But, below is a short clip on Rafa when he doing the publicity shoot. He's blowing a kiss at me, by the way ...
Monday, 29 June 2009
But, below is a short clip on Rafa when he doing the publicity shoot. He's blowing a kiss at me, by the way ...
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Or is he???
Saturday, 27 June 2009
Remember a week ago I posted regarding our Rafateer Rafan (lovely person, met her at Queens), and how she met Rafa after persevering and waiting around the All England Club. Well ... it only turns out that someone within the press was lurking and she now appears within an article published by our Rafa-friend, Chuck Culpepper.
Congrats. to your Rafan!!! What a super momento to have in print ...
Anyhow, any excuse to marvel and watch the lovely Rafa ...
One week ago we witnessed Rafa in a presser withdrawing from Wimbledon, talking about how he had been playing in pain over the last weeks, how he had reached his physical limit, how it was revealed in Madrid that he had two endemas one on either knee, that maybe they made mistakes with his scheduling ... need I go on?
But now there are alarming reports leaking out of Spain that Rafa has asked the Davis Cup captain, Albert Costa, if he can withhold from submitting his team selection till after Sunday as Rafa would like to see if he could make the team for the tie against Germany ... in two weeks time!!!
Personally, I'm rather annoyed by this as last week it was reported that Rafa was 3-4 weeks away from fitness (and I even thought THAT to be optimistic). Although there is another report doing the rounds today suggesting that Rafa won't make it.
Join you mates in Marbella to offer your support Rafa ... but leave them to play the tennis!!!
The Rafa-fans have still been out in force at this year's Wimbledon, and I'm happy to say they have made their presence known. T-shirts and and banners are visibly in force and we have had audible vocal support in a number of Centre Court matches.
Not that I would encourage any un-sporting behaviour at the hallowed ground mind you, but I have to admit that I rendered a smile in Feds second round match as when he stood to serve at match point, somebody shouted out ... "C'mon Rafa!!!" and he promptly missed. Ha!!
The Rafateers who have visited Wimbledon this week have stories from fans and Wimbledon staff alike of how much everyone is missing him.
The "Rafa-effect" is captured in the attached article. Not necessarily discussing his lamented absence, but how his sheer personality and presence and absolute wanting to win this grand old tournament may have filtered down to the rest of the Spanish players as they have come and still remain in numbers in this year's draw.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
But we've all noticed a different Rafa from the start of the US hardcourt season in Spring. Laboured, distracted, the infamous headband moving scruffily up his head. We now know of his health issues, and the pain he has been playing through, but what did he ever mean by the infamous Miami presser after his defeat to Del Potro ... "its personal".
It now, however, has been formally reported in the Timesonline, a paper that patronises Rafa and within which he co-operates, that his parents have indeed separated. This must be a massive blow to Rafa, the fabric of his family life that means so much to him and within which he receives such succour has been irreparably altered. His mental state must also have surely been affected and all things considered, its a wonder that he has kept going.
We wish him continued support in this most trying of times. Here's how it was reported in Timesonline:-
"Right now, such sensitive matters are on the mind of Nadal, at home in Majorca. For many weeks there have been whispers that all was not uncomplicated in the Nadal household, that his parents, Sebastian and Ana María, who hugged their son on the most joyous day of his life a year ago, had separated. Yesterday, we discovered that that was, in fact, the case, that Nadal had been playing in such a fog for the past couple of months, he should have been wearing luminous clothing. He is crushed and any fair-minded person has to be crushed for him.
Imagine what it has been like, trying to do your duty by yourself, your team and your profession and yet having to perform when your heart is elsewhere, the distressing nightly calls home, the wish that it were not so, the desire for a reconciliation.
Nadal never mentioned it, he played and hoped. He talked about resetting his body after having to withdraw from the championships with problem knees and yet he has a more difficult task, resetting his entire life. We wish him well. "
Monday, 22 June 2009
Hot on the heels of this is the attached clip, which shows Rafa in some happier times and cements within me why we need this boy fit and playing the game. The raw passion, the drama, the excitement of those moments. Who else motivates you into a frenzy when playing on a tennis court? The men’s game is a sorry place right now without Rafa in it.
I choose to ignore the self-opiniated ramblings of Cahill … he doesn’t know how Rafa feels. Rafa is no hood-winker … he’s said its not chronic, and he’ll come back again just like he did at the beginning of the year at the Australian Open. Come back healthy Rafa!! Your public needs you …
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Another interview with Rafa discussing his decision. The overwhelming thing for me in this one is that he seems really calm about it. I think he's mentally coping with it in the right way as he knows he's just physically incapable of competing right now. So much better than losing his title in a disappointing match and overcoming the bitterness of defeat too. He's a darling ... vamos Rafa !!!
There's been a core number of us developed over the last few months, but our number have expanded in recent weeks. We all go by pseudonyms, yours truly being Wooffie. So let me see ... there's Clare2904, Denzilsmon, la-Rafanatica, Rafandready, MrsL, CorazonLatino, Sec1SupaLaura, Laliga, ModernHappyGill, Neo-Rafaelite, AFCWomble, PearlofManacor, several visitors and lurkers, and last but by no means least, my lovely MarcusInKensington - my precious lamb and raven-haired prince, not a Rafateer but an appreciator. We post daily on the thread and a small number of us chat nightly on-line. The best thing to come out of it is that our shared love of Rafa and tennis has meant that a number of us have met up (Clare2904 and I actually living in the same town and Clare having previously worked with my Mum!), we've become friends and are planning special expeditions to travel and see our lovely Rafa play.
I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing my Queens experience with Rafandready last week. But who would have guessed, when met to share a tear of disappointment at Rafa's Queen's withdrawal, what was to to be in store for her the following week.
SHE ONLY WENT AND MET RAFA YESTERDAY !!!
Rafan went on a Wimbers scouting mission as she has semi-final tickets, and could not have planned that Rafa was to give his press conference at the All England Club at 7 pm. So she took full advantage of the situation. She saw David Ferrer, met Marat and GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH, met Uncle Toni and GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH, and saw Rafa when he first entered the club. She hung around for over 3 hours and it took some encouraging texts from yours truly to keep her going till the end. It was worth it ... Rafa came out of the club with Novak (who she'd seen entering from the back of a swish Bentley), and she got Rafa's autograph and took her chance and asked if he would shake her hand. He did ... oh to lose one of your mittens in that big bear's paw!!! I'm absolutely delighted for her, as it goes some way for making up for the disappointment of not seeing him with those semi-final tickets.
Here's her account of the story from today's thread ...
I just wanted to post this tome before I go out for the day!So...yesterday I met Rafa. I was already planning a visit to Wimbledon yesterday to scope out the area – see how to get to the ground from the station etc, as I haven’t been before. And if I happened to see a certain someone then that would be just fabulous. BUT then I heard Rafa was doing a press conference there at 7 pm and everything fell into place.
I dragged my friend up there and we got there at about 6.30. Firstly, I was really surprised that there weren’t loads of people waiting! We hung around the competitor’s entrance, peeking in through a mental fence and lots of foliage and managed to spy David Ferrer. Then Marat came out and I ran up to the gate to get his autograph. I knew this would make lots of Rafateers jealous . There was a slight brushing of fingers as he passed my pen back to me and accidentally drew on my hand. Wooffie made this sound a lot more exciting in her post . Then Rafa’s team came strolling down the road, followed by Rafa himself. He was in the gate before I realised so I just shouted “good luck Rafa” – don’t know why, couldn’t think of anything else to say!!! It was actually him...Rafa...I couldn’t really believe it!
So...Rafa did his press conference and me and my friend waited outside. It got to about 8.10 and Uncle Toni came out. Some people had their picture taken with him and I got his autograph. I managed to squeak “muchos gracias”. Then it was back to peering through the fence/foliage. Rafa was sitting on the sofa, I could just about see him (especially if I stood on the wall but I didn't like to do that too much ). At about 8.45 a swish Bentley turned up and Novak got out and went into the club and sat and chatted with Rafa for ages. In the meantime it was starting to get a bit cold, my friend had gone to meet her boyfriend, the light had started to fade - even the couple of photographers that were hanging around had gone. I was starting to feel a bit of a fool waiting around on my own but my fellow Rafateers via Wooffie were great cheerleaders and I was inspired to stay
And I’m so glad I did.
One of Rafa’s team came out (not sure who it was) and he spoke to a couple of men standing inside the fence. I called through to ask if Rafa was coming out, and he said yes, in a couple of minutes. One of the men speaking to him said that the Brits will be glad Rafa is out as Andy will have a better chance, and I said “No we’re not, I wanted Rafa to win!” and receive a “thank you” for my efforts from the Rafaman (he also said Rafa is going home today. And then excitement... at 9.45 Rafa left the building with Nole.
He had his picture taken with the security guard and I got Nole’s autograph, and I finally got the chance to ask Rafa to sign the photo I had with me (you know - just on the off chance that I bumped into him!). I said “sorry you are not playing”. I had spotted a car driving past a couple of times and they got out and got Rafa’s autograph too...little did I realise that it was Pearl! (Pearl – you should have said something – I was so jealous of you speaking Spanish to him!) I thought, I can’t go without touching Rafa so I said “can I shake your hand” – what a dweeb I am . What I really wanted to say was “can I feel your left bicep” . So he shook my hand, and what a big lovely warm hand he had. He then walked off up the road with a couple of friends and Nole went in the opposite direction.
What a fabulous end to the day. I know it was bad news because Rafa pulled out, and yes I would have rather seen him fit and in action on semi-finals day but this was the best compensation I could ever have imagined. I’m still pinching myself...is a drim noh? Now I think, why didn’t I say more, why didn’t I wish him the best from the Rafateers (sorry but I was thinking of you all all the time and it was a "one for all" moment!), why didn’t I look at him more and drink it all in, but it was all such a blur – I couldn’t really believe it! He was lovely – so kind to sign autographs after the day he’d had. He did seem fine and was laughing and chatting with his friends as he walked to the gate. I wish him all the best as he goes home to recover and be 100% for the rest of the season.
Friday, 19 June 2009
It is, of course, the saddest of news but I think that Rafa has made the absolute right decision, albeit probably 2 months too late. He mentioned his scheduling and I don't think its beyond the wit of man to work out that that silly indoor, fast court tournament at Rotterdam, so fast on the heels of his astounding, but hard earned win at the Australian Open, turned out to be his undoing.
Here is a report and some quotes from the presser:-
Rafael Nadal has announced he will not defend his Wimbledon title. The world number one and top seed had said after the French Open that he would not play Wimbledon if he was not 100% and so it has come to pass.
"I’m here and I'm just not 100%. I'm better than what I was a couple of weeks ago but I don’t feel right," Nadal told a packed press conference on Friday evening at the All England Club. "To not play Wimbledon is one of the toughest decisions of my career. I tried everything. I didn't feel terrible but also not close to my best. When I enter a tournament my goal is winning and my feeling right now is I'm not ready to win. It's very painful for me but I can't play at the tournament this year. It's tough but it is what it is."
Nadal revealed that he had been playing with considerable pain and he didn't know how long he would be out of tennis. But he said he expected to fully recover from his knee problems and that he would have a "long career".
"I played with some problems on the knee for the last few months. I've been making efforts to play week after week. The truth is that sportsmen always play with pain and don't know where the limit is, where you can get to. I think I reached that limit now. I will work very hard to comeback as soon as possible. One of the problems is I’m thinking more about the knees than what is happening on court and it’s very difficult to play like that."
When Nadal was asked about his many fans and how disappointed they would be that he was not appearing at Wimbledon, the 23-year-old replied: "no more than me". Nadal also said he was not concerned that his absence would open the door for Roger Federer to reclaim the number one world ranking. "If I lose the number one ranking I’m going to accept it like the four years I was number two and work hard to improve and recover."
Bless ... I wish Rafa all the best in the world in his rehabilitation and look forward to seeing him fit, rested and refreshed in the Fall. But for me, tennis is a sorry place without him. En Rafa confiamos!!
Thursday, 18 June 2009
As reported yesterday, Rafa took to the courts to play Lleyton Hewitt at Hurlingham. Bad news is ... he lost 6-4, 6-3. But it wasn't the result that mattered, it was the reports of his struggle to play. Here's a couple of reports ...
"Rafael Nadal still looked hampered by his injured knees in an unsuccessful transition to grass Thursday and will decide Friday whether he is fit enough to defend the Wimbledon title.
Nadal played without tape on his sore knees but frequently looked a step slow in losing 6-4, 6-3 to Lleyton Hewitt in an exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club in London. It was Nadal’s first match after losing to Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the French Open.
Nadal did not speak to reporters, but his uncle and coach Toni said it was still uncertain whether he can play at Wimbledon, which starts Monday.
Nadal plays another match against Stanislav Wawrinka on Friday, and Toni Nadal said the top-ranked player will make a decision after that."
So sadly, its not looking good ... some more words from Toni ...
"It will be “very difficult” for Rafael Nadal to play at Wimbledon in defense of his tennis title next week because of his knee problems, his uncle and coach Toni Nadal said.
He was speaking after Nadal lost today to Lleyton Hewitt in an exhibition match at Hurlingham Club in West London, his first match since exiting the French Open on May 31. He was testing his knees after suffering from tendinitis.
“At the moment it’s very difficult to play at Wimbledon, his knees are not good, he cannot bend,” the coach said. “This is his first match, we wait until tomorrow.”
Toni Nadal said that an electromagnetic machine had been used in an effort to deal with the problem but “at the moment it is not enough. We wait for tomorrow.”
I fear tomorrow may bring the gravest of news, but Rafa's health and longevity is what matters most. En Rafa confiamos ....
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Hot on the heels of that little gem, its then announced that Rafa will play Hurlingham ... a day early!!! He's going to play Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday as well as the Friday match against Wawrinka that he was initially scheduled for. I'd like to take this as a good sign in that he is progressing well in his rehabilitation ... and not think that they might be pushing too hard to get him fit in time ...
There's also been some good articles today.
One in the New York Times featuring some established journalists who have put some balance and perspective on the past few weeks and actually left me feeling rather positive ...
Another link centering on Toni and some information that we know from old ...
And finally, another New York Times article, provocatively entitled ... "Ripped. (Or torn up?) ...
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Feds will be wearing gold accents ... as befitting a Big 'Ed ...
From the "Wimbledon As It Happens Posting"
17:05- Rafael Nadal turned up at practice today:In the glorious afternoon sunshine a sight for sore eyes emerged in the form of Rafael Nadal. As the Spaniard made his way to the Aorangi practice courts, staff shouted out ‘good luck Rafa’ to which he responded ‘thank you very much’ with his trademark humble smile.Next he set about his business – minus the knee supports - and began pummelling the life out of the balls. After a brief sit down, change of racket and laughter in his camp, Rafa switched ends and resumed play.
Let's keep those fingers crossed, eh?
Monday, 15 June 2009
Hurlingham is a traditional little event that some players use as a bit of a warm up before Wimbledon. Rafa has played there in 2006 and 2007, but withdrew last year to enjoy a few more precious days at home after his successful clay court season and unexpected victory at Queens.
However, Rafa has announced via his website of an invitation to play there - against Stanislav Wawrinka.
"I have kindly been invited to play the traditional exhibition at the Hurlingham Club on Friday, June 19. I have played at that Club for several years now. It would be a good test for me to play there on Friday to see how the knee is doing and it would provide the perfect setting to get some practice before Wimbledon. If I feel the recuperation is going well I will be more than happy to be there again. I hope that's the case." said Rafa.
Let's see if he makes it ...
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Saturday, 13 June 2009
However, I was alerted today by the lovely MiK that details of Rafa's USO kit have been published ... and horror of horrors ... the colour is EGG YOLK YELLOW. Well people, you can imagine my abject horror as I have maligned that hideous spring-time kit to the extent that I would personally have burnt it. However, after looking at the pictoral evidence and seeing that it is one, block colour ... I've calmed down (cue contrasting black shorts) ...
The kit is described as an "hommage" to the famous yellow New York City cabs ... so is this Nike's way of engratiating Rafa to the New York public as they did with Feds and his monogrammed 1930's jacket and matching long trousers along with the fabelled cable-kit cardigan to the stuffy Wimbledon crowd? Hmmm ... ???
Attached is a link to the latest of such an article ... enjoy the read.
Shall we gloss over the fact that Rafa wasn't there? OK then ... fellow Rafateer Rafandready and I met up, had a little weep, and then got on with enjoying the day.
We had a lovely time in the sunshine watching Blake & Querry, Murray & some bloke, little chicken legs Simon (and seriously folks, he DOES have chicken legs) and the mad, head-bashing Youzhny ... although it wasn’t THE mad Russian that I had so hoped to see. The gorgeous, sexy Marat Safin had withdrawn through injury the day before, thereby dashing my one and only hope of ever seeing him live. DAMN YOU MARAT ... and if he pulled his back because of the proverbial, I damn him even more!!!
Anyhow, the match of the day was Roddick & Hewitt, which was thoroughly enjoyable and a lovely display of grass court tennis. That service action ... wow!!!
I was also sitting very close to the noisy terrace, and spent most of the day going, “there’s so-and-so” and “ooo .. . there’s so-and-so”. The luminaries that I saw were ... get this ... Feli Lopez ... TWICE!!!!
Nice to know I could still enjoy the day regardless ...
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Glad Maymo was there on hand to keep an eye on the knee ... and Xisca was there to look after Rafa. She is one lucky girl, but I have to say it ... they are such a lovely couple ...
Monday, 8 June 2009
Essentially, he sustained the injury back in Miami and has been working through it ever since. The Rafacrew had hoped that it would last out until after Wimbledon when he would have around a month's time off, but its not held out. Rafa today went to Barcelona for further tests and the prognosis will be delivered tomorrow. Is it worse for him to withdraw from the competition, thereby give up on his title and give others, ie. Feds the chance to lift his hard-earned crown, or to turn up less than 100% and potentially run the risk of a Soderling?
Here's one of the reports run over the weekend ...
After having declared its absence in Queen’ s, Rafael Nadal could not be able to defend his title in Wimbledon. because of a painful knee, as Toni Nadal, the uncle and trainer of the player tells us in an exclusive interview.
Toni Nadal, what is Rafael undergoing?
Rafael has a problem in the right knee (edema,) since Miami, and this kept getting worse, So now we have decided to stop. He played with this in Madrid, Monte-Carlo and, Roland-Garros. Every time, it was a little worse.
It is because of this pain that Rafael lost against Soderling in the fourth round?
He lost,, that’s all, we are not going to talk about this after the match. The pain was there from the first day. Since Madrid, he played with a specific treatment preparation by the doctor and the physiotherapist of the Spanish equipment of the Davis Cup.
Why did Rafael not speak of it after his defeat against Söderling?
We are now talking about it because Rafael is not going to Queen’s tournament, otherwise we wouldn’t have mentioned it. Many players play with physical annoyances.
In Madrid, the doctor did not underestimate the gravity of Rafael’s injury?
No, the doctor said that it was not serious but it was painful when the player tried to bend. As long as he could endure the injury, he could play. We saw well that Rafael had difficulty to move in Roland-Garros.
Will Rafael go to Wimbledon?
We will see. Monday and Tuesday, He’ll go to Barcelona to pass examinations, and later we will decide what we will do. We will do whatever the doctors tell us we should do.
Are you optimistic?
Oh no, I am not optimistic at all. Of course, if there is an opportunity to play the most important tournament of the season, he will try. We will see.
Is Rafael affected by all this?
Very much so. He is affected, it is normal, because he sees that he’s been hampered in Roland-Garros, a very important tournament for us, and now his presence in Wimbledon is uncertain."
And to top it all ... Feds won the French Open, quelle surprise. Today he talked about his victory and Rafa's injury with his usual magnanimity ...
"It's different for me to come through this way, instead of just dominating everybody."
"I feel I've definitely become more a man now, the last few years, where I'm not scared of five-setters anymore. I can handle the pressure."
Federer's run of five consecutive Wimbledon titles ended with a five-set loss to Nadal in last year's final. The 27-year-old Swiss star considers himself the man to beat this time. "I do think I'm the favorite, actually, with all the success I've had," Federer said.
Federer expects to see his nemesis at the All England Club. "It seems like it's not 100 percent serious, his knee injury. I only wish him the best and I hope it's not true that he will miss Wimbledon. I think it's a lot of speculation at the moment," Federer said. "He wasn't taping his knees here in Paris. He seemed fine, (from) what I saw, anyway. I've played him so many times, I can tell when he's in pain and when he's not."
I CAN TELL WHEN HE'S IN PAIN OR NOT ... God, I can't stand him.
Rafa's prognosis is due to be placed on his website at 1.30 pm tomorrow. Can't decide whether or not I'd prefer him to go or stay away ...
Friday, 5 June 2009
"I am very disappointed to not be able to come this year to Queen's, defend the title I won last year and enjoy playing there in front of that very knowledgeable crowds. To play in London has always been special for me, to play at the Queen's Club an honour and the fans in the UK are among the best I have ever seen, always supporting me since the first time I played there.
I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees, that's no secret, that did not allow me to compete at 100% always. I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then.
I am really sorry and I hope that the people at the Club will still want me to come next year.
I have been following this guy for 4 years now and loved every minute of watching him on his journey. But thus far, the watching has been via a television set, only this time, for the first time, I had tickets to go and see him at Queens. I am devastated. However, he needs to get fit, and someone, somewhere along the line was going to get disappointed. This time ... it was me.
To cheer ourselves up ... how about a clip of "the smile". I already loved him by then ... but I am quite sure that this little gesture captured the hearts and made fans of countless others. Vamos Rafa!! Till next time ....
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Rafa's website couldn't have summed up the occasion more beautifully:-
"From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to thank you Rafa … for your kind heart, your respect towards others, your perseverance, your honesty, your strength, your mentality, your character, your attitude towards life, but on top of everything, we’d like to thank you for the millions of times you’ve filled our lives with joy and beautiful memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives."
And here's a special montage in tribute to our "special boy" ...
Monday, 1 June 2009
I was absolutely convinced that Rafa would just take the earliest flight out of Paris and return to his homeland to reflect, review, lick his wounds and get over it. He did ... but I thought that the blog he so generously does via Timesonline at the Slams would remain open-ended ... but I was wrong.
Even more significantly, this is what he said:-
"Thanks to all for your support. I know I have a lot of fans there in the UK and around the world and I am truly thankful for that. I know the messages that I have received are sincere and honest."
You're right they were ... and guess who had a message posted to him yesterday, yep ... me and Denzy! To say I am thrilled in an understatement (10th comment down - posted on the link to the left), but to know he reads these things and takes comfort from them is amazing. Vamos Rafa!! See you at Queens ...
Of course I am desperately sad that you lost today, however, you've said it all in your press conferences that sometimes you learn more from you defeats. Take heart that you are a tremendous champion, discuss the detail with Toni and talk to your father and we will be happy to see you in the UK for the grass court season.
Rafa ... as your fans we have enjoyed enormously the journey you have taken us on, and to share some of your greatest triumphs with you in your blogs has been tremendous. What I would say though is that now is possibly the time to concentrate totally on yourself and your career.
We will always be supportive of you, always have been, always will be .... en Rafa confiamos !!
from your devoted Rafateers,
Julie, Clare, Shani, Sam, Sam, Rebecca, Cath, Vanessa, Gill, Laura xxx
Posted by: Julie, England