Friday, 18 April 2014

Au revoir Rafa ...

Shall I go away again and take my predictions with me?

I didn't watch the match live as it's a holiday over here, but when I got in my car to come home and checked on the score, I was greeted with a text that simply said ...

"What a crock of shit."

So I obviously knew what had happened.

I still haven't brought myself to watch it, and I don't know whether I will. It is, however, as I was saying the other day. I think Rafa has both squeaked and stormed his way through matches in the last 3 clay court seasons. And last year in the quarters at both Madrid and Rome with Daveed winning the first set, he could very well have taken either of those matches ... but he didn't. But today ... he did. Is it really so surprising? Well, do you know what?  I don't think so.  Rafa got away with that Dimitrov match in Monte Carlo last year and he got away with the Gulbis match in Rome. And now I've typed it, it is of course a bit of a dis-service to say "got away with" when referring to Rafa because that's just him being the great player he is and actually finding a way.  But sometimes, he just doesn't.

Doe it hurt to think he's lost his first clay court match to Ferrer in what? 10 years?  Yes it does. And I'm sad that for the first time for as long as I can remember, he's not made the weekend at Monte Carlo and sad even more so for my friends who are there now.  I wish I could quell those voices in his head and put a stop to all that nonsense that [fill in the blanks] is better than him.  I wish in some way he did have some channelled on-court arrogance even when he may not be feeling it.

But I think there was always going to be twists and turns this clay court season - I said there would be some lows, and sadly Rafa is having one at one of his favourite tournaments.  But what I hope for him now is a nice run of play at Barcelona and then we're really into the business end of the clay court season.

Hard luck Rafa.  See you in Barcelona.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

300 not out ...

Aah ... wasn't it beautiful today at Monte Carlo? The sun was shining, you could hear the motor boats whirring, the azure Mediterranean was glinting ... le sigh.  I know Indian Wells looks totally fabulous, but is there a more beautiful court in the whole wide world than Court Central at the Monte Carlo Club?  Not for me.  And a little jewel in azure glistened today on that lovely court as well.

His physique is once again prime, like a middle-weight boxer.  Those cheekbones ... wow, you could ski off them.  Oh hang on a minute, you want to know what I thought about the match? Curse that fangirl within me.  *winks*

He played pretty damn well.  Had a little battle on his hands to play his way through one of his service games in the first set, took a total dip in concentration at 4-2 and serving in the second with 3 wayward shots hit just that bit long and a double fault.  But then Seppi just completely threw away his own serve leaving Rafa to then take the match on his own.  All in all though, whilst Seppi doesn't have those big, hard hit bombs that so many other zzzzzzzzzzzz journeymen have and his whole game is centred around playing from the back of the court which he clearly cannot match Rafa with ... I'm still kind of glad that Rafa has so far played half decent players.  I totally admit that through being at work I've only actually watched Rafa's matches far this tournament.  I mean, why would I subject myself to Smugly-Ashol for goodness sake, and as for the PoD ... who exactly has he played yet?  Never even heard of 'em!  LOL  I'm sure [journalist] Carole Bouchard will be able to tell us what absolute geniuses of the court they are and that the PoD's superlative play just blew them away.  And that the PoD will win this tournament, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome the French Open and Best Haircut of Year - he is the ITF No. 1 after all.  #yawn

But of course, Rafa faces a genuine tough match tomorrow against David Ferrer.  OK ... I barely even want to type what I'm about to say for fear of the jinx and Lordy Lord ... I can't help feeling that there's going to come a point from now and in Rafa's future career on clay where he's not going to make it to the weekend and yadda, yadda, yadda.  But may God strike me down and I curse myself with an infestation of a thousand cockroaches ... but my gut is telling me that Rafa is going to come through tomorrow.

I believe that David is playing well, but not that I've been watching.  That he's recovered from injury/loss of form/strike one of the above because again, as much as I like David as a person, his tennis leaves me cold ... so I don't write with any actual knowledge.  It's just that the clay and court at Monte Carlo seems to suit Rafa so well.  That today, as much as watching his forehand is akin to Prada revealing the new season's latest handbag, I was happy to see Rafa's backhand being really solid and in good use today.  He didn't hit winners from it, but he was solid and confident in it ... and that's what I like to see.  So I think he's going to get through.  Eeek!!

So let's go back to today being Rafa's 300th victory on clay.  On Sky Sports in the UK, they keep putting this table up with Guillermo Villas leading with tournament victories and some such thing ... I lose track, Sky Sports bore me to tears half the time.  And it seems that Peter Fleming said some controversial things about Bjorn Borg being the greatest and stuff.  Well, Fleming champions the time he comes from, but unlike so many of the commies on that station, he's pretty damn fair to Rafa and I like him.  I did hear him make the comment that regardless of what the statistics tell us, Vilas wasn't fit enough to lace Borg's shoes and if Vilas wasn't even the greatest of his own era, than regardless of whatever his statistics are, he cannot be spoken of in the same breath as Rafa and Borg.  And when you think about it, Rafa may have been to South America in his earlier career and of course he went there purposefully last year after his long injury lay out, but he still only has these 5 opportunities every season to rack up his own set of statistics, and that's playing against the very best of his own era.  Amazing really.

Anyhow ... I've no idea why I went off on that tangent as it's time for bed.  And I'll be on my knees saying 1,793 Hail Marys as the *anti-jinx* for what I said earlier.

Till tomorrow peeps ... let's hope we find each other #happeeeeeee  Eek!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Bish, Bash ... Rafa defeats Gabashvili

Well, what do I say to that match? Rafa was made to serve first, he lost it, he had no length, the pocket depth on his shorts didn't seem long enough either and it was an early warning for a time violation that seemed to spin him into action. I thought he played beautiful tennis to break back to level at 3-3 in the first set and then to lead 4-3, and perhaps the toilet break he needed at the end of the first set spurred him on to win it.

But Gabashvili did what all his kind of players do against Rafa ... just batter the hell out of the ball and hope.  Not today, sunshine.  

In fact the major talking point of the match was Pascal Maria.  I mean for God's sake Rafa, speed up your routine, but then again I can't get excited about an average of him being 2 seconds over the allocated 25.  2 seconds ... it's just beyond pathetic now.  What advantage can be gained or what can anyone seriously do in 2 seconds?  Well ... I can hanker to the men of my past over that one - if you catch my drift - and Maria is just as big a plonker.  Break point down and he chooses that moment to give another violation and Rafa loses a first serve.  For once, even the the Sky commies were rolling their eyes at the ridiculousness of it all and intimating it was more about Maria flexing his muscles than a truly needed second warning at that particular point in the match.

The thing is - as always when Rafa gets mad -*takes time to ponder over that thought and sighs*  -it's his opponent that's made to suffer, and Rafa blitzed through to take the match 6-1 in the second.

I just love seeing him on the clay though.  I love his movement and his shot making and the time he seems to have to get to the ball.  Lovely.  And lets hope for a steady progression and steady improvement ... and lovely Mo in the umpire's chair. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Clayman Cometh ...

Hello!  *waves*

Can you believe that we're now in the middle of April and the tennis tour is in Europe for the clay season??  No, me neither.  I must admit that due to the time difference, I didn't see anything of Rafa in South America, but facing match points, a sluggish final display and a tournament withdrawal kind of gave you an idea of where he was at physically then.

Indian Wells perhaps showed again just how vulnerable Rafa can be with an immediate change of surface.  Poor Larry.  How gutting for him to be left alone at his own tournament and subjected to the Gruesome Twosome of Smugly and the Prince of Darkness.  More disappointing to me than Rafa's exit was the lame way in which the PoD managed to win the title, and then with what happened in Miami, this momentum shift in his direction has perturbed me somewhat.

I thought that in Miami, Rafa started like the rocket that blew his way through last year's US hardcourt season. His first two matches were a joy to behold, where you think to yourself that he only plays that aggressively when he's confident and trusts his body and his game - and how super is it to be able to sit calmly back and watch him bulldoze his opponents?  But then Raonic came along, and he slipped back into his negative style of standing on the back board because he was a facing a big, fast server ... and all of his tennis turned on a sixpence.  Does Toni being back in the stands emit the negativity and passive tactics?  Do those voices in Rafa's head continue to tell him that everyone is better than him, that anyone can beat him, that only if he is playing his very best tennis (and then some) does he ever have even the remotest of chances of winning, of beating Djokovic?

Because if I'm being truthful, for however well the PoD played in Miami, I was pretty disappointed in Rafa's tactics in the final.  It was a back paddle to 2011 and like he'd never operated such effective play to see him to the victories he enjoyed post AO-2012.  Why?  Why so negative, why no confidence?  Was his body still not up to the task that day?  Henyways ... if it was one of those matches, I could shrug it off.  But it was one of those matches that followed one of those matches that Djokovic shouldn't have won (if you get my drift) ... and now here we have him going into the clay season with a head of steam winning 2 consecutive Masters titles when he hadn't had a sniff all season ... and beating Rafa and Smugly to boot. All I can say is that I'm glad Becker has been seen in Monte Carlo ... 

And so to the clay.

There were some staggering stats released the other week regarding Rafa's record on the surface which I'm sure you've seen on the forums and Twitter.  They are amazing, but I don't feel that sometimes they reflect the true story - like statistics sometimes fail to do.  They almost compound the view that all he has to do is turn up on the clay and the titles are his.  In 2010 at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, Andy Murray told my pal Denz that "the clay season is Rafa's to lose" ... and I always found that such a defeatist attitude - dismissive even - because it doesn't reflect what bloody hard work it actually is and has been for him to rack up those record breaking stats.

Because if I'm honest, I feel that Rafa has almost squeaked his way through the tournaments at times in the past 3 years. Squeaked and stormed his way through matches, in some less than equal measures.  Now I don't don't want to be alarmist ... but think about it.  No PoD at Monte Carlo in 2011 and the losses at Madrid and Rome.  Then the PoD being taken out at the French Open and Rafa making strange comments to the media about feeling like he's a 100 years old - that after being 2 sets to 0 down against Isner in his opening match.  A great display in MC in 2012, being taken to the edge by Ferrer in Barcelona, the blue clay exit in Madrid, the rain delay in Rome, pushing himself to the absolute limit in Paris till we almost ne'er did see him again. Monte Carlo was a match too far in 2013, Barcelona was moody and uninspiring.  Again, Ferrer could have well taken Rafa in Madrid but didn't ... and then he had a storming weekend.  Similarly in Rome, where I watched from behind the couch during that dreadful match with Gulbis, only to see him then play like a God to beat Berdych and Smugs and was looking forward with gusto to the French Open.

But I sat on Philippe Chatrier in his opening match with my heart in my mouth as he played a tie-breaker to stop himself going 2 sets to 0 down.  I thought the French woman in front of me was having an orgasm.  I hold little sway and patience with people talking about Djokovic's "nearly" match last year.  He "nearly" got bombed out limply in 4 sets if Rafa had held his nerve in serving for the match twice.  Yes, twice.  And as for the infamous net touch ... the PoD won the point right after it and so had game point to keep his break.  But Rafa fought hard, levelled the score, created his own game point ... and won it to bring himself right back into the match.  Rafa played hard to win ... and I won't have it any other way.  Djokovic shouldn't have even been given the opportunity to play a 5th set - never mind to touch the net.

But will we ever see the utter prowess that Rafa's 2008 and 2010 seasons gave us?  Now that was when he was exceptional, but I very much doubt it.  But likewise for those so-called tennis journalists and writers and the keyboard jockeys that hide behind their computer screens and predict year after year after year after year of Rafa's clay court demise ... well, if you say something hard enough, and more to the point - long enough - eventually it will happen.  But I don't think we're quite there yet.  Sorry hatahs ... keep predicting.

Because I don't think there's many beyond Djokovic who are good enough to challenge him on clay.  Sure, he can be as vulnerable as the next player to some streaky defeat, but that's just tennis, not time to sound Rafa's death knell.  And good as he may be, I still don't think Djokovic has the calibre to dominate the whole of the clay season ... he may have his Miami victory, but we're on Rafa's best surface now.

So as Rafa takes to the court tomorrow, let's get behind him and wish him well.  To hell with the other players ... we've all been watching and suffering with him for many a while now so I think we've got a pretty good idea of what's to come.  There will be excruciating moments of tension, there could be that odd moment of sadness ... but for any lows we have ever experienced, Rafa has given us much, much more in the highs.

Good luck Rafa!!  And VAMOS!!!!!!! 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Legend ...

Rafa is legend.  The Lionheart, Braveheart ... and a heap-load of other cheesy accolades you could bestow upon him.  Because he is.

The Happy Slam ... well, that's a bit of misnomer really if you consider Rafa's experience there.  He missed the tournament in 2006 through his foot injury; in 2007 he had pain here, here and here ... even in his famoos ass; in 2008 I was utterly convinced he would get through to the final, until Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga decided to come of age.  In 2009 he won the tournament, but had his moment taken away from him because of Federer's indulgent histrionics and I believe that the net effect of his epic 5 hour 5 setter against Verdasco. combined with another 5 sets in the final, were the initial start of his knee issues that year.  In 2010 he broke down against Murray.  In 2011 when going for the non-Calendar year Grand Slam, he broke down against David Ferrer but gallantly continued.  In 2012 after having that heartbreaking previous year, he was a whisker away from winning only for it to all slip through his fingers.  He missed 2013 again through injury, and here we are in 2014.  He started fantastically well, only for of all things - a blister!! - to start to impede him.  They patched him up and found a way of fixing it, he reaches the final ... only to then suffer an injury to his back.

You couldn't write it.

As a fan, I think you ponder over results like today's with much sadness, because if an opponent beats him, and beats him hands down, you just have to accept it, take it on the chin, feel a bit sad about it and then move on.  But in circumstances like these, when the injury seemingly occurred in the warm up but became absolutely visible at the beginning of the second set, it's just so sad.  And to think we'd spent the last few days stressing out over that blister!!

So a word or two about Rafa's opponent, and now the newly crowned Australian Open champion, Stan Wawrinka.  Rafa took a medical time out at 1-2 in the second set as he bent right over with the pain of this injury.  Rafa often mentions that he and Stan are friends, Stan talks about Rafa in terms of being a friend, but shall I just say that I found his behaviour whilst waiting at the chair a tad disappointing ... and I'm being polite. Wawrinka decided to get into a very vocal row with the umpire, as he seemingly believed that he should have been informed as to the exact nature of what Rafa's injury was and what he was receiving the MTO for. Wrong Wawa.  Whilst there are rules that the umpire has to follow in this situation, telling you what the injury was is not one of them.  And even though Ramirez told Wawrinka that he was not going to tell him what the MTO was for and that it would be best that he moved on from it, Wawrinka wouldn't. And his behaviour aided in inciting the crowd to the extent that Rafa was booed when he returned to the court.  Appalling.

I'd like to think that if, in the future, Wawrinka is unfortunate enough to suffer an injury during a match, that he remembers this one.  That he tells the umpire to inform his opponent what the injury is that he's taking the time out for.  Now who seriously thinks this will happen?  No, me neither.  But with his behaviour at the WTF and now today, I'm getting a bit hacked off by this so-called friend seemingly questioning the integrity of Rafa's team and of Rafa himself. Integrity.  Just who exactly left a wife and a small baby as they were superfluous to him being able to dedicate himself totally at trying to build his career?  Quite. 

Rafa took an injury time out in order to try and continue with the match.  How sad must it be for a sportsman to know that he probably won't win the title, yet he still tries to compete in the match, to give his opponent the courtesy of beating him and to give the paying public some of a spectacle to watch ... yes, Rafa carried on.  Because it's the right thing to do.  On a couple of occasions I thought he was going to shake hands ... but he didn't.  And strangely because there was nothing else for it, he rolled his serve in and smacked winners for fun and with Wawrinka having a total brain freeze, Rafa won the 4th set.  And the irony is that when the medication Rafa obviously took started to kick in and his movement became visibly better, he then started to play like Rafa would - but a few notches under the real thing, and this actually allowed Wawrinka to start playing his game again and he got back in the match and won.  Pity that Rafa didn't keep on firing down the winners.

But when the inevitable came, so did the tears.  Respectfully.  He behaved in an exemplary manner in the presentation ceremony, congratulated Wawrinka and his team, never spoke of the injury and with the signing of a few more autographs, he took his leave.  Watching him start to break down in tears as he made his way through the tunnel was heart wrenching, as was watching him trying to gain his composure before the start of the presser.  But again in the presser, he reminded all the hacks that it was Stan's day.  I've said this before and I'll say it again.  Just when you think that you can't possibly admire this man any more ... you just do.

I'm sad that Rafa lost in the way he did, and I'm especially sad that today wasn't the day that he managed to equal Sampras's Slam titles record.  But the beauty of Rafa is that he just sucks all this stuff up, gets over it, and moves on.  But as a fan, I don't know why that in some way I feel it takes me so much longer to get over it.  I've done nothing but think about him all day when he'll more than likely already be on his way home, back to the ones he loves, and he'll be fine.  I guess I want these achievements for him because I think I want him to get more of the recognition he deserves.  Because of the era he's played in, and because of the self obsessed and self absorbed Federer worship, because of the time lost through injury, because he reached all those finals in 2011 and never got that break, I want him to rack up his own set of outstanding numbers.  I want him to be acknowledged and feted.  I don't want it to be about sodding water bottles, and time between points.  About MTO's tics, being a "lucky leftie", pre-match routines and shouting Vamos.  I want the tennis to be respected.  That's why I want him to have his own set of numbers and why I think it would have been such a marvellous record to be the only player in the Open Era to have won all the Slams at least twice if he'd managed to do it today.  But sadly it wasn't to be.  :((

He's 27 years old and I still have every belief that No. 14 will come.  And I'll carry on supporting him and being so totally proud of him till it does.  As will we all.  

See you all in February ...   

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Will the real World No. 1 please stand up ...

Can you picture the scene? It's the locker room, and just like in the film "Spartacus", players one by one stand and declare ... "I'm Number 1", then "No, I'm Number 1". "I'm Number 1", "I'm Number 1" ... and so it continues. The purpose of the analogy is show just how damn confusing it is for commies and the media in general this Australian Open, because they seem to be in state of utter confusion as to who really is the World's Number 1 tennis player.

I mean, this phenomenon started with the International Tennis Federation declaring our old pal, The Prince of Darkness, as their "World Champion" based on his results last year. His results in their competitions only, of course. And so by their criteria ... Djokovic won!! Only in whatever year it was when Serena Williams won 2 Slams and Caroline Wozniaki won 0 - but Wozniaki entered every single competition going including one for "colouring in", witty captions and choir singing all resulting in her amassing enough ATP points to be declared the ATP No. 1, well in that year when the ITF applied their criteria for determining the "World Champion", guess what? Wozniaki won!!

And so at this year's Australian Open we have had one commie calling Federer, the World No. 1, another introducing Djokovic to the TV viewers as the World No. 1, and one so-called "tennis" #cough journalist for a UK broadsheet stating that Djokovic is unbeaten since he won the US Open last year ... well, I'm getting as confused as the rest of them, hence my question ... will the real World No.1 please stand up!!

But he did today. In a match against Gael Monfils. He showed every ounce of why he is a great player, a Champion, and a multi-Slam winner. World No. 1 - Rafael Nadal - came to court today and played his best match so far in the tournament ... without uttering one foul, abusive swear word to the crowd in his own native tongue. Hey "World Champion"???

Rafa looks in great shape and form for the second week in Australia. I'm really enjoying his tennis and let's hope he can keep it up and go far. VAMOS!!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Oi! Oi! Oi! ...

*peeks* and *waves*

Yes ... it's me. I've not quite dropped off the face of Planet Blog, but I will be making a couple of changes here. I've loved watching and supporting Rafa for all these years, and want to continue to do so.  But in a quieter and more peaceful way, if you get what I mean.  It's difficult enough just watching him play because the commentary is nothing but endless negativity whilst the commies talk about ways in which Rafa's opponent can beat him, the utterly boring references to water bottles, shot clocks and time between points.  I can't do anything to change that, but I have enjoyed this down time having a little rest from it all.

So I've decided that I'll update this blog every now and then simply when I have some personal Ramblings that I would like to impart.  The daily pictures, videos, articles, match reports etc. are all out there on better sites than this to enjoy, and it will allow me to take a bit of a step back from it all if I just provide my comments as and when I feel like I have something to say.

But we stand on the precipice of another Slam, which could be epic for Rafa as it would make him what? the second only man in the modern era to win each Slam at least twice ... so here I am.  I bet the thought of that brings a smile to that weasel Rod Laver's face.  Not.  Hehe ...  And I do find it remarkable that no-one seems to have mentioned that Rafa would equal Pete Sampras's Slam count if he wins here.  Do you remember back in 2009 when Smugly boo-hoo'ed for all he was worth in his egotistical manic pursuit of breaking Slam records because No. 14 and equalling the one of Sampras was what he soooooo wanted. I've been watching tennis for long enough now to remember how epic it was when Sampras was breaking those records.  Does equalling it not matter now?  Would it still not be a stellar achievement for Rafa?

But that's always been one of the best things about supporting him.  He genuinely just seems happy to be able to be out there just simply playing tennis.  He's ace.

So what do I think of his chances?  Well after Steve Darcis, that odious twonk Ashol and wanting to sit covering my face whilst my stomach was doing loop-the-loops at the French Open when Rafa was a tie-breaker away from going 2 sets to 0 down against some unknown called Brands ... I can safely say that just about anything can happen in Slams.  And it's for that reason that I'm not getting worked up or concerned over his draw.  Sure, on paper he has what could be a potential, massive danger in the shape of Juan-Martin Del Potro in the quarters ... but both of them have to get there yet.  And given a choice of either Smugly or Andy Murray (in his current state) in a semi as opposed to David Ferrer ... I'll take Smugly or Mooray thank you very much.  I think it's too easy to fall into a trap that Rafa will roll Daveed over because it's not like Ferrer hasn't had success over him on hardcourts before, and I thought Daveed's tactics in Paris were totally flummoxing Rafa. So I'm heppy enough for the draw.  

So ... let's hope for a good, happy and healthy tournament from Rafa.  Che sera, sera ... as Doris Day once said.  And let's VAMOS!!!  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

75 years of Marca ...

Rafa flew in from Buenos Aires and straight to an awards ceremony to celebrate 75 years of the publication and to receive an award as the best Spanish sporting personality in the history.

But look at this. Obviously spurred on by his Vanity Fair pictures, Rafa has turned up with a snazzy side parting. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better Rafa. I approve!!

He's some brief video footage ...

South American exho round up ...

Woo hoo!!  *wave*

Have you been enjoying all the pictures and videos from Rafa in South America??  I have, and whilst I'd only posted up to Chile, I've had a few days away from here, but will just finish off by adding a few things from when he returned to continue the exho in Argentina.

After helping to say goodbye to Nicolas Massu in Chile, Rafa returned with the PoD to Argentina, and the pair of them went to this amazing glazier for some publicity shoots.  Ice blue Rafa blended in nicely with the background, but away from the official cameras, that Artic coat he wore at the WTF came in handy.  LoL. Here's a bit of video footage ...

Rafa attended a kids' clinic with David Nalbandian, and no Rafa ... Numbers DO NOT lie. (Take note commies and journos - you know who you are).

But then it was on to the tennis, and time to say goodbye to David Nalbandian.  And good old Rafa did his part in the match, and lost in two straight sets.

Time for some hugs ...

And a little whisper of "adios" in the ear ...

Here's some of the best moments of the match ...

And then it was onto the doubles, and enter ... PICO!! Yey!! Sadly Pico didn't team up with Rafa - the PoD did - but some fun was to be had including Rafa jumping the net to the join the two Argentinians as the 3 of them fired shots at the PoD. Haha!!

Rafa won the doubles, and here they all are ...

A cuddle at the net with Pico ...

Then it was on to a Gala Dinner ...

And a bit of table tennis ...

Then it was the match between Rafa and the Prince of Darkness. And Rafa won!! Yey!!

One of the highlights of the match was when someone shouted out that Rafa had the best ass on tour. Hehe. Cue an ass-off with the PoD and here's some footage of it ...

And let's hope Rafa continues to kick his ass in 2014 ...

Here's some highlights of what went on during the match ...

Then next on the agenda was a visit to Boca Juniors where both players took part in a penalty shoot out ...

And Rafa won !!!

And got to wear a silly hat ...

And here's some video footage ...

And some more of the penalty shoot out ... cue rapturous boos for the PoD. Oh dear ... :-/ And who knew he was left-footed??

And then that was it. Rafa heads home ...

Epilogue ...

Now ordinarily, I roll my eyes at the thought of exhibitions.  I feel sometimes that I wish Rafa would just stop, rest up and take the time out he needs ... but then, am I coming at it from the realms of rainbows and unicorns?  If Rafa had gone home to Mallorca after the WTF, would he just have hidden away in his Porto Cristo villa and done absolutely nothing??  I doubt it.  Isn't there always someone wanting a piece of Rafa? Isn't there always some sort of event he has to show up to or sponsor publicity he needs to do?  And would he have not gone anywhere near a racquet?  I'm not so sure.  And as someone who's witnessed him practice ... doesn't he actually work a damn lot harder in practice than in the sort of matches we've seen him in South America?  I think so.

I actually think this tour has been a fabulous success.  Not just for giving a good send off for two retiring players, but I think Rafa has had a tremendous time.  The smiles don't lie, the laughter shows everything, and I think he's thoroughly enjoyed himself.

I'm sure now that real down time will happen for a couple of weeks before they start to work and prepare again for the new season.

So now that really is it for 2013.  It's been amazing, Rafa has been amazing and thank you Rafa for all you have achieved.  You're worth everything that the return of the World Number One title brought to you. Thank you again for the memories, and VAMOSSSSSS!!! 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Rafa's daily dose ...

"Hoy tuve la oportunidad de visitar #Unquillo, la ciudad natal de mi amigo @nalbandiandavid"
Translations on a postcard, please.  :D

OK, I think it's "Today we have the opportunity of visiting #Unquillo, the birth place of my friend, @nalbandiandavid".

I knew that O level in Spanish would come in useful sometime.  :))))) 

Oooff ... first Sumo, now thees ...

OK, OK!!  I is wurried about hees intenshuns, but I weel control heem with my racquet like I control effery rally with Rogelio ...

First day Chilean Exho ...

Haha.  That's about as much as I'm going to post on it.

Rafa played the PoD today and lost in two sets, I think the first was a tie-breaker.  No-one has any interest in this and I don't want to foul this blog with pictures of him, but looking at some of the pictures and translating the end of match body language, well ... he doesn't fool Rafa.

Rafa and the President video footage ...