A letter to Rafa, written by a 15 year old fan named Joely on Tumblr.
You lost today, and it was painful.
You lost to someone who had never taken a set off of you before, who was in his first grand slam final, who nobody expected to win, but you lost.
But what I want to say is thank you. Thank you for everything.
Thank you for being such an amazing competitor and fighting to the very end no matter what.
Thank you for pushing the boundaries of your sport, playing to the absolute limit.
Thank you for showing such compassion and fire on the court, inspiring so many people to do the same.
Thank you for pulling off the most ridiculous shots that make me jump and scream and yell “VAMOS!” just as you do.
Thank you for being such a humble, kind person, and making me love you more every time you speak.
Thank you for having such humility, such respect for everyone, especially your next opponent even if they’re ranked so lowly compared to you and are most likely to get beaten by you.
Thank you for being, in my opinion, the greatest competitor to ever play the sport, for fighting for every single point and never ever giving up on anything.
Thank you for playing through the pain that must be excruciating, for never giving up, for never backing down.
Thank you for bringing such happiness into my life by playing your very best tennis and winning so many titles.
Thank you for being there when I’m sad, even though you don’t know you are, I can just watch one of your old matches and feel instantly better.
Thank you for showing that you’re human on the court, showing your passion or disgust at the shots you hit, bringing another level into your game.
Thank you for being so brutal and fearless on the court, putting everything on the line to win, but being such a gentle and shy person off the court, because these two things compliment each other perfectly.
Thank you for making my life that little bit better every day.
So thank you, Rafa, for everything.