picked up the bag, and took it to the lady. It was hilarious. (Sadly, my memory card filled up just after he got back to the other side of the net and didn’t get any pictures of him handing the bag to the lady.)

Then we had to clear out so they could get things ready for the night session. I got some dinner and then went to see a bit of the Nando/Feli doubles. Feli reached for an awkward ball and then grabbed his back. He kept trying to stretch it a bit after that. Looking at my photos now, I see his back was taped up before the problem happened, so it seems to be an ongoing thing.

After that, I watched a bit of Fed and Stanley the Manly, but I was tired and decided to go back to the hotel.

Here are a few photos – they suck compared to the earlier ones. I miss court-side and my nicer lens! (Can’t use it from the stands.) And, I was completely unable to deal with the light. I’m hoping I can clean things up a bit more once I get home to my beloved Photoshop.

69 Responses

  1. Atch2 says:

    “He and Roddick exchanged a fairly long hug at the end of the match – think they were talking about close losses in Grand Slams?” LOL. But I totally respect both more bec of their fighting spirit they showed at AO-Verdasco and Wimby-Roddick.

    I would luv to see the clip of Rafa serving for those lucky 2 people. The tournament people just know they picked the right guy to participate and u know Rafa will have fun and be just adorable helping, or trying to help them win the prizes.

    And again I luv your photos. Rafa’s shirt change is always a winner, but the ones of him reacting to the bad serve and running to get the prize is precious.

    BIG THANKS Miri. Have a safe trip home and hope u find Mayer’s ball.

  2. teejustice says:

    Great report and photos. Thanks!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Miri I know you think that these pics suck, but they are super! You are your harshest critic…Compared to many of the “pros” out there, you have a definite knack. Maybe love of the subject helps your “eye”, but I think these really capture our Rafi. Thanks for the fun after match report as well. How fun it is to hear about these things and see pics of them. I wish the Tennis Channel would show this kinda stuff sometimes instead of repeating stale old “special features” a million times. Oh well, here’s looking forward to a super match against Delpo tomorrow, with a big “W” for Rafi!!!

  4. An says:

    Still verry good pics! Don’t be hars on youreself…
    You captured verry nice moments of our boy!
    And that A** picture is…., well that A** picture is….

    *dies*

  5. johanne says:

    He is just the cutest. Great job capturing those lovely smiles & laughs! And his ass, too. ;)

    Hope the hand-signals are nothing to fret over.

  6. Delta says:

    Again, you captured Rafa at his best! Wow! what a talent you have with the lens as well as your dialog recounting the day in precise detail! A big treat for all of us, many thanks for your dedication to your craft.
    Gives the “reader” a sense we are there. Glad your holiday has been pleasurable, albeit;( busy working;
    The culmination of Nadal coming away with another Roger’s Cup will be icing on the cake. Enjoy watching
    incredible talent, all top 8, w/ Nadal leading the way………

  7. Carol says:

    Aww that’s so Rafa to participate in something like that. So lucky to have seen it.

    Me, can’t see much of a problem with the photos – look pretty good to me. Rafa is sooo photogenic in that blue / white / yellow combo. *sigh*

  8. CC says:

    OMFG! I adore your pictures, miri. Seem to capture so much more than the ones you see in the press! Thank you for sweating in Montreal so that we can have some good Rafa-time. :)

  9. AnaR says:

    Hello to all .. Many thanks very much for your photos Miri .. are really good and how envious your luck!. Yesterday we can see again a Rafael weak and insecure but at the end of the match we had already seen some of the master strokes of Rafa. Today is a party too hard .. with Delpo, but yesterday I was watching his match and he has physical problems. The physiotherapist was leaving at the court and giving him a massage .. so .. I do not know what to think. However, Delpo do not forgive .. is relentless and really hard. I don’t know what we will see today .. OMG! .. Hence we should be doing mental strength to Rafa. I hope he will be well.

    • An says:

      Rafa has nothing to loose in this one, he should see it as a good test too his physicall state… If the knees hold up he has won evrything he could possibly winn in this tournament, he reached QF in a “master serious” on his return mid season, thats a verry good result!

      He said it himself, he is not the favourite to winn against Delpo but he is a competitive guy and he will do his best and we know what his best is good for!

      • mary says:

        Perfectly stated An!!!!!!!!

        • dutchgirl says:

          Rafa himself has said that he didn’t expect to get this far in the first place, so every win is considered a bonus now.
          I think his main goal for the match is to see where he’s at. I’m totally with calm about it, no matter what the outcome will be.

  10. Laura says:

    Hi Miri
    I always read your blog but don’t really write in. But this time I just want to congratulate you on your great pictures (you took some really amazing ones, and I’m not just being polite!)and your reports.
    You were so lucky to get the press pass and made good use of it!
    It is lovely to see Rafa happy again – those smiles are precious and heart-warming. I think he actually looks older, more mature. In a less boy more man kinda way, there something in his expressions… What do you all think? Especially in the presser pics from Day 2. I wonder if the last few months, what with being possibly the toughest he’s ever had on a number of levels, have changed him a bit. But the smiles are always the sweet kid’s ones!
    All the best and thanks again Miri for the great time you always give me.
    Laura

    • mary says:

      I agree with you Laura. It’s been tough on our no. 1. But he is resilient, older looking maybe but that just makes him more irresistable & edible. *you getting warm?*

      • Laura says:

        Hi Mary
        well I’m actually looking forward to Rafa ageing a little!! I am in my mid-30s so I do like my guys a little older than 20 :-)
        L

        • mary says:

          Me too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He, he. ;) ;)

          • An says:

            Nothing wrong with Rafa’s age if you ask me!
            I’m almost 2 years older than him and i normaly like guys older but in this case i will make an exception! :)

  11. mary says:

    Miri if you weren’t there, we wouldn’t have a chance in hell of getting pics like these & all the little tid bits that seem to get lost when journo’s are reporting. I think if they humanised tennis infact all sports we’d see alot more story lines close to yours including, the washing stuff. Reminds me of a story. Robbie koenig (commentator) stated during Rafa’s round 3 match how Michael Phelps (USA swimmer at 2008 Olympic village)was so star struck when he ran into Rafa doing his laundry he didn’t have the heart to tell Rafa he shouldn’t mix his whites with his colours. Not a word was uttered from Phelp’s, he couldn’t speak he was in such awe. (Rafa didn’t see him) Our boy obviously hasn’t had much practice at laundering. Hope he knows better now, otherwise we are gonna get a 2 tonned blue and white with the possibility of a green smudge looking shorts.
    So journo’s hope you’re reading this & learn from miri.
    Again muchas gracias miri.
    Now onto the juicy parts the pics. Too much to say the pics do it themselves. Except I gotta say that net cord one, well that’s splitting hairs ain’t it. ;) ;)

    • Suzanne says:

      Mary, Michael Phelps actually did meet Rafa. He said that he was the one athlete at the Olympics that he really wanted to meet. Many were impressed that our Rafa was not too lofty to stay at the Olympic Village (as many consider themselves to be). As for the comments above that Rafa seems unsure of himself, I believe the contrary. He seems to be so comfortable in his own skin and very happy and contented, while still having that hunger to win.

      • mary says:

        Yes Suzanne you’re right. However, this took place prior to Michael meeting Rafi. I wasn’t there and I’ve been told this story before. So I am sharing it.

  12. mary says:

    Miri just curious was the on court after the match entertainment just for the winner of each match or specifically Rafi?

  13. Wooffie says:

    Miri,

    You captured the Rafarun … Vamos!!!

  14. dutchgirl says:

    Your report is great, I especially liked the part about the price winning thing afterwards. The pics show that Rafa had a good time with it as well. I really enjoy your pics, as always. It has been mentioned before, but I think they are taken with feeling and it shows. You have been able to capture the right moments, and who cares about the lighting then?

    Hope your time in Montreal was as great as it seemed, you’ve had some great Rafa experiences!!

  15. aRafaelite says:

    Love the hair-flying shot and the one that follows… and there we all were a while back thinking he can’t act! Good to see he hasn’t lost his sense of humour. I was feeling pessimistic about tomorrow’s match against Delpo, but feeling better after seeing him looking relaxed and laughing!

  16. patzin says:

    the photos and commentary are perfect. thanks

  17. rafafan1 says:

    I hate ESPN. They broadcasted the 2 day matches today (Murray and Federer) but for the evening matches, look like they’re only showing the Roddick match (from 7 to 9 pm) but not Rafa’s match. I’m furious and will write a strong worded complaint to ESPN. The same happened yesterday where they only showed the Roddick match. That’s twice in a row. In the meantime, does anyone know how I can tune in to Rafa’s match online at some free site? Thanks.

    • Suzanne says:

      Agreed…ESPN sucks! They consider poker to be a “sport” and yet have hogged the tennis coverage rights…If they refuse to show everything then they should open up important matches to the Tennis Channel. I’ve moved, so I don’t get the Tennis Channel any longer, bummer, but I still wish it for all of you. Thankfully I’ve been able to watch many matches online. Here is the link:

      http://www.atdhe.net/

      You might have to click on a match listed by other player’s names, but they do seem to be showing all the matches they can on the two show courts. Click on the match names until you find the right one. They even have some being shown in other languages besides English.
      By the way, the only network that sucks in its tennis coverage more than ESPN is Fox Sports…Neither show much in the way of player interviews either. Oh well, I’m just glad to have something! Vamos Rafa…

      • Suzanne says:

        Okay, I just saw a blurb on ESPN that they are sowing “continuing coverage” tonight at 12:30 am of Nadal vs Del Potro (actually it’s literally tomorrow morning, or “tonight” for the West Coasters.) So maybe they suck a little less…

        • Suzanne says:

          Oops, not “sowing” but “showing” (maybe they’re reaping what they’ve sown! ha ha!)

          • rafafan1 says:

            Yes, I just heard that too but that’s not showing live since Rafa is supposed to play right after Roddick, so they still suck.

        • Delta says:

          As long as it’s “live” correcto? Just made my day if it’s “the true?” Go ESPN2, finally they’ll have our vote…………

      • rafafan1 says:

        Thanks, I just tried this site and it’s showing the Roddick match right now so hopefully it’ll continue to show Rafa’s match right after. The quality is ok. Many thanks.

    • mary says:

      It’s great when its on the idiot box. Internet is not always smooth. I remember paying for a semi Rafi was in, yet the live stream was woeful. I complained & was given a free stream for Hamburg. Hey, he wasn’t there! Deh, pretty useless. But do try some of the free ones
      Having a look around haven’t found any free sites so far. I’ll check VB

      • Suzanne says:

        BTW, the above link for watching the matches is free, but surprizingly good quality. Certainly not as good (as Mary put it) as the “idiot box”, but pretty decent. Is anyone else sick of the commentators harping on “no love lost” between Roddick and the Djoker? (They’re playing right now.) They seem to have been making an effort to be congenial, and as they are both good sports and have similar senses of humor, I’d think that they could iron things out (probably have!). Sooooo off subject, but I remember the doofuses trying to stir something up between Rafi and Djoker (same expression…no love lost) and the inaccuracy of that is evidenced in their dubs plans for next week. I miss Johnny Mac, who is more fun in the booth and really knows his stuff. Rambling, rambling (sorry). Oh there is just so much to be excited about having our precious Rafi back…he just makes life so much more exciting and I think that even the players are enjoying his return. Joy, joy, joy!

        • Delta says:

          No kidding, love Johnny Mac as well as his intelligent brother Patrick. May be @ Davis Cup? no?
          Like Brad & Cahill as well as the other. All are into Nadal & HIS greatness. “Flove” stealing ur word Mary when Darren say’s “that’s insane” when Rafa hits an unbelievable shot! Anticipation looming…………..

      • Delta says:

        Mary & Suzanne, I’m sooo f*%$**# mad that ESPN2 is not playing Nadal’s match, I bought the “live Streaming vid,” that sucks” for the whole tourney. It says he hasn’t taken the court though, says following Roddick vs. Joker? no? OMG! Wanting to record, especially since Fed lost…….
        Can you believe??? Makes Our Nadal that much viable to gain some ATP points, just like I imagined!
        He is RAFA & can do the impossible and beat Delpo!! Just want to see it. I am furious @ TC for not covering as well as ESPN2, they can you know what…….
        Keep me updated as I will you all. GO NADAL!!! XOXO
        PS. If I heard right they just said Nadal is coming up after Roddick match? no? Too good to be “the true.” Then again, its only 19.36 & he has taken to court much later.( ie; AO, good omen if the case?

        • Suzanne says:

          Don’t be too mad at the Tennis Channel, though, because they are under the thumb of ESPN and their rules in all of this. Just screwed up…glad to hear that they are showing Rafi live. It sounds like the commentators put their views out there for ESPN and they were heard. I hope that they don’t screw up the US Open. I loved the coverage the old USA network had of the Open for so many years. They were die hard and showed everything and didn’t chop anything up. Again, it is sad to not have Johnny Mac too. Maybe they’ll have him at the Tennis Channel like they did at Wimby. ABC’s weekend coverage with him commentating isn’t enough…of course I love anyone who loves our Rafi as much as he does…thanks for BG whose a fan.

    • mary says:

      Found this site on VB. Good that ESPN has continued coverage.

      http://www.myp2p.eu/broadcast.php?matchid=45681&part=sports

      • Delta says:

        Sooo excited didn’t read, so they are indeed playing Nadal match after this one? Hope they get done in straight sets! Thx for info………..

        • rafafan1 says:

          They’re showing Rafa match at 12:30 but that’s on a delay basis not Live. Rafa is supposed to play right after Roddick so I would guess Rafa’s match will start anytime after 9 pm.

          • Delta says:

            Thanks rafafan 1, so I can get the beginning on the stupid streaming? I want to record His “V”!!! Positive thinking here…………… OMG! soooo excited!!!!!

            • Delta says:

              Confirmed, that ESPN made “exceptions”);- like as if? They ARE playing NADAL/DELPO
              match concluding this one!!!! They wanted to call it as well!! Thx guys……………

              • Delta says:

                It’s ESPN2………….

                • rafafan1 says:

                  So they’re showing Rafa’s match LIVE right after Roddick’s? They’re so screwy. At the beginning of Roddick’s match, they said they’ll show Rafa’s match at 12:30 am. I guess they’re changing their mind now.

                  • Delta says:

                    I hope I’m correcto? I checked ATP that I paid for & they said following Roddick/Joker match. But then again doesn’t make sense as Cahill would speak of it and said Muuray coming up? OMG, ESPN Commentators must not be calling it, so local Montreal are? Why then is it not on “live streaming?” Has to be the monies involved since ESPN2 has decided to play it “delayed”, so 21.30 Pacific time, bought the rights I assume? I’ll keep checking ATP site. Awh hell, Chris Fowlers just said we’ll see you back here @ 9.30p. Maybe they are calling it, but it’s obviously “tape delayed.” If I see it on streaming, I won’t give 411 unless you want? I want to see it on the tele to record………..
                    Sooorry 4 all the inaccurate info……………

  18. Delta says:

    Me too! What a mess figuring this out. Enjoy………
    Go Nadal!

    • Suzanne says:

      He looks mighty serious tonight…

      • rafafan1 says:

        urhhh, Rafa played a good first set until the middle of the tie break. I’m feeling a little down. We’ll just have to wait until Cincy. Hopefully Rafa will do better there. :(

        • Suzanne says:

          He seemed to lose a bit of patience at times, which is unusual for him. When he played agressively and hugged the baseline or approached the net he did quite well. I really think that he needs to adopt more of that into his game to preserve those gorgeous legs (knees) and between that and using his “leftiness” to take time away from his opponents he should be able to make it deeper into the tourney in Cincy. Maybe this is the year for him to finally win there…It’s one of the only Masters Serious that he hasn’t won. Now we have to root for Jo Willie to beat Moooooray in order for Rafi to retain the #2 spot. Big ask, but beating Fed today has to have done his confidence a lot of good. I’m a little sad, too, Rafan1, but I’m just so glad that he’s back, will play singles and dubs (with Nole, too!) in Cincy, and is walking with a spring in his step. The timing is coming back, but he needs a bit more practice. He can hook up with Nando, Feli, Rusty (Hewitt), Djoker, and so many others in Cincy before the others get there. He can get in some great practice, a little rest, and some snuggling and smooching with Xicsa and be ready. I’m so proud of him and I hope that he is happy for the progress he’s made. I hope Miri gets one last glimpse of him before he leaves tomorrow. Let’s keep remembering that beautiful smile as he dashed back to the baseline at the start of his first singles match. Melts like buttah!

        • Delta says:

          Sweet Rafael, getting the “feel of play” back after being sidelined w/such a limiting injury takes time. Sooory for the “high hopes” better to be an optimist no? Always think he can do the impossible. He can under different medical conditions. Sweetheart has done “intensive PT, Physiotherapy, etc. Which will “pay off” in time. He was out there trying. Delpo has been tough of late, so great 1st set from that darling! 1 @ 2 out, who would of ever thought? Has to have “eyes’
          ( “ice”, in Rafa English : ) Hang tough all, he’ll be back. Yes, rafafan 1, feeling “blue too,” ATP not the same without Nadal. Fed feeling it too. Kinda weird no?

  19. aRafaelite says:

    Well, I wasn’t very surprised that he lost but it still hurt! He just didn’t find his rhythm in the 2nd set and was clearly rattled. Still, it was a good work out and the rust is starting to fall off, so with a bit more practice and a bit more fun (doubles with Nole would surely qualify as heaps of fun? I hope that rumour turns out to be true), he should be back on top before too long! Fuerte, Rafa!

    • rafafan1 says:

      Well said, I agree with both of you. It’s a gradual build up. He’ll do better at Cincy and then really go for it at the Open. All the best to Rafa.

    • Suzanne says:

      Vamos Rafa and Hajde Nole! (Hajde is like vamos in Serbian.) I’d love to see Roddick or Jo Willy win Monty now, and keep Mooooray away from taking too many points. He’s too close as it is…

      • rafafan1 says:

        Yes, I hope Tsonga takes down Moooray tomorrow. BTW, the Cincy draw is out. It’s a much better draw for Rafa (and Nole too), the bottom half. Finally, some justice. And check out the Federer’s half. I got a kick out of that.

        • mary says:

          Muchas gracias rafafan I will.

          • mary says:

            Yep I agree the draws looking mighty tough for the absent father, fed head. It’s good to see finally a balance.
            Rafi will be that much more match prepared & edible as ever. Hmmmmm what part do I wanna chew on first? ;) ;)

            • miri says:

              Why do you keep calling him an absent father? The kids are here.

              And did everyone forget about the chat feature for match time talk?

              • mary says:

                Obviously we Have. So sorry.
                I didn’t know the twins were there! They’ve started their traveling life early. Mirka’s one tough lady to travel after a caesarean. I know I had one & with twins. From his very first interview I got the impression they weren’t there from what he said. Well if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Sorry fed head.

                • miri says:

                  Yep, they are there. I think he requested a pediatrician to be on call at all times – which sounds demanding, but hell, I would do the same thing with new wee little babies to look after. They also rented a house instead of staying at a hotel since they needed more room!

                  • mary says:

                    thankyou for setting me straight. I wasn’t the only one that was misinformed. Sounds like they took every precaution. That’s responsible!!

    • mary says:

      Well my sweet & extremely sweaty man, you fought well in the 1st set. You did yourself proud. After 2 & 1/2 months coming back and playing as well as you did things can only get better.
      This is the 1st time ever that the top 8 were in the quarters in ranking history.(started in 1973). Wonder what they did before this system?
      Rafi would of had a hard time against anyone of them. I believe this is a good if not excellent beginning for him. (He’s got to think and take away from this match the positives) Try not to berate yourself Rafi, this is a new beginning for you.
      As to the doubles I actually read it on another site as well that Rafi & Nole are playing doubles at Cinci. Odd thought though, Rafa wears nike, Nole addidas I think. How do they work their attire out?
      What a fun time these two will have. Thats exactly the type of medicine you need right now!!!!!!:)

  20. Atch2 says:

    Here’s a link to Rafa’s match with some footage of the game Miri was telling us about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cEHgEiq6ro

    Ignore the screaming girls bec I’m sure Xisca has learnt to by now.
    And we really have to work on that serve Rafa.

    Miri were u sun-baked at the end of that match bec it looked pretty hot?

  21. faecoleman says:

    What a joy its been on here this morning and thanx for all the tennis links, thats gr8.. Rafa’s so lovely and I am sad he’s out, I sat up till gone 4.00am this morning watching him! He played so much better in the first set and I really though at 5-2 it was his, but as they say, lack of match practice and concentration during! was the real problem. Had he took this set it would have been a different story, Del Potro didn’t seem (although holding serve well), sure of himself. Getting the first set though gave him the momentum he needed and there was no stopping him after that. I thought too that Rafa played alot better than I expected, movement was okay, his lack of confidence built up in the 2nd set leading to too many unforced errors, but like Mary said he should take out the positives here. Most articles have said that had Nadal been in top form this match would have been his, nice to see people behind him and the crowd seemed to be too. Gr8 news about Rafa and Nole playing doubles, how cool is that! Can’t wait to see some coverage..

  22. Lil says:

    Hi Miri,
    It was great to meet you in Montreal! I wore your’s and Rafa’s colors with pride and it paid up :D
    I have been looking for you on thursday, now I know why I could not see you; however it seems we attended the same matches. Thanks to your information, when I met Feliciano in front of his hotel the following day, I was able to ask him about his back! He said he felt better; and so did Nando!
    This afternoon I was standing in front of the Funiculaire … with a grin on my face ;)…

    I know you don’t like it but allow me to thank you for all your work and your beautiful pictures.

    • miri says:

      Hi! It was so nice to meet you too. And you talked to more tennis players than I did. :) Glad Feli is feeling better – I think he plays doubles tomorrow in Cinci. And…funiculaire/funicular! Love that word either way.

  23. AnaR says:

    Miri, I have repeatedly and carefully seen the pictures made for you. I need a little encouragement until Wednesday day in Rafa will be in a track again and I have to tell you that the photos are wonderful .. reflect all the energy of our favorite player, very clear, crisp and really spectaculars. Thanks and congratulations for your work.