Rafa Roundup: “I don’t worry about how I am going to win the French Open next year”

Photo via Instagram: @gwladys_dtl
Photo via Instagram: @gwladys_dtl


Nadal, the current world No 8, will use Abu Dhabi once more to fine-tune his game ahead of the new season and, in particular, the Australian Open. The Spaniard is also scheduled to play January’s Australian Open warm-up Brisbane International tournament for the first time.

“I really enjoy the fans, the competition and the atmosphere in the stadium in Abu Dhabi,” Nadal said in a release. “It is the best way to start my season. I’ve enjoyed many years playing in the UAE capital against the other top guys and I’m already looking forward to the next. After playing in Abu Dhabi I went on to play some great matches on the tour at the start of the year and I’ll be hoping for even better this time.

“Strange indeed,” said Paul Annacone, Federer’s former coach. “For a long time, we’ve wondered when this era will end. Maybe this is the start of it. I hope not. Roger and Rafa have been the cornerstones of greatness for so long, it’s shocking to the system when they are not there.

“Federer and Nadal have become global sports icons rather than just tennis stars,” Chris Kermode, the executive chairman and president of the ATP, said in a telephone interview. “And of course there will be a time when their careers will come to an end, and they will be missed. But having said that, no player is bigger than the sport itself, and men’s tennis has had an almost uncanny ability to consistently produce global stars that do transcend the sport. And Roger and Rafa aren’t done yet.

SPIEGEL: It is often said that if you want to be successful you have to set lofty goals.

Nadal: I don’t worry about how I am going to win the French Open next year. I think more in the short term: about my training tomorrow, what I want to achieve there. It is important to recognize the small successes. It is the small steps which bring you satisfaction at the end of the day.

SPIEGEL: You were always considered to be a gladiator on the court, whereas your greatest rival, Roger Federer, was considered an artist. Do you sometimes envy his lightness?

Nadal: Certainly I would like to have some of the qualities of other players and obviously from Roger. But believe me, there are plenty of other abilities that are important, particularly mindset and strength. These are attributes other players would like to have as well.

Not only is the 29-year-old the first Briton to achieve this feat, Murray is the only man who is not Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to reach the top spot in 12 years. So the other members of the Big Four graciously extended their congratulations to Murray on Twitter.

VIDEO: Before being a double Olympic gold medallist, Rafa was a young tennis prospect with many dreams. Check out this interview with the Spanish superstar at age 16 .


  1. Congrats Andy. The only thing missing was the sight of you pointing to your biceps. When I first saw that, I laughed with glee.

    Now, having won the World Tour Finals, AND ending the year as numero uno, Andy can enjoy down-time with family and reflect on his greatest season ever. He can also give the bird to those who dared question his number one status AND its longevity. I hope Rafa was able to catch the match.


  2. You obviously watched a different game to me , and the commentator’s said that Andy had had a few issues with that umpire in the past . Novak had it easy this week compared to Andy . I wish it was Rafa but I’m happy for Andy . Sorry.

  3. Once again, ATP magically makes offers Andy his favorite umpire…..and that umpire has been on many of Andy’s recent matches. This umpire always always calls favorably to Andy… plus, announces the scores throughout the game in a way that favors Andy……..Lets be clear here…if it was Nadal instead of Andy, that subjective umpire would have issued many late serve warnings… here we saw zero time violations issued to Andy when he clearly took his time to catch his breath….then took time to calm his nerves many times…. It is a huge problem because Novak was coming back to try and win 2nd set…and with umpire against him in crucial points made it impossible. I have no idea why such obvious gross subjectivity is being allowed over and over again in important top matches.

  4. Well done to Andy who ended 2016 as Number One ,played great and utterly deserved it . Now just hold on to to it until Rafa decides he wants it back😁

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