It hasn’t been a long time at all since I made a post called “Nadal Gets Scheduling Wrong Once More”, and Rafa is back slamming the ATP schedule yet again. In that post I argued that Rafa is greedy for ATP points, and that he basically just played in Beijing to try and take away the nr. 1 spot from Roger in the rankings. It makes no sense that he is now bashing the ATP schedule, after he clearly has not learned that he does not need to play every single tournament. Why does he think Roger chose not to play in Tokyo and Shanghai? Because he doesn’t care about the nr.1 ranking? Lol! I bet you Roger really wants that year and nr. 1 spot and it was not easy for him not play in Asia. But he makes tough decisions because he knows it will benefit him in the long run.
This comes back to my previous post about always wanting more, more, more. Rafa is the perfect example of this. He can never get enough and he doesn’t care what is the cost of getting it. Roger on the other hand has his priorities right. He plays tennis because he loves it, and all the fame and records that comes with it is secondary. This is how you achieve longevity and give back the most to your fans. I get mad when certain fans of Roger gets critical if he decides not to play certain tournaments. It’s different if you had a ticket to go see Roger at Tokyo or Shanghai. It’s understandable to be disappointed in that situation. But in the end R0ger’s withdrawal from these tournaments is in the best interest of everyone, including his fans.
I have to say I’m pretty glad I’m not a Rafa fan. It doesn’t seem like he cares much about his fans, does it? Already he has robbed them big time in the second half of 2009 because he wasn’t scheduling smart. If Rafa scheduled better at the start of the season and wasn’t so greedy to win every single title, he could well have won the French Open and still be nr. 1 in the world. But now since he has no one else to blame but himself, he is slamming the ATP for bad scheduling. I’m not saying that the scheduling is perfect. I think it’s pretty tough on the players. Just look at Roger, he always seems warn out at the end of the season. But he is a bit of an exception because he goes far into tournaments, especially the majors, and therefor he plays a lot of tough matches.
“Damn you ATP! This is heresy!”
And that is exactly why he cuts down on his scheduling. Think about this year and how long we had to wait between certain tournaments. After the Australian Open loss Roger’s back was not feeling well, and we had to wait six weeks to see him in action again in Indian Wells. Then after Wimbledon it was another month until Montreal, and now we have to wait about seven more weeks to see him in action. It’s not fun, but it’s the price we pay because we know it will pay off in the long run, and therefor we will eventually see more of Roger rather than less. I guess it’s easy to criticize Rafa for this, but really he should start taking some personal responsibility for this and stop looking to blame the ATP.
It’s more difficult for Rafa to curb his schedule the way Roger does, because he is less talented and needs to play more to stay in form. This does not mean he has to play every single tournament there is. He can still make subtle changes. Already he has now committed to play the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi over the new year. The only thing he can really gain from that is money, something he has more than enough of. Is it greed again? How much sense does that make? If he plays less he will be able to have a longer career, which means he will make more money. So in effect playing Abu Dhabi will not help him to make more money. It will only help to shorten his career. But hey, I’m not complaining. The sooner Rafa burns out the easier it will be for Roger.
Remember how Roger set up Rafa and Djokovic at the French Open? During the clay season he was only playing the Masters Series events, while Rafa and Djokovic was playing brutal schedules. Then when Madrid came he peaked, while Rafa and Djokovic was tiring even more. When the French Open came everyone was saying how Rafa and Djokovic will school Roger, yet it turns out they are spent and both loses before the quarter finals. I’m a little tired of hearing people say “Yeah but Roger won the French because Rafa and Djoko wasn’t playing well”. To me that just shown how little they know about tennis. Tennis is not just one thing. It’s a combination of many things a player has to get right. Roger’s scheduling before the French Open was peRFect, while Rafa and Djokovic screwed up. Simple as that.
No ifs, buts or could-have-beens. That has to be one of my favorite moments of 2009. It was almost as if Roger was staying below the radar, waiting patiently as Rafa and Djokovic was taking the glory and tiring each other out. Then when the moment came to strike he did it like a true champion. He was not going to be denied. It’s also ironic that after it seemed like Rafa and Djokovic were dominating the clay season, Roger ended up with the most ranking points! Awesome! I’ve deviated slightly from the subject. The point is Rafa is really grasping at straws here. No one is stopping him from playing less events. Thus the answer is very simple. Stop blaming the ATP and play less tournaments! It’s not that hard Rafa…
Now lets look at what Rafa had to say:
“It’s impossible to play from 1st of January and finish 5th of December,” said the Spaniard, who will lead his team into a second straight Davis Cup final December 4-6 against the Czechs.
Oh stop the drama Rafa, it’s not as if any player has to play a match every single day from 1st of January to the 5th of December. It’s not like Rafa has to play in every single Davis Cup tie either. Roger doesn’t like the fact that he can’t play Davis Cup for his country all the time, but it’s simply not working out for him and I haven’t heard him bash the ATP for it once.
“It’s (now) impossible to be playing like I did the last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100 percent without problems. I’ve been number one or two on the number of matches played. I was OK but sooner or later, it will be impossible.”
No kidding! If you are number one or two on the number of matches played for five straights years, then guess what? You get injured and burned out!
“It’s difficult to say when you stop or when you start (the season). I don’t know the solution, but that’s must be changed – and soon.“
This is probably the most revealing statement. Note that Rafa doesn’t bother coming up with a solution himself. He has no problem bashing the ATP, but he doesn’t offer any solutions himself.
OK enough with the criticism. I do happen to feel sorry for Rafa. I haven’t forgotten how hard it was when Roger was in a slump and Rafa is going through something similar now. He is still a great champion and I wish him a speedy return to form. After all is said and done, Roger needs Rafa, and I wouldn’t want to see Roger lose interest because his biggest rival fades away…