The top players did pre-tournament pressers today. I’m still hunting for a transcript, but here are some excerpts via the tournament site.
When told that Roger had declared him the favourite, the old (or rather younger, care-free) Rafa would have praised his opponent to the hilt with a self-effacing smile. 2010 Rafa gave the kind of broody stare he usually reserves for on-court opponents, exhaled loudly then launched into his best impression of a teenager being forced to apologise for crashing his parents’ car. “It only starts today, I only arrived yesterday. It’s a very difficult tournament and the best in the world are here so it’s impossible to say.”
“I felt I didn’t really play well in 2009. I had great results without playing at my best,” he continued, to the surprise of the roomful of journalist who had watched him sweep all before him up until Roland Garros 11 months ago. “For the past one-and-a-half years I’ve had more physical problems that I would have liked to have had. This makes it more important that I run well and practise well now that I have physical problems.”
Are these different journalists who attended his pressers last year when he said he wasn’t playing well? Or do they just have short-term memory? Or does this journalist just want to make his story sound more sensational?
Questions about approaching the French Open differently now that he is not the defending champion, and the relevance of changing seedings based on past performances at the tournament in question as opposed to basing them purely on current rankings, were met with almost monosyllabic indifference, and only when talk turned to the new centre court here at the Foro Italico did Rafa allow himself to relax a little.
I really want to see video of this because…it sounds like standard Rafa to me. If he doesn’t care for the question, he doesn’t give it much of an answer.
And some photos:
Photos by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images and REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito
At least he found something more fun to do for the rest of the day, according to this tweet, he and Nole went to see football.