Lost in translation [Updated]

Photo via as.com

I woke up to the following 2 Google news alerts in my in-box today:

Nadal in ‘a little bit’ worse shape for 2010 season

Spain’s world number two Rafael Nadal, whose injuries have raised fears over his long-term future, says he will start the 2010 tennis season in “a little bit” worse shape than he did last season.

“I believe that this year I’ll arrive a little bit more on the short side than at the start of last season,” he said in a interview published Wednesday in Spanish sports daily AS, adding his preparation “has been short but good”.

“The results will be what they are but right now my hope is to win everything. Because that’s impossible you have to try to do what is possible in each tournament,” he added.

His hope is to win everything because that’s impossible? I think they left a “not” out of that first sentence.

Nadal says he’s ready for 2010

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal believes he is in better shape for the start of the 2010 tennis season than he was this year, despite having a relatively short time to prepare.

Nadal, who was plagued by knee and stomach injuries during 2009, helped Spain to a crushing victory over Czech Republic in this month’s Davis Cup final and has had only three weeks to train for the new season.

“My preparation has been short but good and three weeks later I am ready to start again,” Nadal said in an interview published in Wednesday’s As sports daily.

“I believe that this [season] I’ll arrive in a bit better shape than at the start of last season.”

So, he’s in better shape or worse shape? This one has the same odd bit about possibilities too:

“The results will be what they are but right now my hope is to win everything,” he told As. “Because that’s impossible you have to try to do what is possible in each tournament.

“If you have reached the semifinals of almost every tournament without playing well, which is what happened to me [last season], when you are feeling better and maintaining a rhythm, sooner or later your luck will change.”

I’m guessing this is the original article. Anyone have the time to get it a better translation?

Marica kindly sent in the following translation of the original article. Thanks, Marica!

Three weeks after finishing, everything starts again.
Yeah, it’s rough. Plus, this year there’s been very little time to rest because of the Davis Cup final. Three weeks later, I’m ready to start again. I’ve used the time I’ve been in Mallorca to train as best I could and now we’ll see how competing goes.

Has the preparation been different given the short amount of time?
Yeah. This time, with only 15 days to work, we’ve done what we could. I think this year I’m going to arrive a little bit more “justo” (tight (not physically)/ rushed / with just enough preparation) than I did at the beginning of last year.

What are you looking forward to in 2010?
I have the same hopes as always: try to get better, be happy playing, which I am, and from here on out do the best I can in every tournament that I play in during the new season. The results will be what they’ll be but beforehand, the hope is to win everything. Since that’s pretty much impossible, you have to try to do as best you can in every tournament.

The main hope for the new year is Roland Garros?
First, you have to focus on everything else. But I can’t deny that I’m really looking forward to Roland Garros. Paris, after having lost last year and having arrived, possibly, in the worst possible conditions that I could have arrived in, makes me a little bit more excited.

In any case, at the beginning of the season it won’t be easy because you defend a lot of points.
Now I play the exhibition tournament of Abu Dhabi, and next week, in Doha before the AO. All that about defending points is silly because if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t defend them and I’d be lower in the rankings. You have to have the same mentality, everything starts at zero like every year and you have to do well in every tournament and keep earning points. If you think about what you have to defend every week, you’d go crazy.

Physically are you better now than at the end of last season?
You never know. The preparation has been short but good. When one has gone awhile without winning, doing it again is always a bit difficult. When one is in the semifinals in almost every tournament without playing well, like I was, when you’re better and playing with more consistency, sooner or later the luck will also come back.

48 Responses

  1. Matthew says:

    Perhaps what he means is that he’d like to win every tournament, *BUT* because that’s impossible, he’ll “have to try to do what is possible in each tournament.”

  2. loverafa4ever says:

    I wud like to believe that the latter is true… That he is in better shape though he didn’t have that much time for practice.

  3. Marla says:

    “I believe that this [season] I’ll arrive in a bit better shape than at the start of last season.”

    I would bet that he said better shape than the “end” of last season. He has been saying for awhile now that it would be almost impossible to repeat what he did at the start of 2009.

  4. An says:

    Bf translates it as follows:

    “He thinks things will be a little harder at the start off this season compared to last year because the time to train was short!

    And he is willing to enter evry tourney with the ilussion to win it, altough he knows that is impossible, he wil have to believe in his chances for the victory to be at his best.. ”

    Hope this helps, BF is born in the Netherlands and also not fluent in Spanish.

  5. Marica says:

    In the article, Rafa never actually says that he arrives in better or worse shape. The word he uses is “justo”, which is hard to translate literally but means something like tight (on time, not physically), with just enough training/preparation.

    In the other case, he is saying what most of you have interpreted, that before the season a player hopes to win everything, but since that’s pretty much impossible you just have to try to do the best you can in every tournament.

  6. faeaki7 says:

    Rafa is a pragmatist and I expect that he has trained hard but would have like more time to prepare for his A/O onslaught, he is the kind of tennis player that seems to play his way, match to match into form though. Regaining his confidence is the key.

  7. jimmy says:

    Looking at his tournament schedule in 2010, it seems that Nadal is playing every tournament known to man. He really really needs to rationalize his schedule. The worst scenario for him this yr would be to play everything at hardcourts (win nothing) and go battered at the clay/grass season and come undone over there too. Nadal should built his calender on the clay and grass events, given how good he’s on those surfaces. The confidence will come from there and then go on to hardcourts. Not the other way around. The repeated beatdowns on hardcourts won’t do him any good at all.

    • miri says:

      And the penalties for skipping tournaments? All the Masters and 4 500s (with at least one after the USO) are required.

      • jimmy says:

        He could start by skipping meaningless stuff such as Barcelona, Rotterdam, Doha and exhibitions ( Abu Dhabi, pre RG etc..). For .the others, maybe prioritize his schedule to peak at the clay and grass events

        The bulk of Nadal’s ranking points is always gained on clay and grass, not hardcourts and he’s never defended hardcourt titles as far as I can remember. So maybe he should try to experiment on hardcourts and play offensively over there, just as he did when he was young (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikNlsRBT8-0 ). If he plays a claycourters game on hardcourts most of the time he will lose. Sure, he is consistent enough to get to QF or maybe even SF but he can’t get to finals regularly enough on this surface. So why not take a risk on hardcourts? There’s not much to lose.

        It’s always been the same with Rafa, he starts well at hardcourts and then as he goes deeper in the season he gets injured and plays worse. So in 2010 he probably should trim his schedule before RG and Wimb to avoid a repeat of last yr. I still think that if he’s fully fit he’s unbeatable on clay and is the second best player on grass.

        • miri says:

          While I agree about Barcelona, I doubt he’ll ever skip it. For one thing, it’s his “home” tournament and it’s one of the few 500s on clay.

          Doha and Rotterdam help fulfill the 4 500s requirement. I suppose he could put those off until later in the year, but he’s usually worse later in the year than at the start.

          2009 was his best start ever (not counting 2005 where he did the South American clay court swing). In 2008 (one of his finest seasons ever), before Monte-Carlo he’d played 6 hard court tournaments. He reached the finals in 2, the semis in 2, the QF in one and R16 in one. That was a big improvement over 2007.

          I’m with you on skipping exhibitions, but I have to admit, I can also understand playing Abu Dhabi – it’s just two matches. It gives him a bit of match play pre-AO, but doesn’t cause as much mental or physical strain as the smaller tournaments do. So, that one I kind of understand. That one before RG after a non-stop clay season? Don’t understand that at all.

          I wholeheartedly agree that he needs to take more risks on hardcourts.

          Rafa loves challenges – I think that’s one of the reasons he loves grass so much. I can’t help but wonder if clay isn’t as much fun for him anymore since he is so dominate on it. You know? Maybe he likes the challenge of hard courts better? I honestly don’t know.

          • jimmy says:

            Good posts here. Rafa’s had some propensity of playing absolutely fatalistic tournaments for ex: 1) Stuggart 2007 immediately after playing the heart-breaker at Wimb 2007 where he needed treatment in the 4th set (which ultimately cost him the championship) 2) Rotterdam 2009 after the exhausting Australian Open campaign when everyone (except Rafa) thought he needed a month off. In both of these tournaments (Stuttgart and Rotterdam) Nadal exacerbated his knee injuries which put paid to his chances that yr.

            My view is that with the untimely injuries of this year, Rafa’s realized his physical limitations and the fact that he needs to change his game. Which he’s done esp. on his backhand side where he’s not leaning and transferring his weight as drastically as he used to before (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE_RqaEsBiM ). That’s made his backhand less explosive but he’s working on his slice (it seems) to counter that.

            Rafa’s not the best on hardcourts especially with the current strong field. When he won the Australian Open it was using the best defense I’ve ever seen in my life. But he can’t do that all the time. Whenever he goes deep in hardcourt tournaments his knees start acting up eventually. So he must eliminate all avoidable tournaments on this surface and play on hardcourts like the claycourters of the 90’s used to do on grass: swinging freely with nothing to loose.

            Nadal has some slams left in him on clay and grass provided he doesn’t screw his knees playing on the unforgiving concrete..

            • Rafafan says:

              Jimmy – you make a heck of a lot of sense. I wondered why his backhand had deserted him almost. The loopy backhand – no power or drive anymore. I have been watching loads of DVD’s recently during the xmas perios. Replace with the slice? Wow and I hate that slice! I always felt Rafa should go back to basics – what he used to do. That is where his talent is. Agressive / offensive or what you want to call it, no more defensive. It seems when he is behind he suddenly comes out with the incredible shots. No point tweaking, changing his game. Yes improve it but no changing the tactics. The only thing he has to learn is the low flat shots from his nemisis – and to do that he needs to play aggressive with his low flattys which we know he can do – JUST DO IT as Nike says!!! It’s so annoying when he gets into the conservative defensive play. 2010 I think he will start excerting himself – become impatient and want to win quickly.

              • jimmy says:

                Good post Rafafan. I honestly don’t know the reason for the change in the backhand. If he wants to use the slice it needs to be improved to have more underspin and lower bounce. Right now it just sits up to be hit.
                Frankly, after he resumed this yr, I haven’t seen him hitting his backhand with the same bite as he did in Wimb 08 and AO 09. It could be because Rafa does not “yet” have enough confidence on his knees to lean into the shot and hit it flat with a wicked angle as he used to before. Furthermore, now even his footwork is slower on the backhand side. He usually arrives late on the ball (moving sideways to his backhand side) and gets defensive by either slicing the ball or looping it back. Davydenko exploited this ruthlessly by creating angles and hitting repeatedly, wide, on Rafa’s backhand side. The fast surface further takes time away from Rafa which makes it worse for him. So he loses control of the point and just tries to hang in there using his speed.

                What made it to so hard to beat Rafa last year was that he was so solid from both wings. He could always get control of a neutral rally since he could shift on to the offensive from both sides. These days, however, he rarely attacks from the backhand side and his shots are not penetrating enough for the fast courts. Rafa wins on clay because he’s most aggressive on that surface. He’ll have to do likewise on hardcourts and take more risks. Staying back and running around will only damage his knees again which is why I think he should preserve them for clay and grass.

                • Denizen says:

                  Interesting remarks, Jimmy. Having watched the AO finals this past week, it’s apparent to me how much Rafa’s hardcourt game has transformed from defense-into-offense into basically punching the ball back to the middle, chasing down balls, and hoping the other player misses. This ultimately worked with the likes of Robredo and Almagro, but people like Del Potro and Djokovic and Davydenko have taken advantage of the opportunities Rafa hands them, and basically annihilate him. I’ll be VERY interested to see this weekend what changes, if any, he’s made to his fall ’09 hardcourt game.

                  In addition to what you’ve mentioned regarding his offense/defense, I’ve noticed that ever since his tummy troubles, his serve has been utterly ineffective, and his service return has been passive, often resulting in a sitter at the T. Thus he’s had to fight for every point, unlike his opponents. It’s been distressing to watch. I’m hoping that he gets the fight back in his game.

                  • jimmy says:

                    Good post Denizen. I recall, when I used to take careful note of Rafa’s serve last yr, there were atleast 5 spots that he could hit on his will. Pace was never his strength- consistency and placement always were. That has changed. Rafa just serves to the backhand these days. And while it works against Federer it’s not enough for players with solid double handed backhands.

                    Nadal has the best running shots in the game. The other 2 major things that allowed him to win the Australian Open were – superb flat backhand and consistent serving. He frustrated opponents because he was so solid on both the sides. In contrast, these days, unfortunately, he can’t buy a flat backhand, if he wanted. The players know he has a weaker side and they are hitting to it. This puts even more pressure on his forehand and he has to run around the backhand more than ever which leaves the court exposed.

                    Even with the forehand, Rafa is hitting the ball down the middle since he lack confidence. He used to have the capability to hit short angles that yanked his opponent off the court (sideways) – not anymore.

                    Nadal has played 3 good matches since his return: Berdych – Cinci, Monfils- UsOpen, Tsonga – Paris. It’s no surprise that his backhand and serve were clicking in all those matches. In most of the other matches his serve has been off, his backhand defensive and he’s recognized that he had “no real” weapons to hurt the other players on faster surfaces. This has led to even more loss of confidence and further defensive play culminating in the awful results at WTF and the beatdowns elsewhere.

                    Anyway IMV once Rafa gets more aggressive with his backhand and serving the other parts of his game will fall into place. A solid backhand + old reliable forehand + consistent serve should help Nadal in the future. But when his backhand breaks down and the serve goes missing, it’s tough to rely just on his movement and his forehand alone.

                    Hopefully he can throw caution to the wind and come swinging freely. There really is no other way for him on hardcourts.

          • jimmy says:

            “Rafa loves challenges – I think that’s one of the reasons he loves grass so much. “”

            I agree. I love watching Rafa on grass because his athleticism is on full display there. Grass always rewards the best athletes as it required nimble footwork, lightning reflexes to cope with the uneven bounce and speed of the court. I guess that’s why Rafa has always been good on grass right from 2006 when he was a cub :) I think he can win a couple more Wimbledons if he takes care of his knees.

    • Rafafan says:

      Hi Jimmy I get what your saying but he needs to practice for the AO open. I didn’t like the exhibition thing of Daho but I guess he has to have match practice – new season new beginning. We don’t count the WTF last year. I do agree he has taken on everthing again and won’t learn – as he wants all the titles in the clay season – which he probably could do. I wonder whether he will do Madrid again do you?

      I think he is aiming for Paris again – I think he became slightly complacent in 2009 (even though it was the SOD) and thought he could win through with all the knee problems – and then look what happened withdrawal from Wimby and basically admitting he shouldnt have played Paris. But I guess the thought of 5 in a row was tempting. And I get the feeling now that the “so called mistakes he made” nothing to do with the schedule but the fact he played at Madrid and RG!! So forget about his cutting back on the schedule (which personally as a Rafa fan – selfish reasons – I wanna get as much as I can of him)so all your talk about scheduling etc. etc. will not happen. Vamos Rafa and above all look after those knees. If you feel u can’t compete in the next competition just quit. We won’t think of you anything less – if anything we will think of you more coz you are looking after yourself and not trying to look after everyone else xxxxxxxxxxx

  8. Mary says:

    Thank you so much, Marica! Everything makes much more sense. I feel as though he’s starting off the new year with a really good mentality.

  9. EJL says:

    the above points about Rafa’s 2010 schedule arrangements ‘re guite interesting and as for mine they are absolutely compatible with Miri’s. i cant imagine Rafa doing some maths operations to calculate which tournaments would be profitable to skip and which ones would be convenient for ‘necessary confidence’.. and i love(hopefully not only me) this ‘summer-man’ because of his passion he feels towards what he does and his desire to get as much pleasure as it is possible from each of the tournaments.Rafa always underlines that ranking, points and stuff like this aren’t supreme for him because he doesn’t feel Tennis to be only his job that helps to progress through life but one of his hobbies. Obviously his talent and passion make him particular and not the fact that he’s second or former #1

    • Rafafan says:

      Hi EJL – I don’t think for the life of me he does the maths. Maybe Uncle Toni and his crew but as we know he can be stubborn and won’t listen. It’s like when he plays – every point is a match point wheras most tennis players will let things go, not chase balls or at least look up at the score! Maybe when Rafa is Fed’s age he may see sense – but let’s be honest that’s what we love about him – the way he plays the game is like it is his last and the passion he has to die forx

    • aRafaelite says:

      Let’s hope that he has learned something from the past few years and has simply put his name down for everything with the expectation of cutting a few tourneys as and when required… *sighs* or am I being hopelessly unrealistic?!

  10. tiemyshoe says:

    As much as I want Rafa to be like, “I AM AWESOME, KTHNX” – I don’t think it matters much whether he expresses that he’s +/- on last year’s form. I think the gist of what he says is the “I’ll give my best” pablum that most athletes give to the press (I concur by all means – all the more power to them if that defers the endless speculation).

    There are some boogiemen in the Abu Dhabi draw. Davydenko, Soderling … if he can beat one of these guys or both, if he can get in a very strong match, then I think it’ll be awesome for his confidence. Might be vague whether he’s as on-form as last year, but this exho is definitely way more important than it was last year.

  11. patzin says:

    Rafa seems to try to work within the “system” as best he can, giving his all every week or so. Until the scheduling is revised by the ATP he doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room; and certain tournaments, like Barcelona, are important to him. So he will do as well as he does, as he says, One tournament at a time. I like his comment about not paying too much attention to defending points, makes you crazy. All you can do is your best at any given time. Bless him.

    I think AbuDhabi is good because he gets 1 or 2 matches; no ranking points involved. The surface in Australia seems to be to his liking, more than some hardcourts. He has been successful at Indian Wells in the past; and after Miami to Clay. These guys have a lot of adjusting to do in different conditions over the course of the year. Then add all the traveling, time zones, etc. They should be applauded.

  12. faeaki7 says:

    Thats excatly what I think, a win over one of those two (sod/davy would give him a boost no doubt, this exho is more important than ever!

  13. Rafafan says:

    Yep. Hope Rafa plays the Sod but I think the Sod would have to play Fed and knock him out. Would boost the confidence and don’t we all want him to win over the Sod. Rafa could play Davy – very dangerous as we know, but as you say good as there is no pressure really on the Abu Dhabi circuit, except I think Rafa would have somedthing to prove to himself. Shame Tsonga out as he is dangerous but if Ferrer wins against Davy that would be a pity as I want Rafa to be tested – and Rafa always wins against Ferrer (apart from when was injured in grand slam). After me thinking this was a mistake on his body, no points etc. maybe it is a good thing as you say only 2 matches (and of course lost of money – and maybe a holiday for him and Xisca which they didn’t have before?!)

  14. emir says:

    well i agree with most of the comments here.rafa is confidence player and my feeling is,that confidence will never come from hardcourts,plus there is always a risk of damging your body.his confidence can only come from clay with the momentum coming from clay that good feeling helps on grass,this is what happened 06,07,08,and then wining becomes a habit of him,his aura is on the top he can shine on hardcourts as well just like 08 where he won toronto and most importantly oliyimpic gold medal.i am also not sure what is he trying to do concentrate that much on hard courts.in my book rotterdam tournument that he played last year,was the biggest mistake a player can make after exhausting AO.it was even a bigger mistake than madrid in my book.anyway it is his career in the end his life and his choices,good or bad he has to deal with the effects of his decisions….

  15. Rafafan says:

    Yes Rotterdam was the biggest mistake – I think it all happened there after winning the AO open 9.5 hours with Ferdasco and then Fed, he should have pulled out. He said himself that when he got to the locker room after the match in the final of the AO he couldn’t move, was burnt out etc.

    Madrid – after that longest 3 setter against Dvojk. Difficult – yes he hates the altitude but it on home soil and you know how patriotic he is! Bless him. If you remember the bandages came off after the AO (I think) and it was a new crisis with his knees – so lets just forget about the scheduling and just hope he is healthy. I think the hard court business it that Rafa wants to prove that he is not just the King of clay (OK he got Wimby but they are all sayign it’s slow grass)

  16. emir says:

    the bandages didnt come off after AO,it come of after miami but the injury problem started in rotterdam he injured him self in the final against murray it looked that it healed in dc and indian wells but after miami it turned again .for to prove him self he isnt the only the clay king well he already proved it.he is winner of 4 out 3 majors and he is the only person in the history last year holder of 3 majors at the same time played on diffrent surfaces….when he won ao last year he was the current champion of rg wim and ao played on diffrent surfaces..he is the ONLY PLAYER manage to do it in the tennis history..even someone like laver had a calendar slam it was grass and clay no hardcourts..also one deep note AO considered as much more real hard court slam compare the previous years,because they changed the surface decoturf instead of rebound ace which was indeed very slow rafa won it last year when it played on decoturf and decoturf is the surface historicly serve and volley player done so well..wimbeldon slow i dont buy after i watched the roddick and fed match this year,which was a serving contest..50 aces from fed when does he ever hit 50 aces on a hardcourt,the answer NEVER..anyway fed never manage to win wim in 90s grass as well…no i dont think rafa has anything tp prove that he can win outside of clay which he already did ao wim oliyimpic gold,expect fed and rafa the tour is all abaut one slam wonderers..rafa doesnt need to prove anything to anyone but himself…

    • miri says:

      Fed held slams on three different surfaces at the same time: last year’s USO, this year’s French and Wimbledon. Rafa was the first to do it, but Fed followed closely behind him.

      According to the official site, the surface at the AO is Plexicushion and has been that way since at least 2008.

  17. emir says:

    yeah you are right miri…i have made mistake there but he is the FIRST one to do it…how ironic isnt for a person who called a clay courter…

  18. emir says:

    well ao played on rebound ace until last year ok i am not sure but until two years ago…rebound ace was a very high bouncing slow surface thats why many considered, not just fans also experts,that it can not considered as real hard court slam but it was unique.that is way some people also criticised AO to change the surface which is faster now but still slightly slower compare to us,they criticised it because the fear is AO can lose its unique status because it can turn out to be an event pretty much the same as us open…australian open officals beleive that their surface is the second fastest surface among the slams after us open..which in my book still arguable because i still dont buy that wim is slow ok slower compare the 90s maybe but still not as slow as some people trying to show it..

  19. Rafafan says:

    Emir – I know what your saying but he hasn’t yet defended these successfully. That is the proof when he can defend these successfuly to prove he is not just a one hit wonder on the other surfaces, if you get my drift. Of course he doesn’t have to prove to anyone but it gives more weight when he can win on hard courts (AO which is slower than US) and grass (slower than in the eighties – remember they wanted to slow the court down coz it was always serve and volley and it was getting monotonous for the crowd and not a “tennis” match anymore)a second time in a row . US is the fastest of the courts (and 02) and henze Rafa has difficulties but would love to see him get it this year (after reclaiming his Paris one). In a way it’s like Fed has to prove with the FO – he has to win it a second time. Of course we think its a bit of a fluke coz he never played rafa. Maybe this will happen this year – oh what such excitement in store I can’t wait. And I have heard there are many messages from Fed and Djok fans that (although they don’t want Rafa to win), they want Rafa to be fit and healthy and at his best level as he is needed for the competition and the sport. Isn’t that just great to hear. It’s english time and am off to nighty nighty rafaland zzzzeee and ready to watch Ferrer v Davy 11am tomorrow.

    • Rafangel says:

      “grass (slower than in the eighties – remember they wanted to slow the court down coz it was always serve and volley and it was getting monotonous for the crowd and not a “tennis” match anymore)”

      I read an interview with a Wimby groundsman who said that they slowed the grass down to compensate for the increased speed players were getting from improved racquet and ball technologies. Does that mean that in real terms it’s not slower than it used to be, cos the slower grass is offsetting the faster racquets and balls? I don’t remember far enough – can anyone else?

      • emir says:

        first off all the first weak in wimbeldon is important that it is slow or fast…second weak doesnt matters and it was always the same since it started it begins to slow down you can understand why i guess…martian navratilova played in wimbeldon two years ago and she said grass is still pretty fast but the ball bounce is a lot better there is less bad bounces..but the second weak thats also not important as well…..what makes wimbeldon so diffucult to win is the court is always changing during the tournument….so the players who used to adopt the diffrent conditions much faster better athletes and gifted players talent wise most of the time end it up winning the wimbeldon…

  20. emir says:

    if he wins wim next year in my book thats a defence.anyway he didnt win 08 wim from nowhere to call it fluke he was in the final the previous two years as well and beat fed when he won it…fed won fo with having to face rafa…in my book thats not a fluke.thats a luck…

  21. Rafangel says:

    Oh- there we go. Another bit of amazing Rafa wisdom to help me sort out the latest conundrum. This man changes my life.

    Vamos Rafa – win everything in 2010 :D

  22. Atch2 says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Rafa competing again and I will be happy if he looks positive and healthy on court without winning either the exho or Doha. And they are the same preparations he had before he won the AO 09, and he didn’t win either tournaments except the doubles with Marc.

    Rafa’a schedule and shots is a highly discussible issue, and I am not highly technical to get into the conversation, and the arguments sometimes leaves me frustrated and sucks the joy out of just seeing him play. But I think the right to withdraw is always there, and what happened at FO and Wimby 09 will always be at the back of Team Nadal’s minds, so I am still hopeful that his schedule will be flexible and saying ‘no’ is an option Rafa will exercise more frequently and without guilt. And the development/improvement in his shots will continue with each tournament and change of surface.

    And like Rafa said “when you’re better and playing with more consistency, sooner or later the luck will also come back”.

  23. arwen says:

    The most important thing is the KNEES.take care about them.
    skip few tourneys if necessary.and please crush SOD at RG.
    we all love you …vamos rafa

  24. CC says:

    Gosh, my head is spinning from trying to read all these comments. For me, this whole thing ’bout Rafa playing short, defensive blah, blah, blah has always been about his mental state. We know that he can win on every surfrace, that he’s got all the shots it takes and that he’s clever enough to execute his game well. However, this won’t happen unless Rafa’s confident about his abilities and his body.

    I think 2010 will be a VERY interesting year for Rafa’s careera. If he has a good season and wins a lot, trains well and stays fairly injury free I think there is a possibilty that we will see him playing for a long time. If he has a poor season, then…uh-uh.

    *shakes head*

    I think it will be golf, golf, beach, beach, Mallorca, Mallorca…or whatever it was his fellow players said.

    • An says:

      I agree with you about the confidence thing…..

      Jimmy’s analyse about the weakness in the backhand and serve is spot on but we know Rafa has the shots within him, its the cause why it didnt come out that intrests me most and i think it all just simply starts with him not having the “illusion”, not believing that het could winn for example Paris or WTF….. He more or less tells us that you have to enter evry tournament with the illusion that you can win it here in this article, No?

      I’m not saying that he didnt try hard enough, nor that he didnt fight but after the knee and later the abdominal problems he just wasnt believing in his ability to winn ( for verry obvious reasons ) enough and thats what makes him tentative in his game imo.
      Its logical, it always does that to evry player, pro or amature its verry hard to hit youre best shots when “doobting” youreself!

      Miri described verry well in her summing up of her day 1 at the DC final:

      “Rafa looked nervous and that had me a bit worried. And, at first, his game had me a bit worried too. He still seemed tentative and like he was over-thinking, but slowly that started changing. It was like he had a very heavy and difficult to lift light-switch in his head. It took a while to get it into the on position, but once there, it was on, baby!”

      I realy saw that happen too, here he had the illusion that he could winn, that he had to winn, for Spain, for his team mates and the light went on and when it was on all off a sudden evry shot was there, forehand, backhand, serve, amazing angels, passing shots….. It was there.
      I know it was clay and Rafa probably always will sooner feel more confident on clay then on the fast hardcourts but he shown us before that he can find the light switch on a hardcourt too!
      It all starts with the “illusion” and at the start off a new year, a new season there is plenty off room for illusion, No?
      May 2010 be a year with Rafa’s light burning brightly!!!!! VAMOS!

      • CC says:

        Plenty of room for illusion, indeed! And I SO hope we get to see Rafa biting loads of trophies in 2010. Vamos to that! :D

    • dutchgirl says:

      I also agree on the confidence being the key factor for Rafa. I can only hope he will do well against a couple of great opponents on the hard court, so he will get his confidence for this surface.
      I believe all the other aspects, his playing style etc, will come after that. Because, like An says, we know Rafa’s got all the technic abilities that are required.
      Like others, I have been watching some of his ‘old’ matches, and they make we long for this Rafa again.

  25. Carol says:

    “the hope is to win everything. Since that’s pretty much impossible, you have to try to do as best you can in every tournament.”

    The day that Rafa doesn’t go into a tournament with the hope to win and compete as best he can (ie he’s just going through the motions), will be the day that fun has gone out of tennis for him…