Sunday, May 29, 2011

Once Again For 10: Rafa at the French Open, Third Round

(Gaining confidence in Round 3)

Rafa had an easier match this time than he did in the first two rounds. Up against Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic, Nadal easily took the match 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. He seemed more like his usual self and was playing with a great deal more confidence.

Still... I'm concerned a bit for Rafa. Mentally he seems a bit shaken, like it's hard for him to concentrate. He also said this at a recent post-match press conference:

"It's my ninth year on the tour, and its completely the same feeling every year. You don't have the chance to stop, never. I think for that situation we have a shorter career. So having a different model of ranking, of competition, I think we can have longer career, no? I [am] almost 25, but seems like I am playing for 100 years here on the tour. I didn't spend a weekend at home since the week of Davis Cup before Indian Wells. That's too much. Tennis is a very demanding sport mentally and physically. I won Roland Garros five times, but next Monday I am practicing on Queen's. So that's makes the career shorter for everybody.

"We have four Grand Slams, we have nine Masters 1000, and the year is 12 months. I know that they're gonna reduce two week but, seriously, is not enough. [We are not ] gonna have these changes for my generation, but hopefully for the next generations to have a better sports life. Because I think you need two months, two months and a half of rest at the end of the season. You have to practice. I never able to practice and to try to improve the things during the off-season, and that's something I think terrible....Sometimes it's like work. And, in my opinion, tennis is not work. It's passion."

Rafa has always been forthcoming with where he is at, and I understand what he's saying. He's got the Career Grand Slam, The Olympic Gold Medal, the record for 1000 Masters Series Wins he's already won Roland Garros 5 times and it just never lets up. The season is too long and these guys never get a break. The season definitely needs to be restructured. Give the fans a little time to miss the action and let the players have some real time to rest and recuperate and train.

But back to facing the current task at hand. I'm hoping Rafa can shake off his mental fatigue and keep going after this title again with everything he's got. Next up in the Round of 16 is another Croat, Ivan Ljubicic on Monday. If Nadal gets through that, it will likely be Soderling and then Murray and then Djokovic. It's a long hard road ahead. I wish Rafa the best. Vamos!

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