Deprecated: Non-static method MtxShortenTheContent::MtxPregCallbackContent() should not be called statically in /home/oldbliiv/loxpex.com/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php on line 308
The sentence fell ten days before Roland-Garros. Rafael Nadal summoned the press to get his aficionados out of a denial that was measured by the small optimistic interpretations of video clips of the idol in training. “He hits hard”, “he moves laterally”, “it’s going to do it for Roland”. We have read everything on the networks in recent weeks. But the Spaniard has cut short all the rumours: no, he will not be there to defend his 14th title in Paris. Still not recovered from a psoas injury, Rafa – for once – preferred to play it safe, to better retire in 2024, giving the Parisian public a taste of what life on clay will be like without his master. By trying to project ourselves into the next world, we have already found ten reasons to feed our nostalgia for Nadal near the Porte d’Auteuil.
The legendary intro of Marc Maury on the Central
The sun beats down on the Philippe-Chatrier court, the audience has been waiting for five, ten, fifteen minutes for the players to enter, painfully supporting the pukes from the stadium speakers. Rafael Nadal and his future victim finally appear, big bag on the shoulder before spinning to warm up. Marc Maury, speaker emeritus at Roland-Garros, has the elegance to present the challenger before the master. The former rugby player made the introduction of Rafa on the court the apotheosis of the pre-matches. The storytelling is as epic as the Spaniard’s journey. “He comes to us from Manacor, Spain… Winner of 22 Grand Slam titles: two at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon, four at the US Open and 14 at Roland Garros, in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 [le public, en transe, commence à couvrir la voix du speaker], 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022… Rafaaeeeeeeeel Nadaaaaaaaal! Incredible, isn’t it? Well, we will have to do without this year. And for the rest nowadays from Roland 2025.
His birthday, June 3
Event in the event, the birthday of Rafael Nadal always attracts the sympathy of the public and the followers. As we never spit on a little sweet break after eating ocher dust for hours, custom dictates that we bring the cake of his holiness directly to the Philippe Chatrier, in case June 3 falls on a day game for the Spaniard. If he does not play, he is still made to blow out the candles somewhere in the stadium, in front of the cameras. Last year, Gilles Moretton and Amélie Mauresmo offered him a scooter. Gift idea for 2024: rename the central court in his name.
Training on the annexes after sticking 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 at Gasquet in 1h47
For as long as Rafael Nadal has been playing tennis, the Spaniard has always needed to spend the equivalent of a working day on the court. Björn Borg has also recently been able to testify to the Stakhanovite inclination of his heir. “At the Laver Cup, they used to open the courts at 6 a.m. because Rafa would just serve for an hour before he really started training. I have never seen a player spend so much time on a tennis court. At Roland-Garros, all the same. Not that he has the keys to the stadium or the power to open it so early, but Rafa never hesitates to book an additional slot on a small court after having slain an opponent too quickly. Often, the latter is called Richard Gasquet.
The premature departure of Toni Nadal after three days
If Rafa is described by all as a perfect gentleman within the circuit, it is largely thanks to Toni. Elegance and kindness in one person. We have never seen him refuse an interview to anyone, nor show signs of weariness when seeing Nelson Monfort arrive in his box between two sets of Rafael. In short, Toni is one of the mascots of the Porte d’Auteuil. And he returns it well to the capital, of which he thinks the greatest good. The problem is that, without his nephew and with a Félix Auger-Aliassime at the bottom of the hole, we risk seeing him for less time than expected during the fortnight. And that makes us a little sad.
The moment when we will believe that maybe someone can beat him, but no
There were a bunch of them last year. During his round of 16 against Félix Auger-Aliassime, when the Canadian picked up 2 sets everywhere, the Parisian public imagined a Soderling 2.0. Too old, too injured, the Spaniard will not be able to resist the physical freshness of the opponent. You speak. Victory in five rounds. In the next round, Djokovic. The Serb remains on a victory at Roland against his rival and has not lost a set since the start of the fortnight. Time has no hold on the world number 1, it’s all cooked. Lol. Victory for Nadal in four sets, hasta la vista. Semi-final: Sascha Zverev walks on water. Big saddlebags at 210 km/h, winners from space, but Rafa still won the first set mentally as everyone saw the German take the tie-break. The bad luck will take care of finishing the blond, the foot caught in the sacred ground of Rafa. Can chivalrous tennis exist without Nadal at Roland? Reply in two weeks.
Nadal on a court, it’s quite a story. The little jumps during the toss, the sprint to the back of the court once the toss is done, readjusting the boxer, polo sleeve and hair when getting ready to serve, cleaning up the baseline with the foot, the two small bottles of water placed to the millimeter in front of his chair at the change of side… All that was part of our balance at Roland, like the meal at 20 balls and the little tour on the Lenglen at 3 p.m. good weather for sunbathing. And to think that we will have to finish the fortnight without the little tooth of the Spaniard in the cup of the Musketeers.
The moment when Rafa will say he is a player like the others while complaining about playing on the Lenglen
That too is part of the tradition. Nadal, with his air of not touching it, which puts a small strain on the organization because he played a little late, it was cold, the balls did not bounce enough or the ball boy did not gave him only two when everyone knows he needs three before hitting his first. And who is surprised after his words have taken on a disproportionate extent, as if he did not know that he was the boss of the place.
The moment when Djokovic will surpass him in the number of GC victories
Perhaps the worst news of the absence of the Mallorcan Porte d’Auteuil. While Novak Djokovic equalized with 22 Grand Slam titles each thanks to his coronation in Melbourne, we expected the fight, the real one, at the top, during this Roland. The clashes between the two men over the past two years (Djoko winning the half in 2021, Nadal in the quarterfinals in 2022) have been such monuments, we were salivating at the idea of a beauty who would offer the survivor the possibility of being the first player in history to reach 23 majors. It won’t have the same flavor if the Serb comes out of the fortnight at the top of the pyramid (even if he obviously doesn’t care).
The three French words during the post-victory speech
Inevitably, when you have the audacity to win such an important tournament every year, it is part of good manners to learn a few words of the local language to say thank you. It still took six years for Rafa, since his first victory in 2005, to get started. It was after a quarter-final victory against Soderling, in 2011 therefore. Twelve years and nine titles later, the Spaniard barely progressed but his three sentences after each victory – last year: “Thank you, thank you very much to everyone. It’s amazing to play here with support like that. It’s very nice and I say thank you” – enough to delight the public. Between us, Roger Federer spoke much better…
The photo with the Musketeers Trophy (feat his biggest fan Iga Swiatek)
A short stroll through Paris with a trophy under his arm, a semi-relaxed pose on a low wall with the rooftops of Paname and the Eiffel Tower in the background, this is (also) part of the routine for Nadal. A small moment of pleasure after two weeks of suffering, especially last year when he was accompanied by the most exalted of all his groupies, world number 1 Iga Swiatek. The Pole would be damned to scuttle herself this year just so as not to have to pose with anyone other than her hero. The butterfly effect of the absence of the owner.