RG: Rafa blog and Q&A – day 6

BORIS HORVAT/ AFP/ Getty Images

Rafa’s new TimesOnline entries are up, first the blog entry:

It is raining! But really raining hard. I am writing this post and the water that comes down is amazing here in Paris. Thank God it is happening now and not before or during the match. If that would have happened, that would have meant that I would have had to play again today!

Anyway, into our business. Some of you that follow tennis and that watch the match yesterday might ask if I am playing my best tennis. I think I ended really well today and I have good sensations. I have not been playing great, but today I felt towards the end of the match I was in control of my game and especially my forehand. Just to say, bottom line, that I am feeling better and better. I don’t know why these things happen. I mean, I have been playing great in Monte Carlo, especially there, in Rome and at some point in Madrid. Then I get to Paris and my practices are good, but once I am playing matches, then I have not been playing well…strange. But I have to say that it has also happened in 2008 where I feel I played at my best here in Paris.

Today I am practising at 1 so that gives me time to sleep well and rest more than during these past three or four days. I will practise for one hour and a half and then I have a quick promotional activity with my new sponsor, the famous Richard Mille. Lot of talking about that lately and to be honest, that thing of the comments of the price of the watch makes me feel uncomfortable. Believe me, I am not pricing the watch, and that it is really an amazing watch.

I don’t think Rafa’s often comfortable talking about money – he and his family seem pretty old-school, old-money that way.

Now, the Q&A:

How do you usually celebrate your birthday? Mine is also the 3rd of June! Vamos Rafa! – Assel from Kazakhstan

Rafa says: I have celebrated my birthday four times in Paris in the last five years. Obviously last year it was the only one that I had the chance to celebrate it at home. And to be honest I would have preferred to have been in Paris…Anyway, that’s the past. I normally go out for dinner with my team and the family here in Paris.

Here’s to another year celebrating in Paris!

My question is about the change in the strings for your racket. Will you be using the new strings in grass too? – Vie

Rafa says: Nope, same ones!

Wait, so he’s going back to his old strings? I wonder if he misunderstood the question and thought they were asking about yet another new set of strings?

Novak did the parody of the “Gypsy” video for the jukebox segment. Have you seen it yet? What are your thoughts on it? I hope we still get to see you duet with Marc! Best of luck for the rest of the tourney! VAMOS! :) – Julz, Philippines

Rafa says: I have seen it. No problem. But I have to say that previous things were funnier! Hopefully Marc will do it!

You guys better do a duet! Like…now. Like…yesterday. It. Must. Happen.

Hi Rafa, my friends and I are big fans of yours, good luck at Roland Garros. We were wondering, in a match, just before service, a player is given three balls. Then they look at them, and then drop one and use the other two. Why is that? What do you choose between? Thanks! – Love Jasmine

Rafa says: I try to chose the faster one for the first serve.

*note to self: Rafa prefers fast balls*

I don’t know how you remain patient with some of the silly questions asked to you at your post match press conferences! So I have a silly question, but hopefully one you’ve not heard before…It was the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend, do you ever watch it? Spain’s entry is not the best this year, I’m afraid! My friends and I are having a party for it so I’m going to attempt to cook paella to go with the European theme! Good luck with the rest of Roland Garros! – Kirsty, UK

Rafa says: I have not watched it to be honest.

Loooooog question; short answer.

You have had epic battles with Roger Federer over the years. Do you now feel that everyone expects a five-set marathon every time you play together? How do you cope with the pressure? Keeping fingers crossed for you for this tournament! Bueno Suerte! – Lawrence Head from Leicestershire

Rafa says: I am sure that everyone expects a great match. I would love to be back in the final here and if Roger is the opponent, more than happy. The important thing is to be in the final and for that there is still a long way to go!

It really is almost next to impossible for a Rafa/Fed final to live up to the hype. They didn’t help themselves by playing two great ones back to back (Wimbly and AO).

Rafa, you truly amaze me in so many ways – you are such an inspiration! My question – Can you remember the longest rally you have ever played? How many shots? Good luck – really looking forward to seeing some entertaining tennis from you as always and great to have you blogging. – Kim, Australia

Rafa says: Not really. I have had some long ones over the years…

But not as many as he used to because he’s more aggressive now….right?

What trophy do you like the best, aesthetically speaking? – Marija

Rafa says: I would say… Wimbledon?!?!???!!?!?!

It’s always Wimbly.

Hola, Rafa! You are a fantastic guy. I enjoy watching you playing very much. When I watched the tie-break quiz videos on atpworldtour.com, it really amazed me that a lot of players could remember the exact scores of the matches they played long time ago. Can you do that? For example, can you still remember the score when you defeated Coria in Rome in 2005? Thank you. Good luck for the rest of the season. I’d like to see you in Shanghai this October. – Marjorie, Shanghai

Rafa says: Many thanks. Sure, I remember almost all of them. Against Coria it was one of the best and the most exciting I ever played. The final score was 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6)!

That match was insane and exciting. It is high on the list of my all-time fav RafaMatches.

9 Responses

  1. Nana says:

    Why the ?!?!???!!?!?! re. Wimbly?

    I have high hopes that RafaMarc karaoke is happening, cos’ he said “hopefully”!! You said it Rafa, and I know you have a day off today!

    The last one is a good question. I always think Rafa has a very good memory for scores and points.

    • miri says:

      But Marc! doesn’t have a day off. He’s playing doubles today.

      • Nana says:

        Oops, after the match then. And hopefully they win!

        I hope Marc! knows he’s holding the key to so many people’s happiness right now!

  2. Maria says:

    It appears from this blog entry & his latest FB post that Rafa has again a bit of a confidence issue. I so much hope it’s only a minor one. At least he mentioned the good sensations. Finally!

  3. solaris says:

    It must be so frustrating and difficult to stay calm…but he believes and we believe in his ability to overcome this thing (whatever it is).

  4. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    That ’05 Coria match was UNBELIEVABLE. I wasn’t following tennis much back then, but I saw it on livestream a year ago when it rained in Rome and they showed most of it. For once, I prayed for it to keep on raining (Rafa wasn’t playing at the time anyway. :p) I had to keep looking it up on Wiki, couldn’t believe that Rafa actually won. Not sure I’d have lived through it if it had been live. Maybe it’s just as well for both of us that Rafa’s playing shorter points now.

  5. patzin says:

    There was a recent article which mentioned Rafa’s ability to compartmentalize his life – ie, on the court vs off the court. The journalist commented that since 2009 with the injuries and personal difficulties with family, that Rafa had lost some of that ability – which is a mental ability or skill.

    I wonder if that comment isn’t true. Clearly to me he is still more nervous than ‘he used to be’ or perhaps he is just talking about it more. I think in the past he stuck to ‘scripts’ but now he is more open about his feelings. So he always said he had his chances, but on court he was mostly confident in his abilities to win. This tournie is a big deal; he would like to win; and it is normal to be nervous with expectation.

    So blessings to Rafa – sweatheart it is yours for the taking. You are the best.

  6. Fay says:

    Its understandable for Rafa to be nervous, after all he is human and apparently being nervous before a match is good and healthy, however lets not forget that Rafa is back in Paris where he lost last year to no other than ********g, and its going to be tougher for him, secondly he has been through alot since and 3rdly he is getting older, we are not as confident and courageous as we get older, he always speaks about younger players like the french boy he played 1st round being confident and having nothing to lose, for Rafa there is a lot more if not huge pressure on his shoulders to put in a good performance and win easily thus giving credit to his title the King of clay, this year is worse since he has one every clay masters on his way to Paris, so the expectations are higher than ever..

  7. JoshDragon says:

    Great interview. Thanks for the article