Saturday, 30 April 2011
On June 3rd, 2011, world-famous tennis player Rafael Nadal will turn 25.
We are trying to make the biggest Rafael Nadal's birthday video ever! So we need fans from all the world, no matter if you aren't from Spain, everyone can participate in our project!
You can participate in this campaign by submitting a Rafa-themed photo of yourself in your favorite Rafa attire, in front of your Rafa posters, holding your Rafa magazines, etc. The images will be combined into a beautiful video that will be sent to Rafa and we will post it here too. Also, the video will be posted on June 3rd on our youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/vamospormasrafa
Hope that many of you take part in this... we want to show Rafa how much we appreciate him!
*** To participate you can post a photo here on twitter or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE SUNDAY, MAY 22nd, 2011. Don't forget to write your name and country!!!! ***
Nadal, who won back to back titles in Monte Carlo and Rome, said that he’s very satisfied with his year and is unconcerned about losing the top spot to the Serbian. "The important thing is to do my best every week and my goal is not to be No. 1, but to be competitive in every tournament,” he said. "It fills me with much more [satisfaction] to win a tournament than to be number No. 1. Djokovic has a good chance of being No. 1 in two or three months. I can lose still lose the ranking winning almost everything and that's not normal. He’s defending very little and I have a lot [to defend] until Wimbledon. To me the important thing are [all] the points in a year."
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling insisted he has the confidence to defeat Rafael Nadal once again on the Spanish superstar's favourite claycourt surface.
"He's a great player, especially on clay," the world number five Swede said Monday as he prepared for a second-round start in his debut at the Estoril claycourt tournament.
"But you have to go to the court thinking that you have a chance. Otherwise, what's the point? Nadal is the best on clay ever but he can be beaten. You just have to play your best tennis and have some luck."
Soderling famously beat Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open in 2009, paving the way for a final appearance against Roger Federer which the Swiss won.
Since that breakthrough, Soderling has become a regular member of the world's top five and reached the French Open final again last year where he lost to Nadal.
Soderling will be playing this week after missing the Monte Carlo event to let Achilles tendon and knee injuries clear.
His claycourt season debut last week in Barcelona ended in failure when he lost in the second round to eventual semi-finalist Ivan Dodig of Croatia.
But the Swede does not feel he's in a race against time with the Madrid and Rome Masters looming before the May 22 start of the French Open.
"I wanted to play in Monte Carlo but I wasn't ready. The clay season is long and now I'm injury-free. I feel ready to play well. This will be a tough tournament with a lot of guys who can win.
"But I'm feeling good with my game and I've had two and a half weeks of practice on the clay. I have to be counted among the favourites," said the Swede.
The 26-year-old backed world number three Federer to do well on clay this season.
"He is always among the guys who can win events," he said.
But he also warned of the danger posed by number two Novak Djokovic, who is on a 24-0 winning record this season and is stepping onto clay for the first time this season at home in Belgrade this week.
"It's very even at the top of the game. Djokovic has beaten Rafa twice this year (hardcourt) but clay is totally different. Nadal is good on everything, but on clay he's even better."
Posted:04/25/2011 8:23 PM
Local tennis fans who didn't score tickets to the Davis Cup quarterfinal between the United States and Spain might still have a chance to see the world's top-ranked player, Rafael Nadal, in action.
"We are open to having an open training session for people if they want to watch us," Pedro Hernandez , the Spanish team manager, said Monday. "The team is very easygoing, and they like to promote tennis when they're together."
Hernandez, who arrived in town Saturday and returns to Spain today, is the first in a series of tennis officials who will visit Austin this week. Two United States Tennis Association officials are slated to be in town today, and Thursday brings the official site visit of the Erwin Center. The Spanish tennis federation's director general, Marcos Romagosa, and a representative of the International Tennis Federation will be on hand for that tour.
Last week, the international federation denied Spain's protest of the acrylic court to be used inside the Erwin Center on July 8-10, when the Davis Cup tie will be played. That court, from Baltimore-based Premier Concepts, will not installed until the weekend before play.
On Monday, when Hernandez took a quick look, the Erwin Center was empty and stripped down to its concrete floor.
"It would be impossible to make a point with Roddick serving," Hernandez joked about the bare floor.
Hernandez spent most of his time in Austin checking out hotels. The Four Seasons, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin and the downtown Hilton were among those on his short list. He'll have a meeting with Davis Cup captain Albert Costa next week to pick a hotel. Hernandez said the Spanish contingent, which includes players, a captain, doctor, racquet stringer and individual coaches, could be between 17 to 25 people.
The Spanish federation's ticket allotment, however, is much larger .
"The rules of the Davis Cup is that you have the right to 10 percent of the tickets. We have 10 percent of each category," Hernandez said.
The Erwin Center will hold about 15,000 for the first Davis Cup match in Austin's history.
"I don't think 1,000 persons are coming from Spain, but there is a lot of interest (in the United States) in Spain, not only in Texas but in Miami," Hernandez said. "We've received many, many calls at the Spanish tennis federation asking for tickets."
He added the team is eager to do something in conjunction with the Spanish community here, whether that be a reception or a clinic.
"They will decide what is best to do and then the team will do it, for sure," Hernandez said.
Monday, 25 April 2011
It cannot be coincidence that the three players to dominate men’s clay-court tennis in the past 35 years have been left-handers built like and enjoying the constitution of bull mastiffs.
The careers of Guillermo Vilas and Thomas Muster — who has not given up yet at the age of 43 — were marked by an inexhaustible will and bludgeoning efficiency. The 21st-century model is threatening to outstrip them both.
With victory in the Banco Sabadell Open in Barcelona yesterday, Rafael Nadal celebrated a 31st title from 33 clay-court finals, his 34th win in succession on the surface since the terrible letdown against Robin Söderling, of Sweden, at the last-16 stage in the 2009 French Open and his 501st victory on the ATP World Tour. He is the second youngest to reach the five-century mark after Björn Borg, who retired from tennis at the age of 26. Nadal will turn 25 on June 3.
After a few days practising on his home island of Majorca, Nadal will fly to Madrid, where he is the defending champion, on to Rome, ditto, and then to Paris for more of the same to attempt to win a sixth French Open.
Imagine the pressures to sustain a standard that is something so singular, on this surface of all, against a limitless supply of superb professionals. And, don’t forget, he entered the clay season having recently reached the finals of the hard-court Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
What sets Nadal apart is there for all to see, yet demanding to quantify. When he is playing in a tournament, it is worth no more or less to him than any other (he does not do warm-ups); when he plays any point, it is as if it is a championship point; when he practises, he hates to miss. He does not waste a single second granted to him.
His ability to effect the subtle changes in footwork, to work on the minor elements that win the majors, is what sets him apart. His mantra, repeated many times, is that until he sees no prospect of improving his game, he will carry on. Do not expect that “illusion” to happen any time soon.
Last week, after a seventh consecutive Monte Carlo title, I asked Nadal about his statement that it was impossible to imagine repeating what he had done the previous years. “That’s what I feel,” he said. “When I am practising before the start of the clay season, I always think I’m going to be ready to play well and to win another time.
“But it is true that you never know when this will start and when it will end. You have to be ready to accept both these things. It is easier to accept if you think it is going to be impossible.
“When you go on court, every day you can win or you can lose. What I am saying is nothing strange. A 6-3, 6-4 win can mean the difference of three or four points and you have to be ready to win these three, four points — or you lose. I don’t know how much longer I will win these three, four points.”
For the first three months of the year, Novak Djokovic was winning those points. Now we will see if he can do it on clay, where his campaign begins this week in his native Serbia.
Of his 404 matches on red grit, Ivan Lendl won 329 and now, as he scours the world for someone he may be interested in coaching, he looks at Nadal and sees much of himself. In a time-and-motion study, it would be interesting to see who took longer to prepare: Lendl, with his insistence on rubbing sawdust into his racket handle, or Nadal, in wiping both arms with his towel and scraping the clay baseline. But it is this mental make-up, this preparation, this extraordinary attention to detail, where the two are so similar.
“I admire how he goes out and says, ‘OK, to win the US Open I need to improve my serve’ and he and his uncle [Toni] work on the serve,” Lendl said. “It is now a great weapon and that’s how you get better, that’s how you separate yourself from the rest.
“Two years ago [Roger] Federer was clearly better than anyone else, but it’s flip-flopped. It doesn’t mean Roger can’t win majors, but is anyone going to say Rafa will not win a major this year if he’s healthy? I believe several more. He and his uncle do a lot of right things.”
The chemistry between uncle and nephew cannot be replicated. Toni could not coach anyone else and Rafa would not be coached by anyone else. There are many times in victory that Rafa is not satisfied and he will run through the programme with you: forehand, backhand, serve, slice. He is a walking, talking programme, able to disseminate performances very quickly and resolve to put it right.
Because, for the first three years, he won the French Open and dominated on the dirt without a decent first serve, Nadal developed a wonderful ability to play the third stroke of a rally off his toes and remain in the rally when that edge was qualified by his ability to use short, angled forehands to either wing. His backhand slice, in defence or attack, has gained bite; his cross-court double-hander has come into its own.
Remember seeing Vilas and Muster in their pomp and strength, fitness and endurance spring to mind. Both were 5ft 11in, Nadal is 6ft 1in. Vilas, the Argentinian, once won seven consecutive titles — four on clay, three on hard courts — and won grand-slam tournaments on clay and grass; in 1995 the Austrian won 11 titles on clay, including at Roland Garros (his only grand-slam title, interestingly). Muster was reputed to have once run a marathon by accident when he took a wrong turn while jogging, and one could believe it.
For Nadal, the road is straight and true. Much like the campeón himself.
The five most likely
Half the battle against Nadal is to believe you can beat him and Murray does. Why shouldn’t he? He is a craftsman on the court who can vary his game and has the patience and increasing levels of fitness required to stay with the master. The ability to get free points on serve is vital, but if can get into enough rallies, he has the game to cause problems.
Needs mentally to get over nine successive clay-court losses to Nadal, but emboldened by two victories in finals on hard courts in the US, he took a two-week break and returns in his home event in Belgrade on clay. Put heart and soul into beautiful semi-final in Madrid two years ago, losing 11-9 in third-set tie-break. If he could get that one . . .
Twelve of their 23 meetings have been on clay, of which Federer has won two, the finals of Hamburg in 2007 and Madrid in 2009, so he can beat Nadal on the big occasion. He knows what it takes. He needs to find a level of shot-making consistency that has been beyond him of late, but if he gets on a roll, is still a threat.
Won on clay the first time they met, in Stuttgart seven years ago, and, at 29, is probably fitter now than he has ever been. Reaching two finals in successive weeks shows that this tenacious competitor believes in himself against almost everyone else in the game.
His fourth-round victory over Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009 remains the most remarkable of results, whether Nadal was suffering with sore knees or not. Has made two finals in France, clubs an enormous groundstroke, especially off the forehand side, but has not had a particularly strong start to the year and needs to find his form quickly.
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Comparisons between Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg have launched countless debates ever since Nadal showed his first signs of clay-court genius. After Nadal’s latest victory in Barcelona, the two names appeared side by side once again as Nadal followed in Borg’s footsteps to become the second-youngest player to achieve 500 career wins. Taking into consideration Nadal’s recent victory in Monte Carlo, which tied him with Borg’s record of 30 career clay-court titles, we wonder how soon it will be until the tennis world reaches a firm consensus on whether he deserves the label of all-time greatest player on clay.
Nadal earned his 500th career win on Saturday with a victory over Croat Ivan Dodig in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open. At just over 24 years and 8 months old, the Spaniard falls close behind Borg’s mark of 23 years and 7 months. More notably, at such a young age, Nadal is extraordinarily close to surpassing Borg’s career record of 30 clay-court titles, as prevailing in Barcelona would give him the new record of 31 titles.
The breakneck speed at which Nadal approaches Borg’s records is hardly surprising anymore. Borg’s career clay-court record stands at an impressive 245-39, and Nadal already boasts a record of 212-16 on clay, an incredible 184-6 since 2005. In other words, as Nadal quickly advances towards Borg’s total wins, he possesses less than half the number of losses.
Both clay-court masters share the distinction of having won their first Grand Slams at Roland Garros as teenagers. Nadal has already met Borg’s record of four consecutive French Open titles, and he trails Borg’s record of six French Open singles titles by only one, having claimed five titles of his own within a six-year span. Similarly, Nadal falls one short of Borg’s “triple-double” wins at both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. But with Nadal looking unbeatable on clay this season, he may be able to tie both records this year.
Apart from their successes at Roland Garros, Nadal’s tally in clay-court tournaments includes five Rome titles to Borg’s two, and now seven Monte Carlo titles to Borg’s three.
Some contend that the Swede still holds the label of greatest clay-court player of all time, while many in recent years have argued that Nadal’s feats merit the designation. It will certainly become harder to make a case against Nadal if he succeeds in Barcelona and manages another French Open victory this year. Another triple-double would be an emphatic bonus.
Is it still too early to call Nadal the best clay-court player of all time?
How soon until he surpasses more of Borg’s records?
Saturday, 23 April 2011
'I don't know if it can happen,' said the world number one after crushing Frenchman Gael Monfils to reach another semi-final at the Barcelona Open on Friday.
'I want to work for this to benefit future generations of players. If it can happen, we could have more relaxed lives and longer careers.'
Russian Nikolay Davydenko stands out as the only recent top five player to have competed week-in, week-out while elite stars like Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and the remainder plot their events carefully.
In 2010, Nadal played for 22 total weeks in 17 official events from January through to the World Tour Finals in London.
The Spaniard does carry a heavy workload during spring, when he plays on his beloved clay.
From the start of Monte Carlo last week through Wimbledon - 12 weeks - Nadal has or will play for a scheduled nine weeks. He is defending titles at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Nadal said that calculating computer rankings over a longer period would help relieve pressure on players and hopefully cut down on injuries.
A year ago, Nadal missed the Barcelona event he had won the previous five years as he underwent treatment on his knee.
'We would not have to play every week as we do now,' said Nadal of how he perceives the current situation.
Friday, 22 April 2011
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal continued to show his dominance on clay, sweeping aside Gael Monfils in a hugely one-sided quarter-final to storm into the last four of the Barcelona Open.
Nadal, who won the tournament five times in a row between 2005 and 2009, proved far too strong for his French opponent and wrapped up a routine 6-2 6-2 victory in an hour and 15 minutes.
After both men had exchanged service games, Nadal earned his first of four breaks to gain the upper hand, and he continued to apply the pressure as Monfils struggled to gain a foothold in the match.
The Spaniard's superiority was confirmed when he served to love to wrap up the opening set.
Monfils didn't give up, however, and played his part in some brilliant rallies, but ultimately Nadal had too much in his locker and is now just one win away from reaching 500 career victories.
Last game against Monfils
Thursday, 21 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Confessions of A Rafa Fan is ready to start up again.
I have lots of videos from last week that you may have already seen, news that is not new but I will still post just for a record.
Remember to check out my YouTube channel as I have been adding my photos taken in Monte Carlo (when I finally remembered how to do it)!!
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Monday, 18 April 2011
I am about to board my flight home so I will update this Blog tomorrow night with my photos & videos etc etc.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Well tonight it is good so I have uploaded some videos to my Youtube account. A few are still uploading so give it time and they will all be there.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Finally the sun had come out and I have now moved to Court Des Princes for Monfils v Gil the Melzer v Almagro.
I meet up with Debs from Texas who I met in Toronto again and we managed to catch Rafa practicing on Centre. As my seat was rather rubbish, Row 33, Debs told me to sit next to her until someone came to claim the seat...they never showed so I got Row 5 instead. A group of people who Debs had got talking to the day before were again here and one guy left early to go into Monte Carlo. Before leaving he gave me his ticket do that if I go back later for the end of the Simon match I will still have a decent seat Thanks Steve :-)
Photos and videos from the practice & the match will follow tonight.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Well i had a busy day and managed to watch all of Rafa along with bits of every other match bar Cilic & Murray.
I must admit that my ticket on Centre was not the best, i was Row 35 which was wayyyyyyy at the back and the slope of the stand means you really are far from the court :( It didn't help that I had a very tall man in front of me who kept leaning forward, then sideways, any way he could to block my view :( Anyway he finally settled down then cleared off just after the start of the 2nd set.
As for the Rafa's match itself it was nothing special to type about. Jarrko just wasn't in the running and Rafa never looked back from the first point. It was a nice, tiny workout and i am sure Rafa was pleased to get it out of the way so easy.
He is 2nd on court tomorrow after Milos v David and whlst I again have a ticket for Court Des Princes, I will not be moving until those 2 matches are done. I plan to then wander between the 2 courts as the Federer match really does not interest me.
Again, sorry for no pics but hopefully tomorrow the laptop will behave and I will have more time to sort them out :)
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
World No 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain and compatriot David Ferrer will play a tennis exhibition match in Taiwan in autumn, organisers said on Tuesday.
The match, which will take place at National Taiwan Sport University on October 1, is to create a boost for Taiwan's tennis scene, the International Management Group (IMG) and its local partner told a news conference.
In a video message to Taiwan fans, Nadal said he is looking forward to the match against Ferrer, currently ranked sixth.
In addition, a women's exhibition match between former No 1 Maria Sharapova and fellow-Russian Vera Zvonareva will be staged on September 22 in Taipei, IMG said.
The two matches will be the biggest tennis event in Taiwan which is trying to produce its own world-class tennis players. Earlier this year, former stars Andre Agassi and Marat Safin played exhibition matches against Taiwan players in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Anyway nothing I can do but drink some more beer :-)
I shall be updating this Blog every night when I get back to Nice with what I have been up to and my photos.
Going to meet up with a few Rafa fans too which is gonna be sooooo cool too.
Monday, 11 April 2011
For a man who won every clay tournament he entered last year and who at Monte Carlo is bidding to be the first player in the open era to win the same event seven times in a row, the Spanish world number one was remarkably subdued on Monday.
Two straight final defeats to Djokovic on the hard courts at Indian Wells and Miami have left their mark despite the switch to clay and the Serb's absence from Monte Carlo to rest a knee injury.
"I feel very beatable when I go on court. The last six years on clay, I could never have imagined what I did. It's almost impossible to repeat a season like last year," Nadal told reporters at the Country Club, perched above the shimmering sea.
"It's almost a year since I've played on clay. As usual, I try to watch videos (of myself) to remember what I have to do. Last year I started to play and felt fantastic from the beginning. Every year is different. You need matches."
World number two Djokovic, whose injury is expected to clear up in the next few days, has won 24 straight matches in 2011 and nine-times Grand Slam champion Nadal reckons that form can be transferred onto clay despite the Serb skipping this week.
"I'm sure on clay he's going to be good," Nadal said, muscles bulging out of his shirt sleeves.
"This year Novak has a lot of advantages. He is in a perfect situation to be number one. I'm sure he'll be number one next month. He started the season playing unbelievably. In my opinion he didn't even play his top level in Indian Wells and Miami."
Nadal, who fought to keep the glamorous but small scale Monte Carlo tournament a Masters event, has such an attachment to Monaco that he had a special audience with Prince Albert on Sunday.
"I played my best tennis ever on clay I think here last year," added Nadal, due to play his first match on Wednesday. "This place is one of my favourites in the world."
World number three Roger Federer was keen to point out he is no mug on clay as the build up to next's month's French Open begins.
"I feel very strong on the surface. It's the surface I grew up on. Everybody knows that by now. I can make a huge step forward," the Swiss said.
If Federer's recent form is patchy, Andy Murray's has been downright dreadful since his Australian Open final defeat to Djokovic and the Briton is no nearer to finding a new coach.
"I'm not any closer. I'm trying to concentrate on playing," the world number four said.
"I feel better this year, I just haven't been playing well in the matches. I'm sure this week there will be a few upsets."
Sunday, 10 April 2011
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal was invited to an audience with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Palace of Monaco on Sunday ahead of his participation at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters next week.
“Thank you for the invitation; it was an honour to come to the Palace of Monaco and a pleasure to meet with HSH Prince Albert II,” said Nadal. “He is a big supporter of the tournament and I want to thank him for everything.
“It is a pleasure to be back at one of the best tournaments on the ATP World Tour. I am very happy to be here, I’m practising hard and I am looking forward to play my first match.”
Two years ago, Nadal and World No. 4 Andy Murray played an exhibition match in the Palace square with HSH Prince Albert II in attendance. The Prince has also presented Nadal with the winner’s trophy at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters the past three years.
The Spaniard is chasing a record seventh consecutive title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and will open his campaign at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament against either French qualifier Julien Benneteau or Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.