Day 1 of the blog and Q&A is up here.
Hello everyone! I’m back in Australia, back at the Oz Open and I have to say the tournament could have not started better.
We know the main draw is only starting tomorrow – by the way I am playing at 7pm local time – but to me the main draw started with the Hit for Haiti.
How did that happen? I was in the Player’s Restaurant yesterday morning and received a text message from Roger. I thought it was a great idea from Roger and replied saying count me in and thanks!
So today we have played something that I think was really nice. The goal to raise money, the court completely full, some great players there trying to entertain everyone, with microphones while playing, playing around mixed with women, Jim Courier up there as a chair umpire.
Lots of joking around and, most importantly, lots of money raised for the cause in Haiti!. I think it was fantastic and I have to say I had a great time.
Believe me also that I didn’t understand all the words and jokes … you know … my English is not that good, so I have to say I struggled a lot of the times to understand.
Like when Roger was tossing the racquet and Jim asked me: ‘Rafa up or down?’ and I understood Rafa up and down and started jumping! :-)
Heee! I can’t wait to have the time see the whole special.
Not easy, believe me. But again, the whole thing was for a good cause and I am thankful to Roger for thinking about me and thank everyone who came or saw it on TV.
Mostly thanks to all those who contributed and so I also encourage all of you to contribute.
So, thanks again this year for being there. I will be posting every day until the end of ‘my’ tournament. I hope I can get a lot of posts in…
Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the tournament, how I got here, when, and how’s everything for me. Today it was the day for Haiti!
And now for the questions:
Q: RAFA, How many kilometres or miles do you think you travel throughout the year? Do you keep track?
RAFA: This is a very good question. I actually will count them this year since I haven’t done it before. I do know we travel a lot around the world a couple of times!
I could not handle the amount of time they have to spend in airports and airplane.
HI, Rafa, from Spain I’m sending you my best wishes for this AO.
Next days I’m not going to sleep if it’s necessary for to watch your matches. What do you think about your draw’s side? Good look!
Rosi Carrasco, Madrid
Many thanks. At least tomorrow you will be able to see the match at 9am since I am playing 7pm here. My side of the draw is difficult – as it is the other one.:-)
No such thing as a truly easy draw.
RAFA, you recently played tennis on a magic carpet with Federer in Abu Dhabi. How was that experience?
Also, if you could own a magic carpet and fly anywhere in the universe, where would you go and who would you take?
I would love to fly to the top of a rainbow and I would take my family and you and your family along with me!
Vamos Rafa at the Australian Open! You can do it!
Z Young of Saudi Arabia
ACTUALLY, it was in Doha. It was fun and knowing it was only a promotional thing we knew we didn’t have to run much. :-)
I would take that carpet to the Balearic Islands in Spain.
Gee, how could I guess he was going to say that?
WHAT/who inspires you the most to continue playing so well even when times get tough?
Jack Tu, Glen Waverley
I LOVE the competition, I love the sport and I love to play tennis. This is the main thing.
I AM a huge Federer fan and would like to ask, how do you feel on the court when you play him? And how is playing Fed different to playing other tennis players?
WHEN I am on the court I am OK. I know I have in front of me one of the best, if not the best player ever, and it is something special always.
He is a great champion and a great guy too. The matches with him have something special also because they are normally finals.
And because you win them. ;)
I ADMIRE your style of tennis and also your personality. Many fans and audience enjoy watching you and even critics appreciate your contribution to the world of tennis.
I just can see you volunteering in person or participating in disaster relief works such as in Haiti? Would you do it if you have the opportunity or would you prefer a different kind of charity work?
Aliah Kassim, Malaysia
THANKS a lot. We did something nice and at the same time fun for everyone. IT was Roger’s idea and I thought it was great. Let’s hope we were able to collect a lot of money to help the people there.
Because man do they need all the help they can get. The images coming from there are just devastating to look at.
EVERYONE has a guilty pleasure. Can you tell us yours? (music, food, TV shows, etc).
Meriko, Washington DC
I HAVE many but I can say i burn the calories afterwards. I like chocolate, sometimes junk food.
WOULD you like to be a tennis coach or a life coach or even do TV programmes to teach a wider audience when you stop playing?
Juliette Westbrook-Finch, UK
I don’t really know. For sure tennis is my world and I will do something related to it. But i guess I am too young still to know what I will enjoy doing in the future.
After all, he only has 23.
HI Rafa. It’s great to see you back playing well and congratulations on your results so far this season!
My question is, depending on the surface, roughly, how many pairs of trainers do you get through in a grand slam? Especially as you cover a lot of ground during a match! Good luck for this year!
Amelia Hurrell, UK
During a Grand Slam on hard court around seven or eight pairs.
That’s a lot of shoes in two weeks.
IF you had to choose, do you prefer to win at Roland Garros or Wimbledon?
Anyway, I wish you to win both and hope to see you in Paris!
I would be happy with either one, but i have to admit that Wimbledon was something special.
Indeed it was.
IF you were given the choice to win one of the Grand Slams in 2010, which one would you pick?
Any of them. Believe me. It is the truth.
Okay, I’ll believe you.
RAFA, watching you playing this year it is clear that physically you are as strong as you could possibly be, but are you equally strong mentally? Good luck in Australia!
Luis Muniz, Spain.
I think i am in good shape so hopefully things will be good.
WHERE is your favorite city to play?
Paris is a place I always enjoyed very much, because of the city. It is something special.
We’ll always have Paris…
WHAT Do you feel like you must do in order to successfully defend your Oz Open title?
Haley Dickey, Tennessee
There are a lot of different things that have to come together. one of them is to play well and have my confidence back.
Confidence is key.
RAFA, you really are the nicest guy in the universe! Is there anything that makes you really mad? What is it? Please tell us!
Mary Robinson, Cincinnati.
Many thanks. I am sure I am not. There are a lot of things that get me upset and mad.
Classic no-answer answer.
RAFA, the style of game you play is very physically demanding on your body.
Do you think you will have to make a couple of adjustments to your game to ensure your longevity on the tour?
I try, believe me.
Again, I believe.
RAFA, As a fan I always enjoy your comeback from saving match points!
What do you usually tell yourself when facing a match point? How do you handle the pressure?
Anderson Chan, Hong Kong
That is something you work since you are a kid. I always give 100 per cent every point and a match point is also a point so that’s the secret.
He makes it sound so easy…
RAFA, in a recent interview Federer said he sleeps for 11-12 hours a day. How many hours a day do you sleep?
Good luck in your first round match against Luczak!
Zay Young, Saudi Arabia.
I sleep eight or nine.
Awww…that means poor Roger has a few hours in bed alone. Oh, wait.
AS your popularity and experience on the tour has grown, your obligations have increased – promotions, sponsors, being on the ATP Players’ council, etc. Is it sometimes difficult to enjoy the game when you are so busy with the business side of the things?
Yes. I know it is a lot of work but I also feel the responsibility to do this. It is part of a great job called: Tennis player.
Bottom line: love your work and even the icky parts won’t feel like a huge burden. (And since when did my online name because my last name? Heh)