Big thanks to DtL reader whynotme for sending me (and translating) the link to this French interview featuring Rafael Nadal published today on L'Express.fr.
The Mallorcan Matador, who was stunned in Miami yesterday, is asked a series of questions based on the idea of "If you were...".
Check out this question and his very surprising (at least to me) answer -
Q : If you were... a person you hope to meet?
A : Roger Federer. When I was young, I always had this dream : I was at the bottom of a huge mountain and I was looking at the top. When I beat Roger Federer in January, in Melbourne, in the final of the Australian Open, I felt an animal excitement. But afterwards, I felt an emptiness and a loneliness indescribable. As if I had no more aim/no more purpose. To me, Federer is still the number 1 in the world. I want to meet him again on court. I know he can beat me.
It seems, if this interview is to be believed, he may be lacking some motivation right now since he's now dominating the baller who he considers to be the best ever. So, in his mind, what's left? Is it better to dominate your greatest rival or to be challenged, and defeated, at times along the way?? Rafa seems to lean towards the latter.
I actually find this perspective incredibly refreshing. Most athletes want to win, win, win and aim for the ultimate prize only. Rafa, though, may be looking at the battles themselves with Fed as the biggest prize of 'em all.
UPDATE: Here's the entire Q & A translated into English. Forgive the Google translation!
World No. 1 tennis player, it erodes his opponents with his shot lifts overpowering. Yet this young man of 22 years is also a model of simplicity, the disarming sweetness. Qualities that may have prompted a home fragrances begin to do so in another career: that of his new muse water toilet, Lanvin l'Homme Sport.
If you were ... A place of celebration
My island, Majorca, where I grew up. My ancestors came to settle in the fourteenth century! Always there with my family in the house where I was born. My grandparents live in the ground floor. My uncle Toni [coach] is on the second. My parents live in the third. And I share the top floor with my sister, Maria Isabel.
My strength, I can not always control it. My grandmother watches all my games on TV with his girlfriend of 80 years. One of them told him: "He hits hard, but with great politeness."
I love Spanish pop groups like La Oreja de Van Gogh and singers like Alejandro Sanz and Julio Iglesias. Before all my matches I m'isoler with my iPod. I have a ritual: before playing, it is imperative that I listen to a song from the musical Phantom of the Paradise.
La Cité des dieux sauvages, Isabel Allende. I am very touched by the commitment of the writer. Since the departure of Pinochet, she returned to Chile and fight for the rights of his people.
A landscape that creates the dream
I was 4 years old when my father raised me on a fishing boat to take me to the other side of the island. The land to the sea .. There is nothing more beautiful. When I stopped tennis, I buy a boat to spend the rest of my days. This will be a motorboat. I love the speed.
A meeting that you hope
Roger Federer. Small, I was a dream: I was at the foot of a huge mountain and I looked at the top. When I beat Federer in January, in Melbourne, in the final of the Australian Open, I felt excitement animal. But then I felt an emptiness and a loneliness indescribable, as if I had no other purpose. For me Federer is still the No. 1 worldwide. I want to meet again on the court. I know it can beat me.
A word that serves as a motto
Gandhi said: "I do not like the word tolerance, but I can find no better."
I have taken a passion for a painter of Majorca, Ricard Chiang. It is very strange paintings, black and silver, which are forests, crucifixes, caravels ...
Success will not change my life. My room is still the same, my friends are guys I met at school, my girlfriend is a friend of my sister. Holidays in Monaco or St. Barth I'm not interested.
A garment that makes it beautiful
I know nothing about the fashion trends, but like all Spaniards and Italians, I choose what I wear. Holding my favorite: jeans, a white shirt, a jacket and tailored Santiage.
(image via getty)