I received this email from an anonymous reader who makes great points about Nadal and why he’s done nothing untoward. Enjoy another viewpoint and feel free to comment on anything tennis here:
Thanks for a compelling essay. I read it all and other stuff and there seems to be a case for both sides of the argument. I mean yeah, he beefed up, but that is pretty normal as he transitioned from teen to adult in front of the world’s purview and has an intense exercise regimen. Also, his playing arm is much more developed than his right arm and that kinda is anathema to steroid bulking. Both arms would bulk up the same.
As for his bio mechanics–that could just be his genes; his family is that of tennis players and football players and I kinda think a lot of it is genetic.
Yes, he said no to more testing. But so did Andy Murray and others and when I learned that they must provide a 24/7 hourly account for all their activities and how to reach them already….I kinda think on principle alone, I’d say no way too. It’s a privacy issue and from we know of Nadal, he is pretty private guy, and pretty much a family guy. I mean when his parents split he was devastated and took time off to regroup; we don’t hear of him hitting the party circuit like with so many other athletes–and what a lot of steroid users tend to do due to the inflated sense of ego and indestructibility that comes with steroid use.
Steroid users tend to be power offensive players–that’s across the board for all sports, but Nadal’s strength in my humble opinion is his defensive play. I mean even yesterday when he won the toss, he opted to receive instead of serve. I mean compare him to Serena (and I’d be more inclined to say she uses PEDs than Nadal and she too said no to the revised testing)–she wins because of her power and offense and her serve but defensively I’d venture to say that she is not the best; whereas defensively I would venture to say that Nadal is the best in the game but I would say that others such as Federer and Djokovich are better offensively than he is.
Nadal is defense. That is his gift–his intuition and his ability to almost psychically know what the opponent is going to do next and where the ball is going to land. That can’t be taught nor can it be enhanced with PEDs. It just is. And while his serve has improved greatly–and he doesn’t claim it is only because of his new grip, that would come with stringent practice and from all accounts I’ve read the guy is obsessive with his workouts and training.
I’d be more willing to bet that he has classic OCD than is a PED user, but again I could be wrong. I think he’s just obsessed with tennis and in fact my concern about him is what will he do when his tennis career is over? I mean he is gonna need to fill it with another obsession–maybe he’ll switch to golf as I hear he is great at that too. But people with OCD need that fierce competition and they need to win and they need to be in control–which again supports why defense is his forte–what better way to have total control over the game and the opponent than to be in control of THEIR offensive game.
And look at all his little rituals he has to do–I mean they say he is a very superstitious guy and has this whole routine that he performs prior to the match like lacing his shoes a certain way and if he makes a mistake he starts the entire routine over, and going to the bathroom at the same precise time. In fact during the rain delay he had to redo his whole routine before he went on to the court–even though he had already done it.
Also, look at how he fidgets and fusses between points……and how after the match (win or lose) he has to go change his shirt (into exactly the same shirt he was wearing only a clean one) and put on his warm-up jacket and zip it up before he talks to reporters. And he’s not doing it to be arrogant or to show off to the girls, he is doing it because that is his routine. So if I had to make a call–I’d say OCD. In fact I’d say he’s the poster boy for OCD.
And the bottom line is tennis is a mental game first and foremost and no amount of PEDs can affect that. You’ve either got it or you don’t and Nadal is mentally sharp and he is not a quitter and when he is down, he fights even harder to come back. He’s a closer and that is what is I would venture to say is paramount above all else. Again, this all supports my OCD claim. As people with OCD are like pitbulls; they are relentless.
Tomorrow will be an interesting match as he even said that Djokovich is in his head and while I’d still at this point say that Nadal is the better all-around player between the two; it’s all gonna come down to the mental game and I am not sure that Nadal will win.
So my point is I think–steroids do help and give an unfair advantage to lesser talented players. I’ll agree with that. It gives them more physical advantages; but PEDs cannot help with the mental, strategic, and intuitive aspect of the game and as such I think the player who is stronger mentally, strategically and intuitively will ultimately in the long run always beat a player who is on PEDs. It all comes down to guts and nerves; discipline and drive.
And fact is–Nadal is one of the classiest pro athletes in all of the sports. He and Federer are pretty much beyond reproach in that department. Nadal is just way too humble and gracious–he was almost apologetic when he beat Murray yesterday and it is evident that he has much respect and a close friendship with the guy–if he was a roid freak, there would be arrogance in his personality as that is what the drugs do.
The drugs not only changes your body chemistry performance-wise–they change your brain chemistry and affect your personality too. Just how it works. There is always a body/mind connection and based on his personality alone, either he is the world’s greatest actor (which he isn’t as while he is skilled speaker he is basically pretty shy) and pulling off a nice guy scam, or he is just a guy who really loves what he does for a living.
As I said bottom line is–he wins the way he does do to his discipline, his drive, his defensive game, and mostly his intuitive ability to read opponents and where the ball is landing and his mental game and the fact that he just won’t ever give up. Tomorrow will be interesting that is for sure as I think he is gonna lose–because I think Djokovich is the one player who affects him mentally and messes up his head and without his head game he will lose, steroids or not. So, again, to bring up the OCD theory–if he has it set in his head that he can’t beat Djokovich, and unless he can switch that thinking pattern, the obsession over that fear that he can’t beat him will cause him to lose. And if he does lose tomorrow–it won’t because of power or lack of power or the use or lack of use of PEDs….it will be due to mental and strategic errors.
But again, as I said you make an interesting case for PED use. But I think I made a just as compelling one for OCD. Either way, both are moot points as he is a fascinating player to watch and a stellar human being who brings much to the sport for all.