Rafa Roundup: One Direction’s Niall Horan and Liam Payne cheer on Rafael Nadal

Photo via tennis.com
Photo via tennis.com

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“Maybe if I lost that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe I would be [sitting] here with a loss,” said Nadal. But that’s the sport. That forehand was a perfect forehand for that moment. Even if I was losing, I was fighting for every ball. I was fighting mentally, physically.

John McEnroe on Nadal’s win: “How do you teach will, desire, not to quit in any circumstances? you don’t see this often, once every 10 years if you’re lucky. Nadal has made other guys better trying to compete with him. In the definition of ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ he’s the picture you’re going to see.”

“Intenté seguir luchando, buscando mi momento”, dice el ganador tras abandonar la pista. “Hice algunos errores en el 4-4 del primer set [perdió el servicio] pero estaba jugando bien. Recuperar el break en el segundo set y ganarlo fue muy importante. Jugando contra un gran sacador como Rosol con dos sets de desventaja habría estado en mucho peligro”, añade. “Estoy cansado, pasé mucha tensión. Respondí bien a los problemas”.

AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

In Paris, Rafa worked himself into his best form after losing the first set of his quarterfinal to David Ferrer. This was the same David Ferrer who had beaten him the last time they had played, in Monte Carlo. Today Nadal worked himself into fine form after losing the first set to Lukas Rosol. This was the same Lukas Rosol who had beaten the last time they played at Wimbledon. Maybe “revenges” do have their uses, after all.

Nadal, never comfortable in the match, celebrated with an unusually hearty yell and a leap uncharacteristic of a first-week victory over an unseeded opponent. Then again, no Wimbledon favorite is finding the route through the bracket so treacherous.

The Nadals wanted it. The Nadals needed it. This was only a second-round match, but it’s the kind that can be a springboard toward something greater. Mental roadblocks passed, Nadal’s draw opens up. Ivo Karlovic is out, as is Richard Gasquet. Nadal’s fourth-round opponent will be either 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios or 20-year-old Jiri Vesely. Either would be the youngest remaining player in the field. If the seeds hold, he’d face Milos Raonic in the quarterfinal.

While Nadal celebrated, his coach and uncle, Toni, leapt out of his seat in the guest box, shouted “Vamos!” and pumped his fist three times. “I just wanted to keep fighting and wait for my moment,” Nadal said.

Marion Bartoli: “It’s amazing how passionate Nadal still is. He is well aware of what this court means and he was so keen this time to get the win (after losing last time). He gives his best every time he is on the court. Everyone loves him. He is so respectful of everyone. A little word on the practice court, a nice hello or a few words. He is gorgeous and amazing!”

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4 comments

  1. Rafa there is just one word that can describe how I feel about you as a tennis player en person and that is 100% RESPECT!!! John McEnroe describes it so perfectly as is Marion Bartoli :and the biggest compliment is from your uncle Tony who forever tells you that is is just another match – The way he rejoices tells just how much this win means to both of you and that you are deep in his heart as you are in my and everyone’s heart!!! You GO Rafa!!!
    <3 <3 <3

  2. so sweet of Marion she said Rafa is amazing and gorgeous also respectful and everyone loves him this is why I chose Rafa as my favourite sports personality. Love him so much

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