Chattin’ with Toni

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Toni did a chat for today. Here’s the transcript (Google translation). I’m even more confused about the shoe “templates” now. They cause pain? Shoe inserts shouldn’t cause pain! I hope the translation is wonky and what was really said is that they relieve pain. (Thanks for the heads up, CC.)

54 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    Hmmmm… I don’t understand why he kept saying playing Barcelona “isn’t safe.” Anyone understand? I can sorta see that shoe “templates” can throw off your entire body if they’re trying to correct something a body is used to, but it is strange that they “cause pain.”…

    • Debbie says:

      I have had inserts in my shoes and they caused me back pain as my body adjusted. Eventually, everything aligns correctly. With my personal experience, I wasn’t surprised by them causing pain, but I was surprised this is the first we have heard of it for Rafa. Questions, questions…it seems like I am always more confused after a Toni interview.

  2. Rafafan says:

    Mmmmmmmmmm. Am not sure Rafa would have liked Toni to have made comments. They both tend to disagree at times. Anyway gonna decipher what I can understand and come back to you. Lots of revealing things there tough. Will wait to hear some other comments first. Have to go through it 10 times and write some notes, then
    thoughts, then the translation bit and will have a summary. Rafa – revealing that would be nice yummy yummy x

    • Susanna728 says:

      Hi – The translation should be that Madrid and Barcelona are not certain (i.e. not certain that he’ll play). (Safe is the wrong translation). I’m not sure about the insoles either. He seems to clear be talking about insoles but like you all not sure why they would cause pain.

      • Ch F says:

        Yes the insole thing isn’t clear in Spanish either. But hey, Toni also mentioned Rafa will start practising on Monday :-) :-)

        • Rafangel says:

          In the ‘injury update’ interview he said Rafa’s already been training without his legs (eek) – wonder if he’s been sitting on a table in the middle of a court hitting balls again? Such a fantastic image :)

  3. Ch F says:

    Interesting that, according to Toni, after his match against Hewitt last year at the French Open they already knew that things weren’t looking great. Toni also said Rafa had problems even before the French Open started. I remember that when Toni was asked whether Rafa would win the French just before the tournament started, he didn’t sound that confident. That explains a lot, especially Rafa being rather unhappy on court, which is an impression I had during his first matches in Paris. I remember it had shocked me because I had never seen Rafa like that. Well it seems he already knew it was a matter of time before his knees let him down. Add the family issues to all that and it gets really nasty. Poor Rafa, hopefully this is the last time you’ll go though any of this.

    • emir says:

      well i knew also that he isnt going to win that fo last year,opened thread on a tennis forum SOMETHING IS WRONG,before he lost to soderling,his camp was negative his blog was negative and i also watched him he wasnt the rafa i know,i put the pieces together faced with the SAD REALITY,way before he lost…i think i am among the few people who wasnt totally shocked…STILL DIND EXPECT DEFEAT 4 TH roung i was expecting semi or something….

      • Denizen. says:

        I found Rafa’s blog after beating Hewitt to be unusually upbeat. Either he was trying hard to keep his health issues under wraps (obviously a strategic necessity), Toni wasn’t being entirely candid today, or both. It’s hard for me to consider “Regarding my match, I really felt great today on court” to be an OMINOUS PORTENT OF DOOM…

        Rafa’s been wearing custom insoles for years, so I’m surprised that Toni’s been mentioning them lately. I consider it a duty (and a diversion) to look for inconsistencies coming from Rafa’s camp, so I’ll file today’s interview away for future reference. ;)

        • Rafangel says:

          Yeah,and he said in his questions that he thought he was getting back to his best tennis, and the day before the match talked about what he’d say in his next bolg if he won… I don’t think he was expecting to go down to Sod, tho he may have feared for the tourney. His post-defeat blog, heartbreaking for its sadness and loveliness, also ends by saying that he was going to defend Queen’s and Wimby, “everything normal”. I wonder how much he knew, and how much he was trying to downplay or hide?

  4. emir says:

    himm WHAT IS SAFE FOR RAFA very interesting….i am not critical at all….i knew that they dont like that madrid tournument just before RG but now barcelona ISNT SAFE….very strange….sometimes it is diffucult to undersatnd these transilations….

  5. faeaki7 says:

    I figured that, safe meaning something else, translations always come out like this.
    What puzzles me the most is how people are surprised that his injuries were before RG.
    Watching Rafa in A/O last year, Rotterdam,(where he clearly struggled with the surface and shouldn’t of played!), Indian wells, then by the time he got to Miami he was a different player, I had not seen so many errors coming off his racket in years or if I ever had! His lost to Del Potro was not due to Del Potro’s sublime play, (no disrespect), but Rafa just couldn’t find his game, he was clearly mentally else where, whether it was his family issues or the knowledge of his injury, I don’t know.
    How he won all those clay tournaments especially Monte-carlo where he just served worse than ever I’ll never know, he has even said himself the same! He showed a little improvement in Rome and I thought prehaps from playing on the clay he was finding his feet again, but he goes to Madrid and well we all know what happened there.
    for the first time I was nervous as hell at the start of RG, but I have to say I didn’t expect Soderling to be the one to take him out. Just thought that he might not make it that time.
    Enough said, I hope that everything will be okay, its hard to tell with what Toni is saying but its not all together negative.

    • Ch F says:

      He won all those tournaments thanks to the momentum of his previous victories. The opposite of what happened after his injury, when he lost important matches because he had been losing, as he himself stated. Before the injury, he won all those tournaments because he had been winning.

      • faeaki7 says:

        Yes you are right Ch F of course it was his reputation that allowed him to get the upper hand and win those matches, his aura on clay was second to none, not just the clay of course his win in Australia then Indian well were awsome too but its the clay that he has always been feared on. Of course since his poor top 10 record post injury he has along way to go in building that reputation again if its all possible.

        • Ch F says:

          I think it will only take one top ten victory. Then it’ll only be uphill. I remember how it clicked for Roger when he beat Rafa on clay, this really helped him get his confidence back. So it’s such a shame the injury came back now, Rafa had started the year very well, with a top ten win actually.

  6. Sofia says:

    I hope Rafa wins the US Open one day Toni.

    And why would Barcelona not be safe? This confused me even more than I thought it would. So difficult to understand.

    • Susanna728 says:

      one more time..(apologies to those who read this above) The word “seguro” should have been translated as “certain”. (It has several meanings. Google picked the wrong one.) Toni said it is not certain Rafa will play Madrid and Barcelona.

  7. Rafafan says:

    I think I get it – Rafa not certain to play both Barc and Madrid

    I will put my life on it! that Rafa plays Barc (how many has he won 5 -wanna make it 6 for his confidence and where is “2nd home is”). He won’t play Madrid coz of altitude, not good prep for FO and too near FO. Toni himself said Rafa gonna concentrate on the grand slams.

    STill a bit worried about everything just OK rather than perfect no?

    I hope RAfa plays Davis cup and Miami and IW? what you think ditch it for now?

    • Ch F says:

      About the ok versus perfect thing, I wouldn’t read much into it. It’s not even Rafa saying that, it’s Toni. And even if it had been Rafa, I don’t think this is really important. He had been saying his knee was perfect and then he got injured again, so for me the fact that he said it means nothing at all. I’d rather he said ok from now on, and who knows, maybe it will be perfect this time ;-)
      My impression is Rafa says “perfect” when he’s back after a while and starts winning matches by playing well. He is happy and when asked about how he feels he usually says he feels “perfect” to dismiss injury related questions.

      • jj says:

        he also said he was “perfect” at the USO when he had an abdominal tear, so I actually prefer to hear “ok” :)

    • Rafangel says:

      I don’t think toni DID say Rafa is going to concentrate on the slams – cf. post in ‘injury update’ thread – think there is some inaccuracy in Eurosport’s translation.

  8. Rafafan says:

    Also very interesting what Toni said after the Hewitt match. Never knew that! And it’s like the jigsaw has all come into place.

    Why were we so all shocked by the FO loss? We should have known that Rafa had an underlying problem – but of course he ain’t gonna tell us or his opponents or for god sake the media! They would be all round him like a rash just like now. I know it sounds like excuses but we know otherwise.

    Also when he lost in Miami to Del Port – dunno if anyone noticed in the interview (not on video) but it was on a transcript that wasn’t broadcast. He mentioned it’s personal – that set me alarm bells ringing from then onwards. Personal – now means the divorce as we all know.

  9. Susanna728 says:

    The FO match was like the perfect storm: knees, divorce and Soderling. Couldn’t have been a much worse combination. As for now, I’ve resigned myself to thinking there’s no way to know the real details of the knee issues, present or future. Athletes just can’t make everything public about their injuries. They want to keep the opposition guessing – also seems like the more they say, the more there is to get distorted in the press (intentionally or untentionally). Just can’t wait to see him back on the court again!

  10. aRafaelite says:

    Not really anything new here, eh? Interesting to hear that Toni rates Verdasco’s chances of winning at RG/Wimbledon though! Much as I love Fer, he isn’t the obvious choice, esp for the non-hard court Grand Slams. Maybe Toni’s been talking to Sampras?! ;-)

    Good to hear Rafa’s back to training again. There’s something wrong with the world when Feli’s winning tournaments and Rafa isn’t playing!

  11. CC says:

    I think Toni says that when Rafa changes the insoles they cause pain. I guess they take some getting used to. And maybe he has new ones now, I don’t know.

    • sia says:

      Usually one gets insoles for correction and as they do their job … a newer different shape is needed for the next stage. I think it is hard to wear them all the time; I know that because of an injury I was given specially made-for-me insoles that I don’t really wear because they cause a lot of discomfort after a bit.
      But I should!

      • Karen says:

        I remember reading or hearing that Rafa had been playing with pain in his knees for 9 months before FO. Assume this was on& off pain, can’t imagine even him playing for that long with pain, poor Rafa.I think that spell of pain may go back to USO 2008 when his body had just had enough after his fantastic season. Also would love to see him win Barcelona for 6th time but would respect his decision not to play as it doesn’t give him a rest between Monte-Carlo & Rome. Damn, the clay season is ridiculous!! I just want a happy, healthy Rafa playing tennis. He’s simply my tennis hero,& will be forever!!!

        • mary says:

          I agree Karen. Rafa seems to need lots of play though to build his confidence. Why because it is his way. I just hope he can do this without much or any pain if possible.

    • natch says:

      I could get Rafa used to pain. Wouldn’t need any insoles, either, unless he has a fetish. ;)

    • CC says:

      Heh. I have now read the Swedish translation of this on and in my lingua Toni says that “he has said sooo many times that Rafa has problems with the way he puts the foot on the ground” and therefore “needs the insoles to correct this.” The insoles, apparently, causes a “mild pain” and have “changed his footstep”.

      I have a week off work now. Maybe I’ll just go over to Rafaisland and ask him myself. I never thought I’d be interested in insoles.

  12. ejl says:

    toni or google translation triggered slight ambiguity here,but give it a go,good,rafa is soon back to practices.makes me feel( i’m trying) that positive things will happen..but it’s more natural to feel “whoop-de-do”

  13. Rafafan says:

    Well positik aktitude…. no? but how many more times are we gonna say this until the real thing comes into affect and the reality of the situation?

    One has to be positive until one cannot go on anymore – ie. the last ball is played or the 90 mins is up in footy! but Rafa fans we gotta be realistic or unrealistic for us to carry on? I am in a quandry and dont’ know.

    Anyway turned the tv on to sky sports showing Rottadam tourney – so sad only about 200 spectators in it! Zepi and Melza playing on prime tv. What does that say to you?

    I also think the media are getting bored with Federer and can’t wait for Rafa to come back (but of course they won’t admit it!) but you only have to see the stories comng out or his name mentioned. At least that is something and positive that really everyone including the media love him – not that I could give a fu…k with them? Boost you up and knock you down but I think they wanna boost him up again.

    I will scour the news for anything more of Rafa and his injury. As i am typing away when i key in news I keep writing knews = knees – so obsessed with the f…ing injury. God knows how he feeling. Rafa – you can do it, no negativity confidence aggresive – things change and you change with it and still be no 1! Vamos xxx

    • Atch2 says:

      About whether Rafa should’ve stayed a right-handed player is such a significant and thought provoking comment fm Uncle Toni. But I always that was one of the things that gave Rafa an advantage was being a lefty, especially with the serve placement and he has a beautiful forehand.

      Being a lefty is a niche and trickier for majority of players who are righties. And a few of them are from Spain too.
      I remember reading Fed asking the atp to find a lefty junior to train with as a way to prepare himself for a possible match with Rafa. And someone else said that one of the reasons why the Rafa-Nando AO 08 semi was so competitive was bec it was against 2 lefties and unusual for both players.

      Shame the article didn’t talk about he insoles.

      • Ch F says:

        And I don’t see why the fact that he would have been a better server if he had been right-handed player is such an issue. If he was a right-handed player he might be serving better but he might also be doing other things worse. It’s so hypothetical that I really don’t see the point. I don’t think Toni meant it to be such a big deal anyway. It’s just an answer to a question in a chat. It seems now it is reported in the media as an important revelation.

  14. ejl says:

    Toni sounded tentative and slightly regretful(?) about the left hand choice for serve. However absolutely agree that this shouldn’t be a kind of serious deal at this moment, because Rafa has never been a kind of profound server but still was able to get a hold of several GS.Right now i wish he had his heaLth and confidence back just to stop rising and falling and become steady and full of mobility. Well aware that it’s easy to put in worDs but bloody tough to put in practice. “Staying calm but being brave” love JHenin for these words ( and not only for them)

  15. jba says:

    i know that this is off topic (sorry, miri) but i just noticed that tomorrow is chinese new year. the year of the golden dragon and that rafa was born in the year of the dragon! it’s his year and the forecast looks good!

    Some Tigers may be feeling disappointed and disheartened after 2009 and it will be important to leave the past behind and concentrate on the future, which is looking so bright!

    August, December and January will see a very active and entertaining social calendar, but all of 2010 will see fun activities for the Tiger. The Spring months, March to May, will bring encouraging and interesting job opportunities, but the Tiger will still have to make sure he puts himself forward and gets noticed at work.

    VAMOS RAFA!!!!

    • sandra says:

      Tomorrow is the Chinese New Year Day and the Year of the Tiger will begin. Rafa’s year – he’s born in 1986! With the month in June – it’s Fire and that’s really good. For those who are interested, this is what the Chinese fortune-teller says about 2010 for those born in the Year of the Tiger “Forecast for 2010
      Being the Tiger’s own year, 2010 holds great promise for those born under this sign, with exciting developments happening for them both personally and professionally. Some Tigers may be feeling disappointed and disheartened after 2009 and it will be important to leave the past behind and concentrate on the future, which is looking so bright! Financially, everything improves this year for those born under this sign and money-making thoughts and ideas should be fully explored and investigated. With the fast pace of this year for all signs, the Tiger needs to take extra care in planning and thinking all projects through – no rushing headlong into schemes during 2010! Tigers looking for romance will possibly see a friendship suddenly develop into something more personal with exciting consequences. August, December and January will see a very active and entertaining social calendar, but all of 2010 will see fun activities for the Tiger. The Spring months, March to May, will bring encouraging and interesting job opportunities, but the Tiger will still have to make sure he puts himself forward and gets noticed at work.”

      Whatever the predictions, this will be a great year for Rafa!!!

  16. Rafafan says:

    Hi Rafa fans (hope not off topic Miri as well!) Can’t think where to put it on. But just watched Rotterdam semi (Davidenko lost to the – fuc…ng sod! don’t we just hate him! he now in a final again!) and guess what Djokovic lost to Yujounkik (can’t remember how to spell his name but he did beat Rafa 3 times!)

    So dunno how the no 2 3 and 4 will go in the rankings. At least what everyone else has been saying about the Djok – he really doesn’t deserve it (the no2. against our Rafa) and he has just proved it. Murray well – he gonna just can’t give a damn about the mino tourney he wants to win a grand slam and try and train the best he thinks is appropriate But heah – good news – a result for us Rafa fans no? (Ok numbers don’t mean anyting) but heah they do when it means something!

    • miri says:

      Not only off topic, but one should assume that everyone hates/likes the same players you do.

      • Rafafan says:

        Que?? ( in Spanish Manwell says in Fawlty Towers? Have you ever watched it?) Sorry I think most people so not like soderling or am I completely a novice? And heah the Djok – I think most fans would be pleased with that no?

    • CC says:

      Well, shit pommes frites. I need to say something here:

      1. If you can’t spell somebody’s name, then look it up.
      2. I find it terribly disrespectful to assume that others “hate” somebody. Disrespectful to me, to fellow commenters and to the player in question.
      3. Whoever wins more matches will have the best ranking. That’s how I would like Rafa to climb in the rankings. Not through others losing or deciding not to play.

      Miri, please delete if you find inappropriate.

  17. Rafafan says:

    Well CC/Miri – I am sorry I have ruffled your feathers.

    The term hate doesn’t mean how it sounds – its like when we say “don’t you just love him /don’t you just hate him”. It wasn’t meant to be taken so literally! It’s meant to be summarised like a fly who won’t go away, sort of irritating buzzing around since Soderling won against Rafa at the FO. And yes CC your right I should know how to spell a surname. And if it’s all off topic I apologise. Was trying to relay the ranking numbers with the Toni chat when asked who he prefers to win the FO (Toni replied the Sod because of the rankings). Oh well – just trying to explain myself but I guess not very successfully so feel free to delete if appropriate Miri.

    Role on to tomorrow with Rafa practicing. The wait is nearly over thank goodness

    • miri says:

      And yet, you still refer to a player by a derogatory nickname. Since I’m assuming you’ve read this:

      We have respect for all the players as professionals, not as little toys for the fans to play with or belittle with mean nicknames (although, we do treat them as objects of lust from time to time…okay, often).

      I’m going to assume that by calling Soderling The Sod you don’t mean “The Fuck” as in “the annoying fuck” or “The guy as boring as grass“, but instead as in, “the guy so fucking hot I’d like to fuck him non-stop for days on end” or “the guy whose grass I’d like to mow *wink wink, nudge nudge*”

      It’s simple common courtesy, people. If you wouldn’t want someone to refer to Rafa with the kind of nickname you are using, don’t use it.

      And, as far as topic, in the interview, not once in the article in question did Toni mention Rafa’s ranking and he certainly didn’t talk about how other players losing is good for Rafa’s ranking.

      • Rafafan says:

        Miri Wowwwwwwww! What is up? Listen – I have shortened Soderling to the Sod – that’s all like it has been on your site and others. Just like Rafael has been shortened to Rafa!

        I know everyone is a bit touchy at the moment but I think you are well out of order. I have not insinuated anything. You have just read too much into it.

        Again sorry Miri if i have touched some raw nerves. Let’s just get on track in supporting Rafa no?

        • miri says:

          I am telling you what the nickname means. It’s the same if there was a player named Wankerling and people insisted on called him The Wank. (Or people who turn “Nadal” into “Nads” – and not in a “man, he’s got some!” way.) I don’t think I’ve ever referred to Soderling that way in a post and, if I did, I was wrong. (I did title the FO loss as Sod This, but that was in reference to the loss, not the player.) Yes, people have referred to him that way in comments (and one person in a blog post). I let it go for awhile and then requested people stop a while back. Again, my bottom line is: would I be okay with someone referring to a player I like in a similar manner.

          I’m happy to get back on topic – wasn’t that what my request was right from the get-go?

  18. mary says:

    I am surprised that no one asked tio toni about the strings & more importantly about the latest knee injury. Does tio toni indicate since he continues to mention the insoles (I believe) that maybe they may have attributed to his latest knee injury, or are they a new type to help avoid further or more injury. Yep I’m confused. But it is like a bunch of parables, you have to decipher it even before you can translate it. )*&(&((&&^^%&&^*^( I’m glad you understood that bit. Cause that is what this interview came out like.

  19. Maya says:

    Jeez Miri, got your panties in a wad much. I’ve heard Soderling referred to as “the Sod” in an affectionate way on other sights. As in “I hope the Sod wins blah blah blah”. And while not all Nadal fans hate Robin Soderling, I think it’s fair to say that there are a good many who do not look upon Robin fondly and for good reason. Personally, I don’t think it’s healthy to hate, and so I’ve forced myself to watch Robin the last few months in the hopes of finding something good, and I have to say it’s working. Hey, what would Rafa do?

    • miri says:

      Jeez Miri, got your panties in a wad much.

      If I do, it’s my site and my prerogative to stay bunched up.

      And you can’t convince me that someone who wrote “the – fuc…ng sod! don’t we just hate him! ” meant it in an affectionate way.

      Hating players is a waste of time and energy. I insist that this site not be about hating on any player. As you said, it’s not healthy and it’s not sporting.

      Since no one can stay on topic here, I’m closing this thread down.