Sorry, Rafa, You Won't Play at 7 Tonight

103751930 Sorry, Rafa, You Won't Play at 7 TonightThere’s something about Rafael Nadal and New York that doesn’t quite work yet. Players like Federer or Murray or Roddick or Djokovic love to play at night (especially since something about the late Queens night air allows them to make allusions to the part “between their legs”). But Rafa seems wary about late night matches. He’s a small town boy after all!

To wit, here’s an exchange he had with a reporter last year after he defeated Nicolas Kiefer in a match that ended well after midnight.

      REPORTER:  Do you like playing late at night, after midnight?

      RAFAEL NADAL:  What do you want to listen (smiling)? 

      REPORTER:  You don’t like it so much so late?

      RAFAEL NADAL:  It’s too late.  Right now, what time is it? 

      REPORTER:  1:15.

      RAFAEL NADAL:  1:15.  I have to dinner. Before 3:30 is impossible be sleeping.  Anyway, I think is a little bit late. That’s my opinion, no? I would love to play at 7.

The USTA accomodated Rafa’s wish on Tuesday, taking the unusual step of playing him at 7pm, before the women’s match. and played him at 7pm. But tonight? Rafa is scheduled to go on the Ashe court after Venus Williams, meaning he could be starting anytime between 8:30 and 10. And if we get a rain delay at any point today? It might mean that he’ll play even later.

Neverthlesss, Rafa’s PR team is hard at work at making the New York thing work. In Page Six today, Rafa appeared in an about his Madison Avenue haircuts!

The Spanish tennis stud dropped by the Madison Avenue salon of Julien Farel, the official stylist of the US Open for the fourth consecutive year, for a haircut. “Some of the young women in the salon took some of Nadal’s cut hair off the floor when no one was looking, to keep as souvenirs,” said our source. “Can you imagine?”