Nadal’s coach making things worse

1 06 2009

World #1 tennis player Rafael Nadal just lost his match first ever at the French Open (Roland Garros).   He had been 31-0, and had won the championship the past four years.  That’s a phenomenal run, and it was a huge upset that he lost to the 23rd seed, Robin Soderling.  Actually when I first saw the score, I figured Nadal was injured or exhausted, but I later saw the last part of the match, and Soderling just outplayed him.  Soderling had one of those matches where he was “in the zone”.  It was awesome.

I could say a whole lot about the significance of the match for Nadal and the rest of the players, but I’m going to focus on some things said after the match by Nadal and his coach “Uncle Toni”.   Toni called the spectators “stupid” for supporting Soderling and occasionally booing Nadal.  And Nadal said it was sad that the crowd had been supporting Soderling during the match.  That did seem odd, but perhaps they were just excited about the possibility of a historic upset.

Toni Nadal had this to say: “They say it themselves and it’s true, the Parisian crowd is pretty stupid.  I think the French don’t like it when a Spaniard wins.  Wanting someone to lose is a slightly conceited way of amusing yourself.   They show the stupidity of people who think themselves superior.”

He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, even if it is judging others’ intentions (which he doesn’t know).  But I want to make a few points about why it’s not in his best interest to say such things.

1) Where was all his complaining in the previous 31 matches that Nadal won there?  Did the spectators just suddenly get stupid at this one match?  I never heard him gripe about this when Nadal was winning.  It sure makes him sound like a sore loser.

2) Fans are free to support whoever they want. They won’t always support the top seed or expected winner.  That’s just part of sports — there are people who root for you and people who root for your opponent (which is effectively rooting against you).  If you can’t handle that, you will have a rough time.

I don’t know the background for why Nadal’s coach said such things.  But ironically, he’s only making things worse for next year, if the fans remember.  If you want people to cheer for you, it’s generally not a good idea to call them stupid.

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One response

8 06 2009
Soder-who??

If I pay a few hundred dollars to go see someone play tennis for a possible 1 million dollars in prize money, then I better be able to say WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT.

Uncle Toni is stupid. he didn’t pay a dime to watch Nadal play so why is he complaining? You are dead on right. He just doesn’t like the sudden fall from grace that he felt when his boy lost big time and crushed chance of making history at the french open. It sucks. but don’t lash out at the crowd.

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