Open heart

Photo by AP via elmundodeportivo.es

There’s a new interview with Rafa on elmundodeportivo.es. Just a few excerpts from the Google translation because I’m running late.

After four consecutive titles, the loss to Robin Soderling in the issue of tendinitis in the knees in the middle.

No, do not believe in revenge. You have to play with heart and head, and if you exceed the excitement, enthusiasm and the heart can only head going bad. Yes, I lost in 2009 but had already won four times and never felt that Roland Garros was only mine, my possession. What I face as I have always done, trying to enjoy the challenge, knowing of its difficulty. Losing at Roland Garros is not a failure, much less, but normal. Just win one and are all the better. I will do everything possible to voler to win, but not obsessed.

Classy Rafa as always.

In his journey of clay, this year has put aside the Trofeo Conde de Godo.

Saying ‘no’ is always difficult, but especially when it comes to the tournament from home, people who have been watching you for weeks. Fortunately, you have people you trust by your side to help you value it all, and this time I decided it was best not to play in Barcelona. I very much appreciate the respect and support of people in the club and the tournament at a time so hard for everyone. Of course, to me it is more difficult having to stay at home than go play a tournament.

A few years ago I wanted to play everything. Is not it so?

I still want to play it all, but life lessons and gives you all can not be. You have to make decisions that do not like and dislikes. Life is like that.

It so is…and why are the smart decisions always the most difficult ones to make?

Where’s your limit?

I will play until you want to play and while maintaining the illusion and the conditions to win tournaments. You want to suffer to enjoy, not suffer for suffering.

My personal satisfaction is not to win in Monte Carlo, for example, but I’ve been able to beat me, to leave behind a difficult stage. If one day no capacity to overcome suffering and to take me to something I truly complete, a final point. No problem, because life has other things, not just tennis.

So as long as he feels he can win and/or improve he’s in? Sounds logical and level-headed.

I did not know was the artistic vein of Nadal: You share video with Shakira and her uncle Miguel Angel dancing on television.

My uncle is an artist himself, and the truth is that dancing has improved a lot (laughs loudly). And about what Shakira is an experience that not everyone can live, and I am very grateful that she thought of me. Know different things, such a different world is important and rewarding.

Exactly. You got the opportunity to try something new and something that few people get to do? You grab that chance and go with it.

Was messing in the locker room?

The usual. But it was worth, so I spent my good. It was a long shoot, but Shakira was very nice with me, helped me a lot, made me feel at ease.

Glad someone finally asked him that!

29 Responses

  1. Erin says:

    Lovely interview, it’s good to read when Rafa really expresses what he is feeling in his own language as it’s so different (even though he really really tries and speaks fantastic english) to expressing your true feelings in a language you are not comfortable with. But I disagree with one thing…. You own the french Rafa! YOU OWN IT!!!!

  2. Amanda says:

    Glad he realizes there are things in life other than tennis…. sadly he won’t be playing forever and he needs to find something just as fulfilling.

  3. Ilian says:

    Hi everybody, I hope all of you are getting excited about the next two weeks of tennis, I won’t be able to watch much b/c of work but I’ll try to catch Rafa’s matches. Anyway, I know Google may loose sometimes and I will try to translate the whole article but I can only give you two paragraphs since I’m at work.

    Q After 4 consecutive titles in Paris and then getting upset by Soderling amidst talk of knee tendinitis, do you return hoping to avenge that loss?

    A I don’t believe in getting revenge. When you play you do it with your head and heart, and if you get overly emotional then your heart and desire to win overtake your head and this can be no good. So, yes, i lost RG in 2009 but I had won there 4 previous times and I never felt as if I owned RG or that only I can posses it. I always face going there trying to enjoy the challenge, and am aware of the difficulties. To lose in RG is not a failure or less, it can be normal. Only the best come to compete and there can only be one winner, and I will do my best to win it, but I won’t obsses over it.

    Q Don’t your feel that you have some unfinished business with the center court Parisian public?
    A No. First of all, the public doesn’t influence how you’re hitting the ball, or where your shot lands, second, let’s not forget I’ve already won there 4 times. And yes, they were a tiny bit harsh with me on the day I played Soderling, but that shouldn’t constitute a problem for me.

    I will try to translate the rest later today.

  4. patzin says:

    Rafa is such a class act. So lucky am I to be aware of his many talents, first as a citizen of the world, and then of course as an athlete. Looking forward to RG with great anticipation. He seems the only level headed one about that – I don’t own it. I participate to the best of my ability; let’s see what happens.

  5. tennisfun says:

    whenever i read what rafa has to say my mind becomes peacful.

    take care rafa

  6. EJL says:

    I can’t work out why miguel doesn’t attend Rafa’s matches if not regularly but at least occasionally..(wish I had the same opportunities) and it will be nice to see Nadal brothers sitting next to each other and cheering Rafa on and yelling out vamos simultaneously.

  7. Fay says:

    Miguel has attended the odd match I think, but hey its not easy to watch Rafa! what I mean is on the one hand he thrills you but on the other he makes you a nervous nail biting wreck in the process, maybe Miguel prefers not to watch because he finds it too hard! maybe I am talking giberish and he has other things to do but follow every match of Rafas’ who knows.
    Loved this interview, I just admire his way of thinking so much like Maria Sharapova once said “he will be fine he has a good head on his shoulders” he is well grounded and never! disollusional it seems, he is indeed pure class.. Beautiful picture by the way!

  8. Suzanne says:

    Let’s not forget that Miguel Angel (and the other uncles) have families of their own. As Rafa clearly understands why Xicsa doesn’t follow him all around the globe but works on her studies and comes when she can, I’m certain that he understands the same thing about his family. Many times even his parents and sister aren’t there! Goodness, gracious… Pete Sampras’ parents were so nervous during his matches, they NEVER went to them (except that last Wimbledon final as it was such a huge moment and they cried and cried!). Rafa is so beloved all over the world and then goes home to lots of lovin’, I’m sure. I don’t think anyone is missing out and as has been stated many times before by many of us…I’m pretty sure they televise his matches in Spain! BTW, did any of you catch the Youtube vid of Rafa playing with his nephews?Sooooo cute!!! What a guy!

  9. Silhouette says:

    Rafa is such an exceptional athlete….I have never come across such a superstar with such humility and who is so classy and grounded.

  10. Iliana says:

    Ok, I’m off work and I just had an energy drink, here it goes the second part I translated and I hope some of you can enjoy rafa opening his heart…

    Q. In your clay season this year, you skipped the Conde de Godo tourney, have you learned to say No?
    A. It’s always hard to say no, especially when the tournament is at home and people have been anticipating to see you for weeks, fortunately i have people I trust around me that helped me put things in the right perspective and I decided it was not in my best interest to play there. However i appreciate the respect and support from the club and the public for this difficult decision. I have to admitt that it’s a lot harder for me to stay at home than play.

    Q. A few years ago you wanted to play everywhere.
    A. Still do but life teaches you lessons, like you can’t play everywhere and you have to make tough decisions, that’s life.

    Q. Did having a bad experience last summer influence you in any way?
    A. that was the worst time I’ve been thru and the goal now is no to stop for 2 month without any activity, and if I do stop, it should be because of injury I couldn’t avoid than just because I overextended myself. It’s true that I also had some personal problems, but losing in Paris and not being able to play Wimbledon was a tough prize to pay. Those were hard to things to face, being in bad shape physically and mentally.

    Q. This year at Monte Carlo you shed some tears.
    A. M.C. was very very special to me because I thought of everything I went through and it was very emotional, because I knew I had been playing well for a while and yet I still couldn’t win Indian Wells and Miami and came short in the end. Monte Carlo was different, I had a great week and closed it.

    Q. In both IW and the Miami semis, you seemed tense against Ljubicic and Roddick. Did not having won any tournament in a long time made you nervous or anxious?
    A. Whenever you are nervous you get unlucky. Perharps it was less complicated with Roddick, but you learn to overcome things one day at time, and you must create your own opportunites to succeed. had I not created them in the USA I wouldn’t have succeeded in MC I was aware I could have won those two tournaments easily and that would have helped me carry on. But those were positive learning that sink in and helped me a lot. I knew i was getting closer and that if I stick to it I would get my chance and I did at MC. In spite of reaching the semis at Shangai and Paris-Bercy, I had the worst time because I was still getting or listening to those negative signs and I really felt I was light years from beating the top players.

    Q. After MC the Rome and Madrid titles followed, that’s 15 matches where you remain unbeaten.
    A. It gets easier when you are winning, though you always know that anything can happen when you play against the best.

    Q. There’s been a lot of talk about you, but Djokovic and Murray seem to be in a slump.
    A. They are and will remain great players at the top, it’s just that tennis gets complicated at times. It’s hard to stay at the top, playing in semifinals or final week after weeks carries a brutal mental and physical punishment, and we all pay the price ultimately. I am feeling good righ now, especially my mental attitude and I am very excited at the prospects. I am one of the top player that’s having a good season and hopefully I can continue to do so.

    Q. Del Potro and Davydenko are sidelined with injuries, renowned veterans like your friend Moya, Nalbandian and Hewitt have had surgeries. What’s going on?
    A. The season is too long, Jan. 1 til Dec. 6 and I think that’s not very healthy for elite players.

    Q. Where’s your limit?
    A. I will play until I feel I can, as long as i feel excited and in good shape to win tournaments. I want to work hard to win, not just because, I like to work hard to improve myself every day. Just winning Monte Carlo doesn’t give me satisfaction per se, it’s overcoming the obstacles, the tough period is what does, the day that I stop trying to become a better player through hard work is the day I stop playing, no problem, because there are other things in life besides tennis.

    Q. You changed racquets, especifically the strings, was that an important factor?\
    A. I am neither manic nor meticulate, if things are working why change them right? That’s the reason why I am not open to some important changes, but once I make that decision I never look back. I decided to change the strings of my racquet when I went to AO and I left the old ones behind, and I decided I had to adjust to them win or lose.

    Q. Your uncle Tony said that the reason why your serve doesn’t improve is because you’re right handed. wil you serve with your right arm?
    A. No, never. I mean, it makes sense right? It feels right to throw a rock or a ball with my right arm, but when I play tennis I am lefty.

    Q. We didn’t know the Nadals in show business, you made a music video clip with Sahkira and your uncle Miguel Angel danced on t.v.
    A. My uncle is the artist, and his dancing improved (laughs) Regarding the Shakira video, I am just happy she thought of me. It’s very important and gratifying to have different experiences in life.
    \
    Q. Was there any flirting behind the scenes?
    A. I don’t think I really said that, I just consider myself lucky. I have everything I wanted at 23. In terms of tennis i think I’ve achieved more than I ever dreamed of, in terms of family, things are perfect, and we all have overcome our situation (parents divorce). We are all doing fine and that makes me happy. I am happy with what I have b/c it’s more than i expected.

    Q. Pretend it’s December 31, what brings you satisfaction?
    A. to have been healthy this year.

    Q. Are you listening to your body more?
    A. I always have, but when you are playing it’s hard to know how far you can go because you are so focused in your tennis and in the next match.

    Q. Do you still feel pain?
    A. Every elite player experiments pain and I am no exception. I have learned that there are limits that you better not over step.

    I hope you all can enjoy. *falls asleep*

    • aRafaelite says:

      Thank you! Your translation is much appreciated, as is the insight into that amazingly balanced Rafa mentality!

    • cath says:

      Thanks so much Iliana.
      And Miri, really appreciate your site… Great group of Rafa fans

    • CC says:

      Thanks Iliana! But I didn’t think they asked if there had been any flirting behind the scenes, but had there been any teasing (from the boys) in the locker room after the Shakira video, and that Rafa kind of said “the usual, but it was worth it”? Now I’m confused… :D

      • sharon says:

        Iliana, your translation is fantastic! Thank you so much. Rafa is the most ‘put together’ 23 year old I know and living the crazy life he lives, that’s really amazing. I think he must have had some professional counseling when he was having his worst times last year because he has such a terrific perspective about it all now. Kudos to his tennis team and his family for looking after ALL of Rafa, not just the tennis part of it.

        I’m with you CC about the locker room stuff. The google translation sounds quite different and I was especially anxious to know what “so I spent my good” really meant. My mind went to all sorts of crazy places thinking about Rafa ‘spending his good’!!! :D

        • An says:

          I agree with both CC and Sharon. After the “flirting” wich i do believe should be “teasing” question in the translation, his awnser seems to be missing…. and comes the awnser to the question: “Are you happy? I ask because I read youre statements in an Italian newspaper in which you said: “I’m happier than people think.”

          Not to take anything away from Iliana’s work tough. Awesome that you did this for us, you made Rafa’s awnsers perfectly understandable! Thanks!

    • Sapphireswell says:

      Thank you very much for your translation, Iliana. It is MUCH appreciated.

    • Jan P says:

      This is wonderful! Thanks so much, Ilana! Totally agree that Rafa is the most “put together” 23-year-old. Heck, he’s more “put together” than most people I know, and most are MUCH older! Gosh, he is so special!!

  11. CC says:

    BTW, I love the whole thing, Rafainterviews are special. Oh, and Rafa against green wall is…mmmhmmmhmmm… ;)

  12. tennisfun says:

    thank you very much Iliana.

  13. Ilian says:

    You’re right, I must have been asleep at the wheel and didn’t pay attention at the whole shakira thing, the question was, “Was there joking around in the dressing rooms?” Nadal: “The usual, but it was worth it, I had a good time. The filming was long but Shakira was very nice with me and helped me a lot, she made me feel at ease”. The word cachondeo threw me off, here in California where there’s a big Mexican population, the word cachondeo is used when it comes to all fun stuff that happens at dance clubs, so I guess I very loosely summed it up as flirting, having a good time with someone attractive.
    But he indeed is an exceptional person, I try to find flaws but no, nothing comes to mind except for the, ejem, picking.

  14. JC says:

    Thank you so much, Iliana, for the great translation!
    Wonderful to have the opportunity to hear Rafa’s thoughts the way he expresses them in his native tongue.
    Once again I am awestruck by his maturity and perspective… how can he be only 23? I guess hanging out with tio Tony, the philosopher, really has formed his way of thinking and his approach to life – including being a world class tennis player.
    I love the way he turns a practical question about his racket strings into a philosophical statement about decision-making and moving forward in life:
    “…but once I make that decision I never look back. I decided to change the strings of my racquet when I went to AO and I left the old ones behind, and I decided I had to adjust to them win or lose.”
    Rafa, you are a true champion… in every way!

  15. EJL says:

    “on the other he makes you a nervous nail biting wreck” this’s so true Fay.Only rafa and justine’s tennis lead my emotions to nervous wreck and that makes them my favourite ones.

  16. Rafangel says:

    Unbelievable work, thanks so much Iliana :)

  17. Atch2 says:

    Thanks too Ilian.

    Rafa’s such a unique and precious person.

    And I luv the thought of him getting teased in the lockerrooms. I’m sure he knows that they’re all jealous.