AO: Q&A for The Age – continued
More questions and answers up on The Age. (I’ve edited some of the more rambly questions down to the actual question.)
Question from Isabelle: Hey, Rafa, I have a question for you! I’m actually going to Mallorca this summer for a month and I was wondering if the native people there also speak English? I don’t know any Spanish except for “Vamos!’, so do you think I should start learning some Spanish sentences? Gracias!! :)
Rafa says: Yes, people speak there English and German since Mallorca and the whole Balearic Islands are a very touristic place and specially from countries with those languages. So no problem there. But you could also learn some Spanish, it is always good to speak languages.
It is. And some of us try, but it’s difficult when you are old! (Well, and don’t have a lot of free time.)
Question from Suzanne: Rafa Hi, Rafael, do you have some favourite countries to play tennis tournaments? Apart from W-I-N-N-I-N-G the tournament and increasing your Art of Tennis, what makes these countries special to you? Do you get a chance to take a few days and explore regional Victoria; boating, fishing and relaxing on the Gippsland Lakes while visiting Melbourne for the tennis? Suzanne
Rafa says: Well, this is a very good question and a difficult one to answer since I have many favourite tournaments for more than what they mean in tennis. For example, I love Indian Wells since we have great golf courses there, the people treat me really well, and also Monte Carlo for the views, the sea, or Barcelona since it’s played at my club. But I also love this one here in Melbourne. The whole thing. I mean there are many great places we are lucky to go to.
Always the diplomat…plus, he always hates the comparations.
Question from Isabelle: Hey, Rafa, I was just thinking. You and Roger should join forces to take down Djokovic. You and Roger are Real Madrid and Djokovic is Barcelona. You and Roger need to start beating Djokovic and Real Madrid needs to start beating Barcelona!! The two of you should think about what shots you can use to exploit Novak’s possible weaknesses. People say he has no weakness, but everybody has one, and it’s up to you and Roger to find his! Roger is very smart and you are very observant, so together, you’re unstoppable. I think this may be the best advice you have heard all day. You guys can thank me later for this brilliant plan.
Rafa says: Let’s not forget tennis is an individual sport and you go out there alone … but thanks for the tip… :-)
I did say he was a diplomat, right?
Question from Lee: Hi, Rafael. I would like to know if or what charities you support. I think you are the kind of person that is a giver not a taker, and it would be interesting to know in what ways you help people in need.
Rafa says: I have my own foundation which is taking care of charities. We focus on children who need help and can get it through sports.
And, in case anyone’s forgotten it, here’s the foundation’s website.
Question from Morina: My question is, when you go to public places, for example: the aquarium in Melbourne, restaurants, cinemas and other places, do you queue to get in like other people or do you have special access?
Rafa says: Sometimes I obviously queue and some other times like at the aquarium here in Melbourne a couple of days ago, they were waiting for us and they lead us through the whole aquarium. Believe me, I have no problem in queuing.
He queues obviously?
Hola, Rafa, I’m a huge fan of your powerful game. I think you have biggest forehand I have ever seen. Massive! Having watched your matches against Djokovic, it appears that it’s nowadays hard to hit through him, the ball keeps coming back deep. Therefore when playing against Djokovic one should often finish the points at the net, IMO. Do you agree and have you practised your transition game (volleying) in order to beat him? Good luck for the year 2012.
Rafa says: I think it is not as easy as just going up to the net. Most of the times you see the ball pass next to you.
And sometimes, the passing shot hits you in the
Question from Natasa: Please, Rafa, tell me, what’s your game goal this season, what’s “new” that you want to bring in your play?
What is the hardest thing you need to overcome during the match with top 5 players?
Rafa says: Thanks, Natasa. My goal is to improve my game, stay healthy and be competitive. If I have that I know I can be able to win tournaments which in the end is what it counts. And the hardest thing against top 5 players is everything. That’s why they are up there, they are the best.
What’s Rafa’s goal again? I keep forgetting…
Question from Pablo: Hi, Rafa, I’m a big fan from Argentina. A few weeks ago Gaston Gaudio said after he beat you in Buenos Aires you broke all your racquets in the dressing room, have you ever done something like this since you became a star? Good luck for the rest of the tournament!
Rafa says: Yes, I heard the story. Knowing Gaston I am sure he was kidding and probably joking with the journo who took it serious. I never broke any racquet, believe me.
And there goes that big “controversy”.
Question from Yvonne: Do you have any more plans to model for Armani or any other designer??
Rafa says: No, that thing is over.
*fingers crossed that this means he keeps his chest and tummy hair!*
Question from Virginia: Hi Rafa! Do you wear sunscreen? Do tennis players wear sunscreen or are you all used to the sun by now?
Rafa says: Yes, we do to protect our skin. Skin cancer is a serious thing.
Very. Rafa already has so much sun damage…
from Aini: My question is: I heard you got a Harley Davidson bike back home in Manacor. Do you get to ride it much in the off season?
If I were to visit Manacor, what are the interesting places for sightseeing that you can recommend to me?
Aini Idora from Malaysia
Rafa says: I never rode it yet. It is still at the shop!
Since he’s said (in his bio) that riding a bicycle makes him nervous, this doesn’t surprise me.
Question from Wilda: Rafa, you are my favourite male tennis player. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA and would like to know when you can come here? All your fans here would love to see you. You could also visit with Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf while you are here. They live here too.
Rafa says: It is not far from Indian Wells but so far I haven’t had the time to go. Maybe one day if things don’t go well at the tournament.
Is it mean that I hope he never goes (while an active player on the tour)?
Question from Fernando: Vamos, Rafa, Vamos. My question is, why do you use all your strength on your first serve, say 95 or 100 per cent? Instead, would it be better to use 75 or 78 per cent of your power hitting the ball, trying to place it in the right places? But you are the great maestro Rafa. I am always with you.
Rafa says: Sometimes, yes, you are right. We try to chose the speeds and the shots according to what is the strategy for that point.
Question from Usaid: Rafa, were you a shy and less talkative boy in your childhood, or were you a naughty and screaming one?
Rafa says: Less talkative, I would say. A bit too shy.
Still a bit shy.
Question from Usaid: Hi, Rafa, If there is a movie being made about you, which Hollywood actor, you think, would best portray you?
Rafa says: I have no idea. You should ask the producers over there. They know well the market
“…and I have no interest in coming up with a name” – at least, that’s the way that sentence ends in my head.
Question from Elise: I know that you love to go fishing and have said that you enjoy the tranquillity, but I also know that you have a lot of excess energy and keep moving all the time. Do you really sit still when you are out fishing? Best of luck in the tournament!
Rafa says: Yes, believe me, I love to sit and wait for the fish. It is the whole thing of being out there on the sea, the calm, the beauty, I don’t know I just love it.
Awww. I wonder if his time on the sea are his main non-fidgety moments in life?