Jun 29, 2012

Was Rafael Nadal sour grapes for losing to a player ranked 100?

Nadal is a formidable opponent on the court but yesterday just took it too far. His shots were substandard, his mood was dark and foreboding, he was argumentative, and somehow this writer, even though Nadal is a superstar at his job – it is a job after all – just was plain rude and out of it. He acted like a spoiled brat who could not get his way. He scowled for most of the match, he had words with the umpire, and was a hard loser.

I have written about Nadal many times and each time, even though Nadal had come out on top and won the match, he still had a list of shortcomings which showed his immaturity after a win and was not always gracious to the person on the other side of the net. It was the first time watching him play that I wanted him to lose. Losing is a good way to start learning and Rafa has a lot to learn yet about good manners and humility.

When he wins he jumps onto the rafters; when he loses he is surly and those water bottles get rearranged more times than usual and his picking at his pants tells how anxious and nervous he is.

It is nice to win but one must not win and take the pleasure out of the game by not being a good sport and ruining the day for the other player who felt almost afraid to show his joy. Kudos to Lukas Rosol who was a real winner on and off the court; not once did he grimace or make Rafa feel bad, whereas Rafa gave Rosol a mediocre pat on the shoulder and left showing all the world what a kid he still is.

It was good to see uncle Tony squirm in his seat as his protégé showed his bad side to the world. Uncle Tony is a good influence on Nadal, but perhaps uncle Tony should take some time out to teach Nadal the art of losing and not rob him of a bit of home schooling on how to behave when all does not go his way. All is fair in love and war; same on the tennis court.


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