Today, Rafael Nadal was presented with two awards: The ATP Comeback Player of the Year Award and the ATP World Tour #1. While I’ve watched most of the on-court minutes that earned him these two awards, I still can’t completely fathom how he managed this given where things stood 12 months ago. I know that’s not only due to the astounding nature of the achievement, but also because I wasn’t (we weren’t) privy to all that needed to be done off-court to attain the impossible. We get to see the “fun” part. The part where he competes on the big stage – something he dearly loves. We can’t see the endless hours of work that go into getting ready physically, mentally, and emotionally to compete at such a high level. I can not imagine how difficult that is to do when healthy. Add in an injury that’s more stubborn than you thought it would be and that’s preventing you from breaking up the monotony of hard work with some fun stuff and it gets even more difficult to fathom.
So, I just want to take a moment to say thanks to Rafa. Thank you for all the hard work you do away from the big stage – the sacrifices, the pushing through pain, the patience to work through things when they don’t go your way or heal on your schedule, the sweat, the frustration, the determination and the hundreds of things I can’t even imagine. Because I enjoy the hell out of that on-court time. I only hope you are enjoying even more.
Okay, sorry. I just got a bit verklempt. Back to business.
Per this article on the ATP site:
As winner of Comeback Player of the Year, Nadal became the first to clinch awards in all the player-voted categories. The 27-year-old Spaniard won Newcomer in 2003, Most Improved in 2005 and Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship in 2010. He was also awarded as the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian in 2011 and claimed ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates for a third time (also 2008, 2010).
That’s a nice little record to own.
Posted by ATPWorldTour.
Posted by luum94.
And now, some photos. Is it odd that I love them even more because of the bandage on his finger? Because he cut his it slicing bread? It’s so…human while holding trophies that represent an almost out of this world accomplishment. Human. Out of this world awesome. Rafa.
Photos by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Image, AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Clive Brunskill/Getty Images, Jan Kruger/Getty Images, and CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images