Rafael Nadal plays his first match in New York later tonight, but don’t expect him to tell you how much he wants to win in New York. Rafa continued to try to lower expectations by downplaying how much a New York win would mean to him.
“I have another chances to play well here and to have the chance to win, but without obsession, no?” he said.
Yes, yes. He said he’s already exceeded all his dreams, so if he wins a Slam in New York that would be great, but it’s not everything.
Rafa is also the subject of Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire for October, and reminds us once again that he’s given his heart to one town I can’t remember any other athlete who was so single-mindedly devoted to his own hometown.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Playing tennis, competing, winning, but also being at home in Spain, in Majorca, with my friends and family.
Which living person do you most admire?
Just normal people from my hometown, from my country.
When and where were you happiest?
Competing and back at home.
Where would you like to live?
I live where I would like to live. I live in Majorca, Spain, and I am not sure there are better places. (I have traveled a lot, so I can be sure of this.)
So: If Rafa isn’t going to play it up to the press, or play up his interest in New York, he’ll have to play it up on the court. As we’ve noticed, the press is finally hungry for a Rafa success story in New York this year, and he says he’s healthy too.
“Physically, I’m fine,” he said.
Big words. As Mary Carillo told us before the Open, “He tries to win every single point he’s a piece of. Every single point! I gotta think if he really gets on a run, the New York fans are going to like that. They like someone who is willing to throw themselves around and grind and burn.”
His run starts tonight at 7 p.m.