Injury update – sort of

Photo by PAUL CROCK/ AFP/ Getty Images

Not much in the way of new info here: Nadal recovery ‘going well’. (Thanks k for posting the link.)

“Rafa’s knee is getting better,” Toni said. “The recovery is going pretty well.

“From the stands I first advised him to call the physio and then to retire since it was obvious to me he couldn’t keep playing.

“Retirement was the right decision to take at that time.”

Coaching? From the stands? (Does coaching in regards to injury count as coaching?)

“If we go throughout his career, you can tell me he’s got some physical problems,” agreed Toni. “But tennis is a very aggressive game and injuries are normal things to happen.

“Now Rafa has some problems on his foot, so he needs special insoles to correct the footstep.

“Apart from that we are all very happy with how things are going on so far.”

Toni also seemed unconcerned about Nadal’s drop down the rankings, saying that Grand Slam wins are higher on the list of priorities for the Spaniard.

“Everybody would like to remain at the very top of the ATP rankings, but at the end of the day what tennis players want is to win tournaments,” he said.

“Now, we are just focusing on getting Rafa back fighting for the Grand Slams.”

118 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    I agree with toni – Rafa needs to get fit and well for RG – I want to see him win it again – will be sad if he doesn’t compete in Miami tho.

    • teejustice says:

      I too will be sad if he doesnt play Miami since I will be there again this year. Selfish I know, but said nonetheless. I think he will play IW tho.

      • Rafaligion says:

        Agreed! I’ll be in Key Biscayne for the Sony and would love to see him on the practice courts again. Given the huge Hispanic community in South Florida, I think it would be disappointing to many.

  2. George McCauley says:

    i think he will be back for Indian Wells

    • Susanna728 says:

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed about Indian Wells since I’ll be there. I feel lucky to have seen Rafa there last year and the year before, so would rather have him be completely healed, if I had to make the choice. I have lots of photos of him from those tournaments but not sure how to post them here. Do people post photos? (Haven’t been following the site long….)

      • faeaki7 says:

        I hope you can upload your photos Susanna728, I haven’t developed mine yet from the atp tour finals, short of cash after xmas. I think any pics of Rafa are worth seeing!
        Hope you get to catch Rafa @ Indian wells, its always brought Rafa success till now, good luck!

        Not much information on the injury update so far, its always this way which worries me, I have been reading some of the comments from fans on Eurosport and everyone says that tennis needs the excitement of Rafa back etc… nice to see!

      • miri says:

        Susanna728 – use the contact form to get in touch with me about photos.

  3. CC says:

    I get what Toni says about Grand Slam wins being more important than rankings, however…I can’t really see Rafa winning GS titles if he doesn’t play and win other tournaments as well. I just can’t. It feels like he needs them to get into the right mode for winning. Hell, I hope I’m wrong.

    Gotta look after those feet, Rafa!

    • miri says:

      Focusing and fighting for Grand Slams doesn’t mean skipping or not paying attention to the Masters.

      • CC says:

        Nope. True. I just…don’t know. Basically.

        • Emma R says:

          I don’t understand how they will get the balance either. For a player who plays his best when he has rhythm to do well in slams, he needs to play alot of matches. But if he plays too many matches he gets injured and has a break which wrecks the rhythm, then the confidence gets shot, the fitness slides, and we are back on the cycle again that I mentioned in the other thread. Maybe it will take a while to work out what the balance is.

          Wonder what this foot thing is? Different to the new knee or unrelated? Just as well Rafa isn’t a horse or he’d have been shot by now. What an abstract comment – I am beseiged at work and escaping into Rafadom for 5 mins.

          • Rafangel says:

            If Rafa were a horse I think a lot of people here would be in big trouble too…

            What with Rafa being referred to as ‘it’ and ‘she’ in Google translations, the recent discussion of his horse voice, and now this, I am starting to develop a really unnerving alternative image of our golden lovegod :O

            • Emma R says:

              Far be it from me to comment, however given the intense discussions about his feet being small, alas that may be where the horse analogy dies a death.

              Not that I am one to start rumours. As someone once said (alot) “You never know”.

              • Karen says:

                Horses do in fact have small feet compared to their size and weight.They also have similar characteristics to our lovely man! Patient, hard working, great companion, dedicated, honest, determined, huge heart, disciplined, trustworthy. I could go on.One phrase used regarding horses is ‘no foot, no horse’. I sincerely hope Rafa proves this one wrong!!!One last thought, if Rafa’s shoes are custom made why does he have ‘new’ ones?Surely he’s always playing with new ones given he wears a new pair for each match. Unless Nike have adjusted the fit.That would make sense. Perhaps his feet are changing as time goes by. Please let them hurry up and become stable for once & for all. Rafa needs a break from injuries and soon!

                • CC says:

                  I can think of another phrase used with “horse” in it that could possibly apply to Rafa. He’d have to strip off for us to find out if it does, though. ;)

                  • Emma R says:

                    Well that in all honesty was what I was getting at, but far be it from me to fall into a pit of vulgarity. Oh no.

  4. loverafa4ever says:

    Awesome… gud to get some updates. Focusing on winning Grand Slams is what we wanted to hear. Wonder what that means tho.

  5. Missy says:

    First, thank you Uncle Toni for advising Rafa to call the MTO and then to retire. We know just how much it kills him to do so, but it was by far the BEST decision to make. I don’t even want to think about how the injury would have no doubt been exacerbated further if he had continued.

    Thank God things are going well. I am extremely happy to hear that his healing process is going smoothly. <3

    I just love their perspective and how they just take things in stride. Otherwise, it is very easy to get negative and to get overwhelmed. I am also totally on board with the whole "focusing on getting Rafa back fighting for the Grand Slams". He has accomplished so much on tour, from Davis Cup, to the smaller tour tourneys, to Masters, to Grand Slams. He can without a doubt, at his young age, make GS titles THE priority seeing as he's accomplished so much already.

    About his shoes: "Now Rafa has some problems on his foot, so he needs special insoles to correct the footstep."

    I was wondering about Rafa's shoebies. I think they are custom-fitted to perfection, with the special soles in them. Did you guys noticed his new habit of untying the shoelaces immediately after the match has concluded? It's almost like he can't them off quick enough!

    During the 'Hit for Haiti' charity exho, mid tie-breaker, Rafa all of a sudden decided that he was going to tie his shoelaces. Kim Clijsters was incredulous, she was like "his shoelaces are untied!"

    I remember thinking the same thing, he was running around all of this time with his shoelaces untied! And they didn't even slip off? I guess it's the new custom super-snug, super-custom fitting Rafa Shoebie. There was always talk about Rafa having "unusually" small feet. And I recall Johnny Mac commenting on Rafa's shoes being small. Fingers crossed that whatever adjustments they made works to keeping Rafa's Happy feet, happy. :))

    Vamos!

    • miri says:

      The shoe inserts aren’t new. He got them years ago after having some foot problems – 2004 or 2007 – not sure which.

      • jimmy says:

        He suffered a stress fracture on his ankle in ’04 and then at the end of ’05 suffered the foot injury which was very serious and caused him to miss the AO ’06. I think that’s when he switched to custom made shoes.

      • faeaki7 says:

        I think it was 2004 when he suffered a stress fracture to his ankle? they were really worried and it was papa Nadal that really helped Rafa, didn’t he miss the French that year?
        I also heard, correct me if I am wrong that he wears deliberately smaller shoes to support his feet or something like that.

        • Emma R says:

          Thanks everyone for all the foots information – I should have scrolled down before asking about it above.

          I remember a few years ago, possibly in Rome, him having the most murderous set of blisters that I have ever seen – like the soles of his feet had been slashed with a knife. They padded him up and he carried on, but I wanted to march out there and pull him off court, it was incredible that he could stand up. Would this be connected to the shoe issue or is it just a hazard of running round on a court for hours on end?

          • CC says:

            I’ve always imagined that Rafa’s blister problem is because he has really soft skin… At least that’s what it looks like on his hands, no?

            *daydreams*

            *sighs*

            Erm…yeah, that’s what I think.

    • jimmy says:

      Nadal had some serious foot injury problems since ’05 which were reported as career threatening by Toni Nadal in ’07 ( Nadal subsequently denied this). He does wear one size smaller shoes with custom fitted insoles for support. It looks a little disproportionate when viewed head-on or sideways. Hence the impression of small feet. There have also been comments by physios that his knee problems are worse because of his feet.

      • CC says:

        How the heck can you run around for five hours playing tennis like Rafa in shoes that are a size too small?! That is beyond me… And why?!

      • Missy says:

        Heheh, Jimmy, you say “disproportionate”, I say “utterly adorable”.
        I’ve always noticed how cute his feet looked in his shoes as opposed to the other players who’s feet looked like boats. Rafa’s shoebies always appeared to look triangular.

        Thanks for the info, I do remember his foot fracture. He wasn’t very happy with Uncle Toni making those comments which were then blown up and sensationalized throughout the media. Rafa said he had to do a lot of damage control as he was getting endless phone calls asking whether or not it was true and he was all done. I swear, the kinds of thing Rafa has had to deal with at such a young age in such a stressful career. If it weren’t for his mental strength, and his character, why- anybody else would have probably wigged out ages ago!

        It’s interesting how his small feet could be contributing to his knee problems. I’ve never hears any of the commentators point this out before. They prefer to just stick with the obvious and say that the only reason for his problems is that he runs too much. *rolls eyes*

        *sigh* I have flattish feet (arches are relatively low), and they can get uncomfortable and sore after a while of running. I haven’t invested in good inserts yet, but the ones I’m using now as a quick-fix are working wonders! My feet feel all comfy in their and they don’t get as sore as quickly. Of course, the amount of physical exertion I do is no where near the level of the pro athletes. But I think his new shoebies that Uncle Toni is referring in this recent interview would help. :))

        • Missy says:

          I have all kinds of annoying spelling/grammar mistakes. I apologize in advance. :P

          • jimmy says:

            I don’t know about adorable (:D), but his shoes do look smaller than most of the other ATP pros. I think Jmac mentioned something like 11.5 size (actual) and 10 (what he wears). I am not sure how correct JMac’s info was. Wearing 1.5 size too small must be hard especially because the feet do swell after running for a while. On the flip side, smaller shoes should help with explosiveness off the ground, changing direction and avoiding blisters. Anyway, it’s more likely that Nike makes custom shoes for Nadal by taking an exact mold impression of his feet and then customizing them to provide more support.

            I do remember reading that Nadal had a left ankle stress fracture in 2004, but at that time he was barely in the top 50, so it wasn’t big news really. I’m not sure whether the medical diagnosis of his 2005 foot injury was revealed, so it could be something other than a stress fracture. But it received more attention because it was more serious, he had already won the french Open (in ’05) and was ranked higher. That injury was pretty bad though which is why Toni must be mentioning it now to keep things in perspective. I guess once they got custom shoes, I don’t think it bothered him as much except for a flare up in 2007.

            Regarding the feet contributing to the knee problems, there were some comments by the Czech Physio Michael Novotny who (after examining Rafael in Madrid 09) said that he had muscular imbalance between his thighs and feet. That combined with genetic high knee caps meant that Nadal would be putting more stress (than usual) on his knees joints and tendons leading to injuries.

            Finally regd. inserts: I have very flat feet too. I’ve found that good motion control shoes really help as people with low arches tend to over-pronate, but I’m sure you already know that. I’ve tried custom silicon inserts, and they are pretty good, but I don’t need them all the time. IMV, investing in high quality shoes and “custom” inserts (off the shelf ones are not half as good) really does help!

            • Missy says:

              “On the flip side, smaller shoes should help with explosiveness off the ground, changing direction and avoiding blisters.”

              I think you have a point. I recall wearing a pair of shoes that was a size too small for me for quite a while (was saving up for a new pair :)) and I felt great with my movement as the shoes were super-snug and they gave me this feeling of support that I liked…..Until a couple of hours later when I couldn’t get the shoes off fast enough and was relegated to an hour of soaking. *winces*

              But with Rafa, I’m sure his shoe is filled with all kinds of fluffy cushion and cozy materials (though, judging by how quickly he wants to unlace them, they probably get uncomfortable nonetheless).

              *sigh* WEll, there’s nothing Rafa can do about genetics. It’s aggravating how Rafa seems to get admonished and frowned upon for his injuries. It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve never witnessed that type of reaction towards an athlete for getting injured. It looks like as Rafa continues to grow they are learning more and more about how to deal his feet/knees/caps/muscular imbalance.(Also, it looks like he’s grown an inch, I think they should forget about all of this talk about weight and measure him! He appears to be 6 ft 2′ now! That’s is not surprising seeing as he IS only in his early 20s. Even I’m still growing.)

              Aah, under flat feet we unite! :D
              Thanks a lot for the advice. I know that I should invest in quality inserts, but they’ll have to wait a while longer. ^_^

              • jimmy says:

                I know Missy – the custom inserts are very expensive. Not exactly the tops in the value for money proposition. I don’t use them all that often too. I’ve found that getting the higher end motion control shoes by Asics, Brooks or Saucony have really helped me. So don’t worry, you’re not missing much when you put off purchasing the pricey inserts.

                Yeah I dunno about stats w.r.t Rafa’s weight. According to him everything is normal (his height, weight, injuries, playing style, foot size etc..), but I’d think he’s definitely lost some muscle mass in his lower body (at the very least). So I would be surprised if he really does weight the same as before.

            • Ch F says:

              The way you put it, I can understand why he would wear smaller shoes, so long as it is half a size smaller, for example. But one and a half size smaller should be very uncomfortable, no? I wonder if this is even possible. I also think for a guy his size 44 European/10 US is not very big but it isn’t that small either.

            • aRafaelite says:

              Rafa has repeatedly denied wearing shoes that are too small for his feet… I think (not 100% certain though) he’s a 10.5 (which is relatively small for his height) and wears a 10. I don’t think that’s particularly unusual – most of my shoes are half a size smaller than my actual size because I can never get then in half sizes, only a slightly odd because they’re custom-made for him.

              • Leigh says:

                Speaking of what could make his knee problems worse, I’ve heard that the unnaturalness of playing tennis leftie vs. rightie probably makes it awkward for him to swing through his knees. not sure if this is so

        • dutchgirl says:

          I don’t know if it’s the size of the feet that causes the knee problems. I have been noticing some while ago, that Rafa’s feet are a little tilted. I have had knee problems as well, and since I started to wear costum made insoles, the problems got less (unfortunately didn’t go away entirely). The insoles corrected my feet to a straight position, so I’m thinking it’s something like that with Rafa as well.

      • teejustice says:

        I recall Rafa stating that he does not wear shoes a size too small. he said he wears a size 10 (or maybe 10.5) his normal size. this was either end of 08 or beginning 09. cant recall if it was a blog or interview question.

        • miri says:

          Yeah, he’s said over and over again that he wears the “normal” size shoes. Now, depending on what your definition of normal is.. ;) Here’s one instance of him and others talking about it.

          I know a lot of soccer players where their shoes a half-size small so that they don’t slip around in them much and I’ve often heard the soccer thing mentioned when people talk about Rafa doing the same. It makes me wonder if someone just made that up because they figured Rafa would copy soccer players or what…I have no idea. I do think, however, his feet look bigger in dress shoes, but that could just be the difference in shoe styles.

          • CC says:

            Uh-huh. I can remember discussing this before and I still think that it’s a case of getting European/US/UK sizes mixed up, because I can’t see Rafa wearing too small shoes on court. Snug fitting yes, too small no.
            Also, I don’t know how big feet men that you guys know have, but I think Rafa’s feet look pretty normal sized, no?

            • miri says:

              Well, I’m 5’4″ and wear a European size 40, so 44 seems very small for someone 6’1″

              • CC says:

                I don’t think I know anyone who has more than size 44. And I know lots of tall men.
                I only have size 37… Maybe it’s a European thing.

                • miri says:

                  Maybe. Most guys I know who are 6′ tall or over wear US size 11 or larger. I know one guy who wears a 14!

                  Fed and Roddick wear size 12s. Venus Williams wears a women’s size 11…which equates to a US men’s size 9 or 9.5 – not much smaller than Rafa’s.

                  • jimmy says:

                    I agree. I wear US Size 12.5 and am 6’3″. Most of my friends have shoes sizes in the similar height/length range too. Nadal’s feet are on the smaller side compared to the normal.

                • Ch F says:

                  I agree CC. To me size 44 for a guy like Rafa is still on the normal side.

                  • An says:

                    Me too… it depends on what youre used to what you find normal or not.
                    I’m 5.7 and wear european size 36 and yes evrybody thinks thats small, BF is 6.2 and wears 44 too and evrybody here thinks thats normal.

                    • An says:

                      Oh and for what its worth… i buy my tennis shoes half a size smaller so that when they get older i still feel enough support.

                      I buy them when my old shoes are still ok so that i can use the new ones during training so that when the old ones are not good anymore i can where the new ones for matches and they don’t hurt me to much.

      • faeaki7 says:

        Thanks for confirming that Jimmy!

    • CC says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen Rafa wear a pair of trainers with the shoe laces properly tied up when he’s not playing a match. Guess it’s just his styyyle. ;)

      • miri says:

        Totally. Remember the Rafa-porn fitness vids? He was jumping rope in those without his sneaker laces tied.

        • Atch2 says:

          mmmm How could anyone forget those Rafa-porn fitness vids? Those are default vids for when we miss Rafa.

          • Emma R says:

            Where?? Does anyone have a link to these or can you buy them? Dear God why don’t I know about them? What an idea from heaven.

            • CC says:

              I’m sure I just posted these, but they disappeared. Anyways, here they are Emma R. Enjoy!

              here and here

              • Emma R says:

                Thank you! The damned works computer won’t let me play them though, so I am going to go flying home with eyes bulging in anticipation.

                • Emma R says:

                  My word. I actually don’t know what to say…

                  I went from the sort of giggles that a professional woman over 30 shouldn’t ever get involved in, to a sudden desire to do sit ups, to wondering what the location was – nice cathedrally thing.

                  The inner thigh stretch was just….God I am turning into one of those pervy old men who buys Pamela Anderson “work out” vids for all the wrong reasons. Cold shower for one, please Matron.

                  • CC says:

                    Heh. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel about that inner thigh stretch. ;)

                    BTW, I believe that’s the top floor of Rafa’s family’s house in Manacor…

                    • An says:

                      Think so too….

                      And i would love to help with the inner thigh strech Rafa… but then thats no “new” for you, No?;)

                    • Atch2 says:

                      And you are right CC. He is a damn good looking young man. That last 17sec of the vid of the second clip is too gorgeous.

          • Rafangel says:

            Oh my…so, so many moments, so, so few printable even here… And him so sweet, well-meaning and earnest-looking at the end.

            I am such a pervert :D

  6. aRafaelite says:

    “From the stands I first advised him to call the physio and then to retire since it was obvious to me he couldn’t keep playing.

    Coaching? From the stands? (Does coaching in regards to injury count as coaching?)”

    Rafa had at least two interchanges with Toni during the QF about the injury. xta overhead the first dialogue, in which Rafa mentioned something about shoes, but the latter (after the physio before retirement) was an exchange of looks rather than a dialogue – Rafa shook his head as if it to say I can’t go on, and Toni nodded as if to say okay. I don’t think that counts as coaching!

    • miri says:

      Interesting about the shoes. He’s mentioned early on in the tournament that his shoes were slipping on the court and needed to use newer ones with more tread on them. Given that he fell again during the Murray match, I wonder if he was still having problems with them being slippery?

      • Atch2 says:

        Hope a room full of Nike feet/shoe experts r studyg the Rafa match footages now.

      • Susanna says:

        I remember him talking about the tread. But (on TV at least) sometimes it almost looked like the opposite — that he was tripping because the soles grabbed the surface and didn’t slide. In any event, I definitely noticed him looking down at his shoes more than usual during the AO.

        • xta says:

          i agree that it looked to me (in the stadium) that his shoes were sticking, and it happened as early on as the hit for haiti…

          • mary says:

            I think the court surface looked worn. Maybe Rafa had shoes that gripped more but as the match wore on they started to wear down & become slippery. Whatever the case, I don’t think the shoes suited the surface. I’m just speculating but that slip could have had an impact on his knee. It would be terrible to think the shoes may have caused his latest injury.

  7. mcmamacoco says:

    I just want a healthy and playing Rafa, whenever, wherever, taking care of hiimself.

  8. Rafangel says:

    Lol, looks like Rafa got all the magic Tact stardust – how often does uncle Toni put his foot in it?! Every time he opens his mouth, it seems…

    Get better soon, Rafa, and once and for all, please. I am quite miserable in your absence.

    • serene says:

      My family and I hope Rafa take good care of himself and get well very soon. We are all really miserable and bored without him around. No Rafa = no tennis for us. Rafa introduced us to the game of tennis and it’s just not the same without him in it.

  9. Tennisfun says:

    hi all and rafa

    please rafa take your time and get well. i am waiting for you . without you there is no tennis for me. i hope uncle toni means about focusing on grand slams. i dont care about rankning , when rafa is fit , anything is possible. take care rafa and you all.

  10. jj says:

    Rafa updated his facebook page:

    “Back to practice soon… Stay tuned. | De vuelta a los entrenamientos pronto… Ya os contare.”

  11. Rafafan says:

    Hi Rafa fans.

    Not sure what I think about the latest pressy from Uncle T. “Pretty well” doesn’t sound too good to me. It’s like Rafa saying his knees are”OK” (when it’s not) against “perfect” when it is. This to me is a worrying sign. Also Toni justifying what he had to do. Also about the injuries and tough with a sport like tennis. And now Rafa has some problems with the foot? Is this a new latest injury what I am interpreting? Apart from that…. he goes on to say we want Rafa fit to compete in the grand slams. To me it is saying we won’t give a damn about anything else now. He health is too fragile – big grand slams and that’s it. Does anyone else feel the same way how this was explained or am I just going crazy Rafa paranoid?

    This is the quote from yesterday:-

    Rafa’s knee is getting better,” Toni said. “The recovery is going pretty well.

    “From the stands I first advised him to call the physio and then to retire since it was obvious to me he couldn’t keep playing.

    “Retirement was the right decision to take at that time.”

    Injuries have played a big part in Nadal’s career since his sterling 2008 season, when he won the French Open and Wimbledon on the way to wrestling the world number one ranking from Roger Federer.

    “If we go throughout his career, you can tell me he’s got some physical problems,” agreed Toni. “But tennis is a very aggressive game and injuries are normal things to happen.

    “Now Rafa has some problems on his foot, so he needs special insoles to correct the footstep.

    “Apart from that we are all very happy with how things are going on so far.”

    • miri says:

      No need to re-quote most of the article that you are commenting on at the end of your comment.

      Also, I think peoples feelings about Toni’s words have been expressed pretty well in the 64 other comments on this article. (I know for sure that the foot issue has been addressed most thoroughly.) Did you read through them and have specific questions?

      • Rafafan says:

        Miri – Sorry only glanced through – I thought all the stuff with the foot and the soles was referring to all what happened in 2005 which was major news. I hadn’t realised this is the latest saga in his injuries – or is it a relapse again from 2005?

        Getting confused.. Too many injuries!!

        • miri says:

          I think Toni was referring to the old injury not a new one since Rafa’s worn custom inserts since the old injury. But it would be nice to know that for sure. Perhaps he meant new inserts. *shrug*

  12. faeaki7 says:

    Maybe its problem getting the insole right for his new shoes?, I don’t know just speculating coz I have serious problems with my feet and know that the mechanics of the feet are a tricky business anyway, let alone for an intense athelete like Rafa. He clearly did have some issues in Oz with his shoes, I do hope they can sort him out, poor lad must be sick to death by now its seems its one thing after another! *sobs*

  13. miri says:

    Can anyone read/understand/translate the original Spanish article? Is it more clear on whether the shoe issue is new? The way it appears to be apart of the “in his career” paragraph makes me think it’s the past issue (or an article writer who wasn’t sure either).

    • CC says:

      It just says “For the foot problems, Rafa has to wear insoles that give him support.” Something like that. Sounds like this has been an ongoing problem. Nothing new.

    • Rafangel says:

      There is no “now” in the Spanish as there is in the English, so I’d think it’s a statement of how things are and have been, and Eurosport are twisting it a bit to make a headline (they do that a lot). HOwever, it’s possible there’s a nuance I didn’t get – my Spanish is rudimentary. With that in mind for all my comments, am thinking:
      1) Toni didn’t say they’re focussing on GSs, but on titles (“lo único que quiere es que Nadal “esté preparado para la victoria en cualquier torneo”…es más importante ganar títulos…lo que queremos es que allí donde juegue Nadal esté preparado para la victoria”: all he wants is for Nadal to be ready for victory in **any tournament**…it is more important [than ranking] to win titles …what we want is for Nadal to be prepared for victory when he plays”)

      2) Have I got this right: Toni isn’t telling Rafa that he’s no.4 in the rankings? Weird. “A todo el mundo le gustaría estar arriba del todo a nivel de ranking y no lo digo ahora que estamos en el puesto 4 de la ATP”

      3) There are rumours that they’re arguing? Damn I hope not (tho it wouldn’t be surprising with all the upheaval). He needs a bit of stability for a change.

      …and I bet Rafa isn’t happy with how things are going, not really.

      • Ch F says:

        On your question about 2), I think it means “everyone would like to be above everyone else in terms of ranking and I’m not saying this now that we’re No4 of the ATP rankings” (lo digo instead of le digo which would mean what you thought). I guess what Toni means is that he’s not saying rankings aren’t important just because Rafa has now dropped to No4. And then of course goes on to add that the most important thing for players is victory.

        • Rafangel says:

          Aha! What a difference a vowel can make :)

        • Necitas says:

          If this is what Toni means so I agree with him. Rankings are also important, but what is a ranking if you have no important victory like the grand slam. I find it hard to believe for sometime that Murray is #3 when he has not won any grand slam…

          • Rafangel says:

            It does seem a bit of a travesty that the no.2 has one GS (two years ago), the no.3 has none, and the no.4 has 6… Guess that’s why ranking isn’t the most important thing.

            • mary says:

              You’ve summed it up perfectly. It’s amazing when you look at it that way. However, just think when Rafa finally starts winning tourneys just imagine the points he’ll be gaining with the exception of the tourney’s he’ll be defending. :)

  14. An says:

    a little off topic maybe.. sorry about that..
    Just my toughts this morning missing Rafa in Rotterdam due to the injury..
    Snowing again here in the Netherlands, had Rafa bin in Rotterdam we would most deffinitly have seen a cute scarf and hat today!:)
    *Feeling robbed*

  15. Maria says:

    The two articles on Eurosport – the Spanish (05 feb) and the English (08 feb) one – are hardly the same. Apparently, they decided to publish something about Rafa and had nothing new so they took the Spanish version and:
    – Cut all the parts about conflicts: “he said that between him and his pupil there is “no conflict” and the only thing that he wants is for Nadal “to be prepared for victory in any tournament,” “there are no conflicts between Rafa and me, none at all,” “Sometimes I tell him one thing and he thinks another, but nothing happens from there.”
    – Mistranslated the bit about insoles: “For problems at the foot, Rafa must wear insoles that change the support. But apart from that, nothing else, we are happy with how the things have gone for us” vs. “Now Rafa has some problems on his foot, so he needs special insoles to correct the footstep.”
    – Replaced the “importance of winning titles” with the “fight for GS”: “For tennis players it is more important to win titles than the number that you hold in the rankings, what we want is that wherever he plays he is ready for victory.”
    I can understand the second thing, mistranslation, it may happen to anyone.
    But why cut the conflicts? Ok, Toni says there are none. It might be only gossip and speculation, as the article quotes nobody in particular, only ‘various voices’ claiming that the relationship is not that smooth. Still, it makes you wonder.
    And the GS. Of course that they want, we all want him to figt for/win GS titles. But what Toni seems to imply is that they want to do well anywhere, anytime (in any tournament, wherever he plays). It also seems closer to the usual philosophy in Rafa camp.

    • Rafafan says:

      Hmmmmmmmmmmmm the conflicts? Lets be honest when we are all pressurised we all have conflicts no? or disagreements. This has been happening a while Rafa v Toni conflicts in the media. Rafa doesn’t like what Toni (leaks out to the press). Remember the saga with the serious – career threatening foot injury in 2005? No wonder Rafa never likes to talk about injuries to the media. His career would definitely be ruined. And Rafa needs a load of confidence behind him (incl the media) – ok I know I know. But Rafa strikes me a never at all confidence person – it is only his tennis doing the talking no?

      Toni did say to Rafa 2007? that if he wants a change of coach (must have been a conflict then) – he wouldn’t stand in his way. And yet Rafa said know. Mayb things are different now and like everyone has said – a change is as good as a rest and he needs some more tactical play. I think they are too too close now with the injuries to see the bigger picture. He needs to change his game which everyone including Toni has agreed and says he has but he needs to change – maybe his clientel to to really see the fruition of his results. He will always go back to defensive while Toni is around no – I mean in play as well as with the coach?

      • sia says:

        Rafafan, so … you don’t think Rafa’s game has changed?

        • An says:

          Rafa said it himself somewhere in an interview… And i do agree with him on this, a tennisplayer cannot change his game, youre game is youre game and when youre game doesn’t work for you against an opponent you cannot just change it, if you do most off the times you will loose anyway and youre trainer or coach will always try to tell you that you have to try to play youre “own game”!
          Off course you can work, with the coach or trainer, on making adjustments with youre game as a base and Rafa and uncle Toni worked on that remarkably well! And for what i see they are working on it still! The base off Rafa’s game is ( always was and always will be ) defence and he’s the best tennisplayer i ever saw on a court with a defencive game, what he does/ what he learned or we can even say adjusted so well ( as Nole once stated after loosing the DC semi final match against Rafa in Madrid 2008 ) is turn defence around in offence when having a chance and here is where i think we hit the “problem” off the months after the knee injury in the middle off 2009….. When Rafa is not confident enough he ( and all tennisplayers over the whole world pro or amature )will always go back to theyre “own game” in Rafa’s case defence, wich isn’t working to well on HC or even gras courts.. He knows what he has to do, he knows he can make the adjustments to his own game and turn the defence into offence and i deffinitly can see him trying it in some matches better than in other! When playing players outside top 10 his “own game” is good enough to winn, but against players inside the top 10 he doesn’t winn on HC when he doesn’t take evry opportunity to be agressive on evry chance he gets and since he laks confidence sometimes, espacially when its a top 10 player on the other side of the net imo, he is a little to passive in taking his chances on being agressive and that costs him!

          Now, bottom line, i don’t think he needs to change his coach for this, i’m pretty sure from what i heard Rafa say in intervies and from what i heard Tio Toni say they see this “problem” verry clear and what i saw in the DC final, Abu Dabi, Doha an AO they are deffinitly aware off it and working on it hard! The injury sure is a set back but Rafa and his team know what they have to do and as long as Rafa is willing and able i still see him achieving it again.
          He says so himself, when he’s there all the time QF, SF, final eventually he’s going to winn again and when that starts happening bit by bit his confidence will raise and we will see back the game ( i dellibaratly say the game and not the Rafa, because the Rafa we always want to see, no mather what, No?) we want to see so badly!

          Sorry for this long post, i just wanted to explain why i trust that we will see Rafa back winning and why i trus in Tio Toni as a coach….

          Vamos team Rafa, Vamos Rafa!

          • CC says:

            I agree 100%, An.

            “…as long as Rafa is willing and able…” Well, that’s the key right there. I guess only Rafa himself knows that, no?

          • Rafangel says:

            Spot on, An.

            Actually, apparently Toni’s comments were misreported in 2007. What he actually said was that he offered Rafa the opportunity to bring other coaches in, if he wanted (like Murray with Corretja or Djoker with Martin), not to resign as coach altogether. I think that could be an interesting idea but obv Rafa doesn’t think it’s necessary. One other thing about changing coach: Rafa needs his stability and family more than anything else, it’s where he gets his colm, his mental strength, which is his strongest asset. Losing Toni would probably be the worse thing that could happen to his game.

          • Atch2 says:

            I agree and am encouraged by your words An.

            And like Rafangel I think for Rafa, Uncle Toni is a Coach AND an Uncle. Uncle Toni has tennis and life smarts and he and Rafa will figure it out and as a team they’ll start winning it again. And I’m sure they have access to other tennis experts around them if they need it, besides Albert Costa, Roig.

            This is a great interview from Pete Bodo with Uncle Toni:

            http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2008/10/uncle-toni.html
            Wish I could find the actual article with the rest of the Q&A in Tennis Magazine Jan/Feb 2009 issue. I think Uncle Toni said people do come up to them and give them advice and he does listen to them.

            • faeaki7 says:

              thanx Atch, its always great to read what Uncle toni says, kind of gives you an insight of Rafa himself.

          • Ch F says:

            I agree there should always be a natural aspect in a player’s game. Remember Roger had lost his natural game, his volleying basically, when he was losing a lot of matches. Everyone was saying he had to change in order to beat Rafa and have better results on clay and I think it gets to you after a while. But he worked it out and found ways of keeping what’s natural about his game and adjust the little things he could adjust. When we say Rafa should change a bit I think we’re basically talking about adjustments and choice, especially during important points in a match, not an entirely different game. Of course that is impossible.

            • An says:

              Yep thats what i meant…. in reaction to the suggestion that Rafa should change his game and his coach… and i agree with Rafangel and Atch2 that Tio Toni is not only important for Rafa as a coach but just as well as his uncle, the person where he knows, being far away from home, he can always fall back on because he is his family!

              I could totally find myself in them looking for advice on what is to adjust more in Rafa’s game from someone outside from what we now know as team Rafa if they would want to considere that tough, a fresh opinion could be good but i do not think he should change Tio Toni for another coach!

          • faeaki7 says:

            well said An, and Vaamoosss! of course.

      • Maria says:

        Rafa & Toni definitely have different styles of dealing with questions from fans/media and that has been, as you said, one source of disagreement. Although Toni stays most of the time on the safe side, he can easily become outspoken and caustic. The injury is one example. The comments about the Parisian public after RG crowd’s reaction to Rafa’s loss are also notorious, as well as his reply to the question ‘Who would you like to win RG, Soderling or Federer?’ IMO, he was a bit too straightforward even with the answers given on the Eurosport site to the questions about Rafa’s serve & him being lefty or not. In opposition, I don’t remember Rafa being straightforward or blunt and I don’t think that it would suit him either. Although there are moments when I wish he were less polite and cautious and more spontaneous.
        As for any other potential reasons for divergences, I hope they are just inventions of ‘various voices’. Because, even if some say Rafa’s style of play looks better when Roig is around, Rafa & Toni remain the only player–coach duo that have managed to pull off repeated victories on all surfaces against the complete all-court and coach-less Player.

        • Emma R says:

          I do find Toni’s candid comments to be quite refreshing when there is so much PR spin about.

          I didn’t know he’d been asked about who he wanted to win the FO out of Robin and Roger – what was his response?

          • Maria says:

            I can agree Toni’s comments are refreshing, just as most of Roger’s pressers from GS (spicy, lot of sarcasm etc. etc.) are, in that they add some flavour to the ‘groomed’ and sometimes quite boring talk from pros and their PR staff. I don’t mind Toni’s replies as long as they do not hurt Rafa and put extra pressure on him. About the RG final (he answered the question before it was played), Toni was very frank about it and said that, in terms of personal liking he would have preferred Roger to win, while pragmatically speaking (rankings, battle for no 1) he would have liked Sod to lift the trophy. Imagine what Rafa would have said :).

        • CC says:

          I don’t understand. I checked the Spanish article from Eurosport and then to be on the safe side I also read the German one. In both of them tio Toni clearly states that there is NO conflict between Rafa and himself (why would there be?).
          Yet here I am reading comments about divergences and disagreements.

          *scratches head in confusion*

          • Atch2 says:

            Cc, how many languages is in your repertoire ?

            • CC says:

              My German is OK and I can read Spanish well enough to understand that Toni said “no conflict”.

              • Atch2 says:

                Being multi-lingual is so cool to me.

                • CC says:

                  You are too, no?

                • Ch F says:

                  Can I join the multilingual club too? I think we could cover a great deal of articles on Rafa if we ever put all our languages together ;-)

                  • An says:

                    Is there place for me? Off course i can help with translating anything in dutch, my German is pretty good, i can understand most French articles and interviews, i can follow most of the written articles in Spanish and Italian more or less and when i know wich is the subject i can follow mostly off Spanish and Italian being spoken ( if not in dialect and not too fast ) reasonably!

                    • Rafangel says:

                      Damn, An, that’s a whole lot of dirty talk for Rafa to enjoy!

                      Wish I hadn’t forgotten all my Latin and Greek… All I can remember now is ‘Scintilla is a whore’ and ‘alas for my poor foot’ (the former could be adaptable, but the latter is definitely FORBIDDEN).

  16. Maria says:

    Yes, you’re right. I’ve forgotten about that, but that’s what he said. Nice guy, as usual, Rafa, and outspoken fan of Roger (one of the few issues on which he is outspoken):)