As a die-hard Federer fan, I was both happy and sad to see Nadal lose in the fourth round of the French Open.
Like Federer himself says, he doesn’t have a problem on clay, just a Nadal problem on clay. And now that the problem lost to Robin Soderling, the path was finally cleared of its biggest obstacle. But I have to admit — him not getting a chance to win at Roland Garros against Rafa in the final is a bit of a let-down.
However, what the defeat did was make me a Rafa fan.
Think about this: At the beginning of the tournament, the only bets punters were taking on Rafa was how many sets he would lose on the way to his fifth title. Losing in the fourth round has got to hurt. And to a player you don’t even like very much? Double ouch. Now go read that post-match interview here.
So when one player bad, must lose. That’s what happened today. I have to accept with the same calm when I win than when I lose. After four years I lose here, and the season continue.
When offered an opportunity to frame an excuse about the wind causing him to play very short, he responded:
No, no, no, no. The wind is there for both players, so no, no? I not going to put any excuse right now. I think I played short because I played short. I didn’t have my day.
Now, this isn’t news. He’s always been gracious in defeat. When he loses, he simply says, in his broken English: I played badly, my opponent played well, I lost. It is when it comes at this venue that it begins to seem poetic, I guess.
Contrast this with someone like Serena Williams. A couple of US Opens ago when Serena lost to Justine Henin in the quarters, she started off blaming everything from her back to her ankle to butterflies flapping their wings in Tokyo to her fairy godmother having PMS. And when she did talk about her own faults, the gist of it was: my opponent didn’t do anything special to win this match, I lost it.
So my new resolution is: If Rafa is playing anyone other than Federer, I’ll root for him. If these two are on court, I’ll try not to pray that he trips and sprains his ankle. And if Federer wins a Grand Slam final against him, I’ll limit my happy dance to thirty minutes.
Because unlike Rafa, I think Grace is an actress who married the Prince of Monaco.