It’s very rare that as a sports fan, you love your favorite player/team and you love their big rival.
How many Lakers fans love the Celtics? Did fans of Jack Nicklaus also adore Arnold Palmer? Did anyone root for both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier?
But even though I’m as big a Roger Federer fan as you’ll find, I can’t help but love Rafael Nadal.
The Spanish lefty won another Grand Slam title Monday, beating Novak Djokovic in a rain-delayed final in four sets. It was a terrific match, and I found myself cheering for Rafa the whole way.
Why? Because he’s such a good kid. Polite, well-mannered, intelligent, and always gracious. He made a point of talking about 9/11 last Saturday, because he knew he was in N.Y. He goes out of his way to praise Federer. He plays his rear off on every point, and plays incredibly passionately.
Nadal was the subject of the famous back-page Vanity Fair Proust questionnaire this month. Just listen to some of his answers:
Q: What living person do you most admire?
Nadal: Just normal people from my hometown, from my country
Q: Which talent would you most like to have?
Nadal: Roger Federer’s ability to play tennis easily.
Q: If you could choose what to come back in (in the next life), what would it be?
Nadal: I would be me again. I am having a lot of fun, really
Q: What is your motto?
Nadal: To improve, be a better person and player, and to try my best.”
He’s really a great kid, and a credit to his sport. We’re so lucky to have both he and Federer on top right now, and don’t look now, but Nadal is starting to get into the debate of “Greatest of All Time” himself.
***Sometimes a four-minute video stands for itself. This is the nature of celebrity, 2010. I’m no fan of Kate Moss, but how can you not empathize with her after watching this disgusting piece of tape?
**The less I say about Monday night’s Jets game, the better. I waited nine months for another meaningful game, and this is what they produce? Nine stupid points in a 10-9 loss to the Ravens?
Everyone overreacts after Week 1. I’m not going to wildly overreact. Still …
— Mark Sanchez looked awful. He didn’t have a lot of time in the pocket, but when he did he did nothing.
— The Jets’ defense made so many stupid mistakes I couldn’t count them all. Penalty after penalty, and they couldn’t get off the field on third down at all.
— If Kris Jenkins is hurt again, they’re in deep trouble.
— What the hell is Braylon Edwards doing on the field goal block unit?
— Bad, bad loss. And the Patriots come in next Sunday. Jets could be looking at 0-2 very quickly.