Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal believed he could be the world’s best player from a young age

Photo via Fanpop
Photo via Fanpop


Since 2005, Nadal has spent a total of 150.7 hours on court at Roland Garros, torturing opponents with heavy topspin and controlling the flow of each match as if he has his opponent on a yo-yo. Only twice in 60 matches has he been stretched to play a fifth set…

Whatever the reasons for it, Nadal’s story in Paris is a remarkable one. As far as I know, the French haven’t booed or hissed at him for a while, and they even sang “Happy Birthday” to him a couple of years ago. Should they take the next step and finally embrace their eight-time champion? It would be nice…

“Court Philippe Chatrier is a unique court for Nadal; the size of it means there’s more room to defend on. And a lot of people feel as though it’s a little bouncier and that it takes his spin a little better. So there are a number of contributing factors as to why he has been so dominant over the years. Once he goes back on a court where he’s won so much in past, he’s still the man to beat.”

The man makes a very good point, but he really shouldn’t have too many doubts about his chances at Roland Garros. It would be unseemly. Maybe he needs to be reminded of just how impressive he’s been on the dirt over the past decade — and maybe you do, too. Find out how much you really know about the King of Clay’s reign…

I had a very good discussion with Rafa when he was 16 and I was 17. When you are kids you’re always joking about stupid things. We were in a big group and Marc Lopez was the one talking to him like this. Marc is one of the best doubles players (these days) … he was asking Rafa, ‘OK, Rafa, I will give you a suitcase with $100,000 and you’ll make it to top 100 in the world. Rafa was like, ‘Are you nuts? I will not sign that’. Marc went ‘OK, top 50 in the world and I’ll give you $1 million’ and he was like, ‘No’ and he got our attention. “When you’re just 16, the goal is top 100. You’re not thinking top 50. Then he kept going and going and Marc ended up saying, ‘No.2 in the world and I give you $100 million’ and Rafa said, ‘I won’t accept anything less than No.1’ and we were like, ‘Turn it up’.

This week, Rafa is at Roland Garros for the French Open. It’s a busy time, but there are still hours to fill. So, of course, the PokerStars SportStar rounded up some like-minded friends and found an empty table.




    • I immediately clipped it for my computer screen. I feel like a grandma to this cute little boy!

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