Thursday, 26 May 2011

Off To The French Open

I am on my way to the French Open now & I will be there till the end.  I will do my best to keep this Blog as up to date as possible with news/photos etc etc but please understand that it might not be every day.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Rafael Nadal - The Telegraph Blog Part 2

First thing to say is that I am happy I am writing today and that tomorrow I'll be writing again, since I was very close today to being out of the French Open don't you think?

I had no chance to break today - very difficult to play a big server. I did mention this every day before the start of the tournament after I saw the draw. It is not easy! People only talk about the final and I always say you have to go match after match! Today was the proof!

To be honest with you, I think I played very nervous today. I felt I could lose, and was in real danger since I didn't play well in the tiebreaks....

So I am back at my hotel, we went out for dinner, got some work done and now ready to go to sleep, to focus on my practice and the match on Thursday against a fellow countryman.

(To have Rafa answer your questions, on whatever subject, email sportfeedback@telegraph.co.uk now)

Q: My question for Rafa is: I know you mainly listen to Spanish music but do you have any faviourite songs in English that you like to listen to, perhaps before matches? (Cassie, UK)

RN: I actually do listen mostly to Spanish speaking music and particularly before the matches. That doesn't mean that I only listen to Spanish music. I also have lots of English music. Those classic rock or pop ones.

Q: Dear Rafa, I've been following you since before your breakthrough matches several years ago at Crandon Park and, I think, in California it was. How do you maintain your intense focus, point after point and match after match? You're famously known for playing every point as if it's a critical one. Is there anything you can tell me that I can use to help keep my own concentration and confidence from slipping during a match? I'm a 3.5-level player. Gracias antemano por considerar esta pregunta, y buena suerte en el torneo! (Andrew)

RN: This is something that like any other part of the game you have to practice. I always say that you practice like you play so I do that with intensity and focus. Then after during the match I am used to that situation. Do that, practice hard and with intensity and I think you will improve that part.

Q: Hi Rafa you birthday always falls when Roland Garros is on,how do you celebrate it,while at the tournament? (Val U.K)

RN: If I am celebrating it at Roland Garros is a good sign because it means I am still playing. Normally I do the same thing as any other day but the FFT also prepares a cake and some gifts which is nice of them. Then I normally go out to dinner with my team and family present.

Q: Hi Rafa, Why are you not hitting the backhand down the line more often ? Noticed this in both your matches against Djokovic, thats bringing in a bit of predictability in your play on the backhand side. Is there a reason? (Sounak Roy)

RN: No reason, believe me I try whatever I can to win every point. Not that easy when the other player is reading your game and keeping me defensive. I do think about those things but....

Q: Hi Rafa, Massive fan from Ireland. Can you infrom us all of your diet, are you on any shakes etc fior extra protein? Just how did you get that left gun so big?? (Conor Daly, Ireland)

RN: Nope, no diet at all, just the normal things of a pro player. Lots of carbohydrates, proteins, meat, fish, salads, .... I think you mean by guns the arms? Believe me that is from playing tennis, no gym at all.

Q: What's your favourite court in the whole world? And Which player would you regard as your best friend in tennis? (Aneeka, London)

RN: This is a tough one... Probably Wimbledon and Monte Carlo are special ones. And my best friend....Carlos Moya, Juan Monaco, Marc Lopez,

Q. Hi Rafa You have fantastic coloured T-shirts when in all the tournaments. Do you pick these colours yourself or is it the sponsor and is it your preference to wear same colour (yellow) for the clay season then change for another tournament etc? (Anne Wade, Isle of Man)

RN: I like colors, I am Spanish, from Mallorca, sun, sea, .... Thanks for the wishes!

Q: Hi Rafa. I would like to know how you control your anger or frustration during the game? As i observe, most of the players they tend to hit their rackets on the ground or even their feet. I don't see that you and Roger Federer would do that?

RN: Just focus on the next point, forget the last one for good or for bad. It is over, you have to focus on the next one!

Courtesy: Telegraph

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Rafael Nadal - French Open Rd 1 Press Conference

http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/multimedia/2011-05-24/0130232b28a8000000dc.html

Here is the link to Rafa's press conference following todays match.

Rafael Nadal - On Court Interview



Courtesy: NadalCuriosities

Rafael Nadal - Taken to 5 For The First Time In Paris

WTF!!! I have left posting for a while, just to give me chance for it to sink in.  Did Rafa really nearly lose in the 1st round of a slam for the first time, to John Isner, on clay??

I know Rafa has been having a bit of a rough ride recently but that has been against the human wall that is Novak Djokovic not someone who has been in dire form for most of 2011.

I arrive at the French Open on Friday and i hope to God Rafa is still there.

Rant over, here are the experts opinion of the match:

Sky Sports

Independent

Toronto Star

Eurosport

Match Photos















Rafael Nadal - The Telegraph Blog

The Times Blog is no more but fear not, it has been replaced by a Blog in the Telegraph.

Rafa has made his first entry today:

Hello everyone,

Let me just say first of all thank you for the opportunity given to me to do this blog. I am very happy to be back doing this for my British fans in particular, and I suppose the rest of the world reading in English.

It is the first time I do this for the The Telegraph and I thank you for the opportunity.

I am starting today at the French Open in Roland Garros although I have been here in Paris practicing and getting ready since Wednesday.

I have a very difficult first round match against one of the most dangerous players that you can find in a first round. You all know and remember John Isner from that dramatic match at Wimbledon last year. Well, that was grass and I don't think it will be the same on clay, but I do know how difficult he can be.

Thanks once again for being there, and I looking forward answering your questions over the next days as long as I am at the tournament.

Rafa ...

And has answered some questions:

Q. What are those funny biscuits you always eat in your press conferences? (JH, Bristol)
Rafa: Hahahahaha, they are the Quelitas (Quely) that we always eat in Majorca. They are salty and VERY good! We always eat them and I have them at every tournament. Very typical Majorca.

Q. What do you think is the most important shot for clay court tennis? (Mark Atkins-Hay, Tamworth)
Rafa: I think every shot is important. Maybe the strategy is the best shot since you have to play with a clear game plan, be patient and know how to do things, every thing.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about the new Babolat balls at Roland Garros – do you have an opinion? How much of a: difference do the balls make? (Sami)
Rafa: They are typical Roland Garros ball. A bit faster and harder than usual which allows speed and high bounces. I actually like them,

Q: I know players often like to eat in the same places – do you ever find it funny constantly bumping into the same players? (Ed, London)
Rafa: No, I normally don't eat at the same places for a matter of luck. I do eat and repeat places because I like them.

Q: Who do you most like to play Pro Evo with, and who is the current champion? (Rich Williams)
Rafa: I am playing currently with Inter de Milan which allows me to defend well and counter attack! No current champions, but I am playing a lot against David Ferrer

Q: Do you think Manchester United have any chance in the Champions League final against Barcelona? (David, Paris)
Rafa: A final is a final and anything can happen. Barça is playing great and they have proven to be a great team. We'll see what happens. I am sure it will be again a nice final!

Q: Hi Rafa, as a keen golfer, do you ever attempt any 'Seve Ballesteros-style shots' on the course, or are you more conservative? (Pat Norman, Wilts)
Rafa: I am a bit more conservative, and not even close to his game or even his talent!

Q: Hi Rafa. Djokovic has clearly found a new level – do you think you have reached your peak of performance, or do you think you can still improve? (Thariq)
Rafa: I think there is always room for improvement, that's why we all keep working!

Q: How much time do you spend in the gym? More or less than you do on the practice courts? (Helen Thomas, Preston)
Rafa: It depends on the time of the year but not much these days. It is more in the pre-season. I don't really go to the gym during a tournament. I focus more on the court practice and physiotherapy.

If you have a question for Rafa send it to this email sportfeedback@telegraph.co.uk

Courtesy: Telegraph

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Rafael Nadal - French Open Practice Session/Kids Day - Photos

Here are a few photos from Saturday @ Roland Garros.  Nice to see lots of smiley Rafa again :)







Rafael Nadal - Nike Store Visit

The previous post contained a video in Spanish, here is the same but with English commentary

http://eurosport.yahoo.com/video/20052011/58/nadal-djokovic-man-beat.html

Rafael Nadal - Round Up

Here are a few articles I found that are worth a little look.

Times of India - Golf Game To Boost Rafa

New York Times - Borg Roots For Rafa

Nike Store Visit



Pre-tournament Press Conference



Courtesy: NadalCuriosites

Rafael Nadal - Unlce Toni video

http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/multimedia/index.html

Look under "Behind The Scenes" for the "Flashback With Uncle Toni" video.  See how many of the questions you can get correct.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Rafael Nadal - Friday Photos

Photos from a Press Conference & The Draw











Rafael Nadal - French Open Practice Session - Photos

A few photos from Friday's practice session on Chatrier.





Rafael Nadal - Pre tournament Interview

Translated from: Sport365

Rafael Nadal took advantage of his stay in Paris to sign a few autographs on the Champs Elysees on Thursday. The opportunity for the world No. 1 to the point a few days of his opening match at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal, if you win in two weeks, it will be your sixth victory at Roland Garros. Is it a challenge for you?

It is a daily challenge. The challenge is that I'm going to play my best tennis to have a chance of winning. But winning Roland Garros is motivation enough. I need not tell me that I will reach six sacred if they win.

You were beaten by Novak Djokovic four times already in 2011, during the finals at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome. Is it a year "special" for you?

For me, what makes Novak really is impressive. Now I'm not going to focus on him and especially not on a possible final against him. There are many games to win before.

Novak Djokovic is it the favorite of the 2011 edition of Roland Garros?

Absolutely. I think he's the favorite, he has not lost a game since the beginning of the year and he played fantastically.

Are you frightened by Novak Djokovic?

Scared? No. But he made some amazing things right now. This will be very difficult to reproduce in the future. I admire what he did.

"Federer is always dangerous"

What will the playing conditions by you at Roland Garros while the bullets will be new?

I played two hours Thursday with Gilles Simon, but it is still too early for me to say what the conditions, although they should be different from the last tournaments I played. The bullets seem to bounce a little higher but I need a few more hours on court for more information. I do not really mind.

Why have you brought with Gilles Simon on Thursday?

Because I maintain good relations with him. I train with many people throughout the year. There is no special reason.

How do you rate Roger Federer , you have beaten easily in the semis in Madrid?

I think that he is a favorite for the Grand Slam tournaments are his specialty. It is always very dangerous during major events. This is one of the best players in the history of the sport.

What is the best French player on the circuit you think?

It's hard to say because there are many great players here in France. Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils are capable of playing very well. Monfils has already played a semi-final at Roland Garros in the past and will have his chance. It is difficult to predict the future but these players have the potential to make a beautiful tournament.
Here is Rafa's draw for the French Open

Quite a toughy for Rafa :( but he can hardly complain, he made the draw!!!

Projected Route to The Final

Isner
Andujar
Davydenko
Verdasco
Soderling
Almagro/Melzer/Murray
Djokovic/Federer