Rafa Roundup: ‘A healthy Nadal does not lose at the French Open’

Photo: Richard Mille
Photo: Richard Mille

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In less than 24 hours, the draw for the men’s and women’s singles will take place – Friday 22 May at 11.30 am in the FFT museum, to be exact. Defending champions Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal will be on hand, and the draw will be shown live on Eurosport France and around Roland-Garros stadium on the giant screen which backs on to Suzanne-Lenglen Court.

Who will win the men’s title? Nguyen: Rafael Nadal. Yes, Djokovic is the favorite based on all the numbers. But I just can’t discount the fact that Nadal has won the French Open nine of the last 10 years. Only once has any man been able to take three sets off him in Paris. Compare that to Djokovic, who came into Paris undefeated in his historic 2011 year and was playing better ball last year as well. Both times he walked away without the trophy. I’m siding with the established Nadal until proven otherwise.

The great Spaniard has won the French Open a record nine times. And, from his lefty super-spin forehand to his strategic thinking to his limitless defense, he continues to be the perfect clay-court player. True, he’s struggled with his confidence this season and has fallen to seventh in the world rankings. … This much appears to be true: Rafa is 100-percent healthy. And the evidence so far shows that a healthy Nadal does not lose at the French Open.

Rafa is someone who was born with confidence or learned it at a very early age,” said Dr. Allen Fox, a sports psychologist who had an extensive tennis career — he won the 1961 NCAA singles title, was a 1965 Wimbledon quarterfinalist and was a three-time member of U.S. Davis Cup team. “Tennis players who have that intrinsic confidence — Pete Sampras, Chrissie Evert and Roger Federer are also examples — tend to go through this. It happens to all of them.

It speaks volumes about Nadal’s confidence in his English that he was willing to banter with the quick-talking Letterman. Then again, it turns out Rafa is used to a quick tongue.

Why can’t the greatest clay-court player in history get respect at the greatest clay-court event in tennis? Is it jealousy? A desire to see someone new break through (which doesn’t fit since Nadal was once that someone new, winning the title as a 19-year-old)? Jingoistic pride? Nadal’s inability to speak fluent French, a la Federer, a truer man of the world?

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5 comments

  1. Always smiling, win or lose! Never change Rafa my adopted grandson. You look so handsome, as usual, at the RG party. I told you previously my 23 yr old grandson looks like you! God bless you. Vamos Rafa. Love your Aussie Nana. 🌻🌻

  2. Sorry, it is which language! I speak Papiamento, our beautiful national language!

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