Toni Nadal: I wish people knew what Rafael was trying to do

Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

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.”

In his post-match interview, Rafa gave full benefit of the doubt to the crowd, saying that he was proud of the way he was treated and supported. An epitome of sportsmanship; and also perhaps why it hurts so much to have it questioned.

Rafa will be back at AO 2015. Meanwhile, stay tuned for another winning season!

All quotes: Crowd’s boos add to pain for Rafael Nadal, says coach Toni by Will Swanton, TheAustralian.com.au. Click on link for full story. 

51 comments

  1. Rafa, you are an amazing champion. I cried for you and how unfair it was to get an injury in the final. I blame Stan for stirring up the crowd with his ridiculous antics. He was implying that there was no injury. I hope Rafa sees this from someone he considered a great guy and friend.. I do believe in karma. Rafa you are loved and respected. Please don’t blame all Aussies.

  2. The people that booed are not true followers of the sport or they would have known that it is not part of Rafael’s character to fake injury to gain an advantage over his opponent or to give anything less than his best effort even when he is in pain. He is too genuine and proud for that. It must have hurt him and his team and family to witness that. It hurt me on his behalf and I am sure I am not alone. I have a son of the same age who continued in a contest with a broken toe, so I can imagine how much it took for him to continue to play, determination and dedication. Those people were just mean spirited and disrespectful to the both players, their teams and the fans, who completely understood there was a problem.The true fans made themselves heard at the ceremony and Rafael must have felt that warmth from them. His generous and gracious comments at the press conference regarding the incident just endorses what a true sportsman and champion Rafael Nadal is.

  3. I would not worry about the booing crowd!! You know u will always have that type of people!! Sometimes just comes out to be messy or rude. I know they are paying to be there but does not give u the right to be low class. Tis are no class people or young people. I don’t think Mr laver, and other VIP there were booing!! Hah!!!! As for this Richus guy delete this guy!! Not worth wasting our time on him!! I’m done with it!!! Vamos Rafa!!!!

  4. Unfortunately there are many ignorants all around the world but at the end the crowd understood what was happening and showing all the love and admiration they have for Nadal, I’ve never seen so many applauses for the player who had lost like I saw after this AO final

  5. Rafaaaaaaaaa U still Champ & Best everrrrrrr. Be On & Do nt care what the haters talking or think about U…. They are envious and embittered because You are destroyed all… Be strong

  6. Yo me dí cuenta que Nadal estaba con mucho dolor físico y me dió muchísima pena verlo que no podía jugar su mejor tennis y sin embargo, con gran valor y sentido de honor, siguió jugando para no defraudar al público. Un acto de valor e integridad increíble a mi parecer!

  7. yo pienso que el no se tiene que estresar por unos ingnorante que no saben reconocer el excelente juego que hizo puso todo lo de por eso es el numero uno mejor jugador no importa lo que hagas esa misma gente que te booed te van aplaudir lamentablemente el ser humano es asi que tenga un ano lleno de bendiciones

  8. We know what Rafa was going through Uncle Tony. We were all behind him. We know he could have given up but we also knew that he would not. He would not deprive Stan of his win. Rafa was the real Champion

  9. The crowd reaction was a direct result of Wawrinka’s behaviour leading them tho believe that Rafa was performing an act of gamesmanship. Stan owes Rafa a public apology.

  10. I agree the crowd who booed the nadal Wawrinka match are a blight on Australian culture.
    Rafael is a true champion to keep playing through intense pain, shame shame shame on you creeps

  11. Mi amigo NADAL creo que en este caso deberias de aplicar la frase de un comercial que Ud. ha hecho…..”ALCANZAR EL HORIZONTE NO ES LO MAS IMPORTANTE, LO QUE DE VERDAD IMPORTA ES NO DEJAR NUNCA DE AVANZAR”

  12. Australians, and Australian men in particular, are infamous for their rude behavior. They have no clue about gentlemen-like behavior. Maybe it’s the criminal nature of their ancestors that shows even generations later? (Australia is the island where criminals and outcasts were sent in the past). My two cents: Rafa go back there to win, and once you have done that, give these people the finger for good and never go back. They are too low class in a way.

    • Perhaps you could consider for a moment that not all if the fans in that crowd were australian.

      I have heard from people who were there that it was not the whole crowd that booed but rather a vocal minority, most of who were Swiss fans, perhaps reacting to Stan being upset by not knowing what was going on.

      I was at the tennis for the quarter finals & was lucky enough to see Rafa play, there is so much support for him here and the crowd was perfectly well behaved. Although the handful of guys going for the other guy were VERY loud & sounded more like they were at the soccer (again they did not appear to be Australian).

      So while I agree it was very bad behaviour from the crowd to boo Rafa (or anyone for that matter) lets not be so quick to hate all Australians. As I said, there is much support, respect & love for Rafa in Australia, as was obvious from the response of the crowd as the match went on.

      While I’m not trying to say that no Aussie booed, let’s just keep in mind that people travel from all over the world to these events to support their players.

  13. Some people are judgemental….we cannot control what kind of people who bought tickets to watched the finals, there are so many crowds from different walks of life, there are educated and not educated, classy and no class at all. Noisy people are those in my opinion are uneducated, don’t know what is sportsmanship, who should be staying home and watch the match live on TV….they are the ones who are looser, for our Rafa, he took it with dignity, and did not retire and continue with the match…..Rafa gained more admiration from the fans and those who watched the match…..

  14. I just read a comment in FB from someone who was at the final and said it was mostly Swiss ‘Stan fans’ that stood up and booed Rafa.

    I’d like to think this is the case as it seemed very unaustralian, especially as Rafa is so popular here.

    Just thought I’d share as it offers another perspective & perhaps Aussue fans aren’t entirely to blame 😊

  15. SHAME ON THE AUSTRALIAN CROWD THAT BOOED RAFA…THEY ARE BASTARDS…NO MANNERS AT ALL…I AM AN AUSTRALIAN BUT I FEEL SO ASHAMED OF WHAT THEY DID TO RAFA…I ADMIRE RAFA FOR HIS SPORTSMANSHIP…HE IS TRULY A CHAMPION..NO MATTER WHAT I WILL ALWAYS BE AN AVID FAN OF RAFA…LUV U RAFA MY BOY

    • I had much the same reaction but then I read that there were a lot of Swiss fans in the crowd & it was mostly them who stood up and booed.

      There were people from other countries so perhaps fair not to blame it all on the Aussie crowd.

  16. Thank you very much for finishing the game despite the hardship. Don’t think about people’s immature reaction as people at the heat of moment don’t reach down to their heart, rather it is quick thoughtless reaction; but people are smarter when they step aside of the moment and think about the entire situation. They all sincerely appreciate what you did for the crowed and most importantly to Warinka’s match point experience that he deserved. It’s like a marathon runner crossing the goal line last, though it may be humiliating however, the satisfying feeling that a runner who finishes last, will only be fully appreciated by the runner himself who despite all hardship or whatever challenges that he may have overcome to finish can only be that runner’s joy as you felt when you finished with Warinka. You shared the joy and happiness that he felt as he played out the match point. I see what you did as many would share same thought; you are a bigger man than I ever thought you were. I now have more respect for you as a human being and a sports man. Get well soon! Love, Robert Lee

  17. As an Aussie I too am ashamed of the behaviour of the portion of the crowd at RLA who booed Rafa in the final.

    It was very poor form and does not represent Australia, from what I hear these idiots did not even represent the crowd at RLA.

    I wouldn’t have blamed Rafa if he’d flipped the crowd the bird and walked out. Of course he didn’t because he’s a champ & a good sport. Of course the booers got behind him when they realised he was really injured but as a world champion who has proven himself time and again he deserved respect from the start and should have been given the benefit of the doubt.

    I hope these individuals are as ashamed of their actions as the rest of us are. Please don’t judge Australia on the actions of these few.

    Most Australian Rafa/tennis fans were watching from their lounge rooms and were disgusted by the booing. We love Rafa here.

    As for Rafa, I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that this experience hasn’t overshadowed all the positive experiences he has had with the crowds here. #respect

  18. True Rafa fans will always love him, win or lose. He is more than just one of the greatest players of all time; he is a person of respect, and dignity. It breaks the hearts of the fans when their player is injured, but that is under no one’s control. Injuries happen to the best of players. Stan had a very good tournament and Rafa played it out even while in such pain, so that Stan could have his moment of glory. True class-act player. VAMOS RAFA!

  19. As an Aussie I too am bewildered at and ashamed of the behaviour of the portion of the crowd that booed Rafa in the final. He is a champion who has proven himself time and again so surely he deserved more respect than that.

    I would like to add that those who booed do not represent the Australian people, they did not even represent the whole crowd at Rod Laver that night. Most Australian tennis and/or Rafa fans were watching from their lounge rooms & were disgusted with the booing. I have spoken to many people about it and we all feel the same way. Bad form and dare I say ‘unaustralian’.

    I wouldn’t have blamed Rafa if he’d flipped the crowd the bird and walked out. Of course he didn’t because he’s a champ and a good sport. I think the crowd tried to make up for it later (and so they should) and hopefully were as ashamed of their actions as the rest of us were. So please do not judge Australia on the actions of a few.

    As for Rafa, I wish him a speedy recovery and hope the experience hasn’t left him with bad feelings about Australia.

  20. Raffa we are very sorry for all that happened to you. I guess what you’re been bad for the stupid reaction of the public. Unfortunately there are many people who do not give a damn about how a player is or what he feels. Just get the show! If I can give you a little ‘comfort know that we have cried for you and for your discomfort and there’s so many other people like us. Go ahead, trying not to feel bad and do not consider those who do not deserve to be considered. We will follow you forever. A kiss from all of us to you and also to Toni.

  21. Dear Rafa,
    I am so sorry you were treated in this manner. I was very proud of you, as usual you gave all you were able to give. I wanted you to win but it was not to be. I will be looking forward to Roland Garros for you. Hope your back and hand heal quickly. Your fans want you healthy again and on the courts.

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