AO2011 AOblog

AOBlog: Toughest Match Yet!


Getting ready for the toughest match yet
Rafael Nadal

Hello everyone,

What am I going to write about today? I am really running out of stories. Just to tell you what I have done - I suppose some people will say, so what!?!?!?!

Let me then talk about the tournament. I see Andy [Murray] and Novak [Djokovic] very strong, but also Roger who really played very well today. It is a very interesting tournament here. The first grand slam of the year and the place where normally surprises occur. So far it looks like Roger and Novak are not ready for that and that the semis will be interesting.

I have a tougher match tomorrow than what people think. David [Ferrer] is a very, very good player and has started the year in a very good way winning the event in New Zealand. So, not easy at all. And Andy is playing amazing and tomorrow has an interesting rival.

Tomorrow I play at a good time, a time that is really nice. It will also allow my fans in Europe to follow the match since it will be 9.30 am in CET or 8.30 in the UK. Hope to be here tomorrow writing rather than on my way to the airport....




Being favourite doesn't add to the pressure
Rafael Nadal

Hola Rafael! I just want to tell you that you are such an amazing champion and I am having a wonderful time watching you play tennis! As you have spent quite a lot of time with Roger Federer over the past few months, did you get the chance to see his twin girls? Siga así campeón y mucha suerta para todo! Anne-Claire, Paris

I have seen them, but not because of the matches we played - they stayed in Dubai this winter during the two exhibitions. Very cute both!

Dear Rafa, congratulations for your fourth round victory! Do you ever watch replays of your own match to see where you've done well and not done so well, or do you just focus solely on your next opponent? Best of luck for your next round! Qing Qing, China

Sometimes I do, but it is not something I usually do.

Congratulations for your match against Marin Cilic, Rafa! Fantastic! I keep reading about how your friends make you do things when you lose on the Playstation, (like when Carlos Moya made you run in the street in Umag), but what is your revenge if they lose to you? Good luck against Ferrer! Cedrine

Many thanks. I make them also do things in the same way. Something that should stay between us!

Hola Rafa. You like routine and are superstitious. Do you like to stay at the same hotel for each tournament, and do you ask for the same room?
Once again many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Much love, Clare x

No, I am not superstitious. I have my routines, thats all. I normally stay at the official hotel and I don't mind changing rooms.

Hola Rafa! In the build-up to the charity matches you played in December, it was really nice to read the interview your mother gave about her role within it. She must be so proud of you, but are you also proud of her with the work she is putting in to your foundation, and can you describe more about her role? Love, Jules xx

Yes, sure. She is taking the foundation very seriously and working a lot. The Madrid exhibition was a lot of work and she was on top of every single detail. She was coordinating all efforts and she also did a lot of interviews to promote the event. She only did interviews as president of the foundation.

Hola Rafa! Even though you're in Australia, did you manage to watch the "big" match on Sunday, Real Madrid vs. Real Mallorca? If so, what are your thoughts on the result and can you explain a bit more on your involvement with Real Mallorca. Jim

I did. I was divided there since I am a fan of both teams and my uncle Miquel Angel is the second coach of the Mallorca team.

Hi Rafa. How do you go about trying to ‘pick’ your opponents' first serve direction? Do you try to look for differences in the serve action or do you look at tendencies and stats for what players like to do in different situations? From what I've read, Sampras tended to try to read his opponents' serve action while Agassi studied what players liked to do in different situations - unless he noticed a give-away clue like Becker's tongue pointing to where he was going to serve! As a fantastic serve returner, I'd be fascinated to hear your approach. Many thanks and best of luck for the remainder of the tournament, Robin Jackson

It depends on the opponent. Sometimes you can't read anything and you take a chance on going to one place. Other players I know them well and I think I know where it goes. And others you can read it.

Hey Rafa - if you overcome David Ferrer (which I’m sure you will!) you face the winner of Andy Murray and Alexandr Dolgopolov. Do you prefer the easier game against Dolgopolov, or would you rather test yourself against Murray? Do you feel more proud when you win a tournament when you have beaten better opponents? Thanks! Sam

I don't think a semi-final is an easy match in any case. However, as I say, I have a very difficult match tomorrow against David and that is the only thing I am thinking abut right now.

Hi Rafael! As you are ranked No 1 in the world, does that add more pressure to you to win every tournament you play in, as you are the favourite and expected to gain success? Would you say pressure is a good thing? Good luck with the rest of the Australian Open! Neill

No pressure for me, believe me. The pressure is to win a match and to play good to win the tournament if possible. The ranking comes with results, not the other way around. The pressure is to win!

Rafaaaa! I am a big fan and have supported you for years. After Spain won the World Cup you were one of very few people allowed into the dressing room afterwards to celebrate with the team. If you win another major tournament, who would you most like to join you in celebrating your success? Anyone in particular from the Spanish national team? Love Maria

I would love to have them all in the locker celebrating, for sure! But I don't see that possible

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