Hard day at the office for Rafa. Ill and suffering from the heat, he was forced to retire at 3-0 in the third set of the opening round.
Photo credit: Andrew Mack
Thanks to Gary, some beautiful photos from players, officials and crowds at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
So close, so far… Young gun Alex Zverev wasted a matchpoint at 5-3 in the third set and Nadal rallied back to win 6-7 6-0 7-5. A cruel defeat but a learning experience for the 18-year old German, whom many see as a future world number one and Grand Slam champion.
Nadal had to fight deep but he produced a good match. Is the good old Rafa back?
Photo credit: Jerry Hammond
Thanks a lot to Tony for sharing his story and pictures!
Despite attending the BNP Paribas Open every year since 2008, I have never been in an ideal position to take some good Rafa Nadal photos… until today! Rafa has been working hard on his comeback everyday since Saturday on the practice courts of the BNP Paribas Open. It seems crazy to say a player who’s currently ranked #5 in the world is “working on his comeback,” but that’s how high the bar is for Rafa–who is arguably the G.O.A.T.. It would have been better if there was sunlight on the court instead of shadow, but I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m also pleased with Rafa’s awesome jersey-style tennis outfit and his $850,000 Richard Mille watch. Just another day in Tennis Paradise!
Article by Franck Ramella for l’Equipe Magazine, translation by Tennis Buzz:
Since 1983, Les Petits As tournament welcome players aged from 12 to 14 who sometimes write the beginning of a long story. Like Richard Gasquet, winner in 1999 after a victory of Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Q: Before we speak about the young ones, let’s talk about a soon-to-be 30 who has a bad back. Are you feeling better since December?
There’s no more pain. I hit again only since last week. I mostly did bodybuilding and an infiltration. I always went to Spain to consult an osteopath.
Q: Les Petits As, it reminds you memories?
Q: Do you remember your opponents?
The first year, in 1998, I lost to Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. The next year, I was the favorite. And I was happy to have won the tournament. A beautiful victory. In the final, I beat American Brian Baker 7-5 6-1 (7-5 6-3 in fact). I was born in 1986 but played aginst players born in 1985. I remember I beat Frenchman Antoine Tassart 6-0 6-0. And then I beat Rafael Nadal in the quarters (6-7 6-3 6-4).
Q: Was it already a special match?
You get to know that only later. This match has been much commented afterwards. And it remained in the minds of the people. If you have told me he would win 9 Roland Garros titles, I would have said no. But he was difficult to play. He made no unforced errors. He ran everywhere. He was so full of energy! (Nadal won Les Petits As the year after).
Q: Some say you used to whimper on court throwing you racquet
I don’t know if I used to cry, but throw my racquet, yes, for sure. Losing is difficult. I did not lose often back then. I also remember that with my father, we used to leave the hotel early, even though the matches were later in the day. We were going around the stadium, I was discovering, but I was losing my influx. I was exhausted.
Q: What advice would you give to the young generation?
Les Petits As, you’ve got to be there. The whole experience made a strong impression on me. But beware, it’s not an end. It’s just a step.
Q: Do you follow the results?
Yes, I like to see how the guys evolve. I know Rayane Roumane won two years ago. Now, I sometimes train with him. He plays really well, He is the number-one French hope.
Q: You would like to return to Les Petits As?
I went back for an exhibition in 2006 with Gael (Monfils). But yes, I’d like to see how it goes now.