Monday, July 28, 2008

'Bite me, Van! What do you know?'

You know, if he knew me or read this blog sometimes, Rafael Nadal could easily say that to me!

Over the course of the past couple of years, I haven't given him much credit for what he's done:

• He's won four French Opens in a row? "Big deal, there's always been clay-court specialists," I've thought before. "He just happens to be a really good one."

• He's won Wimbledon: "So? No way he would've beaten Edberg or Becker on grass."

• He's won Masters shields on hard courts, like his most recent one in Canada: "Win a Major on a hard court, then we'll talk."

• He's gaining on the top spot: "Roger's still the best all-around player. He's just in a funk."

Well, first let me say that I've always liked Rafa. I just never thought he could accomplish what he has with that game of his, which to me seems to lack the versatility of Federer's or even Novak Djokovic's. But something he has is an incredible drive to be the best he can. He's respectful to the game and his opponents, which I've never questioned and always admired.

I still plan on going with R-Fed to win the U.S. Open, but if Nadal were to pull it off I wouldn't be surprised, which is something I couldn't say before. And my apologies, Rafa, for ever doubting ya!

(Photo: Getty Images)


Shelia said...

My sentiments exactly Van. Rafa has quietly, and with very little fanfare, come out of the pack and is about to obtain the goal. Extremely impressive.

I always saw him as good, I just never really trusted that it was "Federer style" good. Well, he's making a believer out of me!

Most impressive is how he is able to stay so focused during every match.

I was also very happy and pleased for Dinara Safina this weekend. She's been working hard, she earned this win.

Naf said...

I think Rafa's emergence is great for tennis, and besides, he's a likable hard worker. I was thinking earlier this year about the fact he's been number 2 forever. I figured this was the year he either dropped a spot or made his move, but I never expected this kind of move! Great storyline for the sport!

steve said...

Hi Van

Yes you're right its time to reappraise Rafa. If I'm honest I didn't think he make No 1 and back in January I thought he'd end the year No 3 behind Roger and Nole. So hats off!


van said...

Hey all! You know what's scary about Rafa, too? He's so young! If his body doesn't break down on him, just imagine what he could do over the next five years!