View Full Version : Spoiler: Want a score? This is a score! (Nadal Gaudio)

02-11-2005, 05:32 PM
Talk about tennis being mental ...

ATP of Buenos Aires - Quarterfinals
G. Gaudio(ARG) d. R. Nadal(ESP)
0-6 - 6-0 - 6-1

I think Gaudio is being very consistent on clay.

02-11-2005, 05:45 PM
that is insane!

02-11-2005, 05:58 PM
I wonder what happened to Gaudio in the first set and then what happened to Nadal??

02-11-2005, 06:01 PM
I was expecting a much better quality match from two of the best claycourters.

02-11-2005, 06:27 PM
I was expecting a much better quality match from two of the best claycourters.

I did too. And I kinda wanted Nadal to win.

02-11-2005, 08:41 PM
With Carlos Moya going down unexpectedly to Mariano Puerta, the draw has really opened up for Gaudio to reach his sixth clay final in a row. He'll play a semi versus Alberto Martin, then (assuming a win), either Jose Acasuso or Puerta on championship Sunday. All three hombres are tough dirtballers, but you've got to favor "El Gato" against any of them. I hope Gaston's Roland Garros win is finally gaining some credibility among fans. The doubters have been pretty tough on him.

Regarding the match with Nadal, I'm at a loss. I kept track of it via the online live scoreboard, but that doesn't really tell much beyond points, games, and sets. Looks like either sporadic zoning, or sporadic "loss of motivation", by both.

Max G.
02-11-2005, 09:38 PM
Yeah, over the past couple of tournaments I've really gotten a lot more respect for him.

02-12-2005, 06:05 AM
This match is on TTC at 10 am EST Saturday, now in replay

02-12-2005, 06:15 AM
This match is on TTC at 10 am EST Saturday, now in replay
Well, if you or anyone else could tell us what happened ...

02-12-2005, 08:15 AM
Nadal just nailed his shots 1st set, great placements. Gaudio stayed further back, pushed as many balls back as possible in the 2nd. Between unforced errors and hitting too many short balls which allowed Gaudio to attack, Nadal IMO seemed dead on his feet. This is too simplistic but the rallies were pretty lengthy at times.

02-12-2005, 09:45 AM

Nadal, already 48th in the world rankings while still a teenager, silenced Gaudio's hometown crowd after taking the first set 6-0 before the packed stands at centre court.

Gaudio said it was simply a case of early nerves.

But as the world number eight Gaudio bounced back in style by taking the second set 6-0 and that only boosted his confidence and empowered his forehand as he began moving his rival all over the court en route to a 0-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory.

SOUNDBITE: (English).

"At the beginning of the match I was so nervous, and I couldn't move, and I was really tired from the week before, that's why I couldn't play my tennis. And then I started to recover again and played great tennis the second and the third."

02-12-2005, 04:17 PM
I absolutely believe that Gaudio's backhand is the best in the world (onehander, sure). He hits it so hard I could not believe it when I saw it sitting front row at Nasdaq. I mean, it was like a serve, hard to see if it hit the line. I saw Fed's the same day and it was not nearly as impressive. Gaudio's a bit of a head case, which hurts him, but his baseline game is a thing of beauty, esp. on clay, I imagine.

02-12-2005, 04:25 PM
Gaudio is a very underestimated player. He deserves more recognition than he receives.

02-12-2005, 04:30 PM
I certainly agree that his backhand as well as his baseline game are impressive. His clay court abilities are outstanding. I also think Gaudio would have some succsess on the hard courts if he could gain some momentum. I also think he is an underestimated player

02-14-2005, 04:02 PM
I watched the game on the TTC as well. I couldn't believe the score either, following it live on the net day before.

I agree Gaudio is underestimated as a player. He's going to continue to make serious noise during the upcoming claycourt season. He's only lost 3 claycourt matches since RG -- and I think they were all finals.

As for Rafael, he's lost to Gaudio twice already, in straights at clay events.

But this scoreline was very bizarre. I think Rafael thought he had it sown up after the first set, and then Gaudio showed why he won RG. He played great tennis, and the Argentine crowd got behind him, and Rafael started making mistakes he doesn't usually make. Although he did try to mix up, and tried several things, but Gaudio had his number from that point on. Gaudio's bh was working great, certainly, but his inside-out forehand was also on the mark. Both shots are underappreciated, I think.

It was a good learning experience for Rafa, who is about 7 years younger than Gaudio. He probably needed that lesson.

Rafa also played doubles with Alberto Martin, and they had two long three-set doubles matches, both of which went late into the night, because of rain delays. (I notice Rafa is not playing doubles in Brasil.)

But (as much as I hate to admit it), Luke Jensen did point out something good in his commentary during the Nadal/Gaudio match. Nadal is hyped to do great things on clay, and he has the ability to beat most players on clay, and probably all players if he's playing his best and they aren't.

But he's still a year or two away from being consistently good against the best players (Gaudio, Coria, perhaps Ferrero), and being consistent during a slam event. And I think that's a good observation.

He has a lot to learn, and that match in Buenos Aires showed it.

02-14-2005, 04:36 PM
BTW, Speaking of Nadal, as we were.

I just got a translation of a Spanish article called "Raising a Prodigy." It's a fantastic article, mostly from his parents' viewpoint, about dealing with a tennis prodigy. One of the best I've seen. Talks about what it was like when he was a kid, to what it is like now, when their son makes millions. Yet he still has to ask them for permission to buy a computer. And what it's like when he's home for a few weeks, and has to adapt again to family schedules and chores.

If anyone wants me to post it, I will. But it's so good, I thought I'd mention it. And thanks to Becky for translating it from Spanish -- it's a long article.

02-14-2005, 04:46 PM
BTW, Speaking of Nadal, as we were.

I just got a translation of a Spanish article called "Raising a Prodigy." It's a fantastic article, mostly from his parents' viewpoint, about dealing with a tennis prodigy. One of the best I've seen. Talks about what it was like when he was a kid, to what it is like now, when their son makes millions. Yet he still has to ask them for permission to buy a computer. And what it's like when he's home for a few weeks, and has to adapt again to family schedules and chores.

Certainly interested.

He's very talented.

However, my opinion is that he's been badly coached in terms of his game variety. Too much insistence on topspin and FH, one doesn't see too many slices or volleys from him.

Willander is right (see the interview just posted), he needs better coaches now.

02-14-2005, 05:10 PM
I don't disagree that it's time for him to listen to others.

But here's the article I mentioned.

Again, we only have it courtesy of Becky, a Stanford University student, who took the time to translate it for us from Spanish:

The challenge of raising a tennis prodigy

His colleagues call him “biturbo” because of the way he plays, capable of defeating the number one player in the world at barely 18 years old. His participation in the Davis Cup has been decisive and could turn out to be indispensable in the final that will be disputed next weekend. Rafael Nadal is a normal boy, raised by parents that continue their course without too much interference. He is a multimillionaire and yet still asks permission to buy a computer. He doesn’t waste his money. His common sense only lets him have one obsession: to win.

By Josefa Paredes

Rafael Nadal is almost a kid. He is barely 18 years old and he lives with his parents, Sebastián and Ana María in Manacor (Majorca). His room is small. It has just enough space for a gawky kid that measures 182 centimeters and yet is not all that comfortable in his own body. It is a room that would be exactly the same as the room of any other boy except for two reasons. You won’t see notes, or textbooks, but you will see dozens of brilliant trophies. They’re so bright that they reflect your image when you look at them. And yes, he has posters. But you won’t catch the smile of a singer or model in any of them. Hanging on the wall, the ungainly boy plays tennis in the trademark clothes of a multinational company. He advertises crackers. He grasps the latest model racquet of the trademark company that sponsors his gleaming sports career. Rafael Nadal, in his room, is the idol of Rafael Nadal.

“Congratulations champion.” The first time he heard that phrase, Rafa was only 4 years old and they were laughing at him. His uncles (Tony, who is now his coach, and Miguel Angel, former soccer player on the Barça team and now on the staff of the Majorca team) bombarded him with balls and he tried to defend himself with his first racquet. “Rafa played tennis and soccer with them. When they beat him, it would bother him so much. They congratulated him, they called him champion and he couldn’t tolerate it. He would become sick,” recalls his father. Fourteen years later, nobody laughs at the boy. The illness that he caught on the driveway of his house is called competitiveness, and it is incurable. The symptoms are on the court: aggressiveness, confidence and insolence. He does not just conquer his rivals, he destroys them. He won his first tournament at the age of eight in the Balearic Islands. He has broken precocity records on the circuit one after another. Besides Michael Chang, he is the youngest player (at the age of 17) to enter the select list of the ATP’s top 100 players in the world. Also, at 17, he made it to the third round of Wimbledon. Only Boris Becker had done that before him. The kid won the decisive point against the Czechs that put Spain in the semifinal of the Davis Cup. When the day of the tie arrived, Moyá had shoulder problems. Jordi Arrese, the captain of the Spanish team, had confidence in the boy again and he put the weight of the match on his left hand. Rafa, biturbo to his colleagues, put Spain in the final. Next weekend he will try to finish it off in Sevilla, along with Ferrero, Moyá and Robredo, and raise the second Davis Cup in the history of Spanish tennis. It would be the first time that a boy that young would win that trophy.

Sebastián and Ana María will go to the match. It is almost an exception. They do not attend more than a few competitions. They watch at a certain distance without any worries about their child prodigy despite the fact that at the age when most are asking for allowances and don’t have any idea of what to do with their lives, he travels throughout the world, is a multimillionaire (he has already earned more than 700,000 euro solely on the court), and shows a confidence in himself that is frightening. For example, his answer during the Master Series Madrid when they asked who his progression model was: “I am my own model. I have always been first in different categories and I try to follow my own path.” He’s sure of himself. Perhaps too much, “but that is good, no?” questions his mother.

02-14-2005, 05:12 PM
The text was too long, so here's the rest.

Again, I think it's a very interesting article:

Rafa is a humble person. But it is difficult to hear that one is the future of Spanish tennis for so long and not have that leave a mark. Ana María and Sebastián are prepared: “We are used to it in this family. At times they tell us that we don’t pay attention when he wins or when he loses. But it’s not that. His uncle was a player on the Barcelona team and in the family there have been many sportsmen. To us, he’s our son with all his flaws and his virtues.” They figure on possible failures: “You know that sometimes things will go well for him and other times badly. It doesn’t do anything to make a big deal out of things”, says Sebastián. “Are there expectations for him? Yes. He won his first championship when he was very young and the expectations started little by little. But the people have not been aware of it until recently, it’s begun to acquire some significance since the Davis Cup, for example. And yes, it has created a little boom. In the end, you have to digest it”.

Will he be able to swallow it at his age? The expectations created around Nadal would be oppressing for anyone else. This year was marked with the objective to be among the top twenty ATP players, while some took for granted their entrance in the top-ten. The attention that the public, the press and the avid sponsors have given him has multiplied. And that carries weight. “But since he was young we have instilled in him that he was not that important. The first time that he won a Spanish Championship he was 11 years old. His uncle, who is his coach, gave him a list of 15 or 20 of the last champions of that tournament. And he asked: How many do you know? Rafa only recognized two or three. We wanted him to realize that many have achieved the same thing that he had just then, but later didn’t amount to anything.”

He may not be all there, but he is on the way. His performance this season has been spectacular, not only in Davis Cup. The promise is among the six players that managed to beat Federer, the number 1, in 2004. At the beginning of year, he was ranked number 30 in the ATP. But injuries stopped him from playing Wimbledon and Roland Garros, and his ranking fell to the 70s. Today he is among the top 50 in the Champions Race. “If he loses, he takes it really bad at first. But, if he plays well, no. Last year, in Australia, he lost on Center Court against Hewitt. He knew that the level of playing was very high and that it wasn’t the best conditions. Yet he was happy. On the other hand at times, even after winning, he is annoyed. He demands a lot of himself.”

The price of early success is that you don’t get to experience part of your childhood. Arancha Sánchez Vicar, for example, has admitted that publicly. Nevertheless, the parents of Nadal deny completely that this is the case with Rafa. “His life has been very normal. It began to center around tennis when he was somewhat older. With his friends at school, for example, he never spoke on the subject,” says Ana María.

But the studies were there in the raising of the boy. He had to abandon them in 4° of ESO, after sometimes losing his books traveling from airport to airport. “We told him that he had to finish his courses, although he did them a little slower. He didn’t play at one Roland Garros because he had exams to do. We did not allow him to go and he understood why. But later his abilities hastened and he began to win tournaments,” explains his father. His mother tolerated it the worse. “He became a professional too soon and it was completely impossible to agree on it. I took it very badly. I could not consent to him not studying but life keeps on imposing things on you. Besides, among the people that he’s with, no one studies. How can one finish a match and later sit down for an hour in front of books? He learns English by being over there, day by day. We have given him all the foundation that we could possibly give him and now he lives his own life. I see it as impossible for him to start studying again. He has a profession.”

Millionaire. This profession cannot be more profitable. There are only 43 tennis players elsewhere that make more money on the court. According to his accounts as of November 1, 2004, he’s pocketed almost 450,000 euro just from playing. That number makes his father laugh because that figure does not nearly approach the balance of his account. Stars make a lot more money selling than they do sweating.

–How much does he make in reality?

–A lot more, with the publicity.

–But how much, more or less?

– I don’t know, I don’t know. A lot more. I have no idea.

02-14-2005, 05:12 PM
Here's the rest. Again, it is a long article, and TW has certain limits:

Sebastián avoids clarifying who controls his money. The finances of the boy, in the future, may be able to fly in checkbooks full of zeroes to the same paradises as others before him (Moyá, Coast, Corretja, Arantxa) have placed their savings. Ana María worked in a perfumery but left it when the children were small. Sebastián owns a glazing business and a restaurant. But there are experts in the family at handling large numbers such as the other Rafael, uncle of the tennis player and councilman in Manacor. For the time being, an agency negotiates Rafa’s contracts.

When he returns home, Nadal goes out fishing and plays golf. He goes out with his friends and his sister who is 13 years old. But if he meets up with Moyá in Majorca, he stays to play with him. He’s been a great friend and his mentor since he was young. He’s able to give him advice because like Rafa, he burst onto the scene when he was still young. His Playstation and walkman might as well be appendages of his body and he’s already advertised for cars and faucets with the pose of a sex symbol. He test drove a red Porsche and teenyboppers swooned as he passed. Rafael continues down the road, but his parents do not see him behind the steering wheel of a sports car. “At the beginning when he was going to play I would give him some money. He kept track of what he spent and if he had any change, he would return it to me. And he has not changed. We still don’t give him much (laughs). But a little while ago he asked me permission to buy a computer. He asked which the cheapest one was. He himself does not know what he earns,” says Sebastián. “He is a very simple person and he knows the value of things. He’s never broken a racquet deliberately. Others have done that. And he spends less than any boy of his age that still lives with his parents. The most expensive thing that he’s bought is that computer. We’ve never had to tell him anything. He’s a very mature kid. A lot more than others,” his mother assures.

“We are very relaxed with respect to it all because he has always traveled with my brother. The other day they returned from Switzerland by train. It is not that they could not have traveled by airplane. It is just not to waste money. He never flies in first class if the trip is not very long. But its uncle doesn’t control him. He alone controls himself.”

Nadal controls so much that he does not let one detail go past him. In the end, his contracts ask as much of him as the sport, which makes him a little tense. To prepare for this photo shoot, he’s not exactly picky about looking good. Fame does not spoil him. He surrenders without asking much. His only interest (which he tells us every moment) is that he doesn’t want to appear among things, not a ball, not a toy, not even a cap from a company that doesn’t sponsor him now. One that you couldn’t even guess from the logo. His attitude suggests iron bondage. Companies spoil the promising boys from a young age. But the advertising empire does not respect intimacies or childhood memories.

–Do you have you first racquet here?

–I would show it to you, but I can’t.


–It’s not Babolat.

He still remembers the foot in mouth incident of Martina Hingis when, years ago, after receiving an ATP trophy, wanted to pay homage to her proprietor and went so far as to say: “I give thanks to all my sponsors except the brand of watches. I have a contract with another.” Is that not a lot of pressure for a kid? “No. It’s normal to give a pitch at every moment. After all it’s my job.”

Travels and Girls. Rafa lives in his house, in theory. But in practice, in hotel rooms half a world away. This year he has played in India, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Portugal, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Poland, where he won his first tournament. Thus it is difficult, for example, for his parents to know if he does or doesn’t have a girlfriend. They say that it doesn’t worry them that a girlfriend may cause him to lose focus, but they give the feeling that they haven’t contemplated on the possibility of him going out with someone: “That would surprise me,” resolves his mother. “I believe that he has made it very clear that he’s not longing for a girlfriend. If he goes out with girls it would be when he’s away from here. But he’s very reserved. And, besides, he gets annoyed if you ask him about it.”

The Nadals try not to neglect daily contact and they continually speak by telephone. Otherwise, all they would know about the boy is when they see him on television. They know all of his gestures by heart. On the court, when he gets nervous, he systematically picks at his underwear. He’s done that since he was young. But does not have more tics nor does he send signals. Nothing gets pass his mother: “We realize when he’s tired. By the face that he gets we know when things aren’t going well. And we tell him that has to have fun. If you don’t have fun things won’t go well for you.” His father gives him advice during the bad times: “One must know to live with those times. Many will come because tennis is very hard. The best play four grand slams during the year. And he only won one tournament. You always lose in tennis.”

Nadal plays with a fury. That is what distinguishes him on the court from the beginning and it’s what has given him many of his victories. He is aggressive and he continues to grow. And that fact had caused an injury. “It’s very hard for all of us. And this year has been very bad.” A fracture in the scaphoid of his left foot set him apart from the circuit in April. “They told him that the recovery would take about six months, but in three and a half he was back playing.” He trained while seated in a chair so that he wouldn’t lose his drive. He started playing with bandages but he still was not 100%. “You go through it badly. You are afraid that you’ll re-injure yourself and the tennis season becomes very hard.”

Those months at home were not easy for him. “He is very energetic. He’s aggressive only on the court. It’s not like he’s like that at home. But he is 18 years old,” excuses his mother. “He’s always out in the world. He lives in hotels and one must understand that when he comes home it turns out to be very difficult to adapt to chores and family schedules. There are some storms, but that’s normal,” explains Sebastián. “In his game, on the other hand, he is disciplined and constant. He’s normally relaxed. And very responsible. The other day I went out to dinner and he told me: “So you don’t drink anything, eh?’” he laughs. “He’s been on his own for many years and because of that he seems a lot older than he is.”

But he is not that old. His mother realizes: “I worry a lot when I watch his matches on television. I get so nervous. I don’t know why. His father is a lot colder. I do not suffer because he loses. But on the court he always seems so young. With so many people around him I get the feeling that he is very small.” Because Rafael “is only a boy.” His mother, like the one of Dani Pedrosa did, will repeat that expression soon on television while she prepares a boy-actor a cup of milk with Colacao.