The Rise of the Übermensch

I want to thank everyone for commenting on the Nadal issue. The issue obviously has far-reaching consequences, especially for the annals of tennis, but also for the general well-being of professional and amateur sports. The biggest problem is of course the impact such drastic measures have on our youth and their confidence as they play sports and seem inferior to these so called Übermenschs (supermen). It creates another virtual reality that is unreachable under any normal circumstances. It’s like watching Neo fight Morpheus in The Matrix and wondering why you can’t do that. It disgusts me and I actually now question the validity of all sports, especially individual sports like track (Usain Bolt), Cycling (Lance Armstrong), Swimming (Michael Phelps), and Boxing (Manny Pacquiao). These sports in particular present the biggest farces because of the mano y mano nature of the events. It’s like Barry Bonds batting in all nine slots in a baseball game, of course that team’s going to win. Nadal and these others are the same. You can see the cycles in their performances and it is hard to deny that something mysterious is happening. I have no direct evidence, except my own perception and history. I am disillusioned and saddened by the state of sports.

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13 thoughts on “The Rise of the Übermensch

  1. Rikyu says:

    It’s troubling, Gene. But, it’s also bizarre at the same time. Take, for example, this recent posting (on Nadal’s official website, no less) of a quote by David Nalbandian about Nadal that explicitly mentions rumors of doping.

    http://www.rafaelnadal.com/content/not-only-great-champion-hes-great-person

    David Nalbandian
    Whatever he does, is pure energy. He’s tremendous, just tremendous. The energy that he has to play a Grand Slam final is the same energy that he puts into playing Playstation, into eating a plate of pasta, into going for a walk, into talking about cars [formula 1] or football. He’s tremendous. To me, he’s a totally gifted person.

    Rafa doesn’t sleep. I swear to you that Rafa doesn’t sleep. He’s up till 2 am either on the Playstation or doing physio work. The other day, he was up at 9am, played 18 holes (golf), then come back and trained, then played soccer in the evening. He’s tremendous. I could probably try to follow [his rhythm] for 1, maybe 2 days, then I will be tired in bed, but this guy keeps going, every day, the same.

    People used to say ‘with Rafa, it’s doping, surely…’ It was frequently debated. And people would ask me, and I’d say, ‘you think that because you don’t know him. You spend some time with the guy and you realize that he’s like [the energizer bunny] 24 hours a day.’

    • problemsolvergene says:

      Why does Nadal need to have Nalbandian come to his rescue? And since when does having energy mean it’s natural…

  2. TennisFan says:

    Nadal has managed to do the following in just the last few years:

    1. He singlehandedly transformed tennis from a sport of skill to a sport of power and endurance.

    2. He has transformed Wimbledon into an extension of the French Open. Serve and volley? What the heck is that?

    3. Get to the top of the sport despite having poor technique.

    Nadal’s rise coincides with the addition of polyester strings and high powered Babolat racquets. You don’t need good technique with that frame or those strings. Maybe it’s time for tennis to put strict restrictions on the tennis equipment. How about a maximum head size of 95 sq inches, maximum beam width of 20mm and minimum weight of 12 ounces unstrung? And a full ban on polyester: only natural gut should be used by pros.

    • TennisFan says:

      Also, Nadal doesn’t sleep? How bizarre. How does he recover then? Federer needs 11-12 hours of sleep per night!

      Q: And what about your sleep? Word is that you sleep like a log.
      RF: True! If I don’t sleep 11 or 12 hours a day, it’s not right. If I don’t have that amount of sleep, I hurt myself. When the twins cry and I’m in a tournament, I put my earplugs in and I go back to sleep

      Read more: http://www.gototennisblog.com/2010/01/15/roger-federer-on-unpleasant-questions-bullsht-and-tiger-woods/#ixzz10D7xEL4I

      • problemsolvergene says:

        Yeah, and not sleeping still does not mean he’s not juicing–steroids give you a great deal of energy and stamina, this comment in no way relieves me. Furthermore, I sometimes wonder about these players who defend other players accused of doping–Nalbandian is Argentinian, one of the most dope-addled countries in the world!

    • problemsolvergene says:

      There is no question that Babalot rackets and the poly string add spin to the ball, anyone can see that by having someone they know hit with another brand, then hit with a Babalot with poly (even without) as the grommet design (or something else I can’t explain) produces greater topspin especially according to store owners I’ve spoken to. That said, none of that stuff is banned, so I can live with it, even if perhaps it should be. PEDs are another matter altogether!

  3. Brian says:

    Gene, did you notice a difference in Nadal’s service motion during the US Open? I didn’t notice a difference, but I am only a good club player, not a tennis pro. Some of his fans have claimed that he was serving faster because he was hitting the ball flatter. In Nadal’s own words, he said that he added more speed to make his serve work better in the wind. If he was worried about the effect of wind on his serve, wouldn’t that contradict the idea that he was using a flatter serve? It seems like spin or slice serves would be a better choice since there is a wider margin of error. That leads me to believe that he was still hitting the same kick serve he always uses, but he somehow found another 10 mph worth of power overnight. If that is true, I believe it’s pretty much conclusive proof of doping.

    • problemsolvergene says:

      Brian,
      Thanks for checking out my site and asking questions. Yes, his serve was flatter at the US Open. The question about dealing with the wind is slightly more complex. A flatter serve has a lower margin of error, no question. However, if hit well, the wind would have less effect on a flat serve simply because it would cut through the wind more effectively. A spin serve, while safer overall, could be more impacted by wind because it travels slower, and in an arc. Regardless, a simple grip change would not produce such drastic results in such a short time. Maybe he’s really sneaky and was practicing it for the last 2 years, but didn’t want to use it in any matches so everyone would be shocked. I have no clue, but regardless, it still begs the question that we keep asking: Is Nadal Juicing?

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