WTF: Rafa blog and Q&A 3

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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.

Total non-answer.

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


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

RN: Nope.

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.

24 Responses

  1. CC says:

    “Will you be watching El Clasico on Sunday? – Nick Clarke

    RN: ABSOLUTELY!!! :-)”

    But…but…what if you’re playing the WTF final on Sunday, Rafa…?

    Lol at the food comment! You should’ve gone to the chippy round the corner instead, Rafa. Fish and chips and a deepfried Mars bar is great footie food! ;)

    • Nana says:

      Or the thought of El Clasico will get him to finish the match nice and quick so he can get to watch in time =)

  2. Atch2 says:

    Thank for clarifying what ‘El Clasico’ is bec I thought it was some kind of soap opera that Rafa was watching.

    The question about challenging that call was good. Wanted to know how Rafa would feel about it. Oh Carlos, you should go check your eyes before offering another line call opinion.

    Brit food can’t be that bad, can it? Maybe Rafa was feeling down and lost his appetite. And I think Rafa misses his own kitchen to cook in like he had at Wimby.

    And I think to get Rafa to answer a question, incl football and it’s almost a guarantee it’ll get answered.

  3. An says:

    I was trying the tactic off sending in a question evry day and i always try to make up an intresting one but in my blured mind monday night i only could make up the stupid Christmas wish question and he goes and awnsers that….. it even made the headline of the Q&A’s….

    I was hoping for a more selfish awnser from him but knew i’d have the risk that he would awnser something like this…
    Still realy cheers me up that he finally awnsered one off mine!

    • Atch2 says:

      Congrats. Rafa’s unpredictable sometimes with what he would like to answer.
      I still haven’t scored during this WTF round of Q&A.

    • sia says:

      He wanted to cheer you up.

      • An says:

        He did a good job, now i’ll have to return the favour the next time he’s sad, No?
        Altough i’d love too, lets not hope that is annytime soon!

    • CC says:

      Great, An! :D

    • dutchgirl says:

      It’s great that he finally answered one of your questions! I’m still waiting. But I guess I’ll have to stop asking interesting ones and send in the questions that I don’t think about that much…

      • An says:

        Yeah, obviously thats the trick…
        Could have guessed that, No? Guess he rather awnsers the one he doesn’t have to think about that much too… Not surprising, i guess he doesn’t have so to much patience to sit down to awnser the questions;)

  4. ZARA says:

    Hola Rafa,

    You ARE a great player, no doubt abt that (I’m your Fan for Life)..however, watching yr matches now is just TOO painful.
    I think a lot of your fans are waiting for u to change your game, and for that I truly believe you shud get yourself a BETTER and NEW coach now. You just have to step forward and change your too readable moves. Forget about family filiality , your job is at staked right now…..Make your fans believe in you again……..

  5. elyo says:

    it is somekind of a shorter blog compare the slam right….or am i the only one think like this….

  6. Stf says:

    Finally, an answer to something I’d been wondering about…the slice backhand. I do too think that it’s not always a very good idea. And, still REALLY annoyed about that ace he hit that was ruled out. VERY annoyed.

    On the other hand…2 more days till I see Rafa live! :D

  7. elyo says:

    well that slice backhand is a very important shot on grass..not so sure abaut the hard courts though…

    • miri says:

      It’s important for the same reason: the ball tends to bounce lower on hard courts than clay. You get a good amount of slice and the ball will stay so low it’s very difficult to hit.

      • An says:

        Miri is right… Slice is a verry good ball to hit on a fast court cause it tends to stay low and because you gotta go underneath the ball to hit it and thats difficult, furthermore its much easyer for an opponent who likes to hit flat and hard to do that on a ball that comes to you with speed and much more difficult on a ball that comes to you slower and stays low!

  8. Kate says:

    An good job on the q&a – the answering seems quite random – he answered one of mine too but ummmm didn’t really lol! I am looking forward to today’s match but I hate these rumours that Nole could overtake Rafa in the rankings!

    • An says:

      Hi Kate,
      Thanks:) I realy only send in this question because i wanted to send in one evry day but couldnt make up anything monday night..

      All still can happen, No?
      Don’t pay attention to al the ranking talk, to be honest its realistic i think in the moment iff het slips to the no.3, doesn’t mather…. All that mathers is iff he can find back his 2008 form and winn tournaments, the ranking will follow then!
      And i truely believe he will be back…..

  9. Stf says:

    I’m positive that Rafa will be back and he’ll be better than ever. He’s had enough experience, he can still improve and if he plays well at the DC, he’ll gain confidence. The next year will be like a new start for him anyway, I think. Leaving 2009 behind, with its ups and downs, just starting over. He always did that in his matches. Whenever he lost a set, he played the next one as if the match was just starting.

  10. Ch F says:

    I think he tends to challenge less since his injury and it is a confidence issue as well.
    I know I´m a bit late on this, but I also think it would have been better if the umpire had not intervened in such a way and had only asked Rafa if he wanted to challenge or not. But all this will be resolved once he´s gained his confidence and has found his game.

  11. EJL says:

    rafa wish you success on friday’s match against nole. what’s up with soderling?(he really gets exploded)

  12. Sam says:

    Oh so very excited!!! I have managed to keep up my 100% success rate on ‘Rafablog questions’ and had another one answered. It was on Monday and I asked him when he was going to start twittering. He said he wasn’t going to and mentioned how he used facebook…yes darling, we know ;-)

    Yay!!!!! :-)