You better 8elieve it.

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The final was over last Sunday but it's never a wrong time to celebrate the man they call Rafa Nadal. I first spotted him as the kid who could push Federer close at Wimby. And when he finally did the deed in 2008, I was sworn in as a lifelong fan. It was that easy, that simple. Just for winning the most dramatic final I've ever watched – against the King of Grass. Just for being the usurper. I hadn't cared about his playing style, his court manners, or even his looks (he was quite unattractive IMO in those days). But it was proven fated that I should like this man. Following his game throughout the years had made it clear that he isn't as naturally gifted as his rival competitors. What he knew, he had to learn, and learn and learn. Never a pursuit of perfection, but rather a pursuit of improvement. Admirably human in a sports ruled by the gods.

I've just finished reading his autobiography (which I bought because Amazon wouldn't have shipped my cuticle cream otherwise – no kidding). Rafa, being Spanish, tends to mumble in his English interviews. And I don't know if I trust much of the interpretations that goes on with his mumbling. Reading his thoughts in intelligible English has shed much light on the mentality that makes him a champion. I've always had an vague idea that Rafa is actually darn smart and level-headed. The point-by-point analysis he gave for his matches is downright scary. I don't know why it should surprise me, seeing that he's a pro and tennis is a game of moving chess, but it just goes to make it that much clearer that, “hey, Nadal is a tactician…!” His understanding and observations on all things off-court since he was a young boy are also profoundly perceptive and the manner in which he expresses them, articulate. Brawn and brains. How's that for idol material? Yet he doesn't want to be idolized. Doesn't bask in the adulation and attention. One more thing for us fans to praise over however purpose-defeating it is to his modesty.

An ode.

And also an excuse to picspam my favorite trophy-biter.

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why run when you can slide indeed.  he's a phenomenal mover on the dirt.

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the tree adorable things Nadal did during his semi with Nole:

A/ pointed out Nole's transgression at the net.  My dad and I thought it was hilarious.
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2/ bite his shirt… can this be a new tradition?
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3/ wagged a #1 at his team.  some thought it was rude, but i didn't think so, as it wasn't directed at his opponent.
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What I'd pay to wear the giant blue suit.

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another awesome compilation from tumblr
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