Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal receives a Lego artwork from one of his fans

Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images


“What I find extraordinary about Rafa is that he has always been a player, with his entourage, [who is] extremely polite,” Clement said. “He always comes to say hello, he comes to shake hands as he wins Grand Slams, tournaments every week, Masters 1000 all the time. I don’t remember where it was, the day after one of his big victories, we were in the hotel lobby and then he sees me, our eyes meet, I make him a small gesture to greet him and then he crosses the whole hall to shake my hand.

“In a regular situation he might be ready to play Madrid, but is Madrid the perfect place for Rafa to come back? Knowing that it’s the altitude and that through the clay-court season, that was the place that he usually felt a little bit more uncomfortable because he’s got so much power and he doesn’t control the ball as much as he likes, he’s got some opponents that hurt him in Madrid that usually don’t do [so] in a sea-level place.

“So is he going to be ready for Madrid? Maybe he is ready, but I’m not so sure that it will be his pick to get back in Madrid. If he’s healthy, probably he will go, but I think he will need to think what is best for him in order to be perfect for Roland Garros because [whilst] it would be great if he can be in Madrid and it would be unbelievable if he can be in Rome, he can’t hide that his main goal is to be perfect for Paris.

“But Rafa for sure he inspired me a lot. I had a lot of fun watching him play on TV. Basically, his mental strength is the main thing I wanted to take from him. I wanted to play topspin like him, too. He is the reason why I play like this. Rafa has always been my idol. I have pretty sad memories of Roland Garros last year because I was crying when Rafa lost against Novak.

“But two years ago, I was watching the final. I had the trophy photoshoot [after she won the women’s title]. I was wearing this really nice long dress and went to see the final [Nadal-Djokovic] like this. It was nice because I didn’t get the chance to see Rafa play so often. I wanted to use that occasion.”

Social media related to Rafa:

Rafa practices with his cousin Joan


  1. Rublev bageled Djokovic in the third set of the Belgrade final after winning the second set in a tie break. I didn’t watch it but apparently no injury involved. Just didn’t have it.

    • Wow dismal start for ND! David have you been watching Carlos Alcaraz? Just watched him win Barcelona! What do you think of him? Looks to me like he is going to be Spain’s next superstar! However you just never know…I thought Thiem was for sure the next superstar but he just fizzled out! I believe Rafa is playing Madrid so something to look forward to! No Pizzazz in tennis ( for me) without Rafa!

      • Ziggy I think Carlos Alcaraz is the real deal. I don’t think there are many on tour right now that can beat him. Rafa can beat him as he did at Indian Wells but only if he is in top form. As of now I will be hoping that Carlos ends up on the other side of the draw at each tournament they both enter.

    • Rublev simply outplayed Djokovic in the 3rd set who ran out of steam once again. Ironically, the last man to bagel Djokovic prior to yesterday’s match was none other than Nadal himself. In fact, Nadal has twice dished out bagels to Djokovic in 2019 (Italian Open) and in 2020 (Roland Garros), and remains the only player to have bageled Djokovic twice. Federer did it once to Djokovic in Cincinnati Masters in 2012. On the other hand, Djokovic is yet to hand over any bagels to either Nadal or Federer.

      Dishing out bagels to one another among the Big-3 should also be one of the (minor) criteria for the GOAT debate.

      As for the ranking, Djokovic is set to lose his #1 ranking to Medvedev on 16th May if he (Djokovic) doesn’t accumulate a total of at least 680 points in Madrid and Rome – this is when Medvedev doesn’t even play any tournaments prior to Roland Garros. By performing well in Madrid, Rome and in Roland Garros, Nadal has a great chance to regain #1 ranking on 6th June.

  2. Love that Iga Swiateg loves Rafa and roots against Novak .
    Rafa should play Madrid if he is feeling fully recovered as the warmups for
    Roland Garros are necessary .

  3. Good luck, Rafa. Hope you are feeling healthy and confident.👏💪🤛👍what patience to assemble
    a Lego portrait.🎾🍀❤️

  4. Arnaud Clement – watched him win, was it the final one year against a fellow Frenchman, name escapes me now.

    Love the photo with Sharapova. And I felt the same way as Iga Swiatek.

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