AO2012 blog

AO" TheAge QnA #3-#4


Do you have a question for Rafael Nadal? Email or ask your question via our live blog and Rafa will respond.

Question from Gajendra Bhansali: Hello Rafa, a very big good luck to you for Oz open. My question is you complain of long ATP calender, that takes a toll on your body. So my suggestion is why don't you simply skip the tournaments like ATP 500 and even ATP masters 1000? They are not mandatory I suppose as far as my knowledge goes. So what's your take on this? Bye good luck I am your greatest and craziest fan and concerned about your health, that's why such a suggestion or question. For me you are the greatest. Please do reply. LOVE YOU

Rafa says: Thanks Gajendra. Well it is not as simple as you might think.  First of all you have to play the 1000 events because they are mandatory events. If you don't play them your ranking suffers since they all count and if you don't play you get a zero pointer. You also have to play mandatory 4 of the 500 events. The problem is that there is no off season and it all depends on the number of matches you play during a year. Not easy to solve. Too long to explain here.

Question from Patricia Giralt
: Why don't you travel with a cook to take care of your diet? I guess when Djokovic changed his diet he does not even sweat that much when Rafa is sweating profusely. It used to be the opposite. Don't you think changing your diet may help you as it helped Novak?

Rafa says: I am good the way I travel and there are great restaurants every where we go. I don't think there is a real need for that.

Question from Jane Harper
Hi Rafa, I sure hope your knee is feeling better.  That must have been so frightening. I want to ask a fun question.  What is your favourite Christmas carol?

Rafa says: I don't know. I suppose the usual ones in Spain.  

Question from Olivia:
Hi Rafa!! How are you? Do you spend any time reading your timeline in Twitter, and have you thought of  answering to fans' questions directly? We would love that if it's possible! Good luck for your 2nd round match and the entire tournament!

Rafa says: Sometimes I do but not always. Simply too many messages and in English most of them so that makes it more difficult.

Question from Naomi Wallace:
Rafa, I have read many times that you like fish. To watch (at the aquarium), to catch (on your boat), and to eat (whenever you can). Is there something about fish in particular, as an animal, that makes them so special to you, especially to watch? Is there something about the way a fish moves so quickly, turns so quickly, that you would like to emulate on court? Please win the Olympic gold for Spain (and Kentucky, where I am from). Best wishes.

Rafa says: It is a very good question. I do love fish and in all forms you describe but I never stopped to think about it the way you say. I think it is beautiful and love to go to aquariums. I might even go today if I win and finish not too late. But believe me I don't try to emulate them swimming! I am actually a bad swimmer.

Question from Stephen Lew:
Dear Rafa, Great to have you back in Melbourne. How many languages do you speak fluently? When you talk to Roger Federer, which language(s) do you use to speak together?

Rafa says: I speak other than Spanish, Mallorcan (sort of Catalan language) and my "funny" English.  Roger and I speak English, oh well, I try to speak English....

Question from Ferid
Is your goal to win Australian Open? And what you think if you make an event in north Africa like Tunisia.. Its always in Europe or America, don’t forget your fans in Africa Rafa.

Rafa says: My goal once I am competing is to win but.... I would love to play there once. I know I have a lot of fans from there! I see that on my Facebook page.

Question from George Karanfilovski
My question relates to the complaints many male tennis players on the ATP tour seem to be making regarding the scheduling of tournaments and the distribution of prize money. What are your views on these two issues and of any other issues that I'm not aware of?

Rafa says: Tough to respond to this question in few lines! But clearly it is an issue that has been addressed.

Question from Zeti: Hola, Rafa :-) 1. What's is your favourite childhood storybook and superhero? 2. What is your favourite subject in school?  3. What' is your favourite colour?  Vamos, Rafa ! Be the no.1 again :-) All the best & Good Luck.

Rafa says: 1. None. 2. Sports. 3. Blue.

Question from Zahra Costello:

Hello Rafa. I was wondering if you had noticed how famous the little rolling bag you used in Abu Dhabi had become? It's now on twitter with hundreds of followers.
Rafa says: Funny isn't it? I can't believe it. I just didn't have another one and carried that one day. I normally carry my wires, laptop, PS3 etc there.

Question from Belen Mateo:

Rafa, compared to your participation in the tournament last year, how do you see yourself right now? Are you feeling healthier and more confident? Best of luck this year! 
Rafa says: I am feeling well although it is only the beginning and if I keep winning there is a long way to go.

Question from
Usaid Ghauri:

It definitely troubles a person after a defeat, especially when you know that you could have turned it to a win.  So what is your feeling at the moment when your opponent hits the match point? And how do you manage to control that frustration, if there is any?

Rafa says: Wow, tough question. It all depends how the match goes. If it has been an easy match for the rival is different than if we are playing close and it could go either way.  If the guy has been better you just go there to the net, shake hands, congratulate him and wish him good luck! You can be sure that I gave my 100% though.

Question from
Arshad Khan:

Rafa, I am one of your greatest FANS. I don’t remember even missing one single match of your on TV. I have question about game with Novak .What changes are you making to encounter Novak attack both side.  I have watched your US open final 10 times. In 3rd Set you started slicing more, I guess keeping the ball Low and slice him more keep NOVAK off grad of attaching. You are one match away from getting into his head. He has a week personality compare to you and Rogers.

Rafa says: Thanks for this. I think the analysis of the 3rd set is right but it would be very long to comment the whole match. It changed a lot in every set!

Question from Judith Forde:

Hola rafa. Did you know that the bag you used in Middle East has its own twitter account called @RafasRollingBag. We all miss it. Are you going to bring it on court again?

Rafa says: Hahahahahahaha. I didn't know but I read something here. Not thinking in bringing it out again but will certainly talk to Nike about it!

Question from

First, we BELIEVE and know you will do your best and we pray your health will allow you to do your best.  I guess it's really a family question and if it is too personal it's okay.  How does all the travelling and the time away from home impact everyone, even those travelling with you?  Seems to us like the schedule does need to be changed.  Look forward to seeing you in Indian Wells and NY at the Open.  Take care, all the best, Olga

Rafa says: Well, I travel with a nice group of people and besides from working we are all good friends and get along pretty well. This is good and necessary for me. Then my family also comes sometimes to tournaments and I really enjoy when they a around. I miss some people obviously but I know this is also my job and I am very fortunate I have to say.

Question from Adam:

Greetings, our champion. We live in NJ, in the USA and you need to know how many people support you for the US Open as well as the rest of the tournaments and my Mom and a friend will be in Indian Wells.  We all hope you exceed your own expectations and your health stays well. My question:  How are there differences in hard court surfaces and their impact on the game?  Also, how much does the weather impact play? Thanks and DO WELL! All the best, Adam from Montvale, NJ

Rafa says: Hard courts are tough on the body and this is a problem for our future, when we stop playing. We have also addressed this issue to our reps since we have to take care of the health of players. Regarding the weather, the best example is the last 2 years at the Us Open where it rained so much that the final has been played for two consecutive years a day after initially planned. Also all the mess with the previous rounds.

 Question from Kelly M:

Hi Rafa! I find you an inspiration, and when I am afraid or think I cannot do something I think of your dedication and fighting spirit and it helps me to get motivated, gives me courage and I give all my energy to my task. How does it feel for you when you hear that you are inspiring your fans in this way? Thank you for being such a fabulous role model!

Rafa says: Many thanks for these kind words. For me is an honour to hear this and I am very thankful. Sometimes I hear people that say that to me and they are fighting health problems and to me that is something amazing since that is really important. What I do is only sport and i believe not comparable. Life and health is much more important and serious.

Question from Zoe:  I live in England and I know how much of a euphoria there is at the time of when Wimbledon is about to start, how does it compare to the atmosphere in Melbourne for the Australian Open? Also in the UK, if we find a 4 leaf clover it is considered to be very lucky, do you take anything with you that you feel is lucky for you on your travels?

Rafa says: I think it is different in a way but still this is a very big event, a very important event and there is a lot of attention to it. Regarding the lucky thing I don't take anything.

Question from Mary Cotta: You have many fans around the world and they all want to see you become number one again. Are you focusing on reaching the top this year or do you think that this will be just a consequence of playing good matches and doing your best?
Rafa says: For me the important thing is to win matches and tournaments. This is the priority.

Question from Matthew Levine: First I want to say that you are the best no matter what the rankings say, and you inspire me to work as hard as I can on the tennis court. What are you working on to beat Novak? Last year you had opportunities in every match to come out with a win but he just won the big points. Would you ever consider playing doubles with Roger? It would be great for tennis!
Rafa says: I am actually working on everything to beat my next rival tomorrow. I don't really think of anything else since every match is very difficult and I could potentially find Novak only at the final, still far away. Regarding doubles with Roger, I would love to. I hope one day we can play.

Question from Jolanda Torn: My question is not about tennis, more about how you cope with all the attention all day every day. Do you really keep friendly all the time? And if u wanted to get angry to a very irritating fan, how do you deal with this frustration or doesnt it frustrate it you at all? Good luck with this year!
Rafa says: Thanks Jolanda. I tryt to be me always and be nice with people the same way they are with me. I have to be thankful always since thanks to the fans we are also here with all this attention.

Question from Arthur:
Hi, Rafa my question for you would be are you gonna talk in french this year in the ceremony of the french open I believe that you gonna make it and make history is what you love to do. So i'm wondering if you gonna do it in french and i can't wait till july love ya and God Bless.
Rafa says: I learn some words in French every year. I hope I have the chance to do so, that would mean I played the final and I have the mic ! :-)

Question from Sarah Fry, Southampton: Hello Rafael. If you could win just one tournament this year (obviously hope you win more) which one would be the most important for you and why?  
Rafa says: This is a tough one since I would love to win any of the Grand Slams, they are the biggest on the tennis calendar. But I give importance to all tournaments I play.

Question: Rafa you had answered Federer winning the wimbeldon in 2008 making a point that wimbledon is not any more Roger's arena. Answered your critics in 2010, who wrote you off in 2009, after you came back from your injury winning 3 slams. 2011 is where Novak had a great year against you. When will you answer Novak, this year? Because we know that nothing in the world is as strong as "your mind".
Rafa says: I hope I can "answer" as you say pretty quickly!!!! ;-)

Question from Sarah: Thank you ahead of time for answering my question and being so gracious to your fans. We all LOVE you! You are now an Idol to many many people now. Do you still have an Idol or a person that you admirer?
Rafa says: Thanks Sarah. I never had idols to be honest with you. Liked many people and specially followed sports, but no idols.

Question from Kathryn:
How do I stop dreaming about you. I dreamed last night we were going to Hawaii. Don't get wrong...they are lovely dreams. OK in all seriousness, what do you plan to change this year so you can kick Novak's butt and knock him down a few pegs? Love, Love, Love watching you.
Rafa says: I normally don't dream about me.

Question from Melis:
I have some questions for Rafa from Turkey.
1. When you will retire from tennis, Do you want to become a tennis coach like your uncle?
Rafa says: I don't think so but you never know.
2. Why do you want to write your autobiography book and is it's timing important for you?
Rafa says: Because I felt I could say things about me that people wanted to know and thought it was a good opportunity now.

Question from Goran: Hello Rafa, since I work in school it's very important for me to motivate my school kids. I was wondering, what does motivate you more - positive feedback, like praise when you do something good, or do you respond better when you are told what you are doing wrong? Greetings from Croatia!
Rafa says: The best thing is to give example to them and work hard, teach them to enjoy what they do and to enjoy it.

Question from Catherine:
When the press continues to emphasize your mental ability in regard to playing matches against Djokovic, does these make you mentally tougher, create more pressure or have little if any effect?
Rafa says: It really doesn't matter. I know how things work and I know what the situation is. I don't need to hear it from anyone except maybe from Toni.
Question from Cynthia: Hi, Rafa. I enjoyed the section of your book in which you described your passion for olives – and what you did to get your hands on them when you were a small child. Are there any types of olives which are your favorites? Are there any that you don’t like as much? Or do you love them all? :-)
Rafa says: I love olives, really. Always eat them. I love the Spanish olives, they are a bit bigger than normal. But I like the taste of them.
Question from John Kiprov: Why are you the only player out there that always mentions his own injuries? For example," A train ran over me but I managed to play a great game. A piano fell twenty stories on my head but I still managed to play a great game". Why do you do this? It seems that after every match you bring this nonsense up.
Rafa says: I don't think I talked about any injury yesterday. But what do you want me to do if I was injured, had a strain on my knee and get the question from the media? If I am not asked I don't say and if I am asked I have one thing clear: I don't lie, I never lie! Would you prefer me to lie?

Question from Harshit Nigam:
With the showcase of winning last year's Davis Cup Final, had it boosted your confidence once again? Will we find our old Rafa back on business once again?
Rafa says: Yes, definitely that has been helpful. I am back but we have to see how it goes and respect every rival.

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