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… :-)
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..