Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Long Night's Journey Into Day

In the end it was evident that Rafa should not go on. And yet he did. David Ferrer will meet Juan Ignacio Chela on Thursday while Rafa goes home and gives himself the rest he needs.

No matter how it is obtained a win is a win and congratulations go to David Ferrer.

For me seeing Rafa collapse and sit on the hardcourt of Arthur Ashe Stadium was stunning, and sobering. He had said that if this was any other event he would not have played. His will, and Dr Parra, got him to the round of 16 this year, a miracle in itself. The tennisheads who were left in Ashe tried to will him on but our wishes weren't enough. He had been in obvious distress for some time before that happened but we wanted to believe he could still pull out the match despite what was happening in front of our faces.

Rafa's family was somber from the beginning. At one point toward the end Ana-Maria Parera joined the crowd in urging her son on by standing up and cheering with us but that was the only time anyone in the box showed any emotion other than concern. Rafa's father sat stone faced in his corner staring out at his son. As a parent I think I understand what he was thinking. When they first sat down Ana-Maria was leaning over her husbands shoulder talking with him for what felt like a long time. Toni and the trainer came in last. Toni's poker face we're all used to. The physio, not so much.

Just before Rafa called the trainer Toni yelled something at him. Rafa looked over his shoulder at his uncle and threw him a look before walking back to play. Ah youth. I hope we don't see him on a tennis court anytime soon.


oddman said...

As Tio Toni has said before, it's Rafa's will that's the strongest part of his game. Even when obviously hampered by his body. Your info about the look that Rafa threw him made me smile even though I'm so down this morning. Ah, youth...
He did keep fighting, even though he couldn't run as well, and his countryman was making some great shots and not giving up.
Well done, Rafa! You are a champion no matter what!

Savannah said...

I'm still not over the loss oddman. I had hoped to see him in the semi's but that was not to be.

He'll be playing the South American swing next year, less wear and tear on the body.

oddman said...

I won't be over this loss for a long long time. Not only that, I still feel a twinge or two when I recall his Wimbey loss. Ah, Rafa, you have stolen my heart with your mad desire to be the best. Such fight, even when wounded. sigh.

Savannah said...

Don't mention Wimbledon(spit) to me oddman.
That was the beginning of the problems with his knees.

oddman said...

Sorry. Short memory for many people, the media, non-fans. But it still sticks in my craw. I'm cursed with a very good memory. Funny how some Fedfans are so quick to shoot down Andy's 03 USO win as gifted to him, but will not admit how much tougher Rafa's road to that unmentioned final was, and not give him any props.
There are some who expressed their admiration for what he accomplished, and that takes the sting away just a little.
I do believe it was that tourney that aggravated his knee problem, yes.
Anyway, can't but hope the 21 year old bod will heal up and he'll be back in fit fighting form. The will is darn near unbreakable. Vamos, Rafito!

Helen W said...

How calming to come here and read the words of love for Rafa.

I fervently hope that he will give that young body the rest it needs to recuperate. I wish his official website was more forthcoming with information about him -- there seems to be no way except searching the net to learn how he is doing.

I trust the AELTA Committee is duly proud of the results of their Wimby scheduling decisions -- no-one has paid a heavier price than Rafa -- hopefully it is finally over.

Savannah said...

"I trust the AELTA Committee is duly proud of the results of their Wimby scheduling decisions -- no-one has paid a heavier price than Rafa -- hopefully it is finally over."

I'm still not over the loss Helen especially since I agree with you about the cause.

oddman said...

If you read his last presser from the USO, Helen W, that's exactly what Rafa says:

"I am with calm."

Doesn't that make you feel better? It did me.

Helen W said...

Hi oddman,

Yes, it does. And it brings tears to my eyes.

BTW, did you read his US Open blog on Times Online? Sweet and open as always. I wish he had a permanenet blog somewhere!

oddman said...

Yes, I did - have loved all his blogs - sweet and open about his simple pleasures in movies, fooling around with his buddies, buying a stuffed animal - such a good kid. Also thought how awesome it was that he agreed to do the ATP blogs at his 'home' tourney, the FO. Obviously didn't bother his routine any.
Too bad I can't read/understand Spanish, as I know he's so much more articulate than what we get in English.