Barcelona Open BancoSabadell (6)
Coverage from the ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona, Spain, April 20-26, 2009.
Rafael Nadal didn’t look very satisfied or completely healthy on his unexpected day off. While practicing today, notably during the match between his potential semifinal opponents Nikolay Davydenko and Radek Stepanek, Rafa was frustrated by the amount of mistakes he was making. Moreover, Nadal was out of breath after several rallies and had to sit down for a break. Still, the Spaniard’s practice lasted well over an hour.
Perhaps Nadal’s troubles were caused by thoughts of having to leave the practice courts and make his way back to the players’ lounge. The process is almost as long and physically tiring as practice must be, since fans by the dozens are waiting to surround the World’s No. 1 on every step he takes in public. Watching Nadal walk out of practice was not unlike watching a pack of wolves attack a baby lamb. Adoring wolves, of course.
What do David Nalbandian and Nikolay Davydenko have in common, besides initials and (lack of) hair pigmentation? Much like members of the feline family, the two players are prone to self-cleaning. Next time you watch a match featuring either of them, note how neither asks for the towel between points, but prefers to wipe off sweat with a wrist band, or, in David’s case, his shirtsleeves.
Before withdrawing with a right hip injury, Nalbandian attended an interview with the press after defeating Nicolás Almagro. In the interview, he expressed no intentions of withdrawing and promised that the match with Rafael Nadal would be “beautiful.” Nalbandian called Nadal “a friend, a great player and a great competitior,” and claimed that he likes playing the Spaniard. The quarterfinal would have been their first meeting on clay.
Wednesday’s “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Just as he did last week in Monte Carlo, Nikolay Davydenko forgot to bring an accessory he rarely parts with when he travelled to Barcelona – his brother and coach Eduard. Life is not kinless for Davydenko, however, as his wife Irina is duly in the stands, cheering her husband on.
Wednesday’s Blame Game
Exemplifying the general human tendency to scapegoat, Nikolay Davydenko continuously blamed his racquet for missing forehands in his match against Arnaud Clément. On Central Court, Tommy Robredo kept looking up angrily at the sun after missing first serves while playing Gastón Gaudio. The sun responded to Robredo’s allegations by blinding him on an easy overhead during the first set tiebreak.
Why do players insist on not wearing their credentials like the rest of us mortals? Most of the time, you can find the ID tied to their racquet bag. This is understandable, as they change their clothes and not the bag, but even when they don street clothes and are forced to put the credential around their neck, it somehow always ends up hanging around their backs. Do they just want to go unnoticed, or do they simply revel in being recognized without anyone seeing the word “Player” on their chests?
Tuesday’s Hot Wheels
As a junior, Tommy Robredo befriended a fellow promising tennis player, Santi Silvas. But when Silvas was around fifteen, he had an accident that permanently paralyzed him. Unwilling to give up the sport he loved, Silvas continued to play tennis in a wheelchair, and worked on organizing tournaments. Last year, Santi Silvas died and his friend Tommy Robredo was unwilling to let his memory go. Tommy raised money through his charity foundation, and, with the help of the ITF and Catalan and Spanish Tennis Federations, organized an annual wheelchair tournament that will be played for the first time this June. The Memorial Santi Silvas will belong to the highest category of ITF Wheelchair tournaments and will be the highest-profile event of its kind in Spain.