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Sunday, November 23, 2008

RAFAEL NADAL'S NORMAL IS APPEALING

WHAT NORMAL LOOKS LIKE

Rafael Nadal had an exceptional year in tennis in 2008. And I love to watch him play because he is unabashed about being excited. Although Rafael is overtly expressive on the court, it is an outgrowth of a point and his feelings at the moment. It is for his sake, not the fans. In that way, it is not showy.

I like Rafa too because he acts kindly and is savy. He is a young 22 years, but has learned how to live in the moment, with joy and focussed.

Online I have learned the types of people in the world. Some are kind. Some are full of hate...

Some don't like Rafa. That is a puzzle to me. Rafa is the epitome of likable to me. And he is normal.

Oftentimes, those who rise to our attention get there because they are not normal.

It is nice to see normal.




























The photo credits: well, I'm not sure, they are some of my favorites and before I started labelling the credits, I collected these photos. I'm guessing Getty and I see one is DPPI. The others - I apologize, I don't know.
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From Rafael Nadal's website homepage:

Rafa wrote to his teammates prior to the Davis Cup Final 2008

Hola a todos.

Quiero mandar este mensaje de apoyo a mis compañeros de equipo que se encuentran en Mar del Plata disputando la final de la Copa Davis. Todos sabeis cuanto me hubiera gustado estar ahi defendiendo los colores de España. Lamentablemente no he podido estar ahi.

He hablado estos dias con mis compañeros y se que estan muy animados y con muchas ganas. Estan sin presion alguna y esto juega a nuestro favor. Tenemos un equipo muy competitivo y sabemos que lo daran todo. Hay que tener confianza y apoyarles.

Muchos animos a todos y Vamos España. ¡¡¡PODEMOS!!!

Rafa.

Google translation:

Hello everybody.

I want to send this message of support to my fellow team members that are located in Mar del Plata disputing the final of the Davis Cup. As you all know I would have liked to be there to defend the colors of Spain. Unfortunately I was unable to be there.

These days I have spoken with my colleagues and they are very lively and very enthusiastic. They are without any pressure and this plays to our advantage. We have a very competitive team and we know that give it everything. We must have confidence and support.

Much encouragement to the team and GO SPAIN! WE CAN!

Rafa.

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November 24, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS CHAMPS!

“I don’t think it’s possible to be any happier. They (the Spanish team) have achieved the impossible. To win in Argentina – who had a great winning streak at home – was without doubt very difficult.

Fernando Verdasco was brilliant. Specially from the 4th set onwards. In the first and 3rd you could tell he was nervous. Feliciano also, has had a great run in the final and let’s not forget Ferrer, whose had a very though last few months, but was also vital for the team.

I 'd like to talk about the four of them who achieved a great feat and we have to enjoy it. I had the chance to do that at from home. I was a bit too nervous, but I enjoyed it”

“Emilio was great at all times. There has been though moments, but right now is not the time to talk about them. (The issues with Pedro Muños, the president).”

“All credit to Emilio who was able to create a great atmosphere and stayed close to the team. I’m only one more player and with their victory they’ve demonstrated how capable they are”

“Let’s not forger Tommy Robreade, and Nico Almagro and all the other people who have contributed to this victory. They sacrificed themselves in Peru and they too should be congratulated for their efforts”

Rafa


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Rafa
Uploaded by suziii24

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Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 2, 2008.

My Sportsman: Rafael Nadal

Taken from sportsillustrated.cnn.com

By Jon Wertheim

In this time of global economic meltdown, the whole "embarrassment of riches" concept doesn't get bandied about much. But consider the landscape in men's tennis. For four years fans were treated to the Roger Federer Era, a golden age during which the Swiss ubermensch won a preposterous 11 of the 16 Grand Slam events he entered, all the while discharging his duties with superlative grace and style. Then, he's succeeded by a player who's not just comparably dominating, but comparably easy to like.

For 2008 Sportsman of the Year, I hereby put forth the candidacy of Spanish swashbuckler, Rafael Nadal. First the cold, rational facts: In 2008 Nadal became the first man since Björn Borg to win on both the clay of the French Open and the grass of Wimbledon, an extraordinary feat of versatility. Nadal beat his rival Federer each of the four times they played this year -- including their positively spellbinding Wimbledon final -- wresting away the No. 1 ranking in the process. He won titles on every surface and clinched Spain's spot in this weekend's Davis Cup final by beating Andy Roddick of the defending champion U.S. squad in September. To date he has won 82 matches this year against just 11 defeats, a Federerian winning percentage of .822.

What's that you say? In 2008 a prerequisite for the Sportsman of the Year consideration ought to be an Olympic gold medal? We almost forgot: Nadal won one of those too, taking the men's tennis event in Beijing.

Now the subjective: Nadal, 22, singlehandedly shatters the tired perception of the tennis player as a pampered, elitist pinhead. With a body that belongs in an NFL backfield (if not a UFC Octagon) he is all muscle, both bulk and fast-twitch, and, accordingly, his game is a devastating mix of power and speed. He doesn't stroke the ball so much as he pummels it, unfurling a lefty game that simply has no precedent. Yet his real strength is the mental variety. Nadal is that rare athlete whose game moves in lockstep to the stakes. In the fifth set of that episodic Wimbledon final, as darkness enveloped the court, it was Nadal who hit the biggest shots. ¿Como se dice: refuse to lose?

Just as important, Rafa, drawing on Federer's example, is good people. He competes honestly. He treats his colleagues with respect and humility. His next on-court tantrum will be his first. When he's off the tennis caravan he lives on the island of Mallorca with his folks and tools around in a Kia. In Beijing, while Federer lodged at a luxury hotel, Nadal stayed in the Olympic Village and was spotted lugging his dirty clothes to the laundry facility. "I don't think of myself as any better than anyone else," he said. "Why should I, because I can hit a tennis ball over a net well?"

For all of his populist sensibilities, Nadal, my SOY for 2008, still managed to inhabit rarefied air.

By Jon Wertheim


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2 Comments:

At November 23, 2008 at 9:36:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
I love your blog and read it daily. I am a longtime "Rafa fan" since 2004. What you have written about Rafa is so true....watching him compete is pure joy, excitement and nerves. He has true passion.....he lays his passion on the court for all to absorb and feel.....to live along with him! Wimbledon...ah....I felt like I was bleeding passion and cheating death all at the same time. That's what it is to watch Rafa play....a life and death experience.
Now with the 2009 season fast approaching, I wish Rafa good health and renewed passion for the new season. As you say, he is so wonderfully "normal". I think that's what his fans love so much about him!
And of course, Bravo Espania for the fabulous DC win today.....I knew they could do it....this is Spain's "magic year"!
Nance

 
At November 23, 2008 at 10:29:00 PM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Nance,

I appreciate you reading my blog.

Yes, Rafa lets us feel so human - and though it appears so natural for Rafa to be himself, it takes little experience to realize it is an exception to be so normal.

I like the way you put the experience of watching Rafa play his sport of tennis: bleeding passion and cheating death all at the same time.

 

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