Friday, 30 July 2010
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Thursday, 22 July 2010
We've all recently been enjoying the holiday snaps of Deliciano and Nando on hols together and how fit they are. *PHWOAR* Naturally, of course, this had led to our talk of their "bromance".
But what is this? Amongst several, long awaited snaps that I shall shortly be bringing you of ... wait for it ... RAFA ON THE BEACH ... we have this ...
Oh Rafateers ... do you remember those dark, dark days last Winter, when Rafa was struggling to regain fitness and form and that all important confidence? Do you remember that thin, sorry looking boy we watched practice and play at the World Tour Finals at the O2?? What a pale imitation he'd become of that Champion we know he is.
And throughout those bad times we coined a phrase ... "Keep Colm and Carry On" ... a parody on that old, war-time mission statement, to try and help people to carry through. Seems we weren't the only ones with that message for Rafa, and I found today this marvellous play on that old saying and how when he kept calm and carried on, Rafa ended up biting the trophy. Love it!!
This video is completely fabulous. It tells the story of Rafa's 2010 to date ... through his early year trials and tribulations, through his clay court and grass court triumphs. It shows the magnificence of the player, and the emotion it took to get him back to where he is right now. THE NUMBER ONE PLAYER IN THE WORLD!! Love you Rafa. Vamos!!!
Monday, 19 July 2010
Could the boy be any happier?? Rafa the Spanish *fanboy* gets his hands on what for him could possibly be the most incredible, elusive trophy yet. The World Cup. Can you believe it?? I don't think he can. After achieving his personal target of winning Wimbledon, one week later he gets to join in with the team in being part of the Spanish celebrations as some of his personal friends and compatriots ecstatically celebrate winning the World Cup. This was achieved by a single Andres Iniesta goal, scored in extra time after the odious Holland team had tried to kick them off the park. Justice. And for Rafa to be part of it all, to be so, so happy, I am totally thrilled for him that he will have these life long memories. Good for you Rafa, and good for Spain.
Rafa said that he doesn’t care how Spain win the match with penalties or without them….. the important thing is to win…. the finals are for to winning it not to playing it good…
Rafa returned home to a tumultuous welcome, however, reports soon came out that he'd flown to Bilbao first from London to seek some revolutionary knee treatment. The new treatment he is having is to have plasma injected in the tendons of his knees. Apparently it is painful, but he's effectively using his own body to rejuvenate itself. He had the treatment on the left knee following Miami and before the clay court season, however, there wasn't enough time to do the right and as the left was hurting the most, it was that one that was treated whilst they 'managed' the other. Confused? Anyhow, Rafa is to have two sessions of this treatment and whilst he's now on holiday, it hopefully will give him the time for it to be effective.
Here's hoping Rafa. And 'ouch' again ...
Rafa left the UK with these lovely final words in his blog. And yes Rafa ... you truly are 'Our Rafa' ...
Hello everyone and BIG THANKS to you all.
You can imagine two things of me today: 1) I am over the moon and 2) I am very tired and need holidays!
The first one is difficult to explain further. The sensation to win the tournament of my dreams for the second consecutive time (I didn’t play here last year) and doing it after winning Roland Garros too is something it was difficult to imagine just one year ago. I was suffering, watching the final on TV at home on my sofa, and wondering how things were going to unfold in my career. But today I am again with this special feeling of winning the biggest and most important tennis tournament in the world.
The second one is long to explain. I am not that tired from the match itself. To be honest all the media work I did after the match was longer than the match itself. I got to the house at 9.30pm and only had 5 minutes to get changed. I was then back in the car talking to Spanish radio stations and only finished when I got to the hotel for the Ball. But also tired for these past 16 weeks where I only had a few days at home.
Now it is time to get treatment and rest for 2 weeks, a full 2 weeks of not playing tennis and simply enjoying my holidays!
To end this blog and to end this 2 weeks of being with you, I want to really thank you for your support. I truly mean when I say that I feel at home here in Wimbledon. I feel the warmth of the fans here like at home and I feel the respect for the game, for our sport. For me it is really an honor to play here and a dream to have done what I managed to do on Sunday.
Many thanks also to The Times for giving me this opportunity and I hope we continue with this tradition now that is also lucky for me!
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Two years ago when Rafa won The Championships at almost 9.30 pm, he didn't make it to the traditional Wimbledon Ball until about 1 am. This time, he is thrilled and delighted to go to the Wimbledon Ball, as Champion, at a reasonable time and truly enjoy himself and to receive the plaudits he deserves.
And the boy scrubs up well ... hehe.
Link to the interview with John McEnroe ...
Oh Rafa. You can't begin to understand how much, as fans, we are so very, very happy for you right now. You have had a complete and utter turnround in 12, what were probably, very long months. You lost all that was dear to you back in 2009 when the severe tendinitis in your knees meant that you were unable to defend your Wimbledon title. And as time went on, and as you tried to recover little by little, that same little by little saw you lose another Slam in your Australian title and in April, you were 11 months without winning a title victory ... as the media so loved to keep reminding you.
On men's semi-final day last year, you were pictured jet skiing, this time round you were playing to be in the men's Wimbledon final. And on finals day, you shadow boxed, shuffled and jumped your way to the court to face the Czech, Tomas Berdych.
It wasn't the most classic of finals; it was effective, assured tennis by Rafa. He stepped it up at the right moments, took his level up when he sniffed his chance and as with his match against Murray, took those chances when they came. It took just one break of serve in each set to see Rafa come out the 2010 Gentleman's Singles Champion by a scoreline of 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Rafa never lost his serve throughout the whole match, and whilst Tomas Berdych didn't appear to be over-whelmed by his first Slam appearance, his lack of experience at those crunch points came through. The superior player and Slam veteran won out, and Rafa is the Champion again for the second time, his 8th Slam in total. After achieving victory, Rafa brought a new routine into his repertoire - a giddy, childish forward roll ending in a pelvic thrust and a double fist pump. Marvellous ...
From mid-April to the beginning of July, Rafa's results have been nothing other than sensational. He's won 6 out of 7 tournaments; he's won his 7th and 8th Grand Slams; he's once again achieved the unique French-Wimbledon double and he completed the clay Slam by securing 3 Masters 1000 series and the French Open. He's broken the previous record number of Masters series titles by winning his 18th and through all he has achieved ... he is now back to being the Number 1 player in the world by a very comfortable margin.
You are a credit to yourself, your family and your sport Rafa. And it couldn't possibly happen to a greater and nicer player and person. Congratulations, because you deserve it all. VAMOS !!!
Saturday, 3 July 2010
Oh Rafa ... you special boy. On Men's semi-finals day last year you were messing about on your jet-ski, but this year you were walking out with Andy Murray to face off for a place in your beloved Wimbledon final.
And you were superb. It was a high quality match where Murray remembered how to serve again but you had enough on return for it not to hurt you - too much. As always, tennis matches are won and lost on a few points and in the first set you got your first break point which you took to lead 5-4 with you coming out next to serve. And you converted ... first set cushion at 6-4.
It was very evenly fought in the second with Rafa saving break points and it lead to the eventual tie-breaker. Yikes ... I hate them. Hate them. It was again evenly contested but Murray ended up with a set point as Rafa double faulted, but his aggressive play meant that he couldn't put it away. Rafa got his own set point at 7-6 which he duly converted ... 2 sets up.
At the start of the third, Rafa lost serve as Murray converted the only one of his three break points to take the early lead. It was a lapse of concentration from Rafa which in some ways you can't blame him for due to the intensity of the first two sets, but we just knew at that at some point in the set he would get it back. And he did. He converted the second of this then 3 break points to level the set at 4-4. With the momentum his way, Rafa served to lead at 5-4 and then broke Murray with the 3rd of his 4 break points to take the match, 6-4 in the third.
Fabulous Rafa. He had a lovely exchange with Murray at the net where he held him and commiserated and held back a bit when they walked off court so that he and the crowd could applaud Murray off. What a gent.
Rafa fell to his back on victory which is his usual salute when he wins the tournament, I can't ever remember a time when he's done this before in a semi. It must have meant that much. I can scarcely believe the turnround of events in a single year and how Rafa has put his career and season right back on track only really from April this year. He is a credit to the sport and a fine, fine champion. He faces Tomas Berdych tomorrow who was the 3-0 victor over Novak in the other semi-final. I hope with my whole heart that Rafa can turn around the sad events from last year and make the defence of his treasured Wimbledon title.
Thursday, 1 July 2010
So here we were ... back to another Sod off, sorry stand off with Robin Soderling. Quite frankly, the furore that surrounds this turnip still never ceases to amaze me. He had one win against Rafa in "that" match last, year, went on to win a 250 series and his biggest triumph to date, a 500 series ... and here he is. Supposedly Rafa's nemesis and the one man with a game to take it Rafa. For a set maybe.
And that was the case. Whether it was nerves or not, Rafa started dreadfully and found himself 0-5 down in no time. But then he clawed a game back, and then another ... just slowly started to feel his way into the match, and whilst he only managed one more game and lost the first set, 6-3, he was starting to play.
And so to a very important second. One of the significant features of this match was once again ... the umpire. First altercation was a ball that was called out which Rafa hit but pulled away with his shot as he heard the call. The Sod challenged, it was shown to be in, so the umpire gave the point to the Sod ... which gave him a break point. Rafa mounted a heated protest to the umpire to play a let as he had a shot on that ball, but held back. To no avail ... the umpire wasn't moving. But this seemed to fire our Rafa on and he took the second set 6-3.
In the third, the controversy really started. Rafa had a break and went ahead to lead 5-4. The players then sat down at for the changeover before Rafa had serve to serve for the set. And that's when it happened ... the Sod called for the trainer.
Now ... bear in mind the flak and outrage that Rafa had to endure because he called a MTO early in the 4th set on Saturday to seek some assistance for the pain in his knees ... and then the Sod calls the trainer to look at the dressing on his big toe. I ask you. Sure, its within the rules and the umpire allowed it ... but they sat there and sat there, waiting for the trainer to come which he did ... nearly 10 minutes later and then we have the MTO for a ickle old plaster change. I was incandescent with rage. That was completely and utterly blatant cheating. No other word for it. No way could he not have been able to carry on for one more game before the longer break after the set ... but no. The Sod employed gamesmanship to its highest level ... and there was nothing Rafa could do about it.
After the whole debacle, Rafa stood to serve for the set ... and served a double fault. Another followed two points later and the utter evilness of that Sod stare came into play as he heralded his break back and levelled at 5-5. I totally ... hate him. And then we stood at a tie-break decider after both players got to 6-6. I detest Rafa tie breaks ... cos he's not got a good record in them. And I also think they so much more favour the guy with the big serve. And to think, there was Rafa playing well with all the momentum and about to serve out for a 2 sets to 1 lead, and that despicable twonk started his antics. I needn't have worried. From somewhere, Rafa played a solid breaker and took it 7 points to 4.
The fourth set turned into a rout - or maybe it was because the Sod's toe was hurting him ... aww, poor lamb, with hateful blisters ... but Rafa dished out a breadstick set and leapt in the air when he beat him at 6-1.
He faces Mandy *bleurgh* Murray next in the semi-final. Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych face off in the other. Go on Rafa ... you can do it, you can DO it!!
Significantly and one of the most joyous sights to be held yesterday, was Feds on the receiving end of a 3 sets to 1 tonking. He was out, for the second Slam in a row not making the semi-finals. He was gutted after the match, close to tears, citing injury and generally taking the defeat very badly, tantamount to the sore loser that he is.
Two results that absolutely made my day.