Wimbledon's Over, and Rafael Nadal Bashing Starts ... Now!

antiMatterSenior Analyst IJuly 5, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04:  Rafael Nadal of Spain with the winners trophy as he talks with John Inverdale at the Wimbledon Championships 2010 Winners Ball at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel on July 4, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

It's already started.

First in the third round match with Boris Becker. If it wasn't Becker, it would have been someone else. But Becker was enough.


Rafael Nadal feigned injury and asked for a medical time out to curb the momentum that Petzschner had (Philipp sounds easier, but Petzschner seems more fashionable). Becker seemed to suggest that the timeout was tactical, and that Nadal was moving well before the timeout.

From the tone with which he suggested it, it seemed that he was actually congratulating Nadal for it. Becker probably didn't see anything wrong with it and the guy sitting with Becker in the commentary box and asking something along the lines of, "are you saying that this is tactical?" was probably wishing he was somewhere else.

But so much for speculation.

Since then people have started suggesting that Nadal was running like a rabbit, or some creature that can run really fast (deer?), "before and after the timeout."

A survey of such people is not taken, but it might not be a bad guess to say that if it were it would reveal that all these people who are jumping in with Becker are the same that said that Nadal is done due to his knees, or his knees are done because of him (the latter makes more sense, doesn't it? but people keep mentioning the former all the time).

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Then there are Rafa's fans doing rounds, despite their very small number, trying to popularize knowledge of incidents in the past where he did play through real pain, like Rotterdam against Andy Murray.

So he is pretty clean on such things. Other, more enterprising fans, go on to bring to attention to a certain toilet break in Australia.

Great heart like your idol, guys! Keep up the good work.

Like Nadal says, if you keep knocking on the door, finally you will be let in (he never talks about breaking doors down, though; would be good if you could keep that in mind).

The score at the time in the match with Petzschner was 2-1, in Nadal's favour, in the set. I mean, wouldn't he be smarter calling in the trainer when the other guy was actually leading in the previous set, or when the score was more like 5-4 and a break would give him the set? The guy's been doing this for a lot of years now, and the advantage of smart timing escaped him?

Oh yes, Nadal started thinking of it only after he lost the previous set. And what was the guarantee that he would hold on to his weak serve till 5-4? With the score at 2-1, it was  the best time since it was the most likely time to escape everyone's attention, for precisely the reasons given above.

Oh, Rafa is so smart to figure all this out during a nerve crunching match! And Becker too, for having caught the subtleties.

Nadal had first asked for the trainer during a change-over for some pain in the shoulder, and then declined it after that game since it was a momentary stiffness. Was he staging it so that his second call for a timeout would be seen as "really" legitimate ("really" is redundant here, but just for emphasis, you know?)?

Do the players really have time to think about such stuff during the match, or was Nadal expected to have a five-setter against the world No. 41, and had schemed all this beforehand. Maybe this was his Plan B for a tall flat hitter in case he had too much of this "momentum" (they tell me its mass times velocity; by that definition Rafa would always have the better average magnitude of momentum) like Del Potro, who was not playing there.

Oops, forgot the illegal coaching row. This was what Toni had coached Rafa about! I don't know how you can hope to communicate something so crooked in as concise a manner as would escape the umpire's eyes.

OK, so you get the point. But to the sane Rafa fan or a normal tennis fan however, the explanation would be simple.

Rafa had a really bad year last year and he exacerbated his knee injury by playing too much. He was on a process to improve his game for faster courts, and that process got killed in between. This was followed by an abdominal strain and another knee injury.

To put it in perspective, the summer of 2009 was when his game was at its best, and he had the most momentum. That was going to be the best year in his career, from the point of view of improvement, and from the point of view of conquests. He lost that most important time in his career to injury. Everything got reset.

And everyone started writing him off, to the point where he would definitely have doubted himself. To such a person, to come out against the prediction of virtually everyone, which was to the effect that he was done and was going to fade into oblivion, and then lose another single month to injury, knowing that there is some problem, is plain stupidity.

He called the trainer because he felt some pain.

He had played to five sets in the previous match. Another one was in his hands. And he felt some pain or stiffness on his right knee—the knee that went untreated when he pulled out of Barcelona (he pulled out of Barcelona because he wanted to treat his left knee).

However small that might be, it was merited. As to whether the pain comes as some sort of placebo effect in a losing scenario is left to your imagination.

Indeed, we have to use our imagination here where scientific data is not available as to his speed before and after the treatment, if we indeed need to get to the bottom of this issue (that is if you feel that there is indeed an "issue" here). And such imagination is, by definition, prejudice.

Right, Becker is the best designed speed radar. Some people would think that they don't need an expert's opinion to decide how fast a guy runs, even if the running is done on a tennis court. And not that all the "experts" were agreeing with Becker.

I mean, watch the matches, be pissed off that someone called the trainer and that you are losing three minutes of your time to boring advertisements.

But this...


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