Roland Garros: Rafa Wins Historic 7th Title. It’s Settled, His Shirt Was Pink All Along

Nadal d. Djokovic, 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5

This is a criminal sin for a tennis fan to admit, but I wasn’t able to watch the final in its entirety.  I caught the first set but was pulled away due to work-related stuff for the 2nd and 3rd sets.  Luckily, the rain that trolled Paris in the last couple of days meant the final would be delayed to a Monday finish, which meant I could watch the final 4th set.

From what I saw, the match had its share of applause-worthy points—which were also drowned out by their share of errors and the rain that kept falling from the Paris skies.  Novak DF-ed on championship point, which handed Rafa his 7th Roland Garros title.  I would have laughed at the way Novak succumbed, only 1) it wasn’t all that surprising, given the way he’d DF-ed on crucial points earlier on in the final; 2) Rafa and Novak had played some truly admirable points in the run-up to that DF; and 3) my favorite player has recently displayed a tendency to DF on important points—ergo, I should not invite the forces of karma to hover above my head.

Photo: Getty Images

Getting back to the RG final—this is no ordinary celebration from Rafa in the photo above.  First, you have the French Federation of Tennis President standing to Rafa’s  left—the same FFT president who was positively biting his nails off when Tsonga had MP against Novak in the QF.  To the right of Rafa stands Mats Wilander, whose very presence alone deserves a mention (insert your preferred slights against Mats—I have many of my own on stand-by).  Still, they could not steal away from the obvious joy and triumph Rafa felt.

Tio Toni felt it too.

Most of all, Rafa’s victory was worthy of the EPIC label because he’s won his 7th RG trophy.  He’s now surpassed Borg’s accomplishment of 6 RG titles.  Although the final played out in front of a muted crowd (on account of the rain delay), the importance of the event was not lost on anyone who follows the sport.

I’ll admit, I’d been very cool on Rafa ever since his “toys-out-of-the-pram” antics during Madrid.  I still think he was rash and immature in the way he threatened to boycott a tourny, simply on account of it being played on an unfamiliar surface, when other top players handled themselves just fine.

Still, he’s managed to build up a heed-worthy list of reasons why he’s worthy of the King of Clay label, beginning with his second crucial win over Novak in Rome.  He was unbeatable in his early-round matches at RG.  While the lack of suspense meant I never set myself aside to watch an entire RG match of his prior to the SF (I did watch his beat-down of Ferru in its entirety), it’s really just a testament to his dominance on the surface.

Photo: Getty Images

To paraphrase a famous song lyric, “What a difference a [year] makes?  24 [365 x 24] little hours?”  And to think Rafa was in a comparatively brittle state just a year earlier in 2011, when it seemed like he was on the cusp of a downward spiral.  He’s now warded off those criticisms, successfully.  Serious props for that!

Really though, the best part about Rafa winning his 7th title was his SERIOUSLY-BROMANCEY-OVER-THE-TOP-CELEBRATIONS-WITH-LA-LAKERS-POWER-FORWARD-PAU-GASOL.

Photo: AP Photo

You could be excused for thinking this was just an accident, an unrepresentative millisecond that a photographer just happened to catch on camera.

Photo: AP Photo

But this photo above would only prove how wrong you are.  Pau Gasol and Rafa are totally bromancers-in-arms.  Boys, you’re embarrassing yourselves!! (but I love it ;))

Anyhow, this hopefully settles the debate on whether Rafa’s Nike shirt at Roland Garros was red or [God forbid] pink.  I totally thought it was pink from the start, but did not want to offend Rafa fans with my bit of sartorial honesty.  Since he’s overcome the pink-shirt-demon that cursed him in 2009, I think we can all safely agree that Rafa’s shirt was pink all along?  And not Scarlet Fire?  Even Mama Nadal was dressed in a pink shirt! 🙂  I am open to suggestions…

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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8 Responses to Roland Garros: Rafa Wins Historic 7th Title. It’s Settled, His Shirt Was Pink All Along

  1. “Boys, you’re embarrasing yourselves!” LOL!

    Although, I don’t actually see Rafa beating Roger’s record, I do think he’ll get a few more.

    The one thing I definitely do not see is Roger getting another slam. In order for him to win, he’d need help; he’d need someone to take out Nole or Rafa, preferably both. With these two guys making the finals of the last 4 Grand Slams, that’s a BIG ask. I could be enitrely wrong, no one knows the future. I just don’t see it.

    People always talk about how Pete Sampras got one more, but there was a lull between the peak years of Pete and Andre and the rise of Federer. There’s no lull with Rafa and Nole around.

  2. Iram says:

    Wow another victory for Rafa. I wonder how many he’ll get?!! I think at least 10. Red clay and Rafa are just meant for eachother.

    I loved how emotional Rafa got after he won. I wasn’t expecting him go into his camp box. And the hug between Pau and him was very touching. I knew they were good friends, but the moment displayed far more than that…like it was so love and genuine adoration for one another. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to Wimbledon. To be honest, I’m more keen on the Olympics starting. They have a special importance in sports. Athletes of all kind from from every corner of the world to
    showcase their nations finest athleticism.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      That’s a good question! I thought Roger’s 16 GSs was untouchable, but now that Rafa has a total of 11 Slams, I’m starting to wonder if Rafa can close the gap before he stops playing tennis. His dominance at RG is simply amazing, although I also hope there are a couple more challengers next year. Pau seems like an older (much older, much taller :P) brother to Rafa in the hug photos. This win in 2012 definitely means more to Rafa, and I was happy watching his family and friends celebrate together. His sister apparently tousled his hair too! 😉

      The Wimbledon & Olympics combo is going to be crazy! I’m with you, if I had to choose, I’d say I’m more looking forward to the Olympics. I think it’s the thought of seeing these tennis players in a different setting, where they’re playing for their country (while the other athletes are playing different sports–which are just as fun to watch). I’m also looking forward to the cute photos of the opening ceremony, where tennis players walk around holding tiny flags in their hands! It will be memorable, for sure 🙂

  3. Candy says:

    Really love those Rafa & Pau pics ♥ ! Such a sweet man Pau Pau is. It makes bady Rafa look cuter 😛

    Your favorite player has had the tendency to hits DF on important pts since 23.09.1988 (not just recently). I’d never forget those two DFs he committed on the last two pts in the 3rd set in 09 USO Final. How heartbreaking it was! But I always re-watch his reaction after he hit those 2 DFs. 😛 It’s funny to see (only b/c he won) how frustrated he was. And that only makes his comeback even more amazing. 🙂

    We are afraid that Rafa might play DC esp. if he didn’t have enough glory this year. But he at least has a RG now. I suppose it’d decrease the odds of him playing DC?!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Agreed, Pau is such a fanboy of Rafa and their hug was pure bromance—I find that part so sweet, that he basically shows up for Rafa’s Grand Slams in Europe 🙂 I wonder if he’ll be there at Wimby too?

      Whoever could this player be, he who was born in 23.09.1988, who also DFs?!?! I have no idea. Don’t tell me who it is, b/c *I HAVE NO IDEA.* I am trying to use my power of denial here 😉 The way DelPo reacted to the 2nd DF at the USO final, where he sits for the entire changeover with his head in his hands…that’s still one of the strongest memories for me. I remember thinking he’d lose the final on those DFs, only for him to keep fighting in the 4th and 5th sets—it does make the comebacks more special. Now that he’s paying special attention to his serves, he is def ready to have a moment this and next year!

      I will be so angry if Rafa decides at the last moment to play DC. I’ll be angry at Ferru too. Neither of them is supposed to be there this year!! I guess this means we have to cheer for Rafa & Ferru to do well at the Olympics, so they forget about DC?!

      • Candy says:

        I was surprised Ferru played for Spain in last tie. Didn’t he say he wouldn’t play DC this year?! Or did I just misunderstand something?!
        So who knows? So maybe we really should cheer for them esp. at Olympics (if they’re not against our favs) :P. But again, we (yes, WE) need to get past Czech first!!
        I’m still nervously waiting for the mixed dubs news. For some reasons (mostly b/c I think some others deserve it more), I wasn’t really very concerned whether Delpo would be the flagbearer or not. I’m more concerned if he’ll play mixed dubs!!! C’mon!!! 😛

        • mariposaxprs says:

          The Czech Republic are really starting to worry me too. I think DelPo’s loss to Berdy in Madrid is definitely in his top 2 losses this year (the biggest one being the RG loss to Fed), so I’m wary of how well Berdy will be playing in September.

          We’re on the same bus with regards to cheering for Ferru & Rafa at the Olympics (as long as they’re not playing against faves), for the main purpose of making them shut down any DC plans 😉

          I agree, I thought it was going to be a bit of a stretch for DelPo to get the flag-bearing honors. I guess the fact that Messi wouldn’t be there got my hopes up for a brief time! Ah well, as long as he’s healthy to play the Olympics, he plays well, and he leaves a healthy player, all will be well. I’m still waiting for Olympics to announce their singles/doubles/mixed dubs draws—it can’t be that complicated, can it?!?!

          • Candy says:

            Hah! Don’t mention Messi here pls. It induces me to think evil things. Um… maybe Messi’s scared of that BIG flag, so he didn’t want to be there. I mean…can he handle the flag which is BIGGER than him?! 😛 Just JOKING! I respect him. Ugh… I blame you for inducing me to tease him again. (I feel guilty 😦 Sorry! I stop now.)
            Wait, maybe not about the flag, maybe Messi’s scared of the giant Del Potro. (You know, even Nole thought of Delpo when he heard the word “scary”. (re: “scary bad guy” in his casting) ) 😛
            OK, I really stop now. 😀 Oh… what’s my point…? Ah yes exactly. Delpo has to achieve some more BIG to get that honor. Also, carrying national flag is not only about honor, but also responsibility. Aymar & her team have bigger responsibility/expectation at this London12 than Delpo does. Not that I’m writing down Delpo. But to be objective, Aymar (/ her team) really has bigger chance of getting medal than Delpo does in general. So it’s appropriate to have her carry the burden. 🙂

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