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Rafa Slammed.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 26, 2011

Or: I owe Ferru and possibly Slams an apology.

David Ferrer d. Rafael Nadal, 64 62 63

I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be eating my shoes or my hat or my feet right now, but along with many of you, this was not the result I expected to wake up to after staying up late to catch Murray-Dolgopolov and assuming I could get my shuteye in during a routine Nadal win. Even when I got woken up by a text message saying “I’m really frightened for Murray now!”, I assumed the sender meant that Nadal had performed more terrifyingly than usual, and decided to snore some more. Once I finally woke up and saw the result, I decided to watch the match back to see what exactly happened.

I watched it and came to the following conclusion: well done Ferru. And well done Nadal.

As you have no doubt heard by now, Nadal was undoubtedly injured. I couldn’t see exactly what happened, but something happened to his left leg in the second game (clarified later as a muscle tear), and although he managed to regain the service break he’d lost, he called the trainer immediately. As he left the court for evaluation, he looked over to his box, raised his eyebrows, and shook his head. Serious, his face said. And Nadal can say more with his face than just about anyone.

From that point on, his movement was clearly somewhat compromised and the match was there to be taken. That’s not to downplay the achievement of David Ferrer, who played about as well as I’ve seen him. Put the vast majority of players on court with a Nadal who can still run, and still hit, and wants this win about as much as he’s ever wanted anything, and there’s a pretty good chance that Nadal will manage to gut it out. Ferrer shut his friend’s predicament out of his mind and shut Nadal ruthlessly out of the match, then paid tribute to him as a gentleman and a friend. It was about as impressive a display of tennis and sportsmanship as I’ve ever seen, a rare combination of competitive intensity and grace, and a second Slam semi-final is a just reward.

Also, he’s hot.

A clearly crushed Nadal refused to discuss the extent of his injury in his presser:

I had a problem during the match, in the very beginning. […] After that, the match was almost over. So that’s what I can say. But you know what, for me is difficult come here and speak about. In Doha I wasn’t healthy. Today I have another problem. Seems like I always have problems when I lose, and I don’t want to have this image, no? I prefer don’t talk about that today. If you can respect that, will be a very nice thing for me. Thank you.

source

Of course, as Jon Wertheim puts it, “he can take the high road, but we can’t.” The speculation over the extent of Nadal’s injury and its possible effects is likely to rage for some time and unfortunately tends to overshadow Ferrer’s win. But the encouraging thing for Nadal fans is that … well … it’s not the knees. It’s not tendonitis, it’s not chronic. It’s really unfortunate, but if there’s anybody that can take this on the chin and come back, it’s Nadal. He’s done it before.

Ferrer meanwhile will play Andy Murray in the semifinals after Muzz beat Dolgopolov in a scrappy four-set performance. In the interests of not jinxing or giving myself a stress-induced heart-attack, I’m just going to sort of pretend Murray doesn’t exist for now. OK?

Pleasepleasewinthisthingohgodyouwon’tbutpleasepleasedo.

4 Responses to “Rafa Slammed.”

  1. AmyLu said

    Very nice write-up. I’m thrilled for Ferru — obviously disappointed for Rafa — but thrilled for Ferru. I’m so happy he’s back in a grand slam semifinal. Ferrer’s form, from what I have seen, has been incredibly sharp so far this year. I’m very happy for him, and I don’t want this win to be discounted. I thought going into the match that he had a good chance to knock off Rafa (I just had a feeling — I’m often pessimistic about sports-related things for my favorites, but this feeling was more than my usual pessimism), and I, for one, am not willing to say that the final outcome would have been any different had there been no issues on the Rafa front. Tip of the hat to Ferru — a well-earned win and a very sporting one at that.

    While I’m very happy for Ferru, not going to lie, I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy today. I’m very happy that there were no knee related problems for Rafa, but it just sucks to see your favorite player fighting back tears on a tennis court. Not the way I wanted his quest for this title to end. It’s hard to really explain how I feel. I’m not disappointed so much as I’m sad? I don’t know. At this point I don’t think I have much of a right to be disappointed tennis-wise when it comes to being a Rafa fan — and it’s not so much that I wish Rafa won, but that I wish that match had ended under differing circumstances. For the sake of both players (and my heart, to be honest).

    • Carrie said

      *and it’s not so much that I wish Rafa won, but that I wish that match had ended under differing circumstances. For the sake of both players (and my heart, to be honest).
      *

      That is how I feel. I was expecting before that match that Ferru could pull off a surprise win. While I would have been bummed for Rafa for not advancing- I would have been thrilled for Ferru. (Rafa’s great year last year after worries at the end of 2009 that he may never win a grand slam were an embarrasment of riches as a fan.)

      I am still thrilled for Ferru but I did feel bad for Rafa- that he felt so sad. 😦 And it would have been nice for more of a focus to be about Ferru and his great tournament and for Rafa to be disappointed but not freaking so sad.

      For some reason- I am quite optimistic about his health though. I don’t know- maybe the crap that was Delpo’s last year has helped me feel that a month off and leaving a slam at the quarters is not the end of the world for one of my faves. And at this point- it sounds like it is a tear which should be able to heal. While it would have been awesome for him to get four titles in the row- there is no shame in not. I hope my optimism is not deluded.

  2. Rosy said

    Totally agree with the above article and comment. I’m absolutely gutted how the match ended. Thrilled for Ferrer- he played fantastically. But just absolutely gutting to see my favourite player unable to really fight. Here’s hoping it’s not too serious and he’s back soon. (PS- Murray- Please don’t disappoint!)

  3. Jess Stein said

    I was so nervous during the match – that Ferru would be too distracted about Rafa’s injury to play.

    Ljubicic/Simon match from Paris was in my head where Simon (hobbling with knee injury) def. Ljubicic (who clearly didn’t know how to play with one-leg player).

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