Tennis Prose



The Rafael Nadal Show Electrifies New York

Tennis fans were cheering both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as they performed sensational tennis last night on Ashe Stadium court. Two Spanish female fans in the row in front of me, respectfully applauded each player after winning points throughout the whole match. Their good sportsmanship reflected what they were watching – two high class champions at their very best.

At different times in the match, passionate “Rafael” chants followed one of Nadal’s big shots. Then the very next point, equally excited “Novak” chants would follow. It was that kind of fantastic match which inspired an equally appropriate crowd response. It was tennis at it’s very best.

When it was over, on the way out, I even saw a little boy, playing tennis near the exit steps, swinging serves and forehands with an invisible racquet. This eager and diligent youngster couldn’t wait to the next day to practice the game he watched of the two best players on the planet.

I remember when Nadal first came to New York as a 17-year-old boy. He had gotten to the third round of Wimbledon and had won some matches in Monte Carlo and Hamburg. In his first round match, he crushed countryman Fernando Vicente in three sets then took on the seeded Younes El Aynouaui on grandstand in an afternoon match. The Rockin’ Moroccan was a top player that year but he certainly had his hands full with young Rafa. Rafa battled back from a break down in the first set, and thrilled the crowd with his full throttle intensity and that astounding concentration. You couldn’t take your eyes off him.

With the grandstand in an absolute frenzy from seeing Nadal’s electrifying comeback heroics, I looked over at the Nadal box, wondering if his camp were as excited as, say, Wawrinka or Kuerten’s boxes. But they weren’t. Agent Carlos Costa and Uncle Toni sat there calmly, like two stoics, with matter of fact expressions, while the awed grandstand was erupting. It was no big deal to them at all, they had seen it many times before and this was what they expected to happen.

Nadal would lose that first set tiebreak and the match, but you just knew he was going to be an unstoppable force someday. Seven years later, Nadal is virtually unbeatable. This year he dominated Roland Garros, Wimbledon and now has figured out the puzzle of the U.S. Open. The doubters of Nadal should have listened to Roger Federer, who said in 2006 that it was just a matter of time before Nadal would win everything. Roger, the top rival of Nadal, would know his adversary best of all, wouldn’t he?

Now the #2 player in the world Novak Djokovic offered his insights of Nadal, last night after the match: “He has the game now for each surface and he has won every major. He’s so mentally strong and dedicated to the sport. He has all the capabilities, everything he needs, in order to be the biggest ever, in my opinion. He has lots of time to come, if he physically holds on the next five, six, seven years.”

Nadal in action, just minutes away from winning the U.S. Open.

After the excellence of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, it was hard to imagine anyone being able to surpass their marvelous examples. Such tough acts to follow, they were. But Rafael Nadal has managed to do it. And hopefully he will be around for a while and many, many young players will try to follow his example and inspiration – to lead the sport to even greater heights in the future.


  • zoozoo · September 15, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Nice article Scoop. Rafa is indeed a marvelous tennis player and even more importantly, he is a wonderful young man. His uncle and his family have taught him very well.

    It was a great match and Novak was very impressive. Roger is going to have a tough time getting past him for the #2 spot again. Time to fondly bid adieu to the Federer era and to enjoy the young studs of tennis who are playing terrific exciting tennis.

    I’m a long time fan of Rafa’s and suffered along with him as he went through some pretty difficult times, but as he said, that gives even more value to these heady triumphant times. And it couldn’t be hanppening to a nicer, more deserving guy.

  • vinko · September 15, 2010 at 3:23 am

    His biggest rival is unlikely to be Fed anymore. Roger will be 30 his next birthday and that’s ancient for tennis these days. The real rival will be Juan Martin Delpotro. If he can get his game back after the injury he will be a force. Last years Open saw him overwhelm everyone in his path.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 15, 2010 at 11:44 am


    I am looking forward to taking you out to brunch/lunch at Spice Village. I can make it on Saturdays or Thursdays. Let me know which days work for you. Congrats on your victory and have your bro come, too, if he can make it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you Zoozoo, I agree that the Djokovic effort has to be appreciated, he tried everything, threw everything at Nadal but Nadal is like an unstoppable force now. It’s his time now. On top of his tennis prowess he is even a better person. I have heard of and witnessed many examples of this.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Delpo is a big problem for Nadal as we have seen several times. Delpo at his best might be one puzzle Nadal just can’t figure out. Let’s hope Delpo can make it back from this wrist injury.

  • tom michael · September 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm


    I will talk to Gus, and figure out a day and time, between Thursday and Saturday of this week or even later. I understand you are doing some kind of cross-country bike trip. So if we do it before or after it, I am patient.



  • Scoop Malinowski · September 16, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Why don’t we try to play some doubles that day or night and do dinner after? I’d like to meet the renowned Dr. Gustarhymes. I’m sure RP and maybe even Name would play too.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 16, 2010 at 1:11 am

    i’m up for both. Scoop, I’ve never known you to eat Indian food, but then I saw you drink a glass of wine and RP drink a mixed drink the other night at the Open, so anything’s possible.

  • Richard Pagliaro · September 16, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I am totally up for doubles. Fair warning: I have not played in quite some time because of the Open so I will be even sloppier than usual but would love to play or just break bread. If we can do it in Westchester or Manhattan, I am up for it. Have not seen the elusive Tommyboy or Dr. Rhymes in several years. Who knows maybe we can drag DMan1 out of retirement for a class reunion.

    Actually had not had a drink in almost a year (Redhead’s “Adult beverage” phrase infiltrated my head to the point where I associated alcohol with annoyance) but went to the Dunlop party in Union Square 2 nights before the Open and McEnroe spoke and Verdasco, Davydenko, Melzer and Cibulkova were tending bar – it was an open bar. Needless to say, it was a very festive and very long night so that got me back into it.

    Then, watching the rather humorous exchange between Dan and Roddick after Roddick’s loss to Tipsarevic, I had to go tie one on after that – especially when Roddick, acknowledging Dan’s marriage angle, closed the press conference with “no, it’s because I got married…” reference to Dan’s question. That was one of the press conference highlights for me. That and Federer’s response to Nate Chura’s question about legalizing tennis gambling both made me LOL.

  • tom michael · September 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Gosh! There are a lot of behind the scenes stuff I just will not get to see first hand. Good to hear about them. Go Dan, for finding ways to ruffle feathers of the tennis pros.

    I talked to Gus. I am not sure when is good for him. I hope a Saturday. It may be good for a get-together with all of the tennisprose crew.



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