Sunday, 21 April 2013

Why does it matter so much for Rafa to lose the French ... ??

OK ... I've not gone completely mad, and I know that's an odd post title, but I feel like I have to ask that burning question ...

Because the match was delayed a bit today, we were subjected to the blah, blah, blah of the Sky Sports commies, and the subject of Rafa's impending loss in a final at Roland Garros and Djokovic - seemingly being the one to do it - were tirelessly discussed.  Feds' 2009 victory was glossed over because he didn't go through Rafa to win it, but a Rafa defeat seems to be the thing met with tireless anticipation in commentator and forum world.


I ask why because when Rafael Nadal's achievements as a tennis player are discussed, so often you will see his records caveated with, "aah ... but most of his Slam titles were won at the French Open", or "the vast majority of his Masters titles are clay court titles", and of course that clown Bodo branded him "lucky" that three of the nine Masters were played on clay.  So in other words, his achievements are often denigrated because they're won on a sub-standard, skill-less surface where his particular "physical" style of tennis has dominated, and basically, they count for nothing in overall tennis achievements.  Remember I wrote my "Why don't clay court titles count?" post discussing that very subject.

So if - in the grand scheme of things - winning on a specialist surface like clay isn't anything to write home about, why does it become so damned important to beat the dominator on that very same surface??  If they're a bunch of lesser titles to win, why would it be considered such an achievement to put an end to the reign of the very player who's proved himself to be probably the greatest advisory on it??  If winning 7 French Open titles and being a clay court specialist is not considered as good as say, winning 7 Wimbledon titles and being a grass court specialist ... why does anyone give a fig about someone other than Rafa winning a paltry clay court Slam anyway??  Do you see the dichotomy?  Do you see why I struggle to understand why winning the French Open multiple times is caveated because Rafa is the surface specialist, yet the person defeating him will be lauded like he's achieved something tantamount to discovering the Holy Grail??

The defeat of Rafa on clay is greater than Rafa's combined achievements on clay??  It's just plain weird.

And because of Rafa's Monte Carlo loss today, over the next few weeks we will be subjected to endless copy of what is about to become at this year's French Open.  I hope you're ready for it.

And my conclusions.  Well ... it's personal, personal to Rafa, and not in a good way.  It would be a very brave broadcasting station that started it's coverage of the lead up to the French Open and the actual tournament itself by saying let's cheer Rafa on to an unprecedented No. 8.  Let's celebrate what he's achieved to date, let's champion how better he might make that achievement, and let's celebrate how we've been lucky enough to see this very special record in our lifetime.  But that will  never happen.

Because just like in certain quarters his Slam tally is scoffed at because it's largely built up via clay court wins, and that even though he's won 2 Wimbledon titles and been to another 3 finals, and he's won 2 hardcourt titles and been to another 2 finals ... it's always pointed out that he's yet to repeat his Slam success at both Australia and the US Open, blimey ... you'd think the guy was a failure.

Has there ever been one player who is so divisive?  And why should it be that defeating Rafa on clay is a bigger story than any of his fantastic victories upon it?

Well I cherish the moments that I've witnessed Rafa's remarkable history making records since 2005 ... and for whatever obvious excitement a victory in a Masters final might be met with today ... the King is most certainly not dead, Mrs Djokovic ...           
"Of course, I want to win Roland Garros.  That's no secret ... "
It isn't Rafa ... it isn't ... and you winning it might not be the story everyone's looking for, but there's still plenty of us who will cheer you on your way.


  1. I read you, Woofs, because I always agree with you! 8)

    Apparently there's more "drama" in defeating a legend than in watching a legend in the making. And this idea that one defeat permanently ends a reign is, well, childish--if I'm being kind--imbecilic, if I'm being honest.

    Rafa is the nicest, kindest, sweetest of the champs, and so--bizarrely--is the target of the most cynical, slavering, downright nasty "fans" and "commentators" of tennis. You would think that this loss unmasked a poseur of epic proportions, instead of being the most reasonable consequence of 8 months of absence from the game and rehabbing of injuries.

    I am grateful that Rafa is sufficiently grounded and philosophical to withstand this maelstrom of hype and hate and denigration. It just adds to his appeal, frankly, as a worthy example of sportsmanship.

    When all's said and done--"Vamos, Rafa! Long live the King!" will still be heard, very loud and very earnest.

  2. My hackles went up the moment I saw your title - what do you mean Rafa's going to lose the French Open? What kind of defeatist attitude is that? - but I should have known better. Of course you stated the lunacy of the tennis world brilliantly.

    You're absolutely right. We, the fans, the people who matter to Rafa, will be there cheering him every step of the way as he wins ANOTHER French Open.

  3. Once again Wooffs you have laid out perfectly in words just how I feel about Rafa and clay titles and achievements. Had Feds not won the FO in 2009 he would never have achieved his Career Slam. Djokovic is utterly desperate to do the same. Having read your post I am so glad I chose to mute the TV sound whilst waiting for the MC Final to start, cos I just knew what they would be talking about especially Greg Rusedski who just makes me want to strangle him with the rubbish that flows from his mighty mouth.

    Why oh why they cannot celebrate Rafa's outstanding achievements more is just utterly beyond me. I suspect it probably has to do with the contrast of Murray's gross underachieving, so they try to say that having amassed so much on the clay surface doesn't hold so much importance.

    And oh yeah, defeating Rafa on clay at Monte-Carlo does not make Djokovic a clay king either unless he's able to defend that title for the next 7 years as Rafa has done. I think not. Thanks again Wooffie for putting everything into perspective for me.

  4. Oh blow the lot of them!!!! Most of them are two bit failed players, who just make money where they can. It never fails to amaze me how all the ex-British (Canadian) players who in the main never got out of the challenger tourmanents (although we all know that's where the real Tennis is played)sit and pontificate about Rafa and try to do him down.

    It's a combination of Rafa beating Federer so often, and the fact that Murray is around in the same era, that this bitterness occurs. I wonder if it had been Murray defending 8 MC titles and a shed load of FO slams it would have been glossed over so lightly....of course it wouldn't!!!!

    I hope Rafa continues to improve in health and his game over the next few weeks so by the time it comes to Paris he's as fit as a flea and cuts a sword through his opponents, showing them no mercy.

  5. Thanks to all for your considered comments. Its appreciated that you take the time to share your thoughts. I just thought it was a topic worth putting out there. I mean, the PoD has won 4 clay titles in his whole career, and because 3 were against Rafa, it's like they're elevated in stature, and yet Rafa is not lauded for being just so brilliant on this surface and winning these titles over and over again. Its the reverse.

    Its the negative connotations I don't like. It's always ... Who's going to be the man to bring an end the dominance of Nadal at the French Open? It's always about him losing ... not how many more of these titles can he win.

    I was reading on Twitter yesterday that Guy Forget was supposedly looking at a change of how the seedings are established for the FO, just as Wimbledon does when they see fit, ie considering past performances as well as current ranking. But that method has been something that Wimbledon have exercised the right to apply for many years now. From memory, I think that in 1979, they gave the No.2 seed to John McEnroe, but this is something that the French Open has never done. So why now?

    Well, Rafa at No.5 could cause all sorts of ructions. Now as his fans, do we want him at No. 5 considering what that might mean for him for the quarters, semi's and finals? Of course we don't, but unfortunately, that's the knock on effect of his time out of the game. But is Forget talking about making these changes to help protect Rafa, the greatest champion the French Open has ever seen? Is he chuff. It's about protecting other players. It's about protecting Feds, and protecting Djokovic. Because for the sake of their precious tournament, they would much rather see Feds looked after, or if Rafa was to be taken out (by Djokovic for example), they'd want it to be in the final, with the eyes of the world watching. They'd want one of the biggest stories in sport to have all the drama of it being in the final, not a quarter final.

    Makes my blood boil ... but hide it well. ;)

    1. Ex-ACT-ly. The same reason they insisted on continued play in the rainstorm at RG last year, but called a halt when Rafa began winning again. The FO sooo wanted PoD to win a calendar Grand Slam at its event, that it violated the safety concerns. And, with 2 hrs of daylight left, the FO claimed it was getting too dark to play. No wonder Rafa was pissed. We all were. Thankfully, in the end it made no difference, except to give the PoD a set.

      Rafa is and will be The Target, especially now that Fed is Fading. We just have to cover our ears, grit our teeth, and Vamos! like crazy.

    2. By changing the seedings, and putting Rafa at #1 or #2, whether they liked it or not, it would be of enormous benefit to Rafa would it not? I can see your point Wooffs that it would work both ways, protecting the other top players from a QF or SF defeat, but in the long run wouldn't the person to benefit the most be Rafa? As in, by giving the other top players a chance, they are actually giving Rafa a bigger one?

    3. Yes Jackie, it would help Rafa to change the seedings, and to be honest, if they did it, I'd be all for it. We have enough stress as it is, lol!! I think my beef is that there's the veiled implication that all this is being done to protect Rafa, but I can't find a single quote from Forget saying that. I can see one about benefiting the tournament, and that's what I believe it is. Its for the tournament, to also protect other players and to try and make sure that the match of the tournament happens in the final, and not the quarter-final, and that if Rafa lost his crown, it would be the final match, not some quarter-final that people all move on from. I would also really object if - by no fault of his own - Rafa gets a load of flak that the FO is helping him when I actually think he's the last person they're really trying to help. Its the tournament and other players first.

    4. Yes, I get you. Catch 22 isn't it?

  6. Great article. The thing with pseudo journos is that they have a bone to pick with Rafa. which is very hard to digest, since Rafa is such a sweetheart off court. That's the bottomline Wooffie- slamming on keys and winning grand slams are two different ball games all together. It cuts through me this injustice for Rafa and for clay. And if clay was so ridiculous a surface then why is Mrs. Djokovic so hell bent on completing his career grand slam on it? Why does he derive sadistic pleasure in beating Rafa on clay? Did you catch his insane expression after he won at MC on sunday? Rafa is almost apologetic when he wins, and a bit uncomfortable with all the applause and everything but the Djerk lavishes in it, and especially so, when he beats Rafa! And you know the worst part? He has even taken a page out of Rafa's book, and turned his very serious injury issues into a joke. First, during the IW pre-tournament he copied Rafa's presser by saying that he is going match by match and tournament by tournament, when he has vulgarly displayed his desire to beat Rafa at the FO. He does not even want FO if he has a say Murray or a Fed in the final . HE wants to beat Rafa and accomplish the feat. Talks a lot about his mentality and upbringing. Second, he twisted his ankle in the most dramatic fashion and even finished the match mind you. HE then wrapped it up like a mummy in a tomb, buying sympathy from Nolefam and the journos (posted a pic on who say, Facebook, twitter), because the commentators mentioned it a million times that despite his injury he is out playing Nadal. And not to mention the ATP article and post match presser. Like Rafa's very real physical issues were axed and Nole lavished in the sympathy. Atleast form is temporary and class permanent. Nole has managed his robotic form for 2 years, how long can that last? I hope Rafa digs deep and dismantles him. screw by screw.
    Rafa spoiled us with such extraordinary wins even when times were tough, sure it was heart breaking to see him lose at MC, but it's a good thing we have 2014 right? The ninth didn't come consecutively, but it will definitely come indefinitely no? I hope Rafa does not lose it now. He has insane amounts of points to defend, and it will be good for him, ranking wise to get a 1000 point fresh ( non-defending) cushion, if he manages to sneak a win at Madrid.
    I read another insane article about the "scandal" the FFT has gotten itself into. The FFT wants to boost Rafa's rankings, because a quarter final between him and djoker or any other top player will harm the economy of the federation, as a Rafa final obviously draws a larger crowd. The journos and ass hat haters are practically running around with stakes, but what I don't understand is that if Wimbledon has done it in the past then why can't the FFT be allowed to do it? Its not illegal because it's not an ATP event! And the rankings will not freeze Rafa's fate to be a clear winner! Rafa is the one who has to win every single match he enters, it's not like he can just get a bye till the semis and the finals. The first and second rounds are the toughest, because the qualifiers put in everything to pull an upset, as they have nothing to lose and the top 10 players play cautiously to egg on toward the finish line. IF Rafa would have played horribly last year and fallen to a 5 on his own, then I would still try and understand the perspective of the Rafa haters. But injuries, aces and wimbledon rains, are not of one's doings. they just happen you don't need a death sentence for that!!!!!! As if Rafa has not had more than enough of a punishing life as it were. The world is full of negative sadists, and it's a shame that people like Rafa have to endure so much. Haters and journos just log in for porn and complaining, and don't mind dragging someone down with their harsh criticisms which have no ground whatsoever. Chin UP buttercup! This is your legacy and you are my GOAT. forget the beeping beeps! #VamosRafa :D

  7. John McEnroe has an interesting opinion on this. Agree with him.

    1. Thanks for the link. Yes, very interesting article. It makes sense what Johnny Mac says. However, with Rafa seeded #1, shouldn't Feds be #2 because at least he has won the FO, Djokovic hasn't, even though Djokovic is World No1. Could be an interesting debate, clearly someone's not going to be happy.

    2. I agree with you - I want to go back in time with Rafa and Feds. I also think it is a matter of respect and all it does is benefit their tournament.