Rafael Nadal has stirred up some talk among fellow Spaniards and tennis forum participants alike about a choice he made earlier this year. The French Open champion decided to play at the hard-court tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown of Basel, which is held at the same time as the Valencia Open 500, between 19 and 27 October 2013. This has caused some raised eyebrows, notably from supporters of the Valencia event, who feel that Rafa should play at an event in his home country over that of Federer’s. (It is important to note here that Rafa has already played in Spain twice this year.)
Both tournaments are held indoors and both are hard court. Some critics have argued that it may have to do with the difference in financial commitment between the two tournaments, and the differences in royalties and incentives. However, this seems to be the catch-all reason for any move a celebrity makes, whether or not it is true.
Valencia is home to David Ferrer, and it also the tournament that showcases other Spanish favorites. If Rafa were to play in Valencia, he would draw the crowds and sponsors, but would he not eclipse the other Spaniards on their home turf? Is this perhaps an altruistic move on Rafa’s part? The surface in Basel is similar to the surface at the WTF. Perhaps it’s not about altruism, but rather, a need to hone his skills and confidence, and that’s why Rafa chose Basel. Or it could just be that he wanted to play Federer in Switzerland.
We’re spectators of a sport. Whatever the reason, should it really matter to us?