Rafa Roundup: Nadal is the LeBron James of tennis!

Photo by Chicco Nacion | @cbcsports

Grand Slam champions Serena Williams (USA) and Rafael Nadal (ESP) will star at A Day at the Drive, the official curtain raiser to the Australian summer of tennis in 2021.

The one-off event will be held at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre in Adelaide on Friday 29 January and will feature a total of eight players.

Williams and Nadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic (SRB), Dominic Thiem (AUT), Simona Halep (ROU) and Naomi Osaka (JPN), with further player announcements to be revealed in due course.

Likewise Jordan, James and Bryant are legends of their sport, and basketball fan Berrettini has drawn comparisons between the trios.

“The LeBron James of tennis? Nadal, in terms of physicality and why they both exploded [onto the scene] very young,” he told La Stampa.

“I would compare Federer to Michael Jordan. Djokovic reminds me of Kobe Bryant, for how he remains cold in difficult situations.”

“Ask me to pick between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and I just can’t do it,” Jenson Button added. “They are both just unbelievable sportsmen and we have been privileged to watch them down the years.

“It feels like they have been there forever and it is two decades that we have all been watching them. To see them so competitive at this stage of their careers is just amazing.

“When they both reach a final of a tournament, there is such great respect between them and it is a real thrill to see them go at it, given the history they have.”

According to coach Moya, though, there was simply no stopping Nadal that day.

“When they come to tell us that the final will be played indoors, we wonder how we’re going to announce that to Rafa,” Moya explained.

“Fifteen minutes from the match, Francisco Roig told him so.

“And there, Rafa’s response was: “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to win this match.” Rafa had never said such a thing to me before a match!

“He knew he wouldn’t fail. Nadal is such a humble person. It wasn’t arrogance; it was a feeling of confidence, of security.”

VIDEO: Rafa Nadal practices with Roberto Bautista Agust in Mallorca

23 comments

  1. It a shame Carlos Moya won’t be there in Australia, but his reason is understandable.

    It’s been confirmed that Jannik Sinner will be joining Rafa in Adelaide after all, despite Rafa picking Marc Lopez as his training partner. Jannik trained with Rafa in Melbourne a year ago and may well get the opportunity to play in an exhibition match in Adelaide.

  2. Big news from Carlos Moya. He has decided not to travel to Australia this year opting instead to stay home with his family due to the pandemic.

    He will be missed there I’m sure but undoubtedly he will be in close touch virtually with team Rafa.

  3. Sebastian Korda, who says Rafa is his biggest idol, one of the reasons he plays tennis, and he even named his cat “Rafa”, defeated John Isner to reach his first ATP semifinal 👏
    Good luck against Cameron Norris tonight 🍀

    From: AP NEWS

    • Yes best of luck to Sebi tonight. Really liking this young man so far. He’s making me rethink my intention to stop following tennis after Rafa’s retirement. Hoping he keeps going with his upward trajectory.

  4. Team Spain will be captained by RBA’s coach, Pepe Vendrell at the ATP CUP.

    On a somber note, Juan Martin Del Potro lost his dad to a heart condition. He was only 63-years-old. Rafa has sent his condolences as have others. It was Juan’s dream to have his dad cheering for him in competition.

    • Very sad news about Juan Martin’s dad. RIP. I wish JM all the very best and I’m sure he’ll will try to summon the strength and determination to get back on court, when the time is right, for himself and his dad.

  5. Due to the change in venue Rafa will reportedly be taking Marc Lopez with him to Australia to be his hitting partner.
    Source: Marca

    • Pauline, that’s wonderful news.

      Your mention of Marc Lopez made me wonder why he wasn’t on the team or why I haven’t seen him in competition.

      I was surprised to learn that he had been suffering from stress and anxiety. Only recently did he decide to come out publicly because it’s something he feels is not being addressed within the tennis community.

      The good news is that he is doing much better now and plans to return to the circuit this year.

      Wishing him all the best.

      • Margo,
        There seems to be some confusion as some Italian media are saying that Sinner is going to Adelaide and will be Rafa’s hitting partner after all.

        Will have to check photos online to see if Marc in fact is travelling with Rafa.

        Sorry to hear about his condition but kudos to him for shining a light on the problem.

      • Pauline, Marc is going to play the Australian Open so maybe Rafa will get to practice with both of them. It’s possible also that Marc will be extra support for Rafa. All’s good.

      • Pauline, the French and Spanish articles have Marc and Pablo traveling together from Doha to Australia to meet up with Rafa. Yes, initially Sinner was to practice with Rafa during the two-week quarantine.

        Maybe it was a late decision by Marc and Pablo to play doubles that changed the course of events.

        Whatever the final outcome is I just hope all players get the practice they need.

  6. That smile of Rafa’s is so heartening. I just love his confidence and dogged determination not to leave Philippe Chatrier without the trophy. I’m hoping he employs the same mindest at the AO and leaves the Rod Laver Arena as champion.

  7. No, to me – Rafa is the equivalent of Michael Jordan. They both have the strength of will and determination to turn the tables around against an opponent, even when the chips are down!

    Insofar as character is concerned, humility is the order of the day for both Nadal and Jordan. Michael was humble and therefore, great. Rafa continues to be humble and will be considered great, by the time he hangs up his racquet and call it a day.

    Ask Phil Jackson, Toni Nadal and now, Carlos Moya. They all know that their wards are simply ‘freaks of nature’ in their respective sports. They’ve seen each of them up close and personal and they will tell you.

    Steffi Graf and André Agassi have written recently somewhere….. it’s not even the numbers game, referring to the GOAT debate. To them, Rafa’s got it, even before he’s driven the shot with incredible RPMs, for an unreturnable or a winner – for the very last time.

    It will be a bittersweet moment for me.

  8. RG #13, the best of 2020! I watched the first set again during cycling two days ago, still ❤️ it so much 😉

    Rafa and RBA 💪💪

Leave a Reply to Margo Cancel reply