WHAT'S EATING RAFAEL NADAL?
Nov 30, 2011, 12:41:44 PM | by
¿qué te ocurre? ¿Por qué estás malhumorado últimamente? ¿tienes algún problema? ¡Queremos que vuelva el viejo Rafa! To translate: Hi Rafa. Whats the matter? Why are you looking so grumpy all the time? What’s the...
¿qué te ocurre? ¿Por qué estás malhumorado últimamente? ¿tienes algún problema? ¡Queremos que vuelva el viejo Rafa! To translate: Hi Rafa. Whats the matter? Why are you looking so grumpy all the time? What’s the problem? We want the old Rafa back. You gotta ask, what’s eating Rafael Nadal? Just like that film “What’s eating Gilbert Grape?” It starred Johnny Depp and introduced us to Leonardo di Caprio in the title role which got him an Oscar nomination. The difference is they were acting, Rafa isn’t. He’s been in an unsettled mood for most of the year. Rafa was last in such a state in 2009 and he says it’s nothing like then. That year the poor guy had to endure the break-up of his parent’s marriage and it understandably hit him hard because he is so close to his mother and father. But this year it’s different. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to be on the courts and that’s not like him normally. Nadal is the nicest and most polite person you could hope to meet (and when he loses no sport has an athlete who is more gracious) but the smile is rarely on his face these days. I did blog about this some time ago on We Are Tennis and there was some reaction from you guys, but things have not changed and for the first time I can remember, he admitted that there had been a loss of passion. “Is because of lot of things, because probably I was little bit less passion for the game probably because I was a little bit more tired than usual,” he said. “Very happy with the right attitude to play tennis. That's important because I was in the right way. But to compete I wasn't in the right way. “This end of the year wasn't easy for me. That's hard to accept. But at the same time that's give me little bit more of illusion and little bit more goal for the beginning of 2012. That's what I going to try.” At the ATP World Tour Finals he made it clear that he “didn’t have big expectations” and that is highly unusual. 2011 was a tough year for him. He added: “Accept (things). I know only one way to change situation is to work more, think more about tennis, do everything in the right shape, do everything good inside the court, everything good outside the court. And that's what I going to try to do for the next month and for the rest 12 months of 2012. That's what I can say. That's what I can do. “If one player do better than me or another player is better than me, accept, congratulate the opponent. But what I have to do is try to arrive to my best, to be with calm with myself. That's all.” Is that a reference to Novak Djokovic and the fact that he wasn’t able to break the Serb’s barrier? What do you think, or do you feel there is more to it than that? It was not the same when he lost to Roger Federer because he never had a losing streak to any player as he has endured with Djokovic. Is that what has made him disconsolate and anything else has just added to that? I don’t know. And listening to him you get the feeling he wants to fight his way, almost in a stubborn manner, out of the mental state he appears to be in. Yes he is tired, everyone gets tired, but he has a great life. Yes he has to work damn hard to be where he is and it certainly does not come easy but think of all those other people in other mundane jobs who lift themselves. He has to do the same and maybe the finals of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will be just the tonic he needs. “In your career you have moments here, you have moments here, you come back, you go down,” he said. “The experience says me to change are just small things, but these small thing change at the end of the day a lot of things. That's what I have to do: work hard, working hard every day, morning, afternoon. I going to have my chance for next year to be competitive to win the big tournaments. “My illusion is there. My motivation I hope the same. I will do it. If not enough, is not going to be enough. But I will be satisfied with myself. See you next year.” Let’s hope it is the case because he is too sensational a player and too good a human being to be in such a rut. He needs to find his smile again and his passion because few tennis players have worn their passion on their sleeve like Rafael Nadal. Tennis has been the better for someone like Rafael Nadal.