Tennis Magazine: US Open Special

Rafa’s on the cover of the most recent copy of Tennis Magazine. The article that goes with the title is by Pete Bodo. It doesn’t really contain anything new – just talks about how incredibly honest Rafa’s post Wimbledon final presser was and Bodo’s feelings that Rafa is at a turning point in his career.

There’s also an opinion piece by Chris Evert on what she calls the seven-year itch. She feels that’s “the approximate amount of time top players seem to be able to compete on the tour before the physical and mental tolls cause them to want to take a significant break.” She said the same thing happened to her in her 7th year (when she was 24) and she thinks it’s the situation Rafa is in now. Time will tell.

Finally, Rafa’s mentioned in an interview with Jimmy Connors:

Who are your favorite players on the tour today?
Nadal for sure. And lately, Djokovic. Federer is now finding out what it’s like to have to beat Djokovic and Nadal in the semis and finals to win a tournament. So it’s going to be interesting to see how he handles that and what changes he makes to get back in the mix. But his game is more of elegance and style. Nadal is gritty and not afraid to get dirty. That’s my kind of guy.

Here’s a scan of the cover and an advert featuring Rafa:

Cover photo by Clive Brunskill/Contour by Getty Images)

24 Responses

  1. max says:

    Ooh something yummy coming in the mail to look forward to!

  2. wendya says:

    Really nice comments from Jimmy Connors. Let’s hope that PB and CE are wrong.

    • jj says:

      Turning points aren’t necessarily bad. I think that 2009 was a turning point and look what 2010 brought!

  3. CC says:

    Wow, that chest hair is positively bushy in that first pic! Mmmm…

    “Nadal is gritty and not afraid to get dirty. That’s my kind of guy.”

    Jimmy, you and I have the same taste in men. ;)

  4. old sharon says:

    There are a zillion photographs of Rafa out there that capture the essence of him (the ‘him’ that his fans who read all the articles and interviews think they know) so why do so many magazine covers and publicity promo shots miss the mark by so much? Rafa is much better looking than that cover shot. :(

    • Karen says:

      You’re so right old sharon. Only real Rafa Fans would look at that cover shot & think ‘ that’s not the Rafa I know of & love.’ Why oh why can’t these so called photographers take & use pictures that show him in his real light? Failing that the magazine editor should take a look at some of Rafa’s on court photos from 2011 so far. Going by the amount that Miri posts here to our delight they would be spoilt for choice!! Even the USO attire one makes him look about 18 again.

      • Karen says:

        If Chris Everts’ theory is correct, does that mean the current Superman, ie Nole, will experience this 7 year thing next year? I’m looking forward to 2012 already!! By then ‘ Our Boy’ will be rampant & rearing to go again. Vamos Rafa.

        • Ch F says:

          I hope so, although Nole hasn’t had the same success as Rafa and Roger during his first 7 years, he’s just started being dominant this year. So it might take a little longer until it deflates.

          • eva says:

            Yeah, I think part of that burnout is the pressure of the media and off-court “duties” that get heaped on the number one player.

        • Shake says:

          I think Evert is likely referring to players that start playing pro in their mid teens like she (and Rafa) did. Players like these give up much of their childhood to become professionals at a younger age than typical tennis players. So I think the 7 year thing is probably starting from 15 or 16 years old. While Rafa is at the midpoint of most tennis player’s careers, he certainly has probably had to sacrifice more than his peers. Take Djokovic, who was delivering pizzas when he was watching Pete Sampras win his first major at the US Open in 1991. My guess is at the same time Rafa was probably learning how to hit left-handed more consistently at practice sessions with Uncle Toni and spending much of his time on a tennis court with Uncle Toni. I’ve written elsewhere that I think Rafa would be wise to take this fall off irrespective of how he fares at the US Open. A few months away to heal both physically and mentally is the stage where may be at.

          • Karen says:

            If Djoko was delivering pizzas in 1991 at the age of 4 isn’t that child labour & worse than Rafa playing tennis at the age of 5? I know what you mean, but it sounded so funny!
            Let’s not forget Djoko’s been around quite a while too, and having played 3rd fiddle to Rog & Rafa for the last 4-5 years he may feel the pressure of winning, always being there @ the end of tournies, having to defend titles & ranking points just to stay at No.1 sooner than Rog & Rafa did.
            Their mental strength and desire to win year in year out was/is 2nd to none. Lets see what happens in respect of Djoko in a year or so.

            • wendya says:

              I keep hoping the pressure will get to Nole too but, if we’re honest, we know he loves the limelight and all the attention he’s getting…he seems to thrive on it. He also seems to know when to say “no” and to be sensible with his scheduling etc. The thing that might eventually get to him, imo, is maintaining what seems to be quite a strict mental and physical regime. He’s enjoying all the work and dedication at the moment because of the great results he’s getting, but whether he can remain that committed is another matter.

    • abbey says:

      agree 100% about the pictures. even the cover shot of his book doesn’t do rafa justice.

  5. faeaki says:

    I still think he looks handsome thou right? ok ok it isn’t the real’ Rafa we know and love but I can relate to this in the fact that I just hate’ havin my photo taken, posing is not for me and prehaps Rafa feels awkward about it too, some people are more natural at it than others! Rafa like alot of us, looks best when he is photographed, 1. in action or 2 when he doesn’t know it or isn’t paying attention to it, thats! why those pics always look the most Rafa like and natural.
    Liking the yellow and black combo on the right!

  6. JC says:

    Rafa looks pasty and sick in that Nike ad. You would think they have the budget to make beautiful pictures. Making the star look sickly and weak wouldn’t be my first choice for selling “power” shoes ;-) I sure hope he looks better in that USO outfit on a tennis court!

  7. Maria says:

    Rafa look like he just woke up in the US Open cover photo.

    Frankly, I don’t care for any Chris Evert comments on Rafa. She doesn’t even like him. She’s all about Roger Federer.

  8. Gene says:

    Nadal will be back soon. Djoko is an opportunist.

  9. June says:

    “Can Rafa get back on top?” Yes, I believe he can and will be #1 again very soon :) I kind of figured CC/Ann or Natch would comment “Sure, he can as long as it’s w/me!” (lol)

  10. Leslie says:

    I’ve been going back in the Archives here to see what you all were saying when Rafa was going through his hard times in 2009 and beginning 2010. I only started rewatching tennis during Rafa’s 1st match Monte Carlo 2010 so don’t have the same frame of reference for Rafa needeing to rebound as long time Rafa fans.
    The posts for the most part are incredibly supportive to Rafa and show a lot of faith in his ability to come back after his injuries/troubles/almost year long time without a win. I find the old posts encouraging as they remind me that Rafa has had the passion and mental toughness to rebound when things have looked tough previously.
    I actually copied something that John F wrote in a post April 9, 2010. It was just after Rafa lost the Miami final to Roddick -same match where he was pounding his knee ans swearing- and there were many articles questioning Rafa’s health and abilities. The words of John F speak eloquently to the “Can Rafa get back on top?” questions.

    ” Of course you feel for this guy, our hero. It hurts to see such potential not quite back to form, but this year he is really clawing it back. And with the competition he faces he’ll have to work VERY hard. ……. Go rafa! Hey, like I am an old guy who used to watch Roscoe Tanner and Jimmy Connors play in the Pac 8 conference. I’ve never seen anything like Rafa, nor been so “emotionally” intense about wanting to see a player win. But you know, what I remember from Miami. His final match winning passing shot against Tsonga and his reaction to that. That’s what I live for. May there be many more!!
    He is absolutely amazing and the most exciting tennis player in our era. So love him, feel for him when he hurts and isn’t doing well, celebrate when he plays superb tennis, but never lose your belief in this guy.” John F Apr 9, 2010
    Thanks John F for reminding me to never count Rafa out! Vamos!