Federer Says Nadal Doesn’t Want Number One As Much As He Does


“Some people have that drive more than others who’ve been number one. Rafa doesn’t seem like he cares as much for number one, or he doesn’t show it.”

As you can see from the title of the article of the link that I posted, it says that Roger thinks he has more drive than Rafa. As we have recently seen from the British media at the Oz Open, journalists like to take things Roger says out of context just to get more readers. I’m not about to do that. What journos do to get more readers, is they take a statement from a player and just slightly alter the words to make it more controversial. This is why Roger does not like the media very much, although he does talk to them a lot. What Roger says in the above statement is that Rafa is not as motivated as he is to be number one. Whether he means Rafa is not as motivated as him in general is not certain. If in fact that is the case, it is quite a big statement and one I don’t agree with, although it comes down to the same end result. I think Rafa wants it too much.

I think he is so desperate to be the best that he is killing his body in the process. He keeps getting his scheduling wrong, which makes me believe that he is trying too hard to get those ranking points, despite what his body is telling him. Apparently Roger does not realize it, but I think Rafa is obsessed with chasing him down. He is so obsessed in fact that he is not listening to the signals his body sends him, and it will eventually cost him. In fact it has already started costing him. Despite all the injuries Rafa has had of late, he is not adjusting his schedule to allow for more down time. So what happens is that his body starts rebelling by getting injured, and then it forces him to take breaks. So either way he is taking a break. This is not smart from the Spaniard. The fact that he waits until he gets injured to take a break, will only make things worse for him in the long run.

If he can forget about his obsession for being number one for a change, he will schedule better and get injured less, which means that he may not be number one. But does that really matter? It’s nice to be number one, but isn’t it more important to win major titles?! I mean at the end of a player’s career, the amount of time spent at the number one spot carries much less significance than how many majors they won. Rafa has already been number one. He has proved to himself that he can do it. If I was him I would have forgotten being number one a while ago already, and started thinking about longevity. By being obsessed with being Roger Federer, Rafa has already started slipping down the rankings, and it becomes less likely all the time now that he will get back to number one. If I was Rafa I would have settled for number two, curbed my schedule, and focused on longevity to win the most amount of major titles.

Roger is destined to be number one anyway. But since Rafa has been so preoccupied with chasing down Roger instead of listening to his body’s wisdom, he is now slipping down the rankings and losing the number two spot as well. This means he will start getting harder draws in majors, and he is also losing that unbeatable edge that he once had. All because of this whole Roger Federer/number one obsession he has. This also shows the huge difference for me in these two players’ mentalities. Roger plays for the love of the game first of all. Everything else comes second. And I mean everything. He schedules in a way which will give him the maximum amount of time at the top of the game. And not to be number one or to chase down some other player’s records, but because he loves the game a huge amount. It is the best possible attitude to have, and it is drastically different from Rafa’s attitude.

For Rafa it’s about ego needs, while for Roger it is about giving back to the game that helped him to live a great life. It’s about something larger than himself, while for Rafa it is all about himself. This is the exact reason I have always been a Fedfanatic and not a Rafanatic. I also believe that Fedfanatics are special in a way, the chosen people if you will. Rafanatics has often struck me as egotistical and self absorbed on online forums, although I don’t want to generalize. There are of course nice Rafanatics out there as well. But like attracts like and there is a trend when it comes to the different fan bases of Roger and Rafa. Anyway that’s how I feel. I take a certain amount of pride in being a Fedfanatic. It’s not just being a fan of somebody, it’s being the fan of an idea that Roger represents.

Roger goes beyond just being a tennis player. He represents certain values and ideas which I am a fan of. He represents truth, honesty, altruism, excellence, discipline, love, beauty, humbleness, good sportsmanship, and many other good things. And then of course he is just an absolute joy to watch on a tennis court.

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  1. I think his point is that there is a difference between getting to number one and being number one.

    Federer loves being number one. He likes being the king, fending off all the young hungry challengers who want a piece of him. The process of getting to number one doesn’t excite him as much, but he’ll do what it takes to get there.

    Nadal was willing to do anything, even damage his body, in order to get to number one, but he doesn’t like being number one. When the spotlight is on him and he’s the favorite everywhere he goes, with everyone in the draw gunning for him, he can’t deal with the pressure.

    He’s like Tony Montana in the movie Scarface. He stopped at nothing to fight his way to the top, but once he got there he didn’t know what to do with himself and that’s when his downfall began.

    In an interview after winning AO, Nadal said he felt an “indescribable emptiness and loneliness, as if I had no more aim/no more purpose.” Someone who thinks like that is not going to be number one for very long. And sure enough he wasn’t.

    You can check out the interview here:


    Of course Roger would never say anything like that, because he loves the challenge of facing young hotshots and inventing new ways to beat them. And that’s why he’s going to be around for a long, long time.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting post Steve. It just shows that Nadal is playing for the wrong reasons. If he played for the love of the game he would not have felt that emptiness after winning the AO.


    jason Reply:

    Perhaps Rafa is an epitomy of what you should not do if you aim for a long tennis career. I’ve never seen a forehand hit like that, it’s awkward looking w/ ungodly amounts of topspin. Perhaps that’s why he got all his fingers bandaged most of the time, eh? I’ve never seen someone scramble like that, it looks painful. Perhaps that’s why he get frequent knee injury, eh? I’ve never seen someone chase a ball like that, it looks like a rabbit. Perhaps that’s why he got burnt up & in late season he never did well, eh? And finally, I’ve never seen a top tennis player get injured every year since he’s only 18 or 19.

    Certainly those tell you what you should not do when playing tennis, otherwise you’ll get to hospital pretty often.

    And I agree w/ Steve. I guess Rafa’s mission is to prove that he can do it all:
    1. Beat the no. 1 player consistently, have a winning record against him.
    2. Get to no. 1
    3. Win GS on all kinds of surfaces
    Well, guess what… “mission accomplished”. And look at where he is now after he accomplished that mission in 2008-9.


    jason Reply:

    I’d really like to see Roger & Rafa in action again. I definitely look forward to the clay season. Hopefully the two gets to meet during SF/QFs… that way we’ll know the state of their games & rivalry. Would be good if Rog gets to meet Delpo on one of those clay MS, too.

    Several questions waiting to be answered:
    1. Was Roger’s Madrid 2009 clay win over Rafa just a one match wonder (considering he mostly lose on clay against Rafa)? Or is it that an absolutely fundamental change has taken place in the two’s rivalry?
    2. Who’s the real king of clay at present?
    3. Roger’s state of rivalry against Delpo on clay.
    4. Roger’s consistency outside GS & how well he can maintain the good form.

    Those are very important questions with no obvious answer as of now. The coming MS season will be very interesting!


    Ru-an Reply:

    Those are some good questions Jason. I would like to know the answer to them myself. Should be a very interesting clay season indeed. But before that we should already get a better idea of what Roger is up to in the smaller events(Dubai, IW, Miami). I hope he can win more tournaments than last year.


  2. Intersting post! I like the way u say “Roger is destined to be number one anyway”…..The statement is true to the core ofcourse!
    But i dont actualy agree with you on your perception of Rafa. I mean i dont think he’s like obssesed with the No.1 spot or Roger….I have always thought of him as a very healthy and a down to Earth rival to Roger. U know at most of his interviews he’s always been all praises for Roger and his game and even when he was the no.1 anf like beating Roger at every final that they played….he was so respectful for Roger’s game……

    Anyaways, there’s no doubt that Roger is the BEST no matter what….He’s had this autumnal phase of his game but thats long over…..He’s the no.1 as a player and a human alike.

    “He represents certain values and ideas which I am a fan of. He represents truth, honesty, altruism, excellence, discipline, love, beauty, humbleness, good sportsmanship, and many other good things”…sure thing he does!


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