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.