See October 4th’s “Did Rafa Nadal’s whining set him up for Beijing Open collapse?” YES!
And the full story from the always spot-on Bleacher Report:
Rafael Nadal, the tennis king of idiosyncrasies, might be adding another ritual to his routine: whining.
In case you haven’t heard, Nadal hated the tennis balls used at the China Open in Beijing. He thinks those things are freak’n dangerous.
He told the Associated Press (via Tennis.com), “This week we are playing with one ball. Next week we are playing with a different ball,” he said. “That’s dangerous for the shoulder, dangerous for the elbow.”
Oh, Rafa, Rafa, Rafa. What now?
Sometimes it seems the Spaniard is always complaining about something.
Nadal certainly wasn’t the only player to raise questions about the balls. Andy Murray complained too. It’s just that Nadal’s beef with the balls lands on a growing list of grievances.
You see, this week, it was the balls. Every year he grumbles about the number of hard-court tournaments and the impact it has on his knees.
In November 2013, Nadal complained about the ATP finals being played on indoor hard courts. He told Tennis.com, “During these nine years the Masters Cup was on indoor, a surface that was not the best for me … I understand, but I think this is unfair.”
You think Roger Federer wishes a few French Opens could be played on grass? But every year, the same thing…clay. That’s just wrong.
Oh, Rafa, Rafa, Rafa.
Sometimes he acts like the world is against him. Like last year, at the French Open. That’s when he slammed the French for their scheduling and called it “unfair.”
Nadal thinks many things are unfair.
Two years ago, he was unhappy about the blue clay in Madrid. He and Novak Djokovic threatened to skip the tournament the next year if the blue clay came back. It didn’t.
There’s nothing wrong with a professional athlete speaking his mind. However, instead of appearing outspoken, Nadal comes across as a whiner.
He avoids bombastic outbursts like those from Richard Sherman. Yet, there’s something about the way in which Nadal states his case. It rubs folks the wrong way.
Perhaps it’s the tone of his voice, which sometimes barely rises above a mumble? Maybe it’s his shoulder shrugging demeanor in press conference?
Whatever it is, it’s beginning to grate. Like finger nails run across a chalk board, Nadal’s constant complaining irks.
It’s unfortunate too because otherwise, Nadal is considered humble. He’s gracious in defeat and has been an excellent ambassador for the sport. Just this week, he carried roses out to Li Na at her retirement celebration in Beijing. He was one of the few ATP players to make an appearance.
But oh Rafa, Rafa, Rafa. Complaining about the balls?
What used to be mere fodder for Rafa haters has spilled over into editorials and tweets. A recent headline by USA Today asked: “Did Rafa Nadal’s whining set him up for Beijing Open collapse?”
After Nadal went on and on about the experimental blue clay in Madrid, veteran tennis writer Peter Bodo devoted an entire column for Tennis Magazine to questioning Nadal’s persistent whining. Bodo wrote (via NBC Sports):
Most of you are familiar with his dissatisfactions: The engorged calendar, the ranking system (he lobbied to have it transformed into one that was based on 24 months or results, rather than 12), his seemingly never quite right knees, the blue clay. . . Rafa isn’t the only player to complain about such things, but none of his peers at the top of the game seems to have quite as many issues, or appear to take them so personally (to the point where he quit the ATP player council, seemingly because his fellow pros just didn’t understand).
Whether or not the whiner label is justified, the fact that it’s coming up more often speaks to the prevalence of the perception.
Nadal’s talent and accomplishments have already earned him a future spot in the Hall of Fame and probably a few pages in the record books. That’s why the whining seems beneath him.
Oh Rafa, Rafa, Rafa. It’s OK to remain conscientious and opinionated. Just pick your battles better, or else earn a new nickname: “Rafaree.”
Meanwhile, more Bleacher Report on Djoković’s insanely beautiful final match at China Open, “Novak Djokovic’s Late-Season Form Will Lead to 4th World Tour Finals Trophy“:
Novak Djokovic played arguably the greatest final of his phenomenal career at the China Open on Sunday, beating Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-2, and his excellent late-season form will lead him to a third consecutive and fourth overall ATP World Tour Finals win in London.
The Joker’s domination on Sunday was absolute. In just over an hour, the Serb sprinted to a 6-0, 5-0 lead against a bewildered opponent. Everything was working. He was exceptional in the return game, almost perfect from the baseline and played with just enough aggression without pushing things over the top.
Berdych was lost for words after the match, via the ATP World Tour’s official website:
“I met somebody in the final who I’ve never seen before. I was just swept off the court. I just said to my coach now that I probably played over 700 matches in my career…But I have never, ever experienced anything like that.”