Rafael Nadal, exclusive before returning to Buenos Aires: the fight for “1”, what he thinks about retirement and how paternity has changed it

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He is the most earthly Rafael Nadal of all. For years, the tennis world has placed him on a planet he has lived with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. “The fifth in the ranking is the first of the humans”, it was said. But today, when the 36-year-old Spaniard and the biggest Grand Slam winner in history (22) sits in front of his computer, he breaks the 11,000-kilometer-long barrier between Buenos Aires and Paris to share an exclusive interview with Clarione and to count with his usual integrity as he went through these weeks of mobilization, since the arrival of Rafael, his first son.

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It’s just that, like any new parent, nothing you would have imagined during 37 weeks of gestation should have been compared to the time your partner Mery Perello (34) gave birth to the little one Rafawhich he named in honor of his father. Rest changes, priorities change and every day is a continuous alternation of emotions and discoveries as a family.

Being a father is different from everything. It has always been difficult for me to leave my home, but it’s amazing that, just three weeks after her birth, when you can’t see your child, you miss him terribly. It is a new experience. A big change in my life. But we are currently lucky with the technology to be able to make video calls. Even if I miss the little one and being with him, seeing him as often as I want, even if through a screen, helps, “he is honest.

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The tone of voice with which he shares these new sensations also changes, with which he describes those episodes that he begins to keep in his memory and heart. Surely none of what Nadal has achieved on a sporting level can be compared to the arrival of little Rafael.

“It is evident that the change, the changes. All the changes take time to adapt without any doubt and the fact that one day you go to the hospital and you are two and you come back in three, it takes a big turn in life and you know that there is a new person, that you love a lot, it depends a lot on you. This makes this the top priority and this is a radical change“, He adds.

And everything will be improved in a couple of weeks. Because today he is in Paris where he debuts this Wednesday against Tommy Paul at the Masters 1000, which can bring him back to number 1 in the world rankings – this point will be discussed later in the talk – but soon a tour of Latin America will begin – organized by Fenice entertainment– which will take him to Argentina after six years. Buenos AiresNovember 23, will be the first stop on a road that will also include Bogotá, Quito, Belo Horizonte and Mexico City.

How do you deal with landing in the Argentine capital? “I can’t wait because I haven’t been there for years, in 2016 it was the last time I lost (Editor’s note: in the semifinal against Dominic Thiem), it’s been six years and it was time to come back. time to see my teammates, to be able to enjoy the Argentine audience which is always very impressive with me“.

“The first time was in 2005, when I lost to Gastón Gaudio in the ATP quarter-finals, it was the first time in my life that I have been to Argentina and I have experienced the warmth of the people. It might be different now, I’m 36 and a half, I don’t know if I will have the chance to continue playing as a professional active tennis player many more times in the country“, recognized the Spaniard, who has always had a very close relationship with the Argentine Legion tennis players.

The final of the last Roland Garros, which meant Rafa’s 14th clay court title, will be reissued on November 23 when it faces the exhibition of the Rocky Park Sand to Norwegian Casper Ruud. From Yapa, there will be a mixed double where the Spaniard will join the eternal Gabriela Sabati and the Norwegian next to it Gisela Dolkoex number 1 in the ranking of that specialty.

“I will try to give my best, to enjoy every moment to the fullest and I hope that the audience that arrives like this can also appreciate them. I have always felt very close to the Latin American public and Argentina is a place with a very strong tennis tradition, which is why playing it is unique.“highlighted Nadal, who won 92 titles throughout his career, second only to Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103) and Ivan Lendl (94).

Four of them were in this 2022 season, including the Australian Open and the aforementioned Roland Garros, but he also had very difficult moments, such as retiring at Wimbledon and the string of injuries that forced him to end his tour of the circuit. ATP.

-You haven’t competed in a tournament for two months -You only did it at the Laver Cup-, how are you with the pains that have hit you lately?

-It was a good year of results, but also difficult on a personal and physical level. Everything was going very well up to Indian Wells, but from then on the truth is that the physical problems never ended, there were many months of difficulties but somehow I feel more or less well, with the illusion of quitting the year in the best way possible, unless it is on a tennis court.

-Can you describe to the fans what happens to you with the inconvenience?

-The audience has seen me suffer on the pitch many times in my life, they know that I retired from Wimbledon, that I couldn’t be in the season on clay … In the end what I have is not a continuous pain, but it is evident that the body is sending signalsI had two abdominal breaks, a stress fracture in my rib, chronic foot pain which at one point was very complicated … but they are moving forward and working things out to feel more or less good now And I hope that from here until the end it is like this.

This passage through the Masters 1000 in Paris, a place where he has not been able to devote himself throughout his career, also represents a mathematical possibility to fight to return to ranking number 1that place he occupied during 209 weeks (56 consecutive) and who today has his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, which many see similarities to Rafa. But Nadal admits he is far from that sporting goal at this point in his life.

I haven’t fought for the number 1 in yearsI see other goals in my sports career. If later the results say he has reached that position, well, welcome. But the reality is that this year I have competed in ten tournaments, of which I did not score points at Wimbledon and in Indian Wells I ended up with broken ribs, and in many of them I could not compete in optimal conditions, that’s why being number 2 is currently a more than privileged positionbut we’ll see what happens from here to the end if I stay or raise or get outbid. It won’t be a big change in my season or career.“, He explained.

All this combination of answers he gave during the interview Clarione it also leads to a time when his fans don’t want to come, but inevitably will. His emotion and his tears, so spontaneous, when the Swiss Roger Federer decided to put the racket in the bag for the last time in a professional way, he could have opened a locker that, until now, had not appeared.

But Nadal is very clear, since at every point he defends and counterattacks inside the pitch, that his checkered flag is still far from his sight, he doesn’t even want to think about it, because this would indicate that the moment is approaching.

When you start thinking about that moment, it is because you are already in that phase and I am not there.I don’t have those thoughts inside, I’m far from having them, when it comes, it will come and there is no perfect goodbye for anyone. For Roger it was very exciting and, in the context of him, he would have liked to play and compete, but his knee did not allow it. Things come as they come and you have to live with them. Roger’s farewell was exciting, he was one of the greatest athletes in history, a great teammate and it was a sad moment. “

few places available

With the pre-sales sold out and very few seats available, the company in charge of the organization announced in the past few hours the exclusive packages for those who want to experience Rafael Nadal’s visit in a unique way: Meet and Greet, Luxury Dinner and more.

It is called the first experience FULL-VIP, the most complete of all. It includes the covered gala dinner, which will be held the night before the exhibition in the Ocre de La Rural room with a Faena Catering menu and will feature Nadal, Ruud, Sabatini and Dulko, among other special guests. Each table will have their own photo with Rafa and Casper, and each person will receive free merchandise, access to the hospitality tent on match day and have a privileged seat in the audience to watch the match from a privileged position. Parking is included for dinner and play. The total price is 360,000 pesos per person.

For those who just want to go to dinner and not to the game, the Gala ticket, which consists in being able to participate in that exclusive evening with the tennis players and enjoy all the components, including the photo with Nadal and Ruud. The price of this package is 200,000 pesos + service per person.

Third, he created the Meet and Greet ticket, the perfect option for people who want to meet their idols on match day, guaranteeing an individual photo with Nadal and Ruud, as well as a large audience to enjoy the day. The prices of these tickets are also 200,000 pesos + service.

Finally there is the VIP ticket, which has an intermediate stall to watch the game and access to the hospitality tent at the Parque Roca Arena along with parking included. The latter package comes at a price 190,000 pesos + service.

Tickets to see the exhibition are on sale through a unique address generated for the event: www.nadalenargentina.com.

There they will be able to see a map of the stadium and available seats along with their prices. A ticket for the high, cranked stalls sector costs 30,000 pesos, as it is the most accessible. The more expensive ones, the low stalls near the camp, are priced at 80,000.

Source: Clarin

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