It’s been a week of pain. On Thursday night, Rafa Nadal appeared in a press room in Rome and there were expectations of reflection after a defeat, of a medical report, a psychological recital and a hint of goodbye.
There was not much room to dig into Nadal‘s words. The Spaniard, who had played half the match with a limp, was readying messages to fill t-shirts, and the inside covers of books about feelings.
Hours later came the first time that many of us learned that his foot problem has a name, Muller-Weiss Syndrome. It was too much new information all at once to digest that Nadal is chronically ill.
Suffering to win
When the little head says enough is enough… It didn’t sound good for a serial winner who, in 12 days, has to play on the clay of Paris, his favourite stage.
No one will be able to say that Rafa did not warn us. The worst thing about Nadal‘s farewell is that there won’t be enough headlines or events to bid him farewell.
What do you do in a case like this? Any tribute will be too small. It’s going to lead to a mess. It’s almost better to start rehearsing now.
“Pain takes away your happiness, not of playing tennis, but of living,” he said.
He needed no adviser to tell his story. That’s why, when the cameras in Rome panned to his relatives, you didn’t see people affected by a lost match, but people worried about the suffering of a husband, a son and a brother.
A few months earlier, on an ordinary Sunday morning, Nadal was playing in the final of the Australian Open.
On a terrace in Madrid, a young man started making gestures with his fist in the air. He wasn’t crazy, nor was it an inelegant way of demanding a beer. He was watching the match on his mobile while Nadal was doing something heroic.
Little by little, things were going Nadal‘s way. It was not part of the plan. But that’s Nadal.
It was not a definitive surrender. If anything serves as a vitamin for Nadal, it is Paris. Any match in which he plays, he has to be taken seriously.
The best thing about watching him win at this time is to see how he annoys some people.
He suffers to win. He doesn’t win to suffer. That’s where Nadal is now. He has done more than enough.