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Rafael O' Rafael
6 June 2005

Once every now and then the world is blessed with a sportsman who goes beyond the simple pursuit of victory. Once every now and then the world is blessed with a sportsman who takes it upon himself to add a little poetic artistry, and just a touch of magic to the humdrum world of sport. Once every now and then, the world gets to see someone like Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal won the French Open yesterday. And he didn’t just win it – he mesmerized the world with his flamboyance, and left all his opponents, including the great Roger Federer, reeling in his wake.

When I watch him play, I get the feeling that Nadal is a timeless player, an artist of sorts, almost out of place in this era of scientific precision and studied perfection. He plays with a nerveless flair that leaves you gasping for breath He is down 4-5, 15-40 I th 4th set of the French Open finals, and goes for that ridiculous winner that only he can pull off. It’s almost as if he has the words “No Fear” emblazoned on his forehead and he is daring the world to prove him wrong. His attitude and flair are just remarkable. And I just love to sit and ponder about what lies in store!

Nadal may go on to win a zillion tournaments, or he may struggle to make it at the top. But irrespective of what happens he has made the world of sport a little more colourful. Sir Neville Cardus summed it up well when he said, “the scoreboard is an ass.’

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