Rafa Roundup: ‘If I don’t win the French Open, my career will still go on,’ says Nadal

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The nine-time champion notched his 13th win in 14 meetings against Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to extend his record to 68-1 at the clay-court major he has dominated over the past 10 years. “I’m very happy,” said Nadal. “I think I played a good match. The score is easier than what the match was like. I think I did a few things very well. My footwork was better. I felt better than during the first round. I’m very happy with my performance and result.”

It may be too early to tell, but the first two match-wins for Rafael Nadal were certainly impressive. He seems to have rediscovered his timing, and the big misses we saw during the European clay-court swing have been infrequent so far. Of course, Rafa didn’t have daunting opponents early on. He played a teenager (Quentin Halys) and then a fellow Spaniard, whom Nadal has owned over the years (Nicolas Almagro). The real tests await; Jack Sock, who clocks his forehand as hard as Nadal, could present a challenge for the 14-time Grand Slam champion Saturday before his potential showdown in the quarterfinals against Novak Djokovic.

“I try to practise more with my forehand,” admitted Nadal. “With my forehand I’m not as steady and consistent as in the past. Of course I can still impart some spin, but I’m not smooth enough with my forehand. I’m suffering from a lack of stability with my shots. That’s the way in tennis. You go through difficult moments. I’m still a solid player. I don’t think that my forehand is bad. It’s still good. But I need to reach better targets. I’ll try to better deliver my shots at Roland-Garros. And if I don’t win the French Open, my career will still go on. Life will continue.

Nadal, in a particularly frank mood in Paris this year, then acknowledged after his first-round victory here that he had indeed asked that Bernardes not be assigned to his matches. Two of Nadal’s chief rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, said they had never made such a request. “I don’t think that’s fair to them,” Djokovic said. “They do their job as best they can.” … But Cédric Pioline, the former French star who played in Courier’s era in the 1990s and early 2000s, said that the situation “doesn’t surprise me at all.” Pioline said he had requested not to be assigned to a specific chair umpire during his career. “What surprises me in the case of Nadal is that the word got out,” Pioline said. The rules do not prohibit requests like Nadal’s and, despite Courier’s surprise, such requests are not without precedent. Nor are they guaranteed to succeed.

“I don’t have 100% information, and maybe nobody have the 100% information today yet. So it’s difficult to talk about,” the defending champion responded to Xinhua at a post-match press conference after making the men’s singles last 32 with a straight sets win over compatriot Nicolas Almagro at Roland Garros. “But it’s obvious that, I mean, in the world of sport, in the world of football, in the world of tennis, politics, around the world, we need people who are fair and who are ready to work in a good way, being honest. “And if there is some people that are not being honest with the rest of the people, then they don’t deserve to be where they are,” he said.

Rafael Nadal was only 18 when he won the first of his nine (to 2014) French Open titles in 2005. But actually he wasn’t the youngest men’s winner: that honour goes to Michael Chang, who was just 17 years three months old when he won what turned out to be his only Grand Slam title in 1989. The youngest women’s winner came the following year: Monica Seles was only 16 years six months old when she won the first of a hat-trick of titles at Roland Garros in 1990.

Rafael Nadal is looking blue, literally. Likely feeling that way inside after a springtime of clay-court disappointments, Nadal is showing it on the outside too, wearing blue shoes, socks, shorts, shirt, headband and wristbands at his French Open debut on Tuesday against French qualifier Quentin Halys.

Photo: Richard Mille
Photo: Richard Mille

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REMINDER: Rafa Birthday Project – Join us in wishing a very happy birthday to our Champ!

7 comments

  1. Rafa, my only wish for this year is win the #10 RG… Please … Just don’t let
    Nole win that trophy… Besides you.. Must be someone else…

  2. VAMOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS RAFA!! MY SUPPORT HASTA SIEMPRE!! WE LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT, NUMBER 7 OR 1 YOU’LL ALWAYS BE NUMBER 1 FOREVER! YAHOO VAMOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! POR LA DECIMA!!

  3. Wishing you all the very best for your match tomorrow and for the whole tournament ,keep positive and only wining thoughts ,your fans will help you and lift you if you need us, good luck Rafa ,best wishes,,,,kick ass

  4. If you don’t ,,,,and I say ,,,,,if ,,,,,,,,,your fans will still support and love you always,
    Go Rafa kick ass ,

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