RafaLint: May 20th

Rafa arrived in Paris today and had his first practice at Roland Garros! Vamos!

Since today was travel day, you know what that means…iB3 airport footage:


Recently posted ATP Player profile:


I gave up on trying to really catch up – sorry. I got so far behind and am currently rather jet-lagged. I really have no idea how the players do all their traveling. One little trip and I’m a zombie.

Articles:
  • Rafael Nadal’s Roman Holiday – by Juan Jose Vallejo (rollingstone.com)

    What is refreshing is hearing Nadal discuss his issues during press conferences, and seem as concerned as everyone else in the tennis world. He gives the impression that he’s more or less in the same position as we are: looking for answers. It’s just that there are so many questions.

  • Tebbutt: The case for Rafa – by Tom Tebbutt (tenniscanada.com)

    A lot has been made about him being seeded No. 7 because he can potentially play one of the top four seeds in the quarter-finals, including the top-seeded Djokovic. But that basically is only a one in four possibility and there’s no doubt he would be a strong favourite against the other top-four seeds – Federer, Murray (despite the Madrid result) or Tomas Berdych. In fact, it might be argued that fellow No. 5 to No. 8 seeds – Kei Nishikori (5), Milos Raonic (6), if he plays, and David Ferrer (8) – might be even bigger threats to Nadal than Federer, Murray or Berdych.

  • Rafa in Paris: The Numbers – by Nikita Taparia

    From these particular matches it is clear Rafael Nadal needs to take the path of least resistance and win those points. By this I mean, if the farther right paths have thicker line widths, he has won a clean game. It is something I have noticed quite a bit but especially this year. He needs to capitalize quickly if he has four set point opportunities in a tiebreak (I still cannot get over his loss in Rome this year).

  • Aces and Faults: Sharapova regains No. 2 rank, Djokovic continues streak – by Courtney Nguyen (si.com)

    Again, the match-to-match consistency isn’t there. After making the Madrid Open final and losing to Murray, Nadal made the Italian Open semifinal and lost to a slumping Stan Wawrinka. To be fair, Wawrinka played his best match in months to upend Nadal, but it’s not often you’ll see Nadal squander quadruple set points and lose. Nadal had a 6–2 lead in the first set tiebreaker and couldn’t convert, losing 7–6(7), 6–2.

  • Nadal No Longer ‘Immovable’ Object in Paris, Says Courier – Reuters (via nytimes.com)
  • Nadal still among the best clay performers this season – by Tandon Kamakshi (espn.com)
  • Nadal será condecorado con la mayor distinción de la ciudad de París – another award for Rafa. (mangle)
  • Master Class – by Steve Tignor (tennis.com)

    The Murray loss in Madrid was a one-off train wreck that could be quickly forgotten. But the Wawrinka loss in Rome seemed worrying, because Nadal gave it his absolute best, played pretty well, and still lost in straight sets. The things that usually lead to winning tennis for him—big forehand, great defense, major chest thump—didn’t work this time. Even a 6-2 tiebreaker lead didn’t work. Rafa generated the momentum, but couldn’t capitalize on it. Was Stan just playing out of his mind, or does he represent a locker room that’s more confident against Nadal now, even on clay? We’ll find out very soon. B-

  • Top Late Show with David Letterman tennis moments we’ll never forget – by Courtney Nguyen (si.com). Includes video of Rafa’s appearance.
  • Tough Crowd – by Steve Tignor (tennistuesday.net). Rafa and the French crowd.
  • Why do the French hate Rafael Nadal? – by Chris Chase (usatoday.com)
  • Nadal, dix ans déjà (mangle)
  • The Fear Factor Gone, Nadal Tries to Win Again at Roland Garros – by Danielle Rossingh (bloomberg.com)
  • Five Mega Story Lines Heading into Roland Garros – by Chris Oddo (tennisnow.com)
  • Rafael Nadal’s critics believe the end is nigh for him at French Open; don’t believe them – by Douglas Perry (oregonlive.com)
  • Nadal: “Injuries have made me appreciate what I’ve achieved” – via marca.com

    “Looking back, it dawns on me that injuries have made me miss out on important moments and tournaments, but at the same time they’ve allowed me to take the time to appreciate everything I’ve achieved”, the Spaniard – currently down in seventh in the world rankings – told Roland Garros Magazine.


Videos/Audio:

Photos:

Rafa does social media:

Someone updated his cover photo on Facebook:


Social media related to Rafa: