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

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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 .

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

  1. Margo

    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.

    RAFA ROCKS

    Like

  2. Maria (England)

    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.

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  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.

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  4. Maria (England)

    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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  5. Margo

    I hope Andy dwells on the fact that he has an eternal membership in the most exclusive club in the tennis world: World Number One, along with his friend Rafa and others. So few can claim this title.
    GAME ON, ANDY!

    RAFA ROCKS

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  6. Maria (England)

    Oh Rafa I so hope your friend Andy can pull something special out of the bag tomorrow or else I think he might go down in history for being number one for the shortest time ever. 😣

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  7. Margo

    This year’s ATP World Tour Finals final is history in the making. Wish I were there watching Rafa.

    Tomorrow (Sunday), , whoever wins the World Tour Finals title, will also end the year as numero uno. This year is the first time that both numbers one and two are vying for the double win. Andy, get your game face on. Bonne chance!

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  8. We can only wish the best of luck to Rafa for 2017. No matter what he achieves or does not achieve we know he will have tried his very best. How can we ask for more? Whatever happens his true fans will stand by him. It is only those who enjoyed living in his reflected glory during his years at the top who make negative comments about him now. They condemn, they criticise, they show no understanding that his lack of confidence stemmed from a fear of further injury. They make it seem like a crime whenever he is defeated or even whenever he expresses hope for the future. The best thing these people can do is find another player in whose reflected glory they can live in order to boost their egos.

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    1. Jaybeer

      Beverley Budnichenko unfortunately you are wrong when you state “we know he will have tried his very best”. That is the big elephant in the room here. For three years and counting Nadal refuses to do what needs to be done. And that is to friggin’ man up and hire a new coach.

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      1. Jaybeer, I see the elephant in the room as injuries.
        . Over the past few years whenever Rafa gets his game back together again he is sidelined by another injury. This also resulted in his fear of injuries last year when he had loss of confidence issues.
        A new coach cannot give him a new body and that same body has taken such a pounding during his entire career because of the fact that he has always tried. his very best.
        Since it is very unlikely that Rafa will make changes to his coaching staff there must be other players you may enjoy following who have coaches of whom you approve.
        I assure you I am not being sarcastic here, Just making an observation as you are obviously not at all happy with Rafa and his decisions over recent years.

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      2. Jaybeer

        Beverley the injury excuse does not fly anymore. I wish it did. If we count the mental state of panic as an injury, then it does fly.
        Three years of downward spiral. There are plenty of injury free spells in those years, where Rafa had dramatic, weak performances. Examples: Aus 15, RG 15, Wimbledon 15 (yes, he is the only top player who falls for browns tricks, and even twice!), Us open 15, aus 16, us open 16. These were injury free, weak performances. No other big 4 has made such a downfall. And the truth is, there are no signs of a bounce back. Pulling out of the rest of this season is telling us a lot. Rafa is not injured, the wrist was fine for months already.

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  9. Ola dear Rafa…….forgot to mention by the way, our 16 years old son Natanel is a soccer player , and last night he was awarded by his Varsity Soccer coach The Dual County “ALL STAR” award for Athletics Excellence Academics…. much of Natanel’s inspiration and work ethics he learned from watching you! You have been an exceptional role model to him…. and like you he is most humble and respectful kid, was born with athletic talent, and his passion for Soccer and discipline over the years has earned him lots of fun!!!! : ) His Varsity Soccer coach presented him also with a certificate for his great performance and contribution to the High School Boys Soccer. SO VAMOS for all your goodness dear Rafa and for your solid inspiration to Natanel and many other young men! Muchas Gracias and KUDOS!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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      1. Makes us feel good to actually see Rafa’s influence on others and we trust Rafa’s Academy will bring out many accomplished players!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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  10. OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Very happy to read your wisdom knowing you have many fine qualities other players will wish to have. Your Sportsmanship on the court during each match is second to none!!!!!!!! : ) Tennis fans and many awesome sponsors and companies adore you because you are “IT” in TENNIS and SPORTS in general !!!!! : ) You are passionate and kind… exceptionally humble as well and we love that about you!!!!! You are Tennis fans’ most favorite earning you most popular Tennis player ever…..and for many good reasons!!! : ) Brilliant tenacity , hard work ethics, respectful, loyal, and mighty classy player !!!!!! : ) We love you sweetheart !!!!! : ) All best wishes with your beautiful Rafa Academy and we look forward to seeing your matches LIVE !!!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness and enjoy everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )
    ps: love your great photograph included here with your gray t shirt and dark sunglasses…. : )

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    1. jaybeer, I don’t intend to argue with you any further re. Rafa’ as it is a pointless exercise. As Margo says you never have a nice word for Rafa. You obviously enjoy all this negativity and to add to it all you now have medical knowledge of the condition of his wrist which you declared to be fine in an earlier post. !!!
      If, at any time you have something nice to say about Rafa, it might be better if i don’t see it as my 82 year old heart may not stand the shock.!!

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      1. Margo

        Ooohhh no! Can’t have a great Rafa fan, such as yourself, being placed in such a “shocking” position.
        IF, if it does happen, just read very slowly so as not to shock your system. Good luck and luv the humor.

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      2. Margo

        It is the incessant berating of Rafa that is so galling.

        I cannot imagine the heartache, and in some instances the possible terror, that an athlete who has been sidelined by injury must go through. As an athlete, Rafa has been through the very highs of winning, and the deepest despair of losing. If his body permits, he will rise again.

        RAFA ROCKS

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  11. Sharina Blevins

    Wishing the best for Rafa in 2017. May this be another comeback year for him stifling all the naysayers to the side of the court. Vamos Rafa you’re totally awesome!!!!!!

    🙂

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  12. Connie

    Rafa knows his body and himself best, the tennis world miss him terribly as along with Roger they, are among the rest bringing in the crowds and with that excitement that of this wonderful game tennis. Wish him all the very best for 2017 as always. 🎾👑

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  13. Elaine Crowder

    Rafa one step at a time is the way to go.

    I thoroughly agree with you on this.

    ALL the best for your next tournament.

    Here in Australia, God wlling I will see you in Sydney, and Melbourne.

    i am VERY blessed to be able to go to those.

    Love and prayers,

    AlaineXXSydneyXXAustraliaXX

    Like

  14. Elizabeth Howard

    End of year tennis in London is so dull with R and R. Going there on Thursday and Friday but not with great enthuasism. Wishing Rafa a great return to tennis, always our champion and role model.

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  15. Domi

    Rafa that is the correct expectation to set for now. Glad to hear you say that. No such do-or-die kind of stress about the FO next year please. Only the next tournament matters and everything will eventually come together for you.

    Scoreboard sometimes does lie – despite the injury you were playing great this year although not at your best level. Please do remember your record is 40-14 for the year. So you still had a pretty solid year and most importantly, the precious gold medal!!! When I reflect back I am proud of you Rafa and I hope you feel the same way!

    Rest well and best of luck for the first tournament back on the tour! I originally said see you in 2017 but you have to rush to come back in 2016… What can I say? 🙂

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  16. Melissa Brown

    I’m waiting for your lime light to shine on you yet once again Rafa. As each day draws nearer the more excited and anxious I get .
    Your are my #1 Tennis player and a person I deeply admire you on every aspect. Not to mention how extremely handsome you are. And the new hair cut, well that just makes you look a lot Sexier. ( Not that you weren’t already) . I look forward to seeing you back out on the courts . The greatest of best wishes and fulfilment to you and your game. And last but not least ! I Love You ….Vamos!😚😚😉🎾😆

    Like

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