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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is Rafa Losing Interest in Tennis?

I admit I was one of those who were shocked that Rafa Nadal lost to Pablo Cuevas in the semi's of the recent Rio de Janeiro Open. It's painful to watch a player of so much talent to lose to a player whose rank hovers around the 50s.  Cuevas took advantage of the win and went on to win the tournament gaining him big points in the process (and certainly a boost in self-confidence).

It's almost the start of the clay court season and for years Nadal has dominated almost all the tournaments he has participated in. I wasn't so alarmed last year if he lost to Djokovic or Ferrer or Roger, but now, to start losing to players almost 10 times lower than his current rank, makes you wonder if Rafa is starting to lose interest in tennis.

Sayang naman, because he's only 29 years old and has still a few more years to contribute to the rivalries of this sport that has made him very much loved the world over.

In contrast, Francesca Schiavone won the women's side of the same tournament, and Schiavo even failed to qualify to the main draw of the Australian Open.  In Schiavo's case, it may be that her game couldn't quite match now to all the new young power players in the women's circuit but her win in Rio suggests that, even if that may be the case, that she still has the fighting spirit to win tournaments, be they small or big ones.

It's when the player loses their fighting spirit that makes it very hard for their fans to watch their heroes play.

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