My Letter of Anger and Frustration to Rafael Nadal

Michael LanichCorrespondent IMay 31, 2009

PARIS - MAY 31:  Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during the Men's Singles Fourth Round match against Robin Soderling of Sweden on day eight of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 31, 2009 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Dear Rafa,


Your are my favorite player.  I root for you in every match you play.  I cheer when you win at the French Open and when you lift the glittering trophy and add another slam title to your resume.  But today, I weep with both sadness and anger.

Sadness that you have lost, and anger that you let yourself get into the condition you are in.  Everyone has noticed that you have not been 100 percent throughout the tournament.  Matches have been much more difficult than usual, and your usually dominant form has only peaked here and there.

I realize that you wanted to play in Madrid.  You wanted to play in your capital city, and in front of your country, but in doing so, you depleted your resources and found yourself exhausted and unable to rest.

You had to immediately adjust back to a normal altitude, and the clay of Roland Garros in just one week.  You could not rest, or get away for a few days.  In short, you played for almost a month straight with no rest.

I ask you, how could you let yourself get into that position?  You are currently No. 1 in the world, but you have to defend the slams more than any other tournament.  With Roger in perfect shape to pick up the title, you open yourself up to losing that position if you cannot retain your Wimbledon title.

It is a weird dichotomy that last year you took Roger's crown at Wimbledon, and you may lose it this year if he wins the French and Wimbledon again.  You will find yourself chasing him yet again for that ranking.

You have one of the biggest drives to win, and your will can get you through most matches (look at Australia this year) but even at Roland Garros, you cannot guarantee win with your invincible aura alone.

I hope that this year has shown you the mistakes you have made leading up to your most dominant slam.  Next year you need to rest.  Madrid may be nice, but winning Madrid does not ensure a grand legacy, the slams do and you lost it by attending Madrid.

The next time you must choose between preparing for a slam or attending another tournament, remember which one is most important to your career.  If you are not careful, that aura of invincibility which has just received a small crack, will be broken next year.

I wish you great success for the next two slams.  I know you can win Wimbledon again this year, and if you prepare and rest up the right way, the U.S. Open can be yours, too.


Michael Lanich