I realize this comes as no surprise but I love how Rafael Nadal competes. I love how he plays tennis.
It’s that time of year (one of my favorites) when he glides around the clay courts of Roland Garros with grace, intensity and passion. I missed his first few matches in part because they were scheduled in the middle of the night (for America’s west coast). Even when I did wake up at an obscene hour to listen to one of his matches I found Radio Roland Garros “sleeping” on the job. However I was smart and scheduled part of my vacation to coincide with the famous French tournament and so have been able to watch his last two matches from here on Martha’s Vineyard.
Today’s match against Nicolas Almagro was especially amazing. Almagro played an incredible match (despite his hideous outfit) and really gave Nadal a test. Honestly it’s just what the doctor ordered… Dr. Matthews that is. Though many sports journalists often remark on Nadal’s easy straight set wins and point to that as a sign that he’ll win a tournament, I think he’s more likely to win if he’s tested and can beat someone who really challenges him. Almagro did just that. It was still a straight sets win, but Almagro stood his ground. Nadal then had to step up his game on the critical points – something he does so well – and continue to find that one shot, that one strategy that surprises and dominates his opponents. Vamos Rafa!