Quality time with Rafa
There’s an interview with Rafa on The Times’ site: Rafael Nadal well versed in art of making most of quality time. It was conducted by Neil Harman at the gallery exhibit he recently attended. Here are some Rafa quotes from the article:
Nadal admits that he was no Dali at school. “With music and with art, I was a disaster,” he says. “I was only ever ‘sufficient and borderline’. The best was the physical. I went every day to school, but my timing was 9am to 12 school, 12 to 3 tennis, 3 to 5 school, 5.30 to 7 football, 7 to 8.30 tennis. I arrived home when I had to study completely destroyed. But I have the satisfaction that I finished obligatory school.”
I cannot fathom keeping that schedule – even with the energy of youth.
“All my life I worked hard on the court, I was able to go on the court and practise for six hours when I was 14-15 — sometimes. Not all the time. Today is different. When I started on the tour, if I didn’t play for two weeks I felt completely out of rhythm. Now I can be away from tennis for 12 to 14 days, come back and don’t have a bad feeling. I don’t need to practise as much and the important thing is how you practise and what you practise.
“Now it is more to talk with Toni. We go with one goal, to try to improve the serve, the return, to play longer. Toni’s style is to talk a lot, preparing mentally. My [bad] knees are there and we are going to try to play the sport for as long as we can.”
I’m so happy to hear that he’s recovering his rhythm better after no play. It seemed to be the case given what appears to be a increased willingness to time off, but it’s good to hear that straight from him.
In regards to the crowds at Roland Garros, Rafa had this to say:
“Seriously, I don’t see the problem,” he says. “When I go on the street and walk around, they show me love. I feel it all the time. I understand sometimes I have had a lot of success and the crowd supports the other. I respect that.
“The situation in 2009 when I lost [to Robin Söderling, the Swede, in the fourth round, Nadal’s only defeat in 46 matches], I was disappointed, I don’t want to lie. I was having tough moments [his parents had divorced and his knees were seriously hurting him] and I felt all the stadium not supporting the other but all were against me. That was difficult to understand when this is a place I love a lot. But I only had that feeling one year. They have never been against me any other time and I am talking with the heart.”
Art isn’t just found in a gallery:
“The image of a beautiful court is amazing,” Nadal says. “Tennis means things to me and the people, emotions that are hard to find in another sport. In football you have a time, in golf there are 18 holes, in tennis you don’t know when you are going to finish, so like the final of Australia [he lost in five sets to Novak Djokovic in five hours and 53 minutes in January] that was a crazy match, but the end of the fourth set and the fifth set, I was seriously enjoying the moment, even if I was suffering mentally because I wanted to win or physically because I am tired.”
And lastly, this just made me smile…a smile that went all the way down to my toes:
Living with family in Majorca, there is little scope for personal indulgences, but there is one image of himself he loves. “I received a gift after the Wimbledon final of 2008,” he says. “It can be a little more perfect, but there is one detail I cannot explain. But the image is beautiful because I have just won the match and I’m on the ground. I don’t know why I went to the ground. I didn’t prepare that. I swear that’s the truth. I just remember being on the ground and gritando [screaming]. I only remember that, the image of the last point.”