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We pine for a match between Rafael and Djokovic at the 2014 US Open – alas it’s not to be so. We’ll just have to wait for a meeting of the rackets. The US Open is sure to be riveting nonetheless. Enjoy this letter from a super-fan.


An open letter from a Rafael Nadal super-fan: 4 years (and counting) of stress:

Credit: Rafael Nadal (Associated Press)

The following email from a reader named Natalie, which she dubbed “Open letter from a Rafa fan,” perfectly sums up the perils of becoming emotionally invested in the career of a professional tennis player. Athletic careers tend to be rather short, relatively speaking, ending well before middle age. As a result, we fans are always aware that the end is nigh — especially when your chosen player’s chief rival is Novak Djokovic. Is there a player on tour with whom you live and die during every match? If so, do you recognize yourself in the letter below?

– Douglas Perry


An excerpt:

Can’t believe I am approaching a 4th straight clay court season (2011–2014) stressing about Rafa’s demise and Novak’s supremacy over him during the clay court season.

After the 2011 Masters events (Madrid and Rome), I was in pain and did not even bother to watch the Roland Garros of 2011, especially after that first round match against Isner in which Rafa was 2 sets down… that was the end… Until that Friday night in Paris when the great Roger Federer stopped the Novak streak. Forever I will be grateful towards the Swiss Maestro for his brilliance that night.

After the 2012 Australian Open final — I was crushed and accepted the fact that this will be the year that Novak will reign supreme on the red dirt in Paris. Seriously Rafa was playing his best match against his greatest rival on a hard-court and was up a break in the 5th and still lost it — surely that will mentally crush the Spanish Bull and Rafa will fade away and eventually loose Roland Garros — 7 consecutive losses against the Serbinator. It didn’t happen…. Thank God for that rain delay on the final Sunday in Paris.

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