Now, being a sports fan is such a stupid thing. A bunch of strangers in their 20s and 30s are paid to play games against each other, that have no real world consequences, and we have decided that we care a ton about this. There are teams that must win and teams that must lose, and players that must play better than other players—and yes. this is all critical. The person we are rooting for may not win in a long time. But then one day, he does. And now, we all want to stand on the street and yell things. (WBW). It’s odd, but it’s still just so universal
For anyone who follows tennis, this question is like the holy grail. This question of who is greater. This, that polarizes the tennis world more than the cold war ever did. Or our religious, cultural and ethnic divides do. Good thing. And irrespective of our country, god and skin, we all have an opinion and we all have taken our sides.
I also have my opinion on this, but Ill keep that to a future post. This post is only about why us fans of Rafael Nadal are fans of Rafael Nadal, and why that’s the only way it should be.
BECAUSE WHEN NADAL WINS, WE WIN AS WELL
Because the Underdog wins: It doesn’t matter if Rafa is the No. 1-ranked player on the planet or coming into a tournament as the No. 1 seed, he always seems to visualize himself as the underdog. He seems to scratch and claw for points. He isn’t the perfection that federer may be. The same with us. We may not be the best, but we want to win. And we’ll bloody fight it out for it.
Because of the intensity: The style of play, the focus, the way he looks at the racket, tells a story. A story of a guy who just doesn’t like losing. And yet, one who loves the game even more. He doesn’t destroy racquets or rip apart officials, but he shouts, pumps his fists and fires himself and the fans up, when his game needs a spark. This rubs off, and allows us crowds to relate to him and see him as human rather than an elite superstar.
Because he puts the court over himself: He’ll slide on the clay, he’ll chase down potential winners on the hard court and he’ll lay out for a ball at Wimbledon. Nadal’s disregard for his body and his own self, preferring to win the tennis match, tell us, how much he wants to take a bite of that cup, and that yes, we are backing the right man. Why would we want someone to win, who himself doesn’t seem to want it enough.
Because he gives us a reason to rebel. To oppose. To go against the tide: Rafa started coming up around 02-03. We dint even know his name then, let alone being fans. Oh, yes these were the federer years. When the great man was just winning everything and everyone. Which, mildly put, was mildly bugging. And then he beat the man who couldn’t be beaten. And then he beat him everyday. Because there wasn’t anything like second best. Yup. Same.
Because he is a Gladiator: Nadal’s warrior image comes not so much from his attacking aggression as from his never-say-die defensiveness. Federer and the others would never be seen as gladiatorial figures because they are not battlers, scramblers; Nadal always seems to be fighting for his life, every point, every game, in every match. Such is the passion. Respect. We want to.
Because you keep writing him off, and he keeps coming back: Rafa can’t win outside of clay – he does. His playing style is too rough on the body – doesn’t seem to matter much to him, he’s not coming back – he does. Each time Nadal is on the court he seems to be telling you that – if you love what you do and are willing to work for it, if you are willing to put your soul into what you do – every single day, and if you don’t give up, you’ll be successful. He could be 80 years old, and in a wheelchair, but you don’t write him off. Not us either.
Because he might not have been gifted, but he more than made up for it: It is often said that there are few things in the world of sport more aesthetically pleasing to look at than Roger Federer’s one handed backhand. Nadal on the other hand, bludgeons the ball, relentlessly. But yet he finds ways to win. Everytime. And that’s the bottom-line.
Because he stands for grit, perseverance, determination, doggedness. For single-minded focus. For mind over matter. : Big qualities for us. Period.
Because even we have OCD’s: Nadal must do his weirdness thing, before every point. Must. Maybe it helps him focus maybe not. But he must do it. Everytime. Because just like every shot, everything else in the world must also be perfect. Same.
Because Uncle Toni built a machine: We know that. Nadal knows that, everybody knows that. Only if we too could be as efficient.
Because when Rafael Nadal wins, we win as well.
*Lots of internet articles.
*Waitbutwhy – like a lot of times.