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For the Rafa Fans ...

The Sunday magazine in the Washington Post recently had an article about up-and-coming young tennis players who are being trained at a tennis center in this area. During the French Open, one of them was Rafael Nadal's practice partner, giving the author of the article a chance to talk about Rafa:

    For kids such as Mitchell and Denis, the existence of players like Nadal is problematic. Both boys can see themselves crashing into the tennis stratosphere, becoming one of the top 10 pros in the world. This, despite the fact that, although they are fleet of foot, their speed is nothing special when compared with that of other high-level athletes. ... Even if Denis and Mitchell aren't the biggest, fastest or strongest, maybe they can work longer and harder, train smarter, focus more intensely and become mentally stronger than anyone else ...

    This is where Nadal puts a serious kink in the logic chain: Here's an athlete who's physically extraordinary -- measurably unique. John Yandell, a researcher for a tennis Web site, used high-speed video cameras to study the forehand smashes of tennis greats. Nadal's ball spun at 3,200 rpm, 30 percent faster than Roger Federer's and almost twice as fast as Andre Agassi's in his prime, both legendary big hitters. But what most awes Nadal's competitors is not his outrageous forehand or his Conan the Barbarian musculature, but his mental intensity, unyielding work ethic and emotional courage.

    - Net Gain (Tom Shroder, Sunday, August 16, 2009)

The online version, sadly, does not contain the cute picture that the paper copy had, of Rafa with his arm around the kid who practiced with him.

ETA: I take it back - the pic is there: picture gallery and it's pic 11. Sorry about the ads ... .



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Rafa! :D

I like the article. I think he's right about Rafa's competitors being affected by his intensity as much as his game. I think it makes them start believing they can't possibly win. Or more precisely that Rafa can't possibly lose. I'm sure Roger's said as much too, about playing him.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)

It's funny, I don't really follow tennis, but the news that Rafa was feeling fit again made me feel very happy!

Sep. 2nd, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
his Conan the Barbarian musculature

XDDD!!!! Sorry, but this made me laugh out lod.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)

Those Wash Post writers ... they think they're so witty!

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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