The Vamos Brigade Awards 2015
by MAC

It cannot be denied that 2015 has been tough year for Rafa and his fans. Although physical injuries were not an issue, the effects of last year's problems and his appendectomy at the end of 2014 caused some mental issues which took most of 2015 to overcome. Consequently, there were fewer things for people to celebrate.

However, a game few found enough options to warrant a nomination so I've cleared away the remains of the turkey, poured myself a glass of mulled wine and settled in to present this year's awards.

What was Rafa's best tournament of 2015?

There were only two nominations in this category - Stuttgart and the Round Robin section of the World Tour Finals. Despite the former being one of Rafa's three titles this season, it was the way Rafa looked like he was returning to his best in the latter which garnered it 69% of the vote.

What was the best match of 2015?

Once again, the World Tour Finals Round Robin section produced the winner. Rafa's match against Andy Murray got 58% of the vote, easily beating his Madrid Masters semi final against Tomas Berdych (32%) and the Basel Final against Federer(8%).

What was the best point of 2015?

There were lots of nominations in this category, which just goes to show that Rafa produced some amazing tennis this year. The winner, with 46% of the vote, is his run of three incredible returns in succession to break Ivo Karlovic when he was serving for the first set of their Shanghai second-round contest.

What was your favourite on court outfit?

The winner this year with 64% of the vote is the black and light blue outfit Rafa wore for the Asian swing and World Tour Finals. It brings happier memories of how well he was playing at the end of the year.

What was your favourite off-court outfit?

It was a very close vote across the four options but the very narrow winner (with 28%) was the option with the least coverage - the Tommy Hilfiger suit worn for the TommyXNadal launch event in New York's Bryant Park on August 25th, without a shirt.

What was your favourite off-court moment?

The hands down winner, with 79% of the vote, is Rafa's commercial for Tommy Hilfiger's line of men's underwear. Now there's a surprise result.

What was your favourite Rafa quote?

The winner (with 48% of the vote) comes from the interview Rafa Nadal: "Uno es la ilusión que uno tiene" for La Vanguardia Magazine in December, translated for VB by nou.amic.

"Yes, I got the message [that I'll never be what I was], but to be honest it's not something I feel offended about or would say "I don't understand it." I completely understand things. In the end, SNAP SNAP SNAP (he snaps his fingers three times), sport and life go by and the wheel keeps turning, and when you've been a while without standing out when you've always stood out, it's logical people should think: "He's finished", but it's not the case. You know what you're doing, what you need to be there, you continue on your path and you have two choices: either you get better and reinvent yourself and have the enthusiasm to keep progressing or, on the contrary, you let go for everything you've achieved, which is a great deal, and you enjoy it and move on to something else. A long time ago, I decided to keep on fighting and to be enthusiastic about competing and about what motivates me. I don't know if I'll manage it or not. At the moment, I'm working on it."

What would you most like to see happen in 2016?

As always, it is a given that our primary wish is for Rafa to remain healthy and happy throughout the year. There was a certain amount of greed in evidence as a lot of voters (18%) want Rafa to win the calendar slam (and a lot of argument, after nominations had closed, regarding the lack of a Golden Calendar Slam option to vote for). Winning Wimbledon alone was not enough to get a single vote. For the majority (43%), however, that elusive 10th Roland Garros title is what they most hope for with winning the Australian Open for a second time to complete a double career slam holding second place with 27%.

1. Regain Year-End No. 1 ranking 2%  2% 
2. Complete a Calendar Slam (win all four Majors in 2016) 18%  18% 
3. Win Roland Garros for a 10th time 43%  43% 
4. Win the Australian Open for a 2nd time to get a double Career Slam 27%  27% 
5. Win Wimbledon for the 3rd time 0%  0% 
6. Win a Masters 1000 tournament that he hasn't won before 1%  1% 
7. Win a second Olympic Gold Medal for Singles in 2016 6%  6% 

A very healthy and happy 2016 to everybody!