Twenty-fours years ago today, a baby boy was born in the town of Manacor in the Spanish island of Mallorca. He picked up a tennis racket when he was three with the encouragement of his uncle… and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. These days, this little boy is now called the mighty King of Clay… at his tender age of 24, he already has accomplished what other older tennis players had, winning titles and breaking records while maintaining a modest, polite, honest, and boyish demeanor.
I sure believe you, Rafa! Lovely feature about him here. You can find the interview online. A must read.
Okay, I just want to get this out of my chest; something about last night’s quarterfinals match between Rafa and his compatriot Nicolas Almagro. I really got scared there when Almagro broke Rafa on his first service game and, before I knew it, the score immediately went up to 3-0 against Rafa. Maybe it’s the nerves, I don’t know, but Almagro produced smashing forehands that Rafa could not return. But when Rafa was able to chain his nerves, the odds dramatically changed: he came back with a vengeance and emerged winner in three sets with two tie breaks to boot. The tie breaks were very well played, I have to say.
Rafa, still not in 100% fighting form in my opinion, but definitely not the Rafa with the ailing knee we saw last year. I thought he played very well against the promising Almagro in a rather tight match. Almagro was awesome, too – his first serve percentage and big forehands served him well – but he just couldn’t win a set. He fought extremely hard and he was very close but apparently ran out of resources as he was still unable to beat Rafa. Rafa’s just too good for him last night.
Lastly, I was so happy, too, that the match was broadcast live over one of the local cable television channels here in Phnom Penh. It saved me a whole lot from the hassle of having to switch from one lousy live stream channel to another, or worse, click the refresh button every minute when the screen freezes. I’m looking forward to the semis, Rafa against Austrian Jurgen Melzer who crushed the third-seed Serbian Novak Djokovic in a dramatic five-set match. It was incredible for Melzer to win against Djokovic knowing the Serbian has never lost after a very comfortable 2-0 lead.