Translation of the non-English parts of the Informe Robinson special featuring Rafa Nadal.
Narrator: It has been the first year in his career without big titles. The first time he has felt that something was failing on court. He knew it mid season, when he was finally able to put words to it.
Rafa’s voice: I have not been able to control my emotions on court, something that never failed in my life. I have moved much worse. I had a mental block and this makes you move worse.
Robinson: In the practice sessions, do you enjoy or not?
Rafa: Now, I do, since I do not have… this year, due to the anxiety I had, I have not enjoyed many times because I was like [he moves his hand around his chest]… I felt agitated all the time. Now I am much better, therefore yes, I enjoy because I have the motivation of playing better again.
Toni: Intensity has always been Rafa’s trait and when he has succeeded to put a lot of intensity in his shots, he has got good results. When the intensity has decreased, the results have been worse.
Rafa: This is much tougher than playing [matches].
Robinson: At least that way you guarantee that you are already ready when you get on court.
Rafa: Or not… [laughs]
Toni’s voice: In the past, we always trained this way.
Rafa: But that was many years ago. Now we practice stronger than in the last six years.
[While filming some advert spots, it is heard: “That one is good. We have it! That’s it. Perfect!”]
Robinson: This filming thing, is it annoying, or is it something that amuses you?
Rafa: I don’t normally enjoy filming, but I can also tell you that, over the years, each time I have got to have more and more fun while doing these things.
Robinson: Hey! but now I see you in underpants. What does Mery say when she sees her man there, in underpants?
Rafa: She knows this is part of the job.
Robinson: But [you are] in bus stops and everywhere…
Rafa: Yes, it shows up in many places in the world.
Robinson: Have you changed the brand of underpants because the other went in…?
Rafa: No, no! The truth is that this is a craze that, whichever underpants I wear, but… we are not going to fix it. It is something that, especially when I play tennis, I cannot solve and I have been doing it since I was, I think, 6, 7 or 8 years old.
Rafa: Yes, yes.
Robinson: Your city, your island, your family… I guess all those roots are a safety net to live and play.
Rafa: I am in touch with my family almost every day, do you know? And that gives me… buff… for me, it is very important. It always makes me feel that I am not far from where I am coming from, from where I have grown up.
Sebastian (Rafa’s dad): We are five [4 brothers and 1 sister] and, like it or not, the fact of living in a village and all close to each other, even in the same building, makes the way you live together be different from how it could be in a city.
Carlin: Nadal’s clan is like the Soprano or the Corleone, but without machine guns. They are tremendously united people.
Rafa: I have been lucky to be able to live with normalcy, as my family has always accepted everything that has happened to me in a very natural and normal way.
Carlin: I think this is what he [Rafa] values most about himself, even more than his figure of tennis player and, without any doubt, what is cherished most by his mother, who once told me that if Rafa had become one of these spoiled, horrible, egotistical guys, she would have been embarrassed to have a son like that and simply would not have gone to see him play tennis, as she would not have wanted to be associated publicly with him.
Rafa: At home, I have never had any pressure to play tennis, to not play tennis, for playing well, for playing badly. Nothing! A different thing is if I had not worked, studied, trained… whatever. If I had not done things with intensity, obviously my father would not have been pleased with me… and I still live with them, so… my mother is not very happy sometimes because I am not the tidiest person in the world [laughs] and she has to work more than she should because of me.
Robinson: It is well known that you are a fan of Real Madrid. Having your uncle Miguel Angel who took part in big name soccer teams, like the [Barça] “dream team”, how do you reconcile with this?
Rafa: Well… my uncle was celebrating “La Liga” with Barça and I was at home crying.
Robinson: Oh, really?
Robinson: Nowadays, you receive advice from one uncle [Toni]. Then, at that time, you received advice from the other uncle [Miguel Angel]?
Rafa: Nooo! I was also receiving advice from the same. [laughs]
Narrator: En 2011, the writer John Carlin published “Rafa”, the story of Rafa Nadal. Very few people know better how a career, which began when a three-years-old Rafa Nadal took his first racquet, was forged.
Carlin: Toni Nadal is clearly the key figure in the career of Rafa Nadal.
Costa: Toni, who is a tennis lover, told us: “I have a newphew who is going to be very good”. I said: “Really? How old is he?” He answered: “Six years old”. I told him: “OK, then”.
Toni’s voice: It was incredible that an eight year old kid could win the Under-12 Championship, wasn’t it?
Carlin’s voice: And precisely because Toni saw that Rafa had more aptitudes than the other kids, more stamina, he pressed him much more.
Toni: I have always kept an eye on him. Sometimes, in an exaggerated manner.
Carlin’s voice: [Toni] tested his patience, frustrated him.
Sebastian: Sometimes, it was a bit extreme but… I was seeing him and was telling him: “Look, isn’t this a bit too much?” (smiling)
[Young] Rafa: I am quite a fighter and such… and I do not like to lose at all.
[La Bamba karaoke segment]
Narrator: That right-handed kid, who however was lefty when he played tennis, became a great promise when, being 15, he defeated the player ranked #80 in the world. At the end of 2004, his good friend Carlos Moya had only one thing in mind: to win the Davis Cup. Therefore, he surely felt some fear when he learned that Rafa Nadal would play the decisive match in the final.
Moya: He was 17, had a tendency to cramp due to nerves… but there is a time when one has a turning point, when you feel that the full potential inside you suddenly flows and goes out. For me, his case is very clear. You realize that you are already in front of someone who is going to be a legend.
Narrator: Six months later, Rafa Nadal wins his first Roland Garros. He is 18 years old.
Rafa’s voice: When you have achieved something once, you believe that you can do it again. I think it is easier to do it again because you know that you have been able to do it.
Narrator: In 2005 Rafa wins 11 titles and ends the year as #2 in the world. He is in Shanghai when a pain in the foot forces him to go to the hospital. A career that has just started, is about to end.
Sebastian: You go from having the highest expectations to the possibility of not being able to play tennis again.
Dr. Cotorro: He already had a [congenital] problem to start with and, on top of that problem in the foot, he suffered a stress fracture. It was in a very specific part of the foot, the arch of the foot and there were some moments in which we feared for the long-term continuity of his career.
Sebastian: For me that was the toughest moment he has had in his career.
[Young] Rafa: Well, we will see for how long I have to rest because of the injury, to what extent it is serious and what they determine.
Rafa: The truth is that I could not even imagine it, but…
Sebastian: We went to visit several doctors and the prospects were not very good, really.
Rafa’s voice: My career as a pro was close to ending.
Sebastian’s voice: I remember very sad moments: he was sitting down on the floor, kind of almost defeated.
Carlin’s voice: He was not speaking. He was hiding at home, taking very long naps… sleeping to forget.
Rafa: In this case, it was my father who came with me to see the various doctors, to all the visits. He had to deal with all the bad news we got from several places.
Dr. Cotorro: I think he was out for 3 or 4 months. And afterward, what we had to do is to put insoles, but in a way just opposite of what is usually done.
Toni: [with the insoles] the rest of his body got in trouble, but they saved the [foot] problem.
Rafa: And that solution worked…
Rafa: My father is a very positive person, who always looks ahead. His enthusiasm and positive attitude always help me and [in fact] helped me a lot at that time.
Sebastian: Obviously, when he approaches me and hugs me, yes, I started crying.
[More RG-2006 footage]
Sebastian’s voice: That was the time he has been the closest and when he thanked me, I thought “and why are you thanking me?”. He even would not let me go.
Rafa’s voice: It is a very emotional moment and speaking is very difficult.
Narrator: At that time it was impossible to imagine the importance that Nadal’s victories were having in a lost place in the Colombian jungle. There she was kidnapped since 2002, the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.
[For those who do not know her, here it is some background info on Ingrid Betancourt.]
Ingrid: The jungle, and the captivity in the jungle, is a captivity where you are absolutely disconnected from the world that you have known. Surrounded by humiliating, aggressive, violent beings. The refuge for me was to get isolated from this aggressive world, crawl under the mosquito net and, inside that bubble, turning the radio on was the window to freedom, to the world. There was a station, Radio France International, that was broadcasting the Roland Garros matches. And I remember to have discovered, through the narration of the matches, what was Rafael Nadal, who for me was only a name.
Rafa’s voice [on the radio]: For me, to be able to win here is a dream, in this incredible atmosphere, I can only say positive things about this court, no? [Philippe Chatrier]
Ingrid: The fact of hearing Rafa Nadal made me feel part of the living world. If he was able to do it, if after all that happened, he got to recover and win, I was thinking: “It is possible. Some day I will win, some day I will win this match”.
Robinson: The first thing Rafa Nadal did when he arrived in Roland Garros was to win the tournament. That happened in 2005 and since then nobody in history has lifted the legendary Musketeers Cup as many times: Nine of the last eleven editions have been his. It is difficult to think of such an important connection between a city and an athlete as the one Rafa Nadal has with Paris.
Rafa’s voice: I first came to compete here with my family and it is a city that I love. Over the years, you get to find your [favorite] places since after all I have spent many days in this city. For me it will always be a special city, perhaps the most important city in my career and the truth is that whenever I come here, I feel comfortable. I feel happy when I come to Paris. If I come as a tourist, I have a great time because it is a beautiful city, but if I come to compete, I kind of feel like at home, as I have a very good relationship [with the tournament people].
Carlin’s voice: Rafa has become the master of Roland Garros, of tennis on clay, throughout his career.
[Rafa’s voice talking to the Philippe Chatrier crowd in French: “Yes. Good morning everybody”… Bravo Rafa!]
J.Rebout [L’equipe]: Rafa, win or lose, has a great personality on and off court. Beyond all his achievements, the emotional impact of him as an absolute fighter will remain.
Ferru: He is the best ever on clay, yes, he may be that… but he is also among the best ever on all kind of surfaces.
[RG-2009 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “He is going to get to it…. no! It goes out. Goodbye to the 5th Roland Garros”]
J.Rebout: You could tell that the crowd was with Soderling. It was a very strange behavior from the crowd because more than being supporting Soderling, they were against Nadal.
[RG-2010 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “We have only had to wait for one year. Rafa gets revenge over the Swedish and there it is his 5th Roland Garros”]
J.Rebout: Since five years ago, he is the favorite of everybody.
[RG-2011 footage – Voice of the French commentator: “For the 6th time, Nadal lifts the Roland Garros trophie”]
Gasol: It is a very intimate and family moment at which the athlete hugs his parents and the team who are there day after day, after day, in good and bad times. The fact that Rafa hugged me that way was super special for me. It was very emotional and unforgettable.
[RG-2012 and RG-2013 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “The eighth Roland Garros for the king of clay. What nobody else has achieved in tennis till now: winning 8 titles of the same major…”]
Ferru’s voice: Rafa’s figures in tennis are quite something. I think it will be impossible that someone reaches them, or even gets close.
[RG-2013 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “… and the eighth one is already his”]
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
[RG-2014 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “And the ninth Roland Garros is his. Not even the #1 of the world defeats him”]
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Narrator: Four of the nine trophies won in Paris were with victories over Roger Federer [in the final]. It is impossible to explain the figure of one of them without the other. Nadal-Federer, one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis.
Federer: [Not transcribed]
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Moya: One of the keys to the success of this rivalry is that they are two persons, two players and natures completely different. Federer is more about sobriety, style, class, dosing effort, plasticity… against Rafa the warrior, the one looked up to by the youth, the one to never give up on a ball.
Narrator: It was in the 2008 Wimbledon final where a rivalry becomes legendary.
Carlin: Many people who saw it said at the time that it had not only been the best tennis match in history but the best of any sport in history.
Costa’s voice: It was spectacular! That is, Rafa wins the first two sets. Then, it starts to rain. Next, Roger starts to play well. Then, Rafa recovers… and finally we do not know if we will be able to finish because of lack of light.
Moya’s voice: Viewed over time, it is true that in terms of excitement and quality of play it is indeed one of the big matches in history, without any doubt… and because of the stage: the Wimbledon final and against the greatest player ever. And practically in the wake of that tournament, dethroning him that way, I think it is one of the greatest things that Rafa has done in his career.
[20:51] Sebastian: As victory, we can maybe say that it is “the match”.
[Wimbledon-2008 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “And now champion of Wimbledon 2008. One of the greats in history, as only Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg had done it till now: winning on clay, winning on grass, in the longest final (4h 46m) in the history of Wimbledon. And he has done it and is going to change his life, the history of tennis and all the traditions in Wimbledon” (this is said as we see how Rafa climbs to hug his family and greet the prince & princess of Spain :-) )… Conchita Martinez was also commenting this match and ends up saying: Grande!]
Robinson: For you, Rafa, who [as tennis player] were born on clay, was Wimbledon very important?
Rafa: For me, yes!… take it! [as he gives Robinson the Wimbledon trophy]
Robinson: My goodness!
Rafa: [insists] For me yes, yes.
Robinson: Look, the British of the All England Club have given you something much more decorative than that “Number One” of the world.
Rafa: That’s true. No doubt. It has class… For me it is the most emotional victory in my career.
Rafa: I think so. That of 2008, against Federer in the final, I believe is the most emotional victory in my career, no doubt!
Narrator: One month after winning in London, Rafa conquers the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Robinson: How do you rate this [gold medal in his hands], Rafa, with all your majors?
Rafa: Although perhaps in the tennis world a major is more important than a gold medal, I think a gold medal is the second most important after a major.
Narrator: That same summer, Ingrid Betancourt is freed after six years of kidnapping. Her struggle for freedom is awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. At that point, she does not know who will receive the Award for Best Athlete of the Year.
Ingrid: I find myself in the auditorium, sitting next to Rafael Nadal and I could not believe it. I was very surprised when I heard him speak since that is when the voice became a voice that had a face. I do not know if he knew something about me. He never imagined that I was going to speak about him in my speech.
[23:10 Piece of Ingrid’s speech in the ceremony of the 2008 Prince of Asturias Awards: “There were many dark nights in which I tried to break out. I could not imagine that God would hear my call to the point of bringing me here, next to people who cheered me up so many moments of the long captivity I had to live. I followed Rafael Nadal for 6 years on the courts of Rolland Garros…”]
Ingrid: I remember that I looked at him and noticed he was surprised, almost kind of shy.
[Ingrid’s speech continues: “I saw him grow through the live commentary that Radio France International was broadcasting every summer and, while I shared the joy of his growing success, I also lived the frustration of not being able to _see_ his victories. Being here on this day, seeing him face to face is like closing a circle… I invite you all to imagine the world of concord”]
Narrator: Nadal starts 2009 as number one in the world. He advances to the final of the Australian Open after an agonizing semifinal that lasted more than five hours. The following day, Federer awaited him.
Moya: If your opponent is more or less beatable, you can overcome it. But a final against Federer… I think nobody thought he would be able to overcome that… and he did it.
[AO-2009 ceremony footage]
Narrator: In 2010, after winning Roland Garros, Rafa reigns on the grass in London again.
[Wimbledon-2010 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “There he has it… Yes, yes!… Ole!… Incredible!… the #1 on the floor because he has got the Wimbledon crown again and that is the happiness of a 24 years old guy…”]
Narrator: Paris, London, Melbourne… only one major was left: the United States Open…. and he got it!
Moya’s voice: I think that winning all four majors, together with [the gold medal in] the Olympic Games and the Davis Cup that, if I am not mistaken, had only been got by Andre Agassi up to that point, and entering history as someone as complete as him, is somethings really big.
Narrator: Only seven players in history have won all four majors. [He was] again unbeatable, again number one in the world.
Robinson: Are you afraid of failing? (inaudible)… I was very ambitious, but feared failing.
Rafa: No, never in my life. This year has been the only year in my life that I have gone on court with… ooff… because I have had all this anxiety and anxiety prevented me from either thinking or excuting clearly. For the first time in my career, sometimes I have indeed gone on court with fear of failing, not to lose, but to not being able to play, do you know?
Robinson: Why did such anxiety appear?
Rafa: First, many years of competition. Many years… I have almost been ten years in the top-2 and competing for virtually all the tournaments, and then, in the last few years I have had periods of injuries, do you know? I got injured in 2012 after playing Roland Garros. I played Wimbledon, although I should not have played because the state of my knee was terrible and the tendon was an utter mess.
Dr. Cotorro: Clearly, [the knee issue] came from the foot problem and it was a problem of lack of cushioning for everything we had to do with the changes of insoles. That tendon, due to all the overload, collapsed.
Costa: He could not play the Olympic Games, where he was going to be the Spanish flag bearer, and that was a big blow for him.
Rafa: And I said, I will not compete again until I am healthy. But the reality is that I did not get healthy.
Carlin: I talked to people around him, friends of mine, and I had the feeling that he was already almost done, that he would not be able to come back or, at least, not at his level… and suddenly in 2013 he has the best season in his career.
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Narrator: In a year full of pain, Rafa wins 10 titles. Among them, his eighth Roland Garros and his second US Open.
Ferrer: That mentality… Rafa’s mentality is, for me, the best ever in the tennis world. I have not seen anyone being so good mentally, no?
[Mary Carrilo’s voice announcing him as USO champion for the second time]
Narrator: For the third time in his career, Rafa is again number one in the world.
Rafa: It is the year that has more value in my career. But that does not prevent it from being a very tough year for me psychologically because I… buff… it was a very emotional year for me, but the reality is that I did not enjoy either training or anything, since my knee was hurting too much.
Narrator: Everything changes at the end of the year. A stem cell treatment heals the tendon in such a way that the pain almost disappears. So, there comes the time to enjoy and nothing better to start 2014 than being in the final of the Australian Open.
Moya: Just as there are victories or matches you win that are a turning point [for the better], that match is a turning point in negative.
Costa: In the end, Rafa plays to achieve goals and, even if he has never said it, I am sure Rafa has in mind that he is [just] three majors behind Roger Federer, no? Thus, in Australia it was a chance: you are in the final, against Wawrinka, a player who is a great player, but over whom you have always won.
Moya’s voice: That pressure, the stress and the unexpected way the match was going cause the injury he had, the problems he had at that moment…
Rafa: The back failed me and I could not compete in the final… and that was a difficult time because for me it was an important final.
Costa’s voice: I still do not know why, but that really hurt him… I think only Rafa knows that… and it took long to overcome it.
Toni’s voice: And this affected him psychologically.
Rafa: OK, it took long but I managed to get back on track. I won Roland Garros playing very well.
Toni: It looked like things were going well, but he got injured in the wrist after Wimbledon and I think this affected him more than it should.
Maymo: It kind of stopped his hope of returning to the top again and his way of seeing the world was distorted.
Dr. Cotorro: He had to stop for 4 weeks, which is the usual time for this kind of injuries
Maymo: Every injury that you have is like a stone thrown on you. You deal with the first one well, also with the second, but when the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th come… it becomes more and more difficult because you know the great amount of work you will have to put in to return after the layoff.
Rafa: In Shanghai, the day after losing in quaterfinals in Beijing, which was the first tournament I was playing after several months without being able to compete, I suffered appendicitis and everything ended for me in the season.
Narrator: At that time, and away from the courts, Rafa Nadal shows his plans for the future: the tennis academy in Manacor that will bear his name.
Robinson: Does it mean anything that all this started to be built only ten months ago? Is it that is already crossing your mind something like ‘what will I do when I retire?’ ?
Rafa: No, look, no. We have been trying to do this project for years, but doing something like this requires its process and its time. We are going to be fully involved in the development, in trying to bring the kids to their sporting limit, as well as in their education, which for us is very important. Because, how many can make a living as tennis players? the truth is that the percentage is not very big. We are going to try that they are as many as possible, but obviously the percentage is small. Here we have evertything needed for the kids to give their maximum not only on a sporting level, but also at the academic level. It is part of my present and of my future, too.
Narrator: And so begins 2015. The year in which, physically, everything works. But also, the year in which everything lived and accumulated starts to take its toll.
Rafa: I start the season and in Australia I playe very bad, very bad.
Costa’s voice: Against Berdych, in 45 minutes, Rafa was losing 6-2, 6-0 or 6-0, 6-2… and that was odd.
[Piece of Rafa’s post QF AO-2015 vs Berdych presser]
Sebastian: It is the result of years of accumulated wear, situations that give rise to anxiety. In the day to day, not on court but at home, you see that, unlike before when he always had a positive attitude, he starts to be a little more negative. You don’t see him happy. You see that he is not alright.
Rafa: As the year goes by, I feel my [tennis] level is better. But I go to compete, say, to Miami and the reality is that… ooff!
C.Bouchard: [Not transcribed]
Rafa’s voice: [I was] Unable to control the timing of the ball, i.e., hitting the ball much earlier than I wanted to hit it, sweating much more than I should… Too accelerated, without self control.
J.Rebout: Players are always told: “Do not recognize your weaknesses or if you doubt. You always have to be strong”. And yet he said: No, I accept my weakness! and he acknowledged it openly. It is incredible that a player recognizes that he is afraid. The fact that it is said by the greatest fighter in the history of tennis, is even more incredible.
Benito: It is the first time that the person who, historically, is mentally the strongest in the sport of tennis admits to having a problem. And I think that is fine! I very much like an athlete speaking naturally and sincerely.
Ferru: By saying that, he shows why he has achieved everything he has achieved. He does not look for excuses.
Rafa: You try to take it easy… you know that is what you have to go through at the moment, to accept that you have this problem… You go out with that uncertainty, no? They are unpleasant feelings, especially because for me they have been new.
Gasol: We have talked a few times. I think he has had some moments of nerves, lack of confidence at some point. I play a team sport and if one day I do not have a good day, other fellows can do a good job and we can win the match anyway. In tennis, this is not possible.
Costa: Rafa used to enjoy the pressure moments on court… After twelve years this way, the fact that it suddenly disappeared and was completely the opposite; that he did not know how to manage those pressure moments and was an unrecognizable Rafa, was really shocking.
Rafa: It was not a tennis issue. The problem was that when you are going to hit a tennis ball and you are affected by mental issues, obviously everything is much more complicated or almost impossible, I would say.
Maymo’s voice: What he had never had to face is the moment in which that upward trajectory somehow were stopped as abruptly as it has been stopped this time.
Rafa’s voice: And this year, the mental block that I have had has not allowed me to do all those things, all that mental work on court.
Costa’s voice: Rafa himself must have a chaos inside [his head] and wonder, what is happening?
Narrator: Rafa was alternating good matches with others in which he was unrecognizable, as in the Barcelona tournament.
[Barcelona-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “Fognini does not let it up. On the contrary, he is seeing a wounded Nadal and is going for him. 0-15”]
Rafa’s voice: As you do not control your mind, you do not know what level you can reach at that moment…
[Barcelona-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “He has caught him…yes, yes…in the middle of the approach. Look out!”]
Rafa: The match depends on how some moments develop… if the match starts badly, then… ooff, confidence goes way down.
Barcelona-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “Ooff… Rafa needs to cheer himself up”]
Toni’s voice: You are not calm, [then] you do not hit the ball well. You do not hit the ball well, [then] you are not calm and you lose matches.
[Barcelona-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “One and one more till Fognini finds this (the error)… See? those are the shots…”]
Federer: [Not transcribed]
Sebastian: You cannot continue this way, I was telling him. In the end, you have no need to suffer. Thus, if you suffer playing, you do not have to play. What for?
Narrator: But Paris was looming on the calendar, the chance to win his tenth trophy.
Moya’s voice: He always arrives at Roland Garros thinking: OK, if things have not gone that well so far, winning Roland Garros is the lifeline to grip and go upward from there.
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Moya: Losing to Djokovic, and also in the way he lost… one of the few matches in which he gave up the fight a bit.
Ferrer: When you see a match where he gives up the fight a bit, you are like… this cannot be! That is not Rafa.
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Gasol: The good thing about those potholes that you face in your career (all of us have had them) is to overcome them, not to get carried away.
Narrator: Over time, Nadal acknowledged that the first loss in RG, that of 2009, occurred in the context of the separation of his parents. The diagnosis of the defeat of 2015 was much faster: a bad year that seems determined not to finish.
Rafa: [Rafa shows us a variety of faces while trying to think of the toughest moment in 2015] Well, I cannot tell you a particular time… Wimbledon was a tough moment because I was coming with a very good preparation, I felt I was playing well and had trained well… and I lost to a player…
Carlin: Against the German hippie, who had his perfect day. It was like the perfect storm. That guy had never played, or will ever play, a match of that level in his life.
[Wimbledon-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “There it is… impossible to have more anarchy… And second serve ace!… Well, well, he cannot stop. It is incredible!”]
Rafa: I lost but… never mind! I lost but I could not compete well. I did not feel… I did not have that strength
[More Wimbledon-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “uh””]
Rafa’s voice: The mind has always been a good thing I have had throughout my career and something that has almost never failed me, no? And there, at Wimbledon, it was indeed a difficult moment when I lost. I’m not saying I hit rock bottom, because in the end hitting rock bottom are many other things.
Maymo: And there comes a time when your mind, your body, your energy run out. You need a reset, so to speak. You have to stop and start again.
Rafa’s voice: I need some changes, also some time to rest and an almost complete disconnection from the world. I went to the sea and…
Narrator: For the first time in his life he is not favorite. His ranking drops to the tenth place. Some voices ask him to change his coach.
Toni: It is normal for people to give their opinion. Anyway, I never attributed to me Rafael’s success of winning RG or Wimbledon and now I will not be so foolish to attribute to me the failure of not winning it, if we speak of a failure.
Carlin: I agree with the idea that we have seen him in need of a important mental revulsive. More than anything, mentally. Another influence.
Toni: Yes, there is some wear… and there is one thing that is natural: I repeat the same things and maybe sometimes it would be good for him to hear a different opinion. It is normal.
Moya: When you are used to listening to someone for so many years, he might not to get to you in the same way. But it is true that Rafa feels comfortable when his uncle is around. When I was still playing, I have been in tournaments in which Toni was not and seen Rafa talking on the phone with Toni when he was about to enter on court.
Toni: Those who talk about the need of changing the coach may be right, obviously.
Carlin: But… this is not feasible. As someone who knows Rafa very well once told me: before changing coach, Rafa cuts an arm off.
Moya: Because the family for Rafa is essential.
Rafa: I have always believed that when things go well it is because I do things well, obviously with the help of everyone else. And when things go wrong, the one to blame is the same, that is me.
Narrator: After the summer Rafa plays the US Open. In his R3 match, he wins the first two sets and loses the next three. He is eliminated, but something seems to be changing.
[Piece of Rafa’s post-R3 presser in Spanish at USO-2015: I have fought till the end. I have not given up at any time, I have not felt discouraged mentally at any moment, and there were quite a few moments to feel discouraged about after all that has happened, but I have not. It seems it is not the time for me to win. I have to assume that I have to improve… and I am on it!]
Rafa: Can you see how badly I am enduring the pressure? (smiling)
Robinson: Has it fallen on green?
Rafa: No, I am not on green, no.
Robinson: It has fallen a bit short.
Rafa: You have advantage… In tennis, you go out on court to play and any match can be lost. I am telling you the truth when I say that the other day I played in DC and faced the player #900 in the world and… ooff
Robinson: Did you feel the pressure?
Rafa: I was quite under pressure (smiles)
Robinson: I am not coming to see if you get to put it or anything… just to see how are things.
Rafa: See? Now I do feel a lot of pressure (Robinson laughs)
Robinson: Well, one fourth was missing, right?
Robinson: Wow, that is so good. That is really good. Very well, Rafael. Woah!
Rafa: Gracias. Thank you.
Robinson: Woah… So, we are tied with the goal average, no?
Rafa: We both have ended up with a lovely +2 in two holes, which is a brilliant result.
Narrator: We had to wait till October to feel that, beyond the results, someone seemed to be coming back.
[Basel-2015 footage – Voice of Canal+ commentator: “I cannot believe it, I cannot beleive it… Rafa Nadal celebrating the win as if it was a title]
Narrator: In November, Paris-Bercy was waiting for him. Rafa was coming from playing the final in Basel and from doing final and semifinal in the tournaments of Beijing and Shanghai.
Rafa’s voice: Things are going in the right direction. For quite a while now I have been enjoying more than I did throughout the season. I would say that I am almost fully recovered from the mental issue and tennis wise, things are going much better, too.
Toni’s voice: I see Rafael practicing with the utmost enthusiasm. I think he is doing things right.
Sebastian’s voice: He is much calmer, has a much more positive attitude and I think the change is noticeable, no? in his day to day.
Narrator: The year with more defeats in his career is left behind. The year in which he won fewer titles and yet it may be the year with the biggest victory.
Rafa: When I go on court, at least during the last three weeks, I do not go with that feeling of “let us see if I do not make a mess”, which is a feeling I have had this season and had never had before. All this kind of feelings have disappeared.
Narrator: In the last tournament of the year, Rafa loses to Djokovic in semifinals, but previously he has defeated Wawrinka (#4) and Andy Murray (#2). Together with the change of mentality, there is a change in his game.
Moya’s voice: He no longer has the explosiveness, his body is different. He accepts the role of having to be more aggressive. Thus, the positive side of this season, which has not perhaps been as he expected, is that he has made a change.
Costa’s voice: The sum of all the defeats of 2015 have made him finally say: “Now is the time”… and he is doing it and he is testing it in tournaments, which is not easy, and things are working.
Narrator: And so begins 2016, being 29 years old, with 14 major titles and several scars. The spirit remains intact.
Djokovic: [Not transcribed]
Federer: [Not transcribed]
Gasol: I see him full of energy, confident, very strong and eager to return to be what he is, a number one.
Federer: [Not transcribed]
Moya: I believe Rafa can become number one in the future, but he should not expect the slump of Djokovic. Whoever wants to be number one will have to win over this version we know of Djokovic.
Carlin: Will Rafa win another major again? If you point a gun to my head and force me to bet everything I have on Earth, I would bet “yes”.
Sebastian: It is becoming more difficult, since it is the rule of life. Let us not forget that in a few years’ time he will not play tennis and you have to be prepared for that because it will happen. I think he… I do think he is.
[In the trophy room]
Robinson: Do you fear not being able to add some more majors?
Rafa: No, I do not fear that. The truth is that I have more than I had ever dreamed, but I honestly tell you that everything has a beginning and everything has an end. One should not be afraid of the end. However, that is not stopping me from being eager and motivated to fight, so that I keep on giving myself chances to get something like that. And I have the personal motivation, I do not know if to win or not more of those, but for sure to have chances of winning them again.