No. 1 of ’13: Love and Suffering – by Steve Tignor. Yes, I’m so very predictable in the authors I’ll pick for a recommended reading mention.
Those human sides were revealed in the seemingly irrational doubts that each man harbored. Djokovic had beaten Nadal everywhere else in the world, and at every other Grand Slam, but there was still doubt in his mind that he could do it in Paris, on clay, over five sets. As for Nadal, he was well ahead in their career head to head, yet he still had doubts about his ability to stay with Djokovic. They had been ingrained in Rafa’s mind during his 0-7 run against Novak in 2011-’12.
So they fought each other, and the doubts that they had planted in each other’s minds, into overtime in the fifth set. In Australia, Nadal had succumbed to his nerves. This time, from 2-4 down, he broke out of his defensive posture and rallied with new depth and aggression down the stretch. He would finish with seven more winners than Djokovic, 61 to 54. Rafa even had enough love left for the game to try, and make, a tweener lob at 6-7 in the fifth set.
It’s the fact they are humans and show their weaknesses that make them interesting. Smooth perfection bores me – even if I know that deep down it’s not all that smooth and perfect. Some people hide their flaws too well. Some like to wallow to publicly in them. Some get the balance right: clearly not wanting to show weaknesses, nerves, etc, but being so very relateably human in not being able to completely hide them either.
- Sports Illustrated’s moments of the year – check out #36
- Croatian Hope Preparing With Rafa Nadal – via croatiaweek.com
“We work two hours a day on tennis and during that time there is no stopping. These two and a half hours are as intense as like five hours of my normal training,” C’oric’ said.
- Australian Open: Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams holding court – by Adrian Proszenko (smh.com.au)
- 2013 in Review: Rafael Nadal – by Chris Oddo (tennisnow.com)
It wasn’t just that Nadal gobbled up titles and racked up milestones in 2013, it was the way that he emerged from a giant cluster of depressing black clouds like some magical raptor straight from the sun, all glimmering and glistening, and playing with a renewed vigor that, simply put, was undeniably beautiful.
- Tidbits On The Top 50 – via atpworldtour.com
NADAL, Rafael (1) – Ranked in the Top 5 the longest of any active player (since 9 May 2005) and owns 60 career titles, second-best among active players (Federer, 77).
- Guy Forget : “Mon coup de cœur sportif 2013, c’est Rafael Nadal” – via rtl.fr (mangle)
- La otra familia de Nadal – by Mábel Galaz (elpais.com) And here’s the mangle.
- Nadal se une al movimiento #Reimaginaeltenis – via tennistopic.com (mangle)
- Rafa Nadal, David Ferrer y Nico Almagro se suman al movimiento Reimagina El Tenis con el objetivo de potenciar el circuito Futures – via industriadeltenis.com (mangle)
- I have no idea what is is about (just an advert for beIN sport?), but there’s some Rafa in there, so perhaps some French speaking person can help us out?
- Nadal rep el premi ‘Campió dels campions’ del diari ‘L’equipe’ – iB3 report on the L’Equipe award.
- Mats Point: Sergi Bruguera on Rafa Nadal
- Rafael Nadal receives the “Champion des Champions” award from L’Equipe
Rafa does social media:
Social media related to Rafa:
- Coolest forehand in all of tennis?
- Borna Coric has added more photos to his Facebook album of training photos at Rafa’s place.
— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) December 20, 2013
— Rafael Redwitz (@rafaelredwitz) December 20, 2013
— Guillem Ferrer (@gferrer80) December 19, 2013
Rafa went back to Mallorca right after the ceremony, and said to Marion that he's going to practise this morning (via @lequipe )
— Mathilde V. (@bluemathilde) December 20, 2013
— The Slice (@TheSliceTweets) December 20, 2013
Do you recognize Rafa? pic.twitter.com/P4n1u3r0hs
— Nadalfanteam (@MirjanaaaD) December 20, 2013
- Checking in on players’ preseasons – by Courtney Nguyen (si.com)
- Book Club: Facing Federer – by Steve Tignor (tennis.com). This line just cracked me up:
Tursunov points to Nadal as the one player who is disciplined enough to stick with his own game in the face of Federer’s aura. As Tursunov says of Rafa, “If Jesus comes down and starts floating on the court, he still plays the way he’s playing.”
I finished my Christmas shopping today! Yay! Next up, wrapping…