Coming back…all the way back

GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Rafael Nadal Wins Two ATP Awards for 2013 Season:

Rafael Nadal Talks About Receiving Player Awards in London:

Posted by ATPWorldTour.

Award Ceremony:

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

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30 Responses

  1. Tina says:

    By this time last year I remember most of all the sadness, the speculations, the worries about Rafa.
    When would we see him back on a tennis court? Was he ever coming back at all, and then for how long?
    It was hard enough even to imagine, how Rafa himself was coping. Articles were written about Rafa being ” a has been”, and to be honest, it could drive you crazy sometimes.

    All we could do in these lowest of moments was to support him, trust in him and encourage him on Twitter and facebook.

    The beauty of it all is, that Rafa fans stick together, and many come to this site to share their worries and thoughts with each other.

    And now, a year later, it was so emotionel to watch Rafa walking out on the court and celebrate this amazing achievement with him. So glad I was alone watching, as it made me tear up, because it still is a bit unreal to imagine, that it actually happened.

    So thank you Rafa. Thank you Miri for this wonderful site for us to visit. It means a lot.

  2. JK says:

    I am a little late in joining fellow fans in congratulating Rafa for a wonderful season and Miri for continuing her fantastic job running this website.

    To me as a fan it has been a very emotional journey like most readers here. To this all started one winter evening in February rushing back home from work since Tennis Channel was televising live a special “Rafa returns” game at Vina del Mar. I was to thrilled to see Rafa return to the tour but yet nervous hoping he would be able to win the game somehow – which he did. I was never expecting him to win the title which he did not. I had read articles and interviews such as Agassi’s where he said it would take twice the amount of time (time out with injury) for a player to hit prime. So on the basis of that I just thought 2013 would be a season where he would slowly get back and hopefully finish the year in top 5 and 2014 would be the season where we could expect more.

    I was wrong and we all know what followed. I rushed to Madison Square Garden to see him play against Del Po. I was very very lucky to be able to go to see him play live on clay and watched him beat Fognnini at Roland Garros. To see him beat Djokovic at the US Open finals right in front of me was a dream come true for me as a fan. I thought seeing him complete his career slam in person was the highlight of me being his fan. But this was even sweeter and more special. Never would I have ever imagined this season for him and his fans.

    As the season comes to a close I hope Rafa recovers and rests well for 2014. He is such an inspiration for just normal and ordinary people like myself. I wish him good luck for an even better 2014!

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