WTF: Rafa blog and Q&A 4

Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/ AFP/ Getty Images

Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/ AFP/ Getty Images

Rafa’s latest blog and Q&A are up. I’m labeling the blog: the bittersweet edition.

Well, it looks like the chances for being here on Saturday are very, very little, practically impossible if I am not wrong. I lost today again and it is actually a weird sensation to lose twice in a week. I felt I played better today, more aggressive, with more determination, but still not enough to beat a top player like Davydenko.

Tomorrow I will continue with the normal routine anyway. I will practice around 2pm at the tournament site. The important thing is to continue, to practice to continue improving and getting ready for the match on Friday. After that, I will be focusing and preparing the Davis Cup final.

I am not happy as you can all imagine but I am not down either. I felt better today, had some chances, played a good second part of the match and was close to bringing the match to a 3rd set. I am far from where I can be and that’s encouraging. I suppose that what I need is to go back to El Cambio de Tercio for a good dinner with my team and regain all good habits, playing well included :-)

I also would like to say that I am sorry for all my fans here. I really feel great playing in the UK. Probably here, and apart from my home country, is where I feel I have more fans. I know a lot of you came from different places around the World also. Many, many thanks is the least I can say.

Many thanks.
Rafa

I definitely do think he should feel better about that second set than he should about the last time he played Davydenko. The spark is still there, it just needs some tender loving care and a mild kick in the pants to turn it into a full flame.

Oh, and after looking at the menu for that restaurant, I think I understand the Roland Garros outfit even more. ;)

Now, the Q&A:

Rafa,do you cook dinner by youself? And how do you think of your cooking? – Xiao Hu, from China

RN: No, that I only do during Wimbledon and a very few times at home. I am limited but the few things I do are really good.

So, he’s a one-dimensional cooker? ;) All these questions about cooking – I think he’s starting to regret ever mentioning the Wimbly cooking sessions.

There is snow on the hills where I live. Do you like snow and have you ever skied? – Miles

RN: No I have not.

And don’t you dare until your tennis career is over! Tough on the knees.

Dear Rafa! I know, that it not the most important in your game, the main thing – that your victories. It is simply interesting to know: Will You return to the short sleeves and long shorts next year? Thank You, Best of luck!! With love, your fan Paolina

RN: No, that’s part of the past and maybe the long term future, but not any time soon.

So…there!

I know you already help a lot of people with your Foundation, and I wondered if you would ever like to be a Politician in the future to try and make the world a better place? Or someone like our Princess Diana used to be, she was nicknamed the “Queen of Hearts” as she helped a lot of people and brought good causes to the attention of the public.
You would make a wonderful “king of Hearts” as you are so compassionate and people would listen to you. (I would vote for you if I could!) Besos y abrazos – Juliette Westbrook-Finch (England)

RN: No, I won’t be a politician. I would definitely try to make the world better in my own particular way of helping but not via politics. You are very kind to compare me with Princess Diana, but I don’t think I am anywhere close.

*pictures Rafa wearing a tiara* *giggles*

Hola from Puerto Rico!! So, I was wondering: every time I’ve seen you on tv or your pictures, I have never seen you wearing any sunglasses. Do you ever wear sunglasses or do you just don’t like using them? Also, if you don’t wear them, don’t you get nasty headaches from having the sun in your eyes all the time (because you’re outdoors a lot of the time)?? Thank you and Vamos!!! – Yaritza from Puerto Rico

RN: I do wear them but not very often, you are right.

Not even on the boat when fishing? I’d think they’d cut down on the glare from the water. Oh well. I don’t like wearing them either.

So much press is written about you and your game- do you ever read any of it, or would that be too frustrating? I’m specifically talking about the sports pages, such as The Times, Marca and Espn? – Gill Leone, London

RN: I do read a lot of what’s in the internet. I simply have my own opinion and it is interesting to read what other people think. I only ask for respect and those you mention normally have respect with me and what I do.

Find out what it means to me.

Rafa, if you had to choose one Slam you wanted to win most in 2010, would you want to defend the Australian Open, reclaim your thrown from Roland Garros, win back Wimbledon or complete a career slam at the US Opens? – Anthea Yeung xxx

RN: Any of the four, but give me Wimbledon again… would be amazing!

Always the love for Wimbly. I approve.

Hi I come from Greece and tennis here is not a very popular sport yet, of course the last years more and more people become interested in it, but I think that is considered yet a sport just for few, for an “elite”.That is very disappointing…Did you ever consider tennis that way, as a sport for people of a certain social status? – Liana

RN: No, I never did. I don’t think it is this way in Spain where I grew up.

But then again, you kind of grew up in the class that she’s talking about – or at least close to it.

Over the years you’ve lessened your on-court rituals. Do you think you can play without them in the coming years? – Manahil, Pakistan.

RN: I hope so… :-)

Lessened them? Have you seen how he used to serve? He stepped right up the line and served. It was kind of freaky the first time I’d watched an old match in a long time.

45 Responses

  1. sia says:

    Ha ha ha i laughed out loud miri, when that menu came up …
    I think that tennis is looked at in a somewhat different way in Spain … look at the players they have to choose from for the Davis Cup; that is pretty rare.

  2. mary says:

    God that pink is overpowering. My eyes are flashing neon pink now. Was that the idea, to blind his opponents?
    I didn’t read the menu quite right & wondered what meal he would eat, then it dawned on me these were aparitifs. He probably had all of them, plus his main. I kinda think the icecream may not have been appealing though.
    *pictures Rafa wearing a tiara* *giggles*
    I could just imagine finishing that attire off with black army boots with pink (neon) shoe laces & a spanish robe or course! lol

  3. johanne says:

    *sad face* Rafa is so cute in his blog but it breaks my heart to see him end the season like this. I hope Davis Cup will bring better moments for Rafa & Spain. VAMOS ARMADA. You can do it. :)

  4. CC says:

    Ahhh, I knew I should’ve gone for a washer upper job at El Cambio de Tercio this week… ;)

    • Atch2 says:

      CC, Rafa didn’t take yout mars bar and fish ‘n chips suggestion.
      I’d volunteer to be a waitress, so I can hover at his table the whole night. Maybe spill some wine on him then help wipe it off.

      • CC says:

        Yeah, the reason I wouldn’t go for a waitress job is just the fact that I would probably spill most things on Rafa. Ah, well…if he’d let me lick it off… ;)

  5. Atch2 says:

    “I am far from where I can be and that’s encouraging”

    Did Rafa mean ‘I am Not far from …’?
    Rafa, I’ll be there to watch and cheer for you as you try to get to your destination.

    LOL Rafa eats to comfort himself. I do that sometimes but my food of choice is junk food which is a lot cheaper that anything on that Neon Pink menu.

  6. GB says:

    Finally a straight answer from Rafa about wanting Wimby most of all, instead of the standard ‘Any’s gonna be amazing, no’;) He really, really floves Wimby and it’s freaken awesome that the Brits flove him back So Rafa FTW Wimby 2010!. That’s the only positive thing about this whole nightmare is that it happened in front of a crowd with enough sense to flove Rafa. Given how vulnerable he’s seemed lately, am glad he could feel ‘the hearts of the people’ here.

    • nic says:

      That is so spot on. I’m totally in love with the London crowd for loving Rafa so much. The best thing is that he feels comfortable and even in defeat there is no bad taste left from an unappreciative crowd. They were so behind him at this match it was awesome. I love the Brits for this :)

  7. Sammy says:

    Yes indeed.. I was at the game last night with my husband who was the loudest cheerer for Rafa! Rafa definitely felt it and gave us a great second set.. The nice thing about watching him live is that you are never down after his loss as when you feel if you were watching him lose on TV! The atmosphere in the O2 was great and Rafa has every reason to love to play in London because London loves him unconditionally.

  8. Manahil says:

    He answered my question!!! yeah!! :)

  9. fae says:

    He is so honest and forthright I love it. He is practicing around 2? and Friday? will I be able to find out what time he practices on friday, assuming he has a night match I suppose it would be the same time? so desperate to watch him practicing people have said he is amazing to watch especially when he gets in that zone!

  10. elyo says:

    well isnt it strange that rafa still wants wimbeldon more than rg and us open….i can understand for sure but for him to that he has to win french open first…i always have that feeling abaut rafa he can only win wimbeldon if he wins french……your thoughts abaut this..

  11. Kate says:

    OMG I just fainted at the prices on that menu – that is another reason I left London – ridiculous and I know Rafa can afford it bit honestly!

    I kind of guessed we wouldn’t see him in the semi’s – I basically think his mind is now back to clay and Davis Cup. I know he will go back and rest a little bit. I also want to say that it was nice to see his Dad there with him this week!

    • teejustice says:

      Yes that was nice to see his Dad. I thought I noticed his Mom sitting next to his Dad at the match yesterday but it was quick TV shot. I saw his sister with his Dad on Monday.

      Also Costa was back with the group. Onward and upward Rafa! Vamos!

  12. CC says:

    Oh my, just checked out that menu… Some of the things on it are to die for!
    I’d be pretty happy with some suckling pig and then some hot liquid, dark chocolate cake… And then some Rafa…

    Yum.

    • An says:

      Yep… added that restaurant to the must visit with Rafa list after reading that menu…
      And it did inspire me for the question send in today… just a simple one again…. What did he choose from that menu?

      Love to know so that i will know what to cook him when he comes over for dinner ( whit special desert! ) ;)

      • CC says:

        Maybe we’ll go together during Wimbly next year An, and just happen to stumble into Rafa’s Sea bass…

        Special dessert involves chocolate…? Or not…? ;)

        • An says:

          Verry good idea! Count me in!

          Sure, no special desert without chocolate… I love chocolate…. in various applications ;)

          • Atch2 says:

            I think I was thinking too much of Rafa yesterday bec I dreamt that I saw him and his family at a hotel, I helped his grandma when she fainted and Rafa then invited me to have a meal with his family. A very wholesome, non-kinky dream. Anyone able to interpret this dream?

            • mary says:

              I think it means that you have a heap of respect for his family & of course the man himself. Also you want to be part of his familia, hence the family meal. Well thats my thoughts on the matter anyway!!

  13. dk says:

    Does anyone know why he is losing so much now? He doesn’t
    say exactly why, except for often-heard comments like I need to be calm. I want to know the reason(s) why he is losing…

    • k says:

      Hi..My thoughts are;

      – He wasn’t that bad during this late hard court season. But press constantly came on him as he didn’t win any titles like he used to in the beginning of the year. And this made him loose his confidence i guess. Federer lost in his first match on Paris but no one came on him. Del Potro lost to a qualifier in Tokyo and had an exit in his first match in Shanghai because of an injury but no one came on him. Murray had an unexpectedly tight match against Blake, which led to his loss in third round in Paris, but again no one came on him. Spot lights were on Rafa which i guess made him uncomfortable.

      – He is playing on his least favourite court. He wasn’t that succesful on these courts even when he was at his best.

      – He seems like he lost some weight, which i’m sure he will gain again (by eating those patato chips), and get his strenght back by practising hard. I guess he lost his muscle strenght as he had to stay motionless for a long time because of his knee and abdominal injuries.

      – He had two 3-week long breaks, one after US Open and one after Shanghai and i guess these breaks make him lost his rythm. This is why i think the idea of starting to practise at the begining of December is a positive action. 3 weeks of training before Australian Open would not be enough.

      – Rafa usually rises the level his game when he progresses in tournaments, like he did in Paris. The thing is, in a regular tournament he starts playing with relatively easier opponents. But at this tournament everyone was at the top, so he got beaten before he could raise his game, and after that he lost his confidence.

      • dk says:

        Thank you for the reasons. They seem to make sense but why doesn’t Rafa say these? or maybe he has but I usually hear things like lack of confidence and need to be calm…

        • sia says:

          dk, I think Rafa has said some of these things … some times because of the way he minimises his own strengths or difficulties it is not always easy to hear … I find he always tells the truth. We just have to listen.
          Also k he has said he hasn’t lost any weight … I really don’t think he has. He and Fed have always been the same height and weight and still are. He may have lost a little baby fat around his face but you take a look at some of the photos shown here … during the match he looks mighty muscular (yummmm) to me.

          • k says:

            It’s really hard to understand without seeing him in person i guess. But may be he lost his muscle strenght without losing weight. He had to sit and lay his legs for a long time, maybe that was the problem.

            • sia says:

              k let’s just hope whatever it is that Rafa can get his mojo back. (that damn Dr Evil !!)

            • aRafaelite says:

              I’m not buying into this losing weight or muscle mass theory… I think is an illusion ;) and he simply appears slimmer because he’s (temporarily) lost the intimidation factor and isn’t dominating the court the way we were all used to. I never bought into the whole ‘he’s all about muscle power’ thing anyway. For me he’s all about energy and mental strength, and both have been suppressed lately due to injury and personal distress. As he works through things and recovers his mojo, no doubt the press will be speculating on whether he can have muscles like that without drugs again!

  14. k says:

    I guess he doesn’t want to be seen like he’s producing excuses for his losses. He doesn’t want to look like he is weak.

    Another point is maybe he doesn’t want to tire himself up, and risk his health before Australian Open. Now he is playing at his least favourite surface, which means he has to try really hard to win the tournament. Maybe he keeping himself warm but doesn’t forces himself too much, which i can understand. So what if he lost in Shanghai, Paris or Word Tour Finals? If he does good enough in Australian Open, everything will be forgotten. If he plays a couple of good matches there everyone will say “Rafa is back” (like they said in US Open) and those negative comments will be gone. Federer did even worse this year between Australian Open and Madrid but no one remembers it now. He raised his game when he needed, came to Roland Garros in a good shape, win the tournamnet and everything was ok for him afterwards. I don’t want Rafa to tire himself too much, like he did in the beginning of this year. If he has to take it easy to stay healthy and fit for more important tournaments like Grand Slams, i’m ok with that.

    • k says:

      Sorry dk, i forgot to click on reply..:(

      • dk says:

        No problem, k. Thanks again for the reply.
        It bothers me that Rafa has been saying often recently that “if X plays like he did…” (where X is Novak, Del Potro, Soderling, etc.) then it will be almost impossible to beat him. Come on Rafa, where is your game?

        • k says:

          But he says it even before he faces a qualifier..:).. He always says “I have to play my best to have a chance against him..”..In this case maybe he is trying to say that he is not on his favourite surface but his opponent is. So he means he has to work really hard with his best game, which maybe is not realistic at the moment. Maybe he could play better against Djokovic in Paris, but there is no end to that. Remember their match in Madrid this year? Rafa started badly, but just didn’t let it go. They played for more than 4 hours on clay and Rafa won. Ofcourse he was very tired next day and he lost to Federer. And it didn’t help his knee injury for sure. Sometimes it seems like there is no point tiring yourself up that way. If you are having a bad day, i think you should not turn it into something worse by burning yourself out. And today no player can beat everyone on every surface easily, and that is ok i guess. No body can beat an in-form Rafa on clay (and on grass maybe), and Rafa can’t beat an in-form Djokovic on fast indoor hardcourts everytime. Maybe that is what he is referring to. by the way, it is a little off the subject, but i think Rafa would think he had more chances on a best of 5 sets match i think..

  15. Yaritza says:

    Yay that he answered one of my questions! But wtf?! Ok, so the food (some of the tapas and main entrees) not that bad…But the wine list?! Come on! My restaurant (well, the restaurant where I work) has many of those wines for almost half as much..Arrocal 2006 for £28.50? It sells for $34.00 (dollars) at my job. Pago de los Capellanes £58.50?! It’s like $49.00 or max. $59.00 there. Pago de Carraovejas £150.00?? WTF? It’s $69 dls…The wine is at least too expensive. Except the glass of Tio Pepe which is normal. The food sounds yummy though.

    • CC says:

      It’s London. The restaurant is in a posh area. What more can be said?

      • Yaritza says:

        Yeah but where I work is also at one of the most expensive areas here. But I guess you’re right. Even though it’s in a posh area, it’s quite cheap, well, reasonable..I bet all those wines don’t even cost 1/4 of what they’re being sold for..Hmm, Well, I’d still go if I’d know Rafa’d be there :-) Talk about double standards hehe..