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Rafael Nadal cheers on Real Madrid in Champions League

Rafael Nadal was spotted this evening in Madrid where he watched his beloved football team, Real Madrid, in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli. Our champ, accompanied by his father Sebastian and sister Maria Isabel, enjoyed a quite phenomenal atmosphere at the home of the club he supports. He had plenty of reasons to smile as Real Madrid won 3-1.

Rafa Roundup: Here’s What Uncle Toni Said About Coaching Relationship With Rafa

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on in his second round match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on day four of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Jan. 18, 2017 - Source: Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Toni said that he finally discussed his plans with Rafael this week and that Rafael was initially surprised, in part because of how well things had gone in Australia.

“He was thinking about the short term, and the short term looked very good,” Toni said. “But it was not like I was stepping down immediately. If I had stopped with Rafa overnight, that clearly would have been big news, but I really didn’t think me deciding to focus on the academy next year would be big news.”

That, judging from the Spanish headlines, was a miscalculation.

“My error,” said Toni, who said he should have spoken to Rafael directly before saying anything publicly. “If I thought it was big news, I would not have said it there in Budapest in that setting.”

“Now I am really excited to be in the academy. I step down, but [Rafael] is in good hands. Now I am going to make the most of this 2017. It has been a very long journey, loads of seasons. If instead of my nephew, I had coached somebody else, I would have stepped down much earlier.”

Toni said he would always be ready to give a hand when needed, even though Carlos Moyà and Francis Roig will now take the reins.

“Let’s imagine a scenario where Moyà is not available in 2018 for a few tournaments. And my nephew asks me to help him,” Toni said. “I’ll do it for sure and I’ll enjoy it. My intention is to work at the academy and if they need me, I’ll be there.”

Q. Which of these players has taught you the most with regard to their work ethic?
Marc Lopez: Rafa, once again. By spending time with him on a daily basis, I’ve been able to learn about his routine, how professional he is, and everything he’s done for tennis. He lives for tennis, he trains obsessively and is very ambitious… And he’s very humble. I’ve known him since he was 14 or 15 and I’ve been to Mallorca to train with him on several occasions. He tries to surpass himself every day and that’s how he’s achieved all that he’s achieved – and I’m sure that he’s not finished yet. I have a lot of respect for the player and man that he is. He’s a very special player, different from the others. And, since he’s also a good friend, that further strengthens our bond on the court.

Given where Nadal and Federer were/are in their careers, given the arc of their rivalry, given this joint stand against the Murray/Djokovic duopoly, given their ages, given the unlikely sways of the match (As a colleague asked me days later, seeking confirmation: “Wait, Federer came back against Nadal? Isn’t it always vice versa?”…… maybe we just agree that they were both magical, historical moments for tennis. We are in debt to both players and the rivalry they built. And that one man won the first match and the other man won the second leaves us with a nice bit of symmetry.

Rafa Roundup: Uncle Toni will not travel with Rafa on the tour next season

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts with his coaches Toni Nadal (L) and former player Carlos Moya during a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts with his coaches Toni Nadal (L) and former player Carlos Moya during a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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“Rafael recovered his game,” Toni Nadal told L’Equipe in an interview in French. “His tournament was good, his attitude was good and his matches were not bad against [Grigor] Dimitrov, [Gael] Monfils and [Milos] Raonic.

… “It must not be forgotten that arriving at Roland Garros [in 2016], Rafa had excellent sensations,” said Toni Nadal, who is usually sparing in his positive assessments of his nephew’s play. “There was just this physical issue … For the first time in a long while, Rafael has no physical problems to manage … Since he has been playing with no pain, he has regained a high level.”

On the evidence we saw in Australia, Nadal could reclaim his “King of Clay” title this spring. But he will have to remain healthy, and he will have to deal successfully with the same kind of pressure that caused him to implode in 2015. Remember, Nadal reached the quarterfinals before losing to Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals at Brisbane before the first major of the year. He’s off to a great start, but it’s just start.

Federer and Nadal are largely exempt from the commitment demands of the ATP World Tour. But they must play if they want to continue making headway in the rankings. Right now, both are entered in one warm-up event followed by the two upcoming U.S. hard court Masters 1000s.

Rafael Nadal to win Roland Garros — Predictions the Spaniard would fail to win the one major he has virtually owned for more than a decade rang true in 2015 and 2016. But a surprise run to the Australian Open final to start this season has reinvigorated belief the 30-year-old is well and truly back in the mix and in pole position to recapture the Coupe de Mousquetaires. The Raging Bull’s biggest threats on the terre battue at Roland Garros will not come in the form of defending champion Novak Djokovic or world No.1 Andy Murray, but instead from his own rickety body.

“Esta es mi última temporada con Rafa. Desde el próximo año ya no seguiré a Rafa y me dedicaré exclusivamente a nuestra academia de Manacor. Quiero ocuparme de la formación de jóvenes talentos, que es el momento más delicado”, afirmó Toni Nadal en declaraciones publicadas hoy por la página web “Il Tennis Italiano”.

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Rafael Nadal happy despite loss to Roger Federer

rafael-nadal-attend-banco-sabadell-event-in-la-coruna-1
Photo by Sindo Novoa

(EFE) Rafael Nadal told Banco Sabadell customers Tuesday in the northwestern city of La Coruña that living in Spain did not make sense from a tax standpoint, but he was happy in his homeland: “In terms of managing assets, perhaps it would be better to go to another country with more beneficial conditions, but Spain is where I’m happy, with my family and friends. In another country, I would have double the money but be only half as happy. Money doesn’t buy happiness.”

Rafa, the world No. 6, said he enjoyed “a five-hour match,” like the semifinals and finals at the Australian Open, more than matches that were over “in an hour” and the outcome was known after two sets.

“I’d like (to close out matches faster), but I don’t know. The long and exciting matches are the ones that you’re happy to have played. A five-hour match is much more satisfying than a one-hour one,” Rafa, who has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, said.

Rafa said he was happy about his performance at the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam event, but was still recovering from the effects of spending an entire month Down Under.

“What I’m the happiest about is that I’m competing on the court and I enjoyed myself in all the matches and played at a high level,” Rafa said.

Rafa acknowledged that there were “times” in 2015 when he was not enjoying himself, felt “more anxiety” and could not “control the nerves and the tension.”

“It’s hard to explain. Whether having won or lost, I would get back to my room and think: You’ve won practically everything, why get nervous. You mulled it over and the next day, the same thing. Competition changes you,” Rafa said.

Rafa said his loss to Swiss star Roger Federer in the Australian Open on Jan. 29 did not affect him negatively.

“I ended up happy because I know I took a really big step,” Rafa said.

Source: EFE

VIDEO: Who is Rafa Nadal?

If you are fan of Rafael Nadal who doesn’t speak Spanish – don’t worry. Feel free to watch this video and enjoy in the great work of Jesu Medina.

Video: JesuMedina.com

Rafa Roundup: Fedal final most watched tennis match in Eurosport history

Photo by Juan Aldabaldetrecu
Photo by Juan Aldabaldetrecu

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“My simple answer to that question is: No, they can’t,” said Alan Seymour, a sports marketing consultant and former professor at the UK’s University of Northampton. “There will be a void in the short term.”

Sports stars such as Federer and Nadal, plus Australian Open winner and now 23-time major singles winner Serena Williams and her sister Venus, “have taken on iconic status,” Seymour said, adding it will be difficult to replace them once they retire.

“Federer and Nadal have both stood against that in everything that they do,” Seymour said. “They’ve been great ambassadors for the sport and they’ve given a lot back.”

Two weeks later, the expectations that we’re so used to having are back. Not only can Nadal win another Grand Slam, but he should win another Grand Slam. It’s easy to forget because of his injury history and early success, but The King of Clay is still just 30 years old. He has plenty of tennis left in him, and if the Australian Open was any indicator of what lies ahead, plenty of titles left in him.

He’s still hungry, still focused and still as dangerous as anyone in the world.

Rafa wasn’t a popular pick to win the Australian Open, but would you dare bet against him at Roland Garros? Didn’t think so.

What would a Federer-Nadal one-two in majors say for men’s tennis in 2017? That the standard is the best it has ever been, and rising? That winning even a single Open is a serious triumph? That this captivating game, played by some of the best athletes of any discipline, should be enjoyed with the knowledge that we are living through the best of times? Yes, all of the above, and more.

Roger Federer has the trophy but the glory belongs to both of them.

Roger and Rafa, geniuses and gentlemen: thank you. Thank you.

Eurosport is celebrating a record-breaking Australian Open with yesterday’s men’s final between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal smashing the channels audience records and cementing its status the Home of Grand Slam tennis.

As the game’s greatest rivals faced each other in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2011, more than 15.2m simultaneous viewers tuned in to Europe’s number one sports destination during yesterday’s final set drama… The dream final between two legends of the game has become Eurosport’s most-watched tennis match of all-time…

ESPN said the men’s final — the first Federer-Nadal matchup in a Grand Slam final since 2011 and their eighth overall — drew a record audience since it moved to an overnight ET time slot in 2005. Starting at 3:30 AM ET Sunday, the five-set match posted a 0.9 overnight rating, up 80% from the 2016 final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The network said it likely will be the most-watched program at that hour in ESPN history.

Time will tell if their reunion here was a fleeting epilogue or the resumption of another chapter. There is sadness in the fact that the Roger and Rafa show cannot last forever, but profound pleasure in that happened again at all. Tennis, indeed sport, is incalculably richer for its return.

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