Thank You Rafa

Sports Comments

Today (July 03 2015) is an important day in the history of Tennis - it marks the end of Nadal’s domination at Roland Garros. Don’t get me wrong here - I’m not saying that Rafa will not win any more tournaments on the Red Clay, but just that I don’t see him dominating anymore as much as he has over the years!

I started watching tennis in 2006 and ever since I’ve been an avid Federer fan. According to me, Federer is the Greatest Player Of All Time - irrespective of either Novak’s or Rafa’s career achievements after this. Rohan had a great reason in his post here -

There’s a certain romance in sport that you cannot ignore. It’s just like romance in relationships. There’s magic. You can never explain it but it’s there. And, on the sports field, that magic is only invoked by genius. By an X Factor which many great sportsman will never have despite their statistic accomplishments.

Federer is a Genius - it is easy to admire a genius but hard to emualate. However, Nadal is the ideal role model for us mere mortals - he was asked to play left-handed by his uncle Toni so that he would have an advantage against most of the right handed players. By hardwork and dedication, he has proved that it is possible to beat the geniuses. I’ve learnt a lot from Nadal over the years -

Never Say Die Attitude - If there’s only one thing that you can learn from Rafa, then this is it. He plays every point as if he has never won one and as if this is his last. One match that comes to my mind is the 2013 French Open Semi-Final against Djokovic where he was trailing 2-4 down in the 5th set but goes on to win the match 8-6.

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic 2013 Roland Garros SemiFinal

Ability to Adapt - Early in his career, he was termed as a clay court specialist. However, he worked on his game and improved so much that he went on to win the Career Slam. After winning the 2008 Wimbledon, people began to accept that he is not just a clay court player.

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer 2008 Wimbledon Final

Humility - Nadal handles the press conferences (especially the ones after his loss) really well - gives credit to the opponent and doesn’t give excuses like weather, injury or time delays. Also, during the 2009 Australian Open Ceremony, he calls Federer one of the Greatest Players Of All time (despite defeating him in the last 3 Grand Slam Finals that they played together).

2009 Australian Open Final Ceremony

Role Model - And more importantly, he has shown us that by hardwork and a never say die attitude you can beat the genius.

I hope he returns to winning form soon and inspires us once again. Happy Birthday and Thank You Rafa!!

Kaushik Rangadurai

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