Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Rafa Loses in Rome

by Savannah

Exhibit A

I think that trumps a sore throat no? We fans know he won't use it as an excuse but seeing how badly blistered his foot was and knowing he still took the court just increases my admiration for him. This will allow him, and us, to criticize that ridiculous schedule ET and his posse came up with for the clay season.



Helen W said...

From ESPN:

The blister began bothering Nadal on Sunday, when he won the Barcelona Open.

"Today when I woke up, I said it was impossible to play," Nadal said. "I spoke to the doctor today and yesterday, and they put special protection on it and cream, but it was still tough."

Get well soon Rafito!

Savannah said...

I first heard the rumor on Sunday and was in waiting mode to see what happened.

He does need to rest.

Helen W said...

Here's a great article by Richard Evans at Tennis Week where he stresses the ATP's culpability in all this.

Did you realize that he was planning to play both singles and doubles at Hamburg? I really hope he decides to give it a miss. That foot needs some time to heal.

Vamos, Rafa!

oddman said...

Thanks for the great article, helen w. What a fab interview Rafa gave - credits his opponent, respects him so much, and doesn't want to grumble after a loss. One classy dude, IMO.
Are any of the TD's and ATP head honchos listening to any of this? Hello out there!

oddman said...

And kudos to Ferrero too, he showed Rafa some respect as well. Would love to see Juan Carlos go deep in this tourney. Finals maybe?

Craig Hickman said...

I still don't know why Rafa played doubles in Monte-Carlo with such a vigorous title-defending, ranking-defending schedule coming up.

I'm all for blaming the powers that be when they deserve blame, but players have to be a bit more responsible in their own scheduling.

Those blisters look beyond terrible. He may have to skip Hamburg as well.

tangerine said...

What a win for JCF I am so happy for him. I am sad for Rafa too but glad that he's now forced to rest up. Hopefully he'll pull out of Hamburg too. He is right about the crazy clay scheduling and now Hamburg runs the risk of losing their top players. The ATP will use it as leverage to downgrade them. Personally, Hamburg is my least favorite clay tournament and I wouldn't be terribly sad to see it dropped from the calendar.

Helen W said...

I'd love to see the Hamburg tournament be on grass instead of clay (maybe move to Halle), and keep its Masters Series standing.

Craig, I agree with you that Rafa made some doubtful scheduling decisions, particularly playing doubles at MC. But I still think that the ATP is wrong to telescope the major clay court tournaments the way it has this year.

oddman said...

Craig, he said his doubles play helps him adjust to the new surface after coming from hardcourts. He doesn't automatically feel at home on the clay, and said with the tight scheduling, he didn't get much time to practice on clay. Another reason cited was he wants to be on the Olympic team in doubles with Robredo, so was probably showing Spanish Olympic honchos that they would be a good choice. Kinda caught between a rock and a hard place, no? We all know the majority of ranking points for Rafa come on clay. Longterm? Maybe this will get him thinking about what peytonallen suggested a few posts ago (getting some alternate coaching on how to play more aggressive on the HC). Come 2009 he'll have to look at that IAC.
Me, I think he would have dumped Hamburg at any rate, this gives that ugly foot some more healing time.

oddman said...

I meant he would have dumped Hamburg had he gone farther in Rome. Now I don't know what Rafa might do. Is Superman losing his stuff? I hope not.

tristann said...

Like other Rafa fans, I am very, very dissapointed at his loss to JCF. Congratulations first of all to Juan Carlos.

I am furious at the ATP and their scheduling fiasco and their refusal to take into account the players wellbeing. While it affected Rafa the most, since he had so many points to defend and went to the finals of all these tournaments last year, it also affects other players who go deep, and I think we will see the effects by the time RG rolls around.

With that said, I must agree with Craig regarding Rafa and his camp. Once it was obvious that the ATP would not back down, he should have retooled his schedule in order to salvage as many points as he could, while minimizing risk of injury. What most baffles me is why he was even playing yesterday. He has stated that he could only put his foot down at an angle. For someone who has had so many feet and knee problems, who the hell in his camp thought it was a good idea for him to go out there yesterday?! He was risking an injury much worse than blisters.

In this instance, I feel that Rafa has allowed his anger at the ATP to cloud his judgement. Rafa does not do anger well, few players do. He had every right to vent at the ATP, but once that was done, he should have moved on and made the necessary decisions to salvage the clay season, maximizing points, but minimizing chance of injuries.

I love this guy to death and wish him the best. Rest up Rafa, and come back firing, kiddo.

(Sorry for the long post, and thanks for the space, Craig)

Craig Hickman said...

I don't mind long posts. Keep them coming!!!

Rafa doesn't need to always be the hero. He needs to prioritize his health over his image.

And I'm not suggesting he's fake. It's clear to me that he's a genuinely decent man.

But he's still a Gemini and he's got some serious dualisms to work out.

tristann said...

Funny how shortly after my post, Pete Bodo put one up arguing that Rafa's 'air of negativity' is hurting him. While, as I mentioned, I think the anger has made him lose focus, there is still the issue of the ATPs actions, which Bodo does not bother addressing. I think Rafa needs to let it go for his own sake, but I am disappointed at how the journalists covering tennis are so easily allowing the ATP off the hook. Oh well, it shouldn't surprise me, we've seen it before.

Helen W said...

In this blog article blog article at Asad Raza observes that Rafa "...visibly progressed from despondence to complaint (about his injury) to anger (at the schedule) to acceptance during the press conference."

In general I think that Rafa is a player who is unusually good at shaking off adversity.

IAC I hope that Rafa focuses on the importance of the FO (& Wimbledon) and does not risk either of those tournaments by getting back to the circuit prematurely.

Cate said...

Rafa's still young. Of course he deals with disappointment and frustrations in a different way than the older players. But still, you got to give it to him - he didn't retire even if he was in pain.

Helen W said...

cate I think he dealt with his loss extremely well. The presser takes place shortly after the end of the match. Even as it progressed, he had come to terms with his disappointment, and after the presser he was signing autographs for fans. He really an is amazing young man.