What’s up with Rafael Nadal? Have you guys who have been watching the great Spaniard over the last eight or so months noticed there seems to be bit of a change in his personality? I’ve sort of noticed something...
What’s up with Rafael Nadal? Have you guys who have been watching the great Spaniard over the last eight or so months noticed there seems to be bit of a change in his personality? I’ve sort of noticed something different and what comes across to me is almost an unhappy face. Rafa remains one of the nicest tennis players you can hope to meet. He gives it all he has got on the tennis court and that is all anyone can ask of him but I just feel the smile has left him. He doesn’t appear to be relaxed anymore and it seems like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Often it seems there is a scowl on his face and that’s not what Rafa used to have. Rafa keeps telling those of us who see him frequently at tournaments that he is tired and there are occasions on a tennis court where he looks angry. I am not for one minute suggesting he has fallen out of love with tennis, not at all, but I, and all his fans, would love to see that smile flash across his face more often. We would like to hear him again have a bit of fun at his own expense, but it seems like the element of innocence he had has gone away. It is a difficult situation for him because he does play a lot and he is in such huge demand and he does not want to say “no” to events that he doesn’t have to play. It is very commendable that he is trying to give back; I wish more players were like that. He has played 20 events in the last 12 months, one more than Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer but four less than fellow top tenners Gael Monfils and Tomas Berdych. Still with Rafa, unlike Monfils and Berdych, eight times out of ten he is playing the entire week because he is invariably in the semis or final of an event. There are two other things that come to mind as to why he is looking grumpy. He says the dates for Davis Cup are all wrong and while he loves to play for his country he finds the schedule is becoming tougher. Nadal says to have a Davis Cup tie the week immediately after a Grand Slam is too difficult. On this score Rafa needs to search his memory. He will then realise that he was one of the 18 top 20 players (exceptions were Lleyton Hewitt and Tommy Robredo) who signed a petition to have the dates for Davis Cup changed. And changed to when? Answer: The week after a Grand Slam. He was one who asked for that so who do you blame then? The second aspect is the phenomenal rise of Novak Djokovic this year. I just also wonder if Rafa felt he was going to stay at No.1 for all of 2011. Never will I suggest he expected it because all the guys at the top are amazing, but maybe he felt that as he had toppled Federer, who had maintained his place there for so long that now it was his turn to enjoy the view for a longer period. Wouldn’t you know it, the Serb spoilt the party, but not only did he spoil the Nadal No.1 party; he has also had Nadal’s number on the court. Nadal has lost to him the last six times. He has not beaten Djokovic for 12 months and that has got to be infuriating and you can, on occasions, just slightly see that manifesting itself on court. So what do you think and feel about Rafa? How does he look to you? Do you think he doesn’t look happy with things? Message us at We Are Tennis.