The Australian Open has been over for two full days now, but the look of pain on Rafa’s face, and the tears he shed whilst apologizing to the crowd for not being able to deliver a good performance, will resonate with those of us who love Rafa and not just his achievements. The sound of the crowd booing him may always ring in our minds. We will take comfort in knowing that we are not alone; Chris Bradnam, ex British tennis player and Eurosport commentator, described Rafa getting booed as the “worst sound in tennis,” very aptly so.
The vociferous Toni Nadal spoke to The Australian about his nephew’s plight on the night of the match, and true to form, he did not mince his words.
“Just my opinion, but I don’t think the crowd should be doing this.
“Rafael has always given his best at this tournament, all tournaments. He tries to treat all of the people with respect.
“He had to continue. He knows that people have paid money for tickets to be here for the match, the grand slam final. He knows a lot of people are seeing the television. He does not want them to have, how do I say, the stopped show.
“Whatever happens to his body, he will finish for them. The crowd here had always been very good for him and Rafael will not complain about no thing, ever.
“But he is disappointed, of course. I wish it had not been like this for him. He wanted to play for the crowd and if he was not going to win, he wanted Wawrinka to be winning a match point. Not shaking hands when a match is stopped. This is important.”
“The crowd did not know what was happening, I see this. But I think if you do not know something for sure, why say anything?
“Rafael enjoys this tournament, he enjoys this crowd, he loves Rod Laver court. There are good memories here. But I wish people knew what Rafael was trying to do.
“The crowd goes here and there with what they think. They go up and down. Sometimes the crowd don’t think, maybe. They are allowed to be whatever they want, but they should know that Rafael played for them. He knows that if he cannot win, he must finish for the crowd.
“I think they should think about this. He had spirit, I would say, to finish.”
Rafael Nadal may have lost his bid to achieve a historic fourteenth grand slam title with his loss at the Australian Open, but his ranking as the reigning World No. 1 is safe. The rankings have been updated, and as of 27/1/2014, Rafa has 14,330 points, a whopping 3710 points more than Novak Djokovic and 8620 more than the new World No. 3, Stanislas Wawrinka.
Rafa may not add any extra points until the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in mid-March because he is defending 1,750 points until then. Read the rest of this entry
Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in straight sets in the semifinal to reach the final in Melbourne, where he will face Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who makes his debut in a slam final on Sunday.
Date: Sunday, January 26, 2014
START TIME: 7:30 pm local (Melbourne), 9:30 am CET (Madrid), 8:30 am GMT (London), 3:30 am EST (New York). Updated: 2:30 am (Méx, Gua) 5:30 am (Arg, Chi, Par) 3:30 am (Col, Perú, Ecu) 4:00 am (Ven) 4:30 am (Bol) 6:30 am (Bra, Uru) 9:30 am (Esp) (via @todosobretenis). To convert to your local time, use this website.
This will be the 13th meeting between Rafa and Stan. Rafa has overwhelmingly dominated their previous twelve H2H meetings with a lead of 12-0, not even letting up a single set to the soon-to-be Swiss #1 (Stan will surpass Roger Federer in ranking on Monday, regardless of his results in the final). This is an important final for Rafa, who, upon victory, will become the first man in the Open Era to have two Career Grand Slams. VAMOS, RAFA! Read the rest of this entry
… World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will play Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final after defeating Roger Federer 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3 in a stunning display on Friday night in Melbourne.
… Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009, beating Roger Federer in the final. Should he beat Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday night, he would be the third man in history (Rod Laver, Roy Emerson) to win every Grand Slam singles title at least twice.
… He played the way he usually plays, competed the way he usually competes. But that can scarcely be described as “normal.”
- A Step, a Thought, a Shot—and Three Sets—Ahead (via tennis.com)
- Federer-Nadal rivalry is one of greatest ever in sport – Pete Sampras (via The Guardian)
… “Let’s just appreciate what we’re watching. It’s hard to compare the numbers and the eras, where we all did our thing.”
… I always find it difficult to accept that Roger Federer can be the greatest player of all time yet have been second-best to someone for so much of his career… My heart tells me Wawrinka will take at least a set off Rafa, simply because he is playing so well – but the head says Rafa in three.
- An interview with Roger Federer (via AO)
… I don’t know how to explain you guys. It’s totally different playing Rafa over anybody else. Playing Murray or Rafa is day and night. It’s not because of the level necessarily, but it’s just every point is played in a completely different fashion and I have to totally change my game. No excuse.
- El tratamiento con Indiba recupera la mano de Rafa Nadal (via teinteresa.com)
- Nadal Reigns In Australian Open Tweets (via ATP)
- Rafael Nadal interview (semifinal) – 2014 Australian Open
- Rafael Nadal Answers A Question About His Girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello
- Day 12: the best bits – 2014 Australian Open
- Portrait: Rafa Nadal: Pain – 2014 Australian Open
- Josep Pedrerol: “Rafa Nadal es de otro mundo”
- Roger and Rafa warming up – 2014 Australian Open
- Preview: Roger v Rafa – 2014 Australian Open
- Toni Nadal Previews Roger v Rafa – 2014 Australian Open
- And The Story Goes On
- Interview with Rafael Nadal: Australian Open Semifinals – Nadal defeats Federer [PHOTOS]
- Nadal’s night
- Preparing for Roger
- Federer Nadal rivalry in pictures
Q. You couldn’t play much better out there tonight. Can you agree?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well tonight. I think I played probably my best match of the tournament. So very, very, very happy for this great new that I played my best match in that semifinal against Roger.
He arrived to that match winning two great matches against Tsonga and Andy two days ago. Really very happy the way I played tonight, and very special moment try to have the chance to be in another final.
Q. How critical do you think it was to win that first set tiebreak to get in front? Read the rest of this entry
VIDEOS: Australian Open quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov on-court interview, hotshots, highlights
On-court interview with Jim Courier: Rafa confirms that the “Baby Federer” tag suits Grigor Dimitrov. He also talks about his blister and how it bothers his hand. He jokes about us enjoying the match, because he really suffered. Classic Rafa, and full of class.
Set point from Rafa, and a “Vamos” that rivals that of the US Open lawnmower! MUST WATCH!
This could be the best point of the match!
Highlights, starting mid-match:
Q. Did it feel like you were playing a player ranked 570 in the world out there today?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Even if that’s the ranking when you are playing against a young player, you never have that feeling. He was able to win the first round against a tough opponent like Sijsling. That’s not the real ranking on him.
He played juniors, two finals on Grand Slams last year, so he has a great future. He has the right level to try to be in the tour very soon. So just keep working and that will happen.
Q. Were you impressed by him, 17 years old? Read the rest of this entry
Rafael Nadal took his first round over Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-4 (ret’d) to reach the second round at the Australian Open. His next round opponent is another Aussie, Thanasi Kokkinakis, who defeated Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands in his first round.
The sweltering day reached a high of 42 degrees C and presented harsh conditions for the players. The first set was played in a stifling 36 degrees. Tomic seemed to be in discomfort and took a brief medical time out, but returned to continue playing even though his movement and face registered pain. A break came late in the set for Rafa, who promptly took the first set at 6-4. Tomic then decided to retire.
Rafa is one match closer to winning his second Australian Open title and tying Pete Sampras’ 14 Grand Slam wins.
Chck out this video: Rafael Nadal talks about his girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello
The Emirates ATP rankings have been updated.
As the Australian Open begins, there are no changes to Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic’s points as they begin their quest for the title. Rafa still has an 870 point lead over Djokovic, and with no points to defend in Melbourne, is looking to add points. Djokovic is the defending champion and therefore will not add any additional points to his total. Vamos Rafa! Read the rest of this entry
All was not fun and games on Saturday, as Rafael Nadal took the time to get in some serious practicing along with participating in Kids Day at the Australian Open in Melbourne. With only a couple of days to go, Rafa is intensely focused on his goals. Go Rafa!
Photos: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images