In today’s blog, Rafa talks about the weirdness of the round robin format and embraces his inner food critic:
Many thanks for all your support messages. They are really important to me. Many of you might be wondering how do you feel after a defeat and not going back home.
Normally when you lose a match in a tennis tournament, you leave home or if you are in the middle of a tour far away from home, stay to rest one day and move to the next one.
Here it is different. I lost yesterday but you can say I am still alive. I have been practicing today hard and I am really looking forward to that match tomorrow. Davydenko is a very difficult player, who isn’t here, right? But he beat me the last time we played only a few weeks ago in Shanghai.
On a personal level, I took some time this evening and went to see the Champions League football match between Barca and Inter at a Sports Bar here in London with my team. Food? so, so…
In his Q&A, he mentions his ambitious Christmas shopping list and, of course, is asked about football:
Do you think that the ATP will ever have a realistic schedule for players and a decent off season? – Stephanie Thomas
RN: I hope so. We are working with them closely. We’ll see.
Good luck – it’s such a tangled mess.
What’s most important in your career now, ranking or longevity? – Hanne K, Norway
RN: The most important thing right now is to play good. Then clearly to win titles is the most important thing. The ranking comes with that.
Why do you use the slice so much during a match? I saw this especially in your last few matches and personally I don’t think it’s a good idea. – Alexandra
RN: It depends on the surface you play. Here in indoor you try to do that to break the rythm of the other player. However let me tell you I would love to simply hit big points… Simply not possible.
I admit: I’m a lover of the slice. Big time. I think Rafa’s could use a bit more bite, but I love the fact he’s worked on the shot a lot over the years.
What do you think of the crowd being in the dark at the O2 and all the focus on the court? – Lisa, London
RN: Funny, you are right. I think the court and the stadium looks really great.
Maybe it’s my TV set, but the blue glow from the court looks radioactive. If I were the players (and on court personal), I’d worry about my fertility after the tournament.
Will you be watching El Clasico on Sunday? – Nick Clarke
RN: ABSOLUTELY!!! :-)
For the ignorant (like me): El Clasico = Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona.
Do you do any meditation or visualisation to help you focus and prepare for matches? – Juliette
I’m trying to visualize Rafa sitting still long enough for that and it’s not working.
If you only could wish for one thing for Christmas what would it be? – Anna
RN: No wars!
Rafa goes all beauty queen on us.
Why didn’t you challenge that call when you thought you had hit an ace against Soderling? – Alice
RN: The umpire told me he’d seen it clearly out… If he was so sure I didn’t challenge. My team told me afterwards they’d received sms from friends watching TV and telling me it was in… Too bad.
*shakes fist in anger* Oh wait. Tries to channel Rafa’s attitude. *sigh*
I noticed you were hitting the ball a lot more flat on hardcourts early in the season (very successfully) but now I see you are using a lot of topspin again. Why this change in tactic – Javidan
RN: Simply trying to play better. I would love to hit it like I was at the beginning of this year!
It was a thing of beauty. Time…give it time.