Most players are very serious on court, even on changeovers, but Rafael Nadal is known for being extremely focused. Even during exhibition play, he’ll often be the guy still taking points seriously while everyone else is just goofing off. As you can see in this pic of the day, however, that changes during doubles with his talented buddy Marc Lopez.
These two work very well together, with Rafa providing the aggressive power and Marc the extraordinarily quick hands. They manage to do some damage in doubles, but mostly they enjoy the hell out of it. As rare as a Rafa smile is in singles, you’ll find plenty of them here, especially when the two are chatting between points. J.D. and I like to amuse ourselves by guessing what they’re actually talking about–like which hot girls in the crowd are checking them out, or whose ATP photo on the scoreboard is more embarrassing–since it’s so clearly not always about strategy.
“Sometimes I say, ‘Look at Roger Federer, how well he plays, he really is the true number one.” And he laughs out loud. I laugh when he hits his forehand volley cause his arm’s very straight. “And you’re the best?” I say.
Clearly, sarcasm is a big part of their banter. It’s not all verbal, however. Our favorite moments of this doubles match in Cincinnati was when Rafa would crouch at the net while Marc was serving. If the serve went into the net, Rafa would slowwwly turn and give Marc a total dark-eyed Death Look, as in “How dare you, that landed right in front of my face, don’t you do that again.”
He did it every time, on every faulted ball. After awhile, we started thinking that Marc was sending 1st serves into the net just to GET that look, because it was so hilarious. And Rafa never failed to oblige, for the entire match. As Marc says, “One thing is clear. All that Rafa does, all of it, he does it at 100%, the golf, the beach… he can not do anything without putting in his best effort, without giving the fullest.”
Here at TennisInsideOut.com, we gotta admire a guy who gives 100% at everything, including being funny.
You might also enjoy: Rafa Nadal: How I Spent My 6-Month Hiatus
PHOTO: c2011 Valerie David at TennisInsideOut.com