RG: Rafa blog and Q&A – day 10

Photo by BORIS HORVAT/ AFP/ Getty Images

Time for Rafa’s birthday blog and Q&A! First up, the blog.

Hi everyone and apologies for not delivering yesterday some lines for the blog. Just answered the questions. It was really late, got late back from dinner and after the physio work I had wanted to go to sleep and didn’t have time to think and write. So I only answered your questions.

As I expected and not everyone was telling me the same thing or they weren’t thinking the same, I had a very tough match today. Very, very tough. It is true that I didn’t lose a set, but I have to say I could have lost it easily. Nico played really well and I wasn’t playing well at the beginning. Lots of mistakes, lots of unforced errors. Anyway, the fact is that I made it again to the semis here in Paris and I am happy for this step again.

One thing I want to say today is that I saw the end of the match between Novak Djokovic and Jurgen Melzer, my rival in semis and have to say it has been a tough defeat for Novak. I saw the end of it when I came to the locker after all the interviews I had to do for 3 TV stations.

Now I am back at the hotel after I went to dinner with my father, and my team and going to sleep soon. Tomorrow, or actually today is my birthday and I am happy to be celebrating it again in Paris after I missed this last year!

Yep, a close match – anytime a match goes to tiebreakers, it could have easily gone either way. One of the reasons I dislike them. They are like Russian-roulette.

And now the Q&A:

I heard recently that you have changed your strings this year and that they give less topspin and make it easier to hit the ball deeper. If this is true, why have you taken away a bit of topspin when it is your main weapon, especially on clay? Sam Wallen Russell

RN: It is sort of true. The spin is there and the deepness is something I needed on my shots too. It is a mix and I am feeling great with these new strings.

I still don’t think this will clear things up enough for the string people.

Who do you think will win this years World Cup and who will be the stand-out player? Andy

RN: I don’t know but my pick is Spain, Brazil, Argentina or England. The player… I suppose the same everyone is thinking… Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo…

He didn’t just say Spain!

You seem to have an excellent eye for hawk-eye or point challenges. When it’s a ball you’ve hit, is it more the feel that makes you think it was in/out or can you really see it that clearly from the other end? Pip, Sydney

RN: Not from the other end. I am not that sharp… :-)

Heh

Are your knees OK so far? Carol, Johannesburg

RN: Perfect, thanks.

His body is perfect.

What keeps you so humble? Mathebe, South Africa

RN: I am the same…

The same as….any perfect person? ;)

What have you done with your Olympic Gold medal? Do you keep it with all your other trophies or does it have a special place? Poonam, Mauritius

RN: Yes, it is at home. I have a place with all the trophies.

That must be a big room.

Did you give Marc Lopez some advice on how to deal with that huge Court Philipe-Chartier? Beth

RN: hhahahahhaa. A bit. He is a great guy. Too bad he lost yesterday.

I asked that before Marc! got bumped to court 2. Oh well, at least I got a laugh out of him. :)

What did you think of Roger Federer’s defeat to Soderling? Manahil, Pakistan

RN: I think Soderling played great tennis, and Roger did too. In the end the conditions of the court, cold, wet, etc, benefited Soderling. I am sorry for Roger, I know well how tough it is to lose..

*sigh*

18 Responses

  1. Poonam says:

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Rafa answered my question!! I’m so happy!! :) :) :)

    I send questions ever since he started this Q&A things and it’s the first time he’s answered!! I was beginning to give up on hope really..

    Rafa so made my day, on his birthday!! :)

  2. sia says:

    I’m sure Rafa is sad that that Federer lost .. not the least of reasons being hanging out in the locker room. (Same with with Djoko losing too). I can’t imagine it will be nearly as much fun with Soda and Selzer.

  3. Atch2 says:

    Babolat have got to look at their pr for the strings. The same questions being repeated. Read that Sam Stosur and Schivione have the same strings.

    Has Mama Nadal gone home already? He didn’t mention her at dinner.

  4. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    About less topspin and more depth…could it be due to having so many more tall guys in the top 20 or 30? If Rafa lands heavy topspin short the ball tends to end up right in their strike zones. Soderling, Delpo, Isner, Cilic, Querry, Berdych, Gulbis… The ESPN commentators were referring to Almagro as a “litte” guy yesterday and he’s 6 feet tall and weighs 180 lbs. That’s not small where I come from. To quote Roddick, “I used to be tall, now I’m short.” He’s 6’3.

  5. Ch F says:

    Lovely Q&A! I was wondering whether Rafa mentioned in any Q&A the time of his practice, more or less. I’ll be in Paris on Saturday. Does anyone recall reading that?

  6. BTW, love the website header!

  7. Suzanne says:

    Now I’m really confused…I remember Rafa being interviewed by Jim Courier at Oz this year and Jim asked about the strings. He said that the “seven sided” strings were supposed to give Rafa MORE SPIN, and Rafa AGREED, and Jim said, “Your ball already has way more spin than anyone else! Why are you so selfish?” And of course our precious Rafa looked down and smiled and everyone laughed. More spin, less spin, round, seven-sided…what the heck? Happy birthday Rafa! On to slam number seven (get the bag ready, Nike!!) and then eight at Wimby!!!

    • an says:

      His grandslam titles are on his racket bag! So…. Its Babbolat who takes care off the bag :) And i so wish you a new one for youre next slam Rafa.. Iff you have one, please pass youre red one wich youre using now to me…. It matches my rackets! :)