Shanghai Rolex Masters, China
Rafa’s intense desire to win makes him a Champion; however, in the end it may cause him harm. It is said, there are race horses whose in-bred desire to win will cause them to run themselves to death, if they are not held back.
I waited today for [CR2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) to retire or for [CR21] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) to realize that this was an opportunity to beat Rafa. It took Lopez until the sixth game of the first set to capitalize on that reality, breaking Rafa and holding on to take the set, 6-3.
Rafa’s relentless determination to succeed saw him serve for the second set; yet, as great as he is, he could not avoid the effects of his current weakened state, and he would lose the set and match in the tie-break, 3-6, 6-7(6).
Rafa is ailing and despite his need to be the Champion, it would have been prudent for him never to have taken the court. There should be a rule that prevents an obviously injured/ailing player from playing. Rafa is a Champion, there is no need for him to go to such lengths to convince anyone. The irony, it’s the Champion in him that prevents him from withdrawing.
His ferocious drive to win sets him apart, and that is one of the reasons I admire him; however, one has to wonder if this drive may ultimately be his undoing.