Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal Plays Tennis With ADORABLE 3-Year-Old Fan

Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles as he talks to the media during day three of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 9, 2016 in Indian Wells, California. (March 8, 2016 - Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images North America


How many times have Roger or Rafa failed to give their best in any match, at any event? It’s hard to remember it ever happening. They’re never afraid to put it on the line and compete.

As these two competitors make their slow fades from the game, they’ll be replaced by a new generation. So far it is led by Kyrgios, who says he doesn’t really like playing tennis, and Dominic Thiem, who so far plays way too much tennis. Both could benefit from watching Nadal and Federer in action a little longer. Even if they can’t learn anything from how they go about their business and their lives, the rest of us can. Roger and Rafa have done more than enough for tennis, but their work isn’t done yet.

While neither Federer nor Nadal will be in the Top 5 next week, Djokovic suspects that they’re not done yet.

“It’s kind of expected to have some new faces in this sport,” the 12-time Grand Slam champion said, “but I still wouldn’t rule out Roger and Rafa, and I would not take them out of that context of the best players in the world.”

The passing of time — and injuries — can take a heavy toll on athletes but that said, tennis fans likely still did a double take Monday when they glanced at the men’s rankings.

For the first time since 2003, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — titans of the game who hold a combined 31 majors — are outside the top four. Nadal sits at fifth, with Federer seventh.

They’ve each been outside the top four previously but never in tandem since the last week in June 2003, when Federer held down the No. 5 spot and a teenage Nadal was 76th. Back then they weren’t grand slam champions.

“Rafa told me some techniques and tips, for volleying especially, because of course at first I was nervous and did not know exactly what to do in an exhibition match whether to play all out or not, I did not have a clear idea. You feel like: What am I doing here in the middle of all this?

And Rafa helped me, especially at first to overcome the nerves and the truth is I think it went pretty well.”



  1. For Basel this is of course a big thing. If Rafa plays Basel, it might very well be one of the last two or three tournaments he plays in his career. Results will again be below expectations and then either Paris or WTF could be his farewell. In case he decides to take a long break, a return to tennis seems more likely. A return in Basel might be the beginning of his short farewell tour.

  2. As his fan yes I am also selfish and would like to see him in action more but deep down I really want him to get more rest, and also some quiet time to retrospect on his games and strategies. I am afraid he cannot play well and then he beats himself down and then he loses more confidence. I have no idea why he suddenly loses confidence because he was playing brilliantly at the beginning of Beijing. So yeah this is a torturing feeling…

  3. I am really torn on whether or not Rafa should play Basel. I do think that it is a bit unfair to Rafa fans who buy tickets to see him and then he declines on Thursday. I would think Stan is also a big draw plus the US Open champion. I want Rafa to really look at the way he can maximize the time he has left. I am being selfish in that I would like to see him play every tournament he can.

    • Let’s just hope that Rafa is healthy and that he decides to play.

      I had no idea that tournaments feel, “…it’s better for them that even if Rafa decides not to play to publish it later this week cause they need to sell tickets.” I thought they announce withdrawals as they are received.

      I would love to see Stan on the big stage because I have read so much of his power, etc. when he is playing his best. He is a late bloomer.


  4. Swiss tabloid newspaper “Blick” now writes, that Basels tounrament director will get Rafas decision on Thursday and not Tuesday. (My nerves!)

    • Gggrrrrrr!!!!
      Well, we will have to wait 😩. Hopefully it is a sign that Rafa and team are weighing their options to best serve our champ.

      Thanks Fedallica…

      • You’re welcome. I’m starting to lose confidence again. Will accept any of Rafas decisions anyway, but of course will be very dissappointed. The tournament director says that chances are 50:50.I don’t post the link here as the article/ parts of an interview with the tournament director are in german. But it is a new article from this evening with many citations in it.

      • Knowing how tournaments work, it’s better for them that even if Rafa decides not to play to publish it later this week cause they need to sell tickets. Not having Federer and Rafa would be a horrible for them because they are magnet for selling tickets cause everyone wants to see one of them. Since Roger is not playing, they need Rafa to play in Basel and keep saying he might come there. We’ll see what Rafa and his team will decide.

        Be patient, and give Rafa space and time to recover.

      • @RNFans This was my thought as well since (compared to last years) the tournament is not sold out. I accept waiting time and any decision that Rafa will take. It’s just very upsetting for me personally because I was so hopeful and happy when I heard he might play in Basel again. I know other fans had gone through the same situation many times…
        We will see. Will just try to prepare myself for a negative decision :(.

  5. Last week I commented that Rafa did not expect to play the SA Clay season and I wondered why not. va4favre offered that it may have to do with the humidity and heat. I was happy for that explanation because I thought it was the flu bug that may have been the culprit or one of Rafa’s panic attacks.

    Last week while visiting Barcelona to see his doctor, Rafa was quoted as saying he expected to play Basel. He also said it in his post-Shanghai presser. And, he also expressed doubt about his current calendar.

    RNF posts things for Rafa’s fans hours, sometimes days after the fact. That is probably due to fact checking, etc. , which is great. That is what a fan club administrator does.

    But if fans want to post things about Rafa, and include the source, I am all for it. Other fans can decide what they want to believe, or they can offer up better information. I will continue to comment on things I’ve read about Rafa because this is a fan site.

    • Hi Margo, I was glad to see that Rafa was skipping the SA swing since he was sick in both tournaments. I think he has developed a sensitive stomach since he was also sick in Miami and India. The news was posted in Tennis World. It said that Rafa signed a three year contract with Basel for $500,000. He already did not play in 2014. I do not know if he had to provide a refund. He is also not playing Doha and is playing Brisbane instead. Is he trying to complete his tournament tour? I think RNF is doing the best they can but it is hard to keep up with our hero. This can always change, of course.

      • Hi va4favre….I believe Rafa lost to Coric in 2014 at Basel. He lost to Roger in 2015 (remember Rafa looking at his watch and making funny faces during Roger’s acceptance speech?). If he pulls out of Basel 2016, he may have to pay a fine unless he gets a dispensation due to illness or injury. I don’t know the terms of his contract.

        The ATP announced that Rafa would play the 2017 Brisbane International. According to the Brisbane tournament director, Brisbane has been trying for years to get Rafa to sign up.

        I am in the dark as far as everyone else is regarding the remainder of what Rafa’s 2016 calendar will look like after his discussions with his team. Basel is still not a definite but it does look good. He seems to be looking ahead at the 2017 season, so who knows what the final decisions will look like. I just hope they choose wisely and do what is best to keep Rafa healthy and playing competitively. Fedallica gave us a glimmer of hope when she advised we should know something from Rafa and/or his team tomorrow, Tuesday.

        RAFA ROCKS

      • Sorry if I was not clear in my previous comment. I think RNF is doing an excellent job at confirming media reports to post here for fans’ enjoyment.

        I was trying to point out that it takes time to confirm facts, so if a fan wishes to share something about Rafa before RNF posts it here, I support that. Additionally, RNF is the final arbiter of what gets posted and at times something may not get coverage: that doesn’t make it less interesting to some of us. I am very happy that other fans are contributing.

        I had to smile in agreement with your comment about it being hard to keep up with our hero: sooo true, especially when he is not on tour.

        RAFA ROCKS

    • There are so many fake sources on Internet about Rafa and his team. It’s better to wait and post even 5 days later. Sometimes even you with your comments confuse fans because other keep sending us e-mails about what you guys post here.

      Marca, Blick… and many other sites posted so many times wrong info so you should never ever trust them.

  6. Domi, lets hope Rafa makes his own decision and that it’s the right one for him.There are still quite a few big names playing Basel , even though Novak, Andy and now Nick Kyrios are not attending. Whenever Rafa’s decision comes I’m sure RNF will inform us and we know it’s 100% accurate.

    • Thank you, Maria.

      There is no need to speculate will he play or not. Rafa and his team will make final decision and no matter what others write we know very well they are just trying to guess.

  7. Hi Domi, I don’t know how accurate this information is, it popped up on my laptop as a latest update on Rafa when I was googling dates for the Basel tournament. Website sportkeeda.Im guessing as Fedallica has said we will have to wait to Tuesday for it to be confirmed.Sorry if I have given you false hope , maybe I am a bit to trusting and had no reason to believe what was written could be just speculation

    • No no Maria you do not need to say sorry for that… If that website is giving false information how can we know? 🙂 Yeah we can only find out until Tuesday… My guess is he might decide to play… His team might try to persuade him to keep playing while I can definitely see Rafa himself is very tired and down and may not want to continue right now… 🙁

  8. I would like Rafa to play less at this moment. Maybe only some doubles. For singles I agree with him more matches may not help. He is definitely not playing up to his ability for some reasons at this moment. He probably needs more rest, or something.

  9. Rafa is playing doubles with Nenad Zimonjic . Is this the tournament where Last year Rafa came runner up to Roger and Rafa was captured looking at his watch when Roger made that very longggggggg speech.

    • Hi Maria – where did you get these insider news? 🙂 When I googled nothing showed up about Basel… Thanks very much!

      • Domi, there was an online- article today from spanish newspaper “Marca”. It turned out to be as a hoax, as it was edited some hours later. We will need to wait until Tuesday.

      • The doubles entry list from the 10th of October was posted on Henri Kontinen (doubles-player) webpage. It was saying that Rafa playing doubles with Zimonjic, but this means nothing about his decision, he can still withdraw if he decides to end the season.

  10. Rafa has decided play in the singles and doubles in Basel on the 24th . Great news . Apparently he has a 3 year contract with the tournament which end this year and that could have swayed his decision. Whatever the reason Iets hope Rafa comes out with confidence and has a great week.

    • Nothing is confirmed yet. My nerves are on a 24/7 rollercoaster ride since Shanghai so I learned my lesson not to trust any source anymore until I hear it directly from Rafas team or the tournament.

      • @Fedallica, I am with you. Rafa did tell the media that as soon as his team makes a decision on where he will play he will let them know.
        I hope you get to see him at Basel.

        RAFA ROCKS

      • Thank you! I have no idea what decision is best for Rafa. But opening and closing that case for every ten minutes drives me crazy. Feels like an on- going grand-slam final, messing me up completely. 😣

  11. Your so awesome Rafa. I see u every year in Indian Wells. Love to meet you in person. Your my favorite tennis player.

  12. Rafa how adorable you playing with a little three year old,and him waiting for you to chase all the balls, and then walk to him to give him a HI FI.
    HE sure has the right idea, the tree year old with the world coming to him.
    My grandson is 2 and 1/2 years, and so knowing,and fine and gross motor skills so well developed.
    Keep up your georgous ways Rafa, and one day it will be you with your own son.
    Love and prayers,


  13. Ola & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) You and the three years old boy look so precious playing…. He has a touch…..amazing…..: ) : ) 🙂 : )
    Have a great weekend & a nice time at your Academy & between tours!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness !!!!!! : )

  14. OMG those pearly whites!!!!!!

    Who can turn the world on with his smile?
    Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.
    It’s you Rafa and you should know it.
    With each glance and every little movement you show it
    Love is all around no need to waste it
    You can have a grand slam crown why don’t you take it
    You’re going to make it after all.
    Yes Rafa! You’re going to make it after all.

    Love Rafa so much! Keep on being your marvelous self!

    • Pamela, I am also old enough to be his grandmother well and truly. In fact both my grandchildren are older than he is.
      But I have been a fan ever since he won the French Open just after he turned 19 years old and if he never wins another tournament I will still be a fan because he is not just a tennis player but such a lovely human being.
      There seems to be quite a few Rafa fans of our vintage. Isn’t it great that we are young enough in heart to get such enjoyment out of following our hero !!

  15. Of course he would he is a lovely man , not just a brilliant tennis player. We are all loyal to him because he sets the right example.That is what is needed in this world today.pam. harvey

  16. So cute , a little star in the making and loved the little headband . Rafa could you get any more adorable

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