Pages: Roger and Rafa: Nice guys finish first-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
THE nice thing about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is that, well, they’re nice. They smile often. They rarely unleash John McEnroe-like screams. In post-match interviews, you’d never suspect, given their records — Federer owns 17 major trophies while Nadal has 12 — that they’re two of tennis’ Goats (Greatest Of All Time).
They’re humble. Have you seen their YouTube interview where they’re seated beside each other, giggling and joking and laughing so hard as if they were best friends? It shows how deep-down good people these two are.
You’d never suspect that they fight and pump fists and scramble to beat each other on the tennis court. While on-court, they’re all-business and serious; off the court, they’re courteous, well-loved, goofy.
I say this because humility is a hard-to-find word in today’s multi-millionaire-rich athletes. You’ve got Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who thinks he’s the modern-day version of Muhammad Ali. You’ve got Anderson Silva, so boastful an MMA act that he overdid the mockery and got knocked-out cold by a hot Chris Weidman. You’ve got the liar named Lance Armstrong, who deceived you and me and everybody else wearing the yellow band.
The list of braggarts includes Alex Rodriguez, the 275 million-dollar man.
Back to Federer and Nadal: the two “good” champions will possibly meet in the quarterfinals of the US Open. This contest will be a night session in New York — which means that it will be broadcast on Thursday morning (7 a.m.), Philippine time.
What’s interesting with this match is that, given that they’ve played one another 31 times (Nadal leads a lopsided 21-10), it will be their historic first face-to-face at America’s only Grand Slam event.
Nadal has the edge, no doubt. Atty. Frank Malilong, a lefty like the Spaniard, will proclaim this eloquently in his popular radio program. The reason why Nadal is favored is because 1) he’s undefeated on hard-courts this 2013 (compiling an 18-0 record so far) and 2) he has the mental edge over the Swiss, his forehand to Roger’s backhand is the worst one-two combination on TV.
If there’s a time for Federer to shine brightly in the New York spotlight, though, it’s here. He has won the US Open five straight times (2004 to 2008) — the only male player to have accomplished such a record. Even more impressive, under the lights at the US Open, he has lost only one match in 23 tries. That’s an astounding 96 percent winning clip.
Of their potential encounter, Federer said this: “One match against Rafa is not going to make my season or going to make me super confident. It needs to be more than that.
It might take a few matches and next thing you know you’re playing really good tennis again and close to playing some really great tennis. That’s where I am right now and that’s why every match is really important to me now.”
RF or RN, this will be a Broadway-like show for the New Yorkers!
HUEY. Early today Treat Conrad Huey will partner with Dennis Inglot to play against the M. Granollers/M. Lopez pairing. It’s the third round.
Treat Huey, for those who’ve watched the Davis Cup matches at the Plantation Bay, is ranked World no. 26 in doubles. He’ll fly from the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and, after a stop-over, land in Mactan early next week. You’ll get to see him next weekend when our Team Philippines meets Team New Zealand in Davis Cup. But for now, we wish his winning streak at the US Open continues...
ARCILLA. One of the Bisaya players that you can watch next weekend is Johnny Arcilla.
He’s 33 years old but is still winning. His latest victory was last Saturday when he defeated PJ Tierro in the final of the Olivarez Cup event in Manila.
The score: 6-3, 6-7 (8-6), 4-6, 6-4, 3-1 (retired). Given Johnny’s success last weekend, he’ll be given a starring role in the Sept. 13 to 15 show in Plantation Bay.
QUOTE: From Mr. Federer: “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2013.