For King and Country

Someone wasn’t just at Rio to hold the flag.

Anyone who knows me knows I only have one sport I reserve energy for – tennis. The glorious, solitary sport of kings, while ostensibly for gentlemen, is actually more of a gladiatorial contest of skill, mental fortitude, strength and endurance.

Anyone who also knows me would know this piece of news has thrilled me no end – Rafael Nadal, on a podium, winning, clutching a gold medal? My weekend has just gone from blah to awesome.

Rafael Nadal, Olympic gold medalist in singles, winner of two Wimbledon titles, two US Opens, one Australian Open and, most famously, an unprecedented nine French Open titles, just added  another Olympic gold medal to his bulging closet of  tennis trophies – this time in doubles. This makes him only one of two men who have an Olympic gold medal in both singles and doubles tennis. Clearly his absence at the 2012 London Olympics,  was a lingering sour note and he’s been making up for it in Rio this year. Each time you think Rafa’s done winning, he just goes and does it again. All things considered, this is a pretty stellar warm-up for the US Open at the end of this month, if he’s making an appearance.

Even a surface Nadal fan knows that he never plays half as well as he does when he’s called upon to represent Spain, and he’s at his best when he’s part of a team. (Ironic, since he’s made his name as a singles titlist). Doubles may not come as naturally to him as being alone on court, but the chemistry with doubles specialist Marc Lopez at this year’s Olympics  couldn’t seem to be denied.

After a disappointing, injury-plagued year and a half where he’s been forced to withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon because of his wrist, winning again is probably the most positive thing that could happen to him.. Best of all, this win wasn’t for himself, it was for his country. Vamos Marc! Vamos Rafa!


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