(Australian Open 2009) An open letter to Rafael Nadal.
written: 2:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009

An excerpt from Nadal's presser after his match:

Q. How exciting is it for you to finally play Federer in a Grand Slam on hard court?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always is - I don't know - special play against Federer any match, no? You play another final of Grand Slam is more exciting, no?

Little bit unlucky. Don't know how I gonna be for the final. I gonna try my best for sure for recover my body and my physical performance. But, you know, after one match like this, the next days you feel much heavier, no?

But for sure for me is amazing play another final of Grand Slam. Here in Australia, the first one. Well, unlucky all the time is against the same: the best. For sure, I prefer another opponent. But that's makes big the sport, too, no, finals like this.

Q. Do you plan to play closer to the baseline against Federer? Tonight you had to run really a lot.

RAFAEL NADAL: Was tough to be more inside, no? What do you think? Did you see the speed of the ball or not (laughter)?

Q. I saw he was able to stay farther in front.

RAFAEL NADAL: I would love to be more inside, yeah. I gonna try to be more inside for the final, but I am playing against Federer.

I know, his English is terrible. What I really want to say, though, are these:

Dear "Rafa":

1. Not Roger's Fault You Couldn't Finish Your Match In Straight Sets. Not Roger's fault your game is such a way that you force your opponent to error instead of playing the winner. Not Roger's fault the Australian Open is scheduled like that, and not his fault that YOU requested to start on Tuesday. Stop fucking whining about Roger having an extra day to rest. He went five sets against Berdych, rested one day, and played great against Del Potro. What the hell kind of a lame-ass #1 are you if you can't recover from a five-setter to play a final one day later?

2. HAHAHA YOU WANT ANOTHER OPPONENT HAHAHA ARE YOU SERIOUS. You lead the head-to-head with Roger 12-6, and you're saying you want another opponent? Come the fuck off it. I'm not buying your fake humility; it's all a mind game, setting up the safety net just in case you lose, and setting up the altar just in case you win. If you lose, you lost to the better player; if you win, you're God Almighty because you beat "the best". How shrewd of you, Rafael Nadal, how absolutely cunning. Fortunately, your sport is saved by someone like Roger Federer, who is truly the best, who isn't afraid of going on record saying he'd like to play you in the final. He isn't afraid of the possibility of losing to you and therefore the possibility of even more negative press, because his sportsmanship and his integrity are worth more than some half-assed article written by some dumb fuck who knows shit about tennis.

To conclude, dear "Rafa", I can't wait to see Roger completely dismantle your Vamos Topspin Defence! game and lift the trophy for the fourth time. The trophy belongs to him, and no one else. He will push you, he will make you run like you've never ran before, and he will embarrass you with shots you can't chase down - because he is that good. He will take revenge for Wimbledon 2008 - and it starts on Sunday.

But we agree on something: He is the best. And because he is the best, he is going to win.


before sunrise // before sunset

- - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
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