EMOTION, ART AND THE TRUTH OF RAFA NADAL

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We’ve seen it time and again. Our tennis hero Rafa Nadal twitches, then tugs. Finally the ump’s had it. A somber, far too serious voice sounds. A perfectly honed authority figure – so reminiscent of that sixth-grade school teacher you dreaded – scolds. “Time violation warning, Mr. Nadal.”

Rafa, the bull, snarls – then bristles. He seems to shout back, “How petty, how small! Here I’m creating art – athletic truth – and you’re worried about a few seconds. How meaningless! You’re the one in violation – soul violation! Don’t you get it?”

Or so it seems.

But on this desert afternoon, the tables were turned. At crunch time in Rafa’s high-drama third-round match against Alexander Zverev, it was the German who was given a dreaded time violation warning.

Ninety minutes later, in Rafa’s press conference, I reminded the great Spaniard that, “in the final set there was a fabulous point. The crowd roared. But Zverev then got a time violation warning. In the past, Rafa, you’ve said that after our best points, when the crowd is shouting, there shouldn’t be time violation warnings generic cialis online best price. So should there be a rule after long, great points that the chair umpire should be able to put extra time on the clock?”

Rafa responded with a question of his own. “You like this sport,” he asked me.

“I love it,” I responded.

“Me too,” he continued. “So the real thing is…the best matches I’ve watched [were] not the matches in which every point was [just] two, three shots [long]. No. That’s the real thing. Those [short points] don’t involve the crowd…That’s not the emotional game, when you hit one, two, three shots and that’s it. The people love the sport when it becomes emotional. [But] to become emotional, [tennis] needs drama, needs physical issues, needs long points. And if you have long points, it’s obvious that the [time violation] rule is not the right one.

“But I will not say [it] again. Everybody knows what I think, and that’s it. No, no, no, [there’s] nothing to do. Somebody wanted that rule, and when somebody with a lot of power wants the rule, the people who run the sport follow that. So that’s it.”