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Rafael Nadal is one of my favorite tennis players…and Roger Federer. In March, we are going to Indian Wells to hopefully watch a Roger Federer match at the BNP Paribas Open. I am optimistic that we will see Rafael Nadal as well, on court practicing, or off court signing autographs. I can hardly contain my excitement at the prospect of being a part of the action.

Losing recently at the Australian Open to countryman, David Ferrer in straight sets due to an injury was a bit of a disappointment to me; however, he is young and has the drive to go on. Rafa’s have had many disappointments both in his personal life and tennis life. These setbacks steady him, I think. It keeps him focus and it keeps him going, hoarding trophies after trophies, and amassing a huge fan base, earning respect from the tennis community and perhaps the world. When the Queen of Spain attends your match, you know you are doing something right. 

Rafa has his own foundation which focuses on childhood and youth “social work and developmental aid”. Last year, he visited India where his foundation, The Rafa Nadal Foundation, worked in Anantapur Educational Center. He took part in planting a tree in Thailand. He and Roger Federer teamed up last year in December to raise money for their respective foundations. Together, they raised $2.6 million.

In the tennis world, he’s described as a “gentleman” and “unassuming”. He seems to me like a very down to earth guy who just happens to love tennis. In an August 2010 article, Inside Tennis, his uncle who is also his coach told Rafa to, “Never break your racket. There are thousands in Africa who would treasure it”. That is a great advice considering many players lose their temper on the court and takes it out on their rackets.

Tennis View magazine summer 2010, on his loss to Robin Soderling at the French Open 2009: “It’s a shame. I mean, this tournament is so important; such a beautiful tournament for me. But you also realize how difficult my achievements have been up until today, and a loss is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give value to your victories”.

Vamos, Rafa! Get some rest and I will see you in March!