AO: Q&A for The Age – continued
Some new questions up in The Age (and some Reva pointed out I’d missed):
Question from Zara: I was just wondering what was your favourite kit that you’ve ever worn? I especially liked your US Open 2010 & 2011 kits as well as the polos you wore in 2009.
Rafa says: I don’t have a favorite one but I can tell you I keep one of each gear and special ones. I have yesterday’s shoes and will keep them.
Is there any tread left on those shoes?
Question from Nora: What is your routine to prepare for a game & which Spanish player are you the friendliest with?
Rafa says: My routine is the normal one to get ready. Taping my ankles, my fingers, getting the rackets ready, a cold shower before going out, etc. I am friends with Feliciano, David Ferrer, Ferrero, Granollers, Verdasco, all of them.
And Marc!!! How cold he leave out Marc!(who is on the Davis Cup team! Go, Marc!)?
Question from Jimmy Stefanovski: Given the huge attention that tennis and for that matter sportspeople seem to get, how do you try to keep grounded?
Rafa says: I suppose it is a consequence of the education I have received by my parents and the way of understanding life. Not because I play tennis I should think I am any special.
Maybe you aren’t special because you play tennis, but you might be special because of how you play tennis. And I’m not necessarily talking about skill here.
Question from Cedrine: I read in one of your interviews you said you were losing your passion for tennis. That made me sad. Do you still feel that way at this moment or was it just a bad moment for you when you said that?
Rafa says: That is not totally correct. I said that at the end of last year I played a couple of matches without that passion, but never said I lost it.
Man, people are really hung up on passion, aren’t they?
Question from Simiti Singa (India): You came to India last year with your mother perhaps to start an academy in Hyderabad. What is the progress on that initiative? Do you have any other plans to help tennis in India?
Rafa says: I believe it’s been finished. It was together with the Vicente Ferrer foundation that have some things going on in India.
Question from Gayle: People talk a lot about the importance of physical condition and determination. To me it also seems like a question of balance. A tennis champion has to be energized and pumped up but not too much or you’ll lose control. At the same time you have to stay calm but not too relaxed, or you will lose focus and your level will drop. You have to be constantly thinking and making decisions, but not think too much or you’ll become indecisive. Keeping all these things in balance at the same time sounds so difficult. How do you do it?
Rafa says: Yes, you are right. I was too pumped at the US Open final and I payed the consequences on the first set. But I agree with you with that mental part of the game that is as important as the physical one.
Now I want to go back and watch that first set.
Question from Anthea: My question is, you often take many rackets onto the court for a match, how many different string-weight variations do you use in a match? And do you reuse the rackets for the next matches or do you get new rackets for each match? Love, Anthea Yeung (London, UK)
Rafa says: Thanks. I always take the same string weight on all of them. I normally carry 6 rackets and I change them at every set. The rackets are all of them used and I change them at certain times of the year or if one breaks like the one that broke practicing before the OZ Open started.
Oh yeah, like that one. I love how he refers to it like it’s common knowledge.
Question from Karie: Hola Guapo, I was just wondering what you do with all the trophies that you get to keep? Are they on display anywhere or do you keep them at home? Thankyou. xx
Rafa says: I keep them at home. The most important ones are in my room.
Do you cuddle them when you have trouble sleeping? Maybe just give them each a little rub before bedtime?
Question from Sujith: Hello Rafa, thank you for the great memories and wish you the very best. Can you please explain why you don’t move closer to the baseline during rallies and when facing a second serve to avoid your shots falling too short on the other side of the court especially against Djokovic who then gets the time and space to smack a winner? Thank you.
Rafa says: Would love to but believe me the balls coming push you back!
In my head, I heard a *sigh* before that answer.
Question from Sam: Hi Rafa. Congratulations on your progress so far, hope you continue to win your matches! February is a quiet month for your fans as you often don’t play, but in February 2010 we had the Shakira Gypsy video and in February 2011 the first Armani photos came out. Have you got any treats lined up for us in February 2012?! Buena suerte!
Rafa says: Yes I do. I have some days of work with my sponsors during this month.
I hope those days don’t involve waxing/shaving body parts.
Question from Usaid: Which tennis player would you like to take out on a date?
Rafa says: I have my girlfriend
Question from Adela: Hola! Rafa! ! I’m a big big fan of you. And u are so cute off court!! If Aladdin’s Lamp gives you just one wish,
1.M&M chocolate for your whole life
2.A PS win against Moya or Pico
3. Real Madrid wins the UEFA or LFP champion 2012
Which one will you choose ??? :) Best wishes for u in AO and 2012.
Rafa says: 1. Not my thing. 2 I have already done it. 3 for this year maybe that would be my choice but why not a GS title for me? ;-)
No M&Ms? There’s a type of chocolate he’d say no to?
Question from Edel: Hi Rafa, I’m a massive fan!! I have followed your career for years and admire you so much! I have read your book a few times and love it so much! :) Just wondering, if you could only win one more grand slam; which would it be? I know you’ll win more as you’ll keep improving as I believe you are the best player in the world! Djokovic is having a good run but I think you have to talent and the drive to gain back your No.1 spot! All the best for the season, I know you’ll dominate!!
Rafa says: Believe me that any would work for me!
Any old slam.
Question from Sasha: My question is, when will you come to Serbia and play a tournament here in Belgrade or an exhibition match????? You have so many fans here and you are a big sportstar name here, we’d love to see you!
Rafa says: Thanks, I heard many things about your country. I am sure one day. Thanks ;-)
Gee. Wonder from whom he’s heard those things?
Question from Anita: Hey Rafa, you have so many media duties to perform and new interviews you do seem to pop up every day. Do you prefer the more serious questions, such as those asked in the post-match press room, or do you prefer lighter/funner ones like those you answered in the Open Drive? Hoping you’re happy and healthy
Rafa says: It depends on the context and on the moment. Sometimes it is good serious ones, to talk about the sport, the matches, and sometimes other more relaxed.
It’s all about context, people.
Question from Ellie: Hi Rafa! This year, you have played the first four matches during the day. If you progress to the Semi-Final and (hopefully!!) the Final, the matches will be at night. Is it difficult to adjust from day to night? Will you do some practice at night now to get used to the different conditions? All the best for success in this tournament and for the rest of the season!
Rafa says: I haven’t played at night yet and it is different i know but I would love to be in that semis day or night ! :-)
Night didn’t seem to bother him at all.
Question from Joseph: Congratulations on your great career so far. I am a Roger fan, but over the years I have come to respect and admire your game. My question is what do you do with all your old gear? You must have so many old shirts, shoes, racquets etc. There must be museums who would love to have this stuff. Or maybe you could auction them off for your fans, with the money going to charity.
Rafa says: We give a lot away to people that use them for charity. At every tournament.
And that’s a good thing.