Friday, 28 October 2011
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Rafael Nadal needs to stop being so humble.
This is how you put it after you lost to Mayer a few days ago in Shanghai: "Today is a tough loss, that's the truth. [It] was not my day. I am out of the tournament. I am going to work hard for the next tournament."
The way I see it, Rafa, hard work may not be the thing you need. You've worked your famous butt off for, oh, about 20 years now. What you need is to get the spring back in your step, rekindle the gleam that once was in your eye, and start licking your chops every time they put a new opponent in front of you -- regardless of the guy's name or ranking. That's how it used to be, remember?
I'm not at all sure I like this new "Guantanamera" Rafa, although your humility always was refreshing. But it was also a lot more palatable coming from a guy who was capable of meeting and vanquishing the most successful Grand Slam champ of all time (Roger Federer, remember him and those good old days?) than the one who's been manhandled by Novak Djokovic six consecutive times this year. These days, humble seems to translate to "incredibly bummed out."
Look, you don't have to throw a chair across the press interview room, shake the umpire's high chair, or bloody your forehead with those polyester strings, a la Mikhail Youzhny. But don't be so transparent about how disappointed you are, or about how much you bicker with your coach and uncle, Toni (why did you write a book so early in your career anyway?), and stop believing that if you just work harder you'll find some kind of magic bullet that will enable you to dominate all comers like you did in 2010.
Did it ever occur to you that you're in a rut? That you're fleeing to your "work" (you wouldn't be the only one, and I'm not just talking about tennis pros) and medicating yourself with it?
Maybe what you really need is to take a month off to follow your bliss. Go deep sea fishing. Find a Margaritaville of your own and play foosball to your heart's content, or take your honey Xisca to some quiet beach and go swimming naked at night, or howl at the moon. Maybe do all of the above and -- who knows? -- maybe you'll come back and welcome the opportunity to settle some scores.
Maybe you don't need to find a more penetrating slice backhand, an additional 6 MPH on your second serve, or a higher conversion rate on net approaches. The things you may need to find are your enthusiasm and confidence. It's hard to tell from where I sit, but that seems to be the greatest thing Djokovic has taken away from you this year.
Uncle Toni got a lot of grief for truth-telling not long ago, when he admitted to the press that you were too "nervous" when you had to play Djokovic. You're not going to get un-nervous, or confident, by hitting the gym and practice court. Maybe you need to work less and swagger more. You can be humble again when you're back on top.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Remember that I have a press pass for Paris and will be able to attend the press conferences etc. This will give me a chance to get up and close to the players.
If anyone has a question they would like me to put to Rafa please leave it here and I will do my best to get an answer.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Thursday, 20 October 2011
I have received Press Accreditation for the Paris Masters next month :-)
How great is that? I shall be working for The Tennis Times but don't worry, everything I write will be linked here.
This is a great opportunity to get up close to the players and find out what really goes on behind the scenes at a tennis tournament.
I welcome any suggestions for articles.
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Match Photos: At least Rafa pulled some funny faces today
Tennis players risk injury because of the constant change of ball designs at tournaments, according to world number twoRafael Nadal.
Nadal echoed Shanghai Masters defending champion Andy Murray in complaining that commercial pressure from tournament sponsors had resulted in three ball changes over the last three events in Asia.
"You play in Bangkok with one ball, in Tokyo with another ball, here with another ball. That's too much in my opinion. (It) is dangerous and can cause injuries," said the 25-year-old Spaniard after his second-round win in Shanghai.
"Something must change because is too dangerous for the shoulders. You cannot change the ball every week."
Nadal said he would prefer to receive less prize money in return for less pressure from sponsors to use different balls.
"I am very happy to win less money and have my health," he said.
"If we compare the Tokyo ball with this one (in Shanghai), it was much bigger, slower. The ball is completely different. This ball is very fast, it goes small and doesn't stay on the racquet. It flies a lot and is tough," said Nadal after beating compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-2 to reach the third round.
"It is not necessary to have a standard ball for the whole season," said the Spaniard.
"For example, when you start the clay-court season, you have the same ball for that period; when you have the American hard court season, you have the same ball. So that's positive.
"But what cannot happen is to have one ball in Rome, one ball in Madrid, one ball in Barcelona... That doesn't work."
Murray, on Tuesday, also called for more consistency in the balls, saying: "If you asked a golfer to change balls every single week, they'd be hitting balls 20 yards too far and hitting shots all over the place."
Nadal said other players were equally unhappy.
"A lot of players believe this. That's something that, in my opinion, can change," he said.
Nadal is making a fresh start at this week's Shanghai Masters, where he is the top seed ahead of on-fire Scot Andy Murray, winner of Bangkok and Tokyo titles in recent weeks.
"I believe 100 percent in my team," said Nadal, beaten by Murray last weekend in the Tokyo final. "I always think when I am losing, is my fault, not the fault of my team.
"I'm not going to be stupid and think that if I have to improve something (it means) different people (must come to the team). I have to improve with the people who know exactly my game and know exactly what I have to do to keep improving. I don't need any change, especially because I feel comfortable and I feel happy with my team."
Toni Nadal is avoiding the Asian swing as usual to spend time with his family but will return to the fold in Europe, said Nadal, coached by his regular fill-in, Spaniard Francisco Roig.
Nadal confessed that as a boss, he's a soft touch anyway. "The only chance to change something will be because someone of my team wants to go. I'm not gonna fire anyone, no."
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Rafael Nadal bounced back from his mauling by Andy Murray in Japan on Sunday by opening up his Shanghai Masters campaign with a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The world No. 2 bumped into an inspired Murray in Tokyo, succumbing 6-0 in the final set, and said on Tuesday his form has dipped from the highs of 2010. But he also spoke of his determination to work hard in the final weeks of the season before an assault on the majors in 2012.
And if his performance against Garcia-Lopez is a guide, he would appear to be true to his word as he came out at a rate of knots and never took his foot off the accelerator.
The quick indoor surfaces are not to Nadal's liking and he was beaten by Garcia-Lopez in Bangkok last year, but he came out with intent and a whipped inside-out forehand for a clean winner in the first game suggested he was on form.
Garcia-Lopez saved break points in a 10-minute opening service game, but Nadal continued to probe from the back of the court and worked a break in the fourth game. The one break of serve was enough to take the opening set, as Nadal was rock solid on his own serve.
Nadal, who dropped just five points on serve in the first set, continued the assault at the start of the second and worked an early break, only to throw in a rare poor game as Garcia-Lopez broke back.
But he could not consolidate the break and Nadal quickly penetrated once more, crushing the spirit of his opponent. A string of errors flew off the Garcia-Lopez racket to hand Nadal a third break of serve in the set, allowing him to book a meeting with Florian Mayer in the third round.
Photos will be added to Twitpic
Nadal said he will play in the Gerry Weber Open at Halle in Germany, where he is going to miss at next year's AEGON Championships at Queen's Club in London, warm-up tournament before heading into the Wimbledon. Spaniard, who has won 2008 Queen's Club tournament, as he overcome against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final in two sets with a 7–6(8–6) and 7–5. Nadal has received £750,000 to play in the Gerry Weber Open at Halle.
The 25-year-old Nadal said it's very tough to play in the AEGON Championships, which will begin straight away after the French Open. The defending champion Andy Murray, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and American Andy Roddick were expected to play in the tournament and hopes World No. 1 Novak Djokovic also appear in the event next year.
The Queen's Club tournament director Chris Kermode, it will be disappointing news for the London tennis fans and hopes to return back Nadal soon. The World No. 3 ranked Roger Federer also skipped from the Queen's Club, where he has last appeared at the tournament in 1999, when he lost in the opening round. Currently, Nadal has been playing 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters tournament, where he will battle against fellow Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round on Wednesday.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, who is in the Asian tour, enjoys his diet with the Japanese food. Nadal used to carry Noodles packet for a quick energy hit at the 2011 Tokyo Open last week.
Nadal while speaking with the various sources has stated that, he and his team are regulars at the Oriental table no matter where they are in the world. "Maybe 30 percent of nights when we go for dinner around the world we eat Japanese food."
He further added that, "It's not just noodles. I've had teppanyaki (grilled dishes). I've been to the fish market. Whatever country in the world we play in we always look for Japanese food."
Nadal will be in action this week at the Shanghai Masters, china he will be the top seeded player of the tournament, due to absence of world No.1, Novak Djokovic.
Nadal will be facing his opening round on Tuesday against his fellow country men and Davis cup team-mate, Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the second round of the master's tournament.