Saturday, March 20, 2010

That Guy's Awesome

This post is my ode to Rafa. Because seriously, I love that kid.

It's sometimes easy, when you are so firmly entrenched in Camp Federer (which we all know I am), to remember that Rafa is also made of awesome and that Roger would probably not be quite as awesome with that Rafa relationship in his life.

I don't want to talk about Rafa's tennis career here. I don't want to talk about his injury woes, his problems, the fact that he might not have the longevity of some other players. I just want to talk about the fact that Rafa is awesome. He's often overshadowed by Roger, because Roger is a) also awesome, b) such a good statesman and c) so good at English. But we cannot overlook just how amazing Rafa is for the game and how much he has contributed.

It's always easy to talk about Rafa in terms of Roger and how their bromance has become the defining bromance of sport - and one of the greatest bromances of all time. This was shown nowhere more clearly than at Hit for Haiti 2, where two dudes clearly not having a bromance fought with words while Roger and Rafa shrugged at each other across the net. Their friendship and the gentlemanly nature of their rivalry is totally awesome and one of the best things about tennis in many ways, because I think it has changed tennis for the better.

But I want to talk about Rafa the individual, because I think he, by himself, has made tennis more awesome. Kids growing up and idolising Rafa are learning not only the statesmanship which is now so great at the top of the game, and they're not just learning the fierce lefty spins and the hooking forehand - though they too are great for the game. What they're learning is a level of mental toughness I don't believe anyone else in the game even approaches. Rafa has, I would argue, a mind of steel - and it's probably the most steely mind in the history of tennis. Has their ever been anyone who fought harder than Rafa Nadal, who backed himself more, who believed he could win even when it looked spectacularly unlikely?

I don't think there has been. And that's why I think that, even though I'm a huge Fedfan and I think we should celebrate the greatness of Federer the man and the Federer/Nadal bromance, we should stop every now and again and celebrate the greatness of Nadal. Because Rafa... well, that guy's awesome.

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