On Facebook, Richard Mille posted a scan of the following article from Le Matin: Dix raisons d'aimer Nadal (10 reasons to love Nadal). It has been translated for us by Moondancer.
10 reasons to love Nadal
Le Matin, August 22, 2013
The Spaniard, who goes into the US Open as the favorite, possesses an appealing personality, far removed from his warrior image.
1. For a long time, he has been dragging the label of matador with him; a bit brutish with a dark look in his eyes and bulging biceps. Appearances are often misleading. Rafael Nadal is the perfect example of this. Seldom has there been such a gap between the image shown and the reality of a personality. This guy is a gem. Even if, on court, he can come across as a bit macho. Nadal is the biggest and most beautiful rival of Roger Federer. The quality of their most recent encounter in Cincinnati has proven it once again and their Wimbledon final in 2008 will remain a piece of history. If only for the way he’s quick on the draw against Federer, he deserves respect. But he has other strengths.
A couple of days before the US Open, the new world number two arrives as the favorite of the last grand slam tournament of 2013 after his back-to-back success in Montreal and in Cincinnati. His shock defeat in Wimbledon is only a vague memory, as well as the recalcitrant knee worries and another prolonged break from tennis. Rafa is more than back and despite having to withdraw from the Australian Open, he has every chance to finish the year as world number one.
2. His combativeness
He has no equal when talking about his determination on court. Rafa is ‘grinta’ personified. He never lets go, only in his shots; the way he eases off at the impact of the ball is in stark contrast with how the tension in his power comes across. This is particularly striking when you see his famous lasso forehand. Nadal fights for each point as if it’s match point. The intensity and passion he shows on court glorify his game.
3. His charisma
When you get the opportunity to meet him and to rub shoulders with him, you can’t help getting attached to this young man with his simplicity and shyness. His success with children is a beautiful example of this.
4. His fair-play
His handshakes at the net speak for themselves. Rafa respects his opponent, no matter who it is. He shows it, but he also says it. During press conferences, he always has a kind word for the other one, whether he’s the victim or the executioner. When he fights on court, he mostly does it to challenge himself, not to crush the guy on the other side of the net. This is an important difference and it also dictates how he behaves off court and for which his peers respect him a lot.
5. His physique
Women are almost unanimous. From a purely aesthetical viewpoint, the Spaniard, a mixture of virility and tenderness, owns undeniable trump cards. Especially his hands and his back, by the way.
6. His humility
It’s not something that springs to mind when you see him on court where his competitiveness transforms him, but it comes through off court, in his behavior and his words. Despite his undeniable talent, Nadal still has a lot of doubts and he improves due to always questioning himself and a disarming uncertainty of what the next day will bring.
7. His upbringing
Rafa is brought up with respect for others and with values. He has grown up with the idea that his celebrity status in tennis doesn’t make him superior to the rest of humanity. Everything about him is geared towards friendliness. Rafa will greet you, he will hold the door for you. Quite simply: he has been brought up well.
8. His uncle
Toni, his coach from the start, incarnates everything the Nadals stand for. Rigor and warmth. A lot of people figure that it’s this cultured man who made his nephew into a person with an irreproachable behavior. He refuses to be paid by Rafa in order to not taint their relationship and to make sure that he can tell him whatever is on his mind.
9. His girlfriend
We’re far removed from the long-legged blonde on Louboutin high heels. Maria Francisca Perelllo, Xisca to her friends, has the image of being the one he loves. Down to earth and discrete. A beautiful brunette, natural. Pure and simple.
10. His tics
They may be annoying but they make him human. Rafa wouldn’t be Rafa without his little steps to avoid stepping on the lines. All his compulsive gestures have almost become a trademark.
11. His achievements
Last but not least, 59 titles, 12 of them in grand slams and 26 Masters 1000. He captured gold in the Beijing Olympics and he has won the Davis Cup four times. It goes without saying! His head-to-head with Federer is 21 victories against 10 defeats. We dare to use the term “great champion”.
By Isabelle Musy