Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rafa (Rafael Nadal and John Carlin)

Again, I've been busy, so it has taken me way longer than it should have to get through the book Rafa by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin.  (Sorry!)  Thanks to a four hour car ride to Toronto this weekend (and four hours back), I was able to finish it up (and start another book)!  (My car rules - you're allowed to read a book as long as you're not the driver or have shotgun.  It's the person in the front passenger seat who is required to keep the driver company.  Back seat is fair game for iPod listening or reading if the backseat passenger so chooses.  Which I did.) 

Let's start by saying that I'm a huge Rafael Nadal fan.  I've seen him play at the Roger's Cup in Toronto (awesome!) and he's great.  I don't need to tell the ladies that he's gorgeous, but in addition to that, I love how calm he seems out there on the court and how nothing seems to phase him.  Other tennis players seem to lose their tempers and whatnot, and one of the things I love about Nadal (and Federer) is that he's never really "lost it" on the court.  I remember hearing before, about Nadal, that if you were to try and find "dirt" on Nadal, all you would find searching the internet is information about Rafa playing tennis on dirt.  There are no scandals and there's not much bad press out there about him. 

One year at the Roger's Cup, my mom and I pre-ordered our tickets one year in advance and we were rewarded with an awesome Rafael Nadal (fake) signed photo, which is now hanging in my bedroom.  Also, Nadal was nice enough to let me pose with his life size poster him. 

See, my picture with his poster him.
 Also, he was nice enough to pose with me in real life.

For reals, y'all!  He's the dot in pink!
Notice how I'm smiling from ear to ear - SO AWESOME! NADAL!
Ok, finally, about the book!

I thought the layout of the book was interesting.  In each chapter, there are two sections - one written from the point of view of Nadal and the other written from the point of view of (I assume) John Carlin.  In the sections written by Nadal, he breaks down and describes two big matches for him in his career (Wimbledon 2008 against Federer and the 2012 US Open against Djokovic).  In the other portions, there are some more personal details explained through interview with various family members, as well as some of his personal history. 

I think the book really shows the hard work and dedication that is involved in being a professional athlete, especially a tennis player.  You watch a tennis match and you know that there is a lot of hard work involved, but I think we often overlook how much of this work is done by yourself.  For some people, it would be really difficult to get motivated to go work out and hit balls by yourself for hours on end. 

There were so many things in this book that I found interesting, including his details of his pre-match rituals (which I never really noticed until they were pointed out to me) and details about his injuries over the years.  I'm a tennis fan (and I love watching Nadal), but I'm not hardcore enough to go do research on why he wasn't playing in a certain tournament.  This summed up many of these things for me (no Google search required!)

If you're not a huge tennis fan, I wouldn't recommend this book to you.  There are lots of details about specific points and matches that wouldn't necessarily interest you.

If you are into sports and don't mind reading about some "sport" instead of all the personal details about his life, then read it.  I enjoyed the book and am even more excited to (hopefully) see Nadal back at the Roger's Cup in Toronto this summer.  He's pretty hardcore and I think he's got quiet a few more wins in him.

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