now, i am motivated to continue my spanish lessons. rafa just won his sixth consecutive title at monte carlo and his first from an eleven-month title drought.
i would like to share to you now a very timely and truthful article about nadal written by peter bodo from his blog at espn.com. enjoy!
It was well past midnight in Monaco, but one light burned brightly behind the leaded glass window of Prince von Poopenstein's chateau high on a cliff overlooking the Monte Carlo Country Club and the dark expanse of the Mediterranean.
Inside the candlelit room, a number of men were seated around a massive oak table, upon which sat the remnants of a feast and open bottles of red wine, Pernod and Armagnac; others lounged on sofas, behind which hung ancient tapestries depicting yew trees, minstrels and unicorns. The mood was somber, the silences long.
The first man to speak was a dark-haired, broad-shouldered youth: "I am filled with dread," he said in hushed tones. "I fear my arm will again turn to jelly; my breathing difficulties and dizziness will return to plague me. The truth is burned into my mind. We were wrong to consider him finished."
The ensuing silence was broken by the one called, simply, Verdasco: "I believe Novak the Dark speaks for all of us. I would not believe this until today. But I saw -- I saw what he did to Berrer, the same as de Bakker two days ago. He destroyed him, giving but one game for mere sport -- or pity."
The men all started at the sound of a fist crashing heavily the table. "Madness! Sheer madness! Berrer and de Bakker. They are not men," cried Roger, Son of Nike. "They are as mere children compared to you. Have you no faith? Have you no courage?"
The eyes of the assembled company all fell in shame. Perhaps Roger, Son of Nike, was right -- perhaps these men, the best in all the kingdom of Luxilon, had lost their nerve.
Roger continued: "I did not don the jacket of 16 on the fair lawn of Wimbledon so little time ago to surrender like a craven rabbit. It has been 11 months since the renegade Rafa has proven himself on the field of battle. Eleven months spent in the wilderness, exiled. Are we to allow him to reclaim his ill-gotten kingdom, here on the very red clay where he first slashed and felled some of our finest? Was his banishment in Madrid not sufficient proof that he is unworthy, a savage whose time has come and gone?"
A restless murmur ran through the room. The breeze whistling through the window caused the candles in the sconces to flicker, revealing frowns of deep concern on the faces of the men.
"Valiant you were that day in Madrid," the one they called Nalbandian observed, reaching for another leg of lamb. "And well you deserve the 16 jacket, and the man purse, too. But that was then -- and this is now. I fear that the knees of the renegade Rafa are strong and he is up to his old tricks. He lies in wait for us, as the wolf lies in wait for the lamb."
The look shot his way by Son of Nike sent a chill right through Nalbandian and penetrated to his very soul. "You cur," Roger snarled. "Have you no pride? Have you no sense of honor? Sooner die than yield to this Rafa once again, I say."
"Easy for you to say," Kohlschreiber of the Rhine remarked under his breath, his eyes fixed on the cream-colored 16 jacket lying on the back of Roger's chair.
Nalbandian methodically licked the grease off his fingers and threw the bone over his shoulder. "Son of Nike, have you forgotten the year 2009, or the ones before, the years of Rafa at Roland Garros? Why do you speak of him with such contempt?"
They were interrupted by the sound of a child wailing.
"Mirka! Shut that child up," cried Roger, Son of Nike, sweeping an arm across the table, sending bottles crashing to the floor. "I'll have no more of this talk!"
"Have it your way," said Ferrer the Small. "But if I were you -- if I were any of you, I would be afraid. Very afraid."