“Rafa Goes Gaga”: Only One Person Capable of Bringing Nadal Down on Clay: Ana Ivanovic
Nadal's only weakness on the crushed brick -- a weakness shared by millions of heterosexual men on planet Earth.
PARIS, FRANCE (The Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) -- Rafael Nadal is arguably the most dominant dirt courter ever, as emphatically demonstrated by his 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 thumping of Roger Federer in the French Open final this past Sunday.
At twenty-two, the young Spaniard is widely considered capable of reeling off another 3-4 consecutive Roland Garros titles, perhaps more. Unless an as-yet unknown clay court stud emerges from the junior ranks, all that stands between Nadal and unchallenged dominance at the French is injury…or women’s French Open champ, Ana Ivanovic, the 6-1 inch Serbian stunner with the punishing forehand.
“Rafa’s gone completely gaga,” said a fellow tour player. "He’s got it bad. Early into the tournament, he was banging balls on a practice court and he caught a whiff of Ana’s unmistakable scent – a surge of lilac with a hint of Balkan sandalwood – who was practicing three courts over. Ana’s like kryptonite…you could see the energy escaping his body. I half-expected to see songbirds merrily orbiting his bandana.”
Whispers of Nadal’s debilitating crush circulated the men’s locker room, giving opponents in the early rounds a glimmer of (false, rapidly dashed) hope.
“I think it was the first round, he was in the locker room asking Djokovic how to say ‘hello, would you like to have dinner with me’ in Serbo-Croatian, thinking she’d be impressed and charmed that he ask in her native tongue,” said fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who got thumped by Nadal in the fourth round, losing 6-1, 6-0, 6-2. “He finally gets the courage to ask, and she gives him big slap in the face. Later, the Serb guys they all laugh – ‘You don’t ask Serb girl for hand-job before first date.’”
Djokovic profusely apologized, but the damage was done – Nadal administered pay-back on the court, spanking Djokovic in their semi-final match 6-4, 6-2, 7-6.
“The scores are no indication, as it was a tough couple of weeks trying to keep Rafa focused,” admitted Tony Nadal, Rafa’s coach and uncle. “During changeovers or between long points, he’s trying to locate her in the stands. I even notice he’s not spending so much time pulling his pants from his butt-crack, which is one of those strange, embarrassing habits you’re afraid to change. But I know he’s distracted when he lets his shorts settle between his ass cheeks and he doesn’t do a damn thing about it. It took every ounce of discipline not to run out on the court and yank them out for him.”
Brad Gilbert doesn’t see anyone on the men’s tour challenging Nadal on the crushed brick for years to come. “Rafa hasn’t lost a match here in four years. His only weakness on this surface is Ana. She steps out onto the court in that tight little red number she wore in her final against Safina, it’s all over. He really dodged a bullet this year. Frankly, I was watching her match from the relative safety of the broadcast booth and I was starting to go wobbly. If there’s a groundstroke in the game you want to be abused by, it’s Ana’s."
(Ed. Note: Ana Ivanovic’s website (http://www.anaivanovic.com/) has replaced the other Anna's as the most visited among female athletes -- a piece of information that makes it pointless to continue since anyone reading this will have left us for Ana's site by now. In fact, your correspondent will be joining you shortly, once he manages to hustle his wife off the phone.)
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