sport

Why I love… Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

I love Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. They are two of the greatest tennis players who have ever lived and they are my favourite players. I am one of those people who likes and supports both of them, no matter who they are playing. When they end up playing each other I’m often torn because I love them both and never really know who I want to win, but I do know their matches will be incredible.

Theirs has been a rivalry that’s been going for thirteen years now. They’ve played each other 37 times so far, with Nadal leading with 23 wins to Federer’s 14 wins. Probably their most famous match is the Wimbledon 2008 final. It was pure magic and one of the first tennis matches I remember being riveted by, it was an example of phenomenal tennis. They’ve made each other improve their game and have set so many records individually and together. They’ve each had their problems and injuries and for them to come back in 2017, with Federer 36 years old and Nadal 31, and win the four major Grand Slams between them is incredible. This year Federer won Wimbledon for a record eighth time, and met Nadal in the Australian Open where he won in five sets. While Nadal won the US Open and he won his tenth French Open title (another record) and firmly cemented himself as the King of Clay.

Last month was the inaugural Laver Cup, a tournament organised by Roger Federer in the style of golf’s Ryder Cup, with Team Europe playing against Team World. It was an event that had its critics before it started as it doesn’t affects any players standings and was seen as more of an exhibition tournament more than something players want to win. Doubters were proved wrong as everyone involved was desperate to play their best and to win.

One of the highlights of the tournament was that Federer and Nadal, both playing for Team Europe, played a doubles match on the same time – the first time they’ve ever played together like that. It was a thrilling match and their opponents from Team World, Sam Querrey and Jack Sock, put up a fight, especially in the second set but Nadal and Federer went on to win the match, even if there were some slight mishaps where they were unused to playing together. Team Europe went on to win the tournament after Roger Federer defeated Nick Kyrgios, when in his excitement Rafa went and jumped into Roger’s arms!

The Laver Cup really highlighted how these two sportsmen not only respect each other, but how well they get along off the court. They are some of the fiercest rivals in sport ever but they have also become almost friends. It was wonderful seeing them on the same side, supporting each other and the younger players on the team. To be honest I don’t think I’d ever seen Rafa smile and laugh as much as he did that weakened, especially whenever he was with Roger. It was such a great tournament – and being able to watch their doubles match live was the best £6.99 I’ve ever spent (I got a Sky Sports 24 Hours Pass on Now TV).

They are both getting older, and they will have to retire at some point, but until then I’ll enjoy watching them play – both against one another, and against anyone else. I could write even more about Rafa and Roger and why I like them so much, but really it can be narrowed down to two things that applies to them both. 1. They are very talented tennis players and 2. They seem like generally nice, charismatic people. I could say so much about them, using their own quotes to describe each other, but I don’t want this post to be even longer than it already is.

I love them both and I’ll finish this post with a video from the Laver Cup someone highlighting Federer and Nadal’s friendship. Though I also have to mention this video, where Roger and Rafa are supposed to be filming an advert for a charity match and they cannot stop laughing – if I’m ever feeling down I watch this video and it always makes me feel better.

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REVIEW: Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid by Sid Lowe

FullSizeRender (82)This is the story of the legendary rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Today it might be summed up as Messi vs Ronaldo but there’s decades of history that shows how different the two clubs are and how and why their rivalry is so prominent in world football.

By studying the history of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Fear and Loathing in La Liga looks at the history of Spain. From Franco’s dictatorship and how that effected the country and its football – both what actually happened and how those acts were perceived. Real Madrid was seen as Franco’s team, while Barcelona were the Catalan freedom fighters. This mythology still affects how the teams are perceived in the press and by the fans today.

Fear and Loathing in La Liga is a fascinating read. It has first hand accounts of different matches and players, managers and coaches and fans talk about why they believe there to be such a rivalry between the two teams.

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Reminiscing about World Cup 2010 & being excited for World Cup 2014

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Me at my Dad’s local after Spain won the World Cup

I really enjoy watching football but it seems that that part of me is a bit of an unintentional secret. I don’t support a team that’s in the English Premier League, or any UK team to be honest, so when it’s football season I’m one of those people who is amused by people freaking out on social media when a team wins or loses.

That being said I do support the Spanish National Team and have done since 2007 – long story short, England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 so since my dad lives in Spain I decided to support Spain instead and I never looked back. I know a lot about the Spanish NT and their players and often find myself following players rather than team e.g. I really like David Silva so always get strangely pleased when he scores for Manchester City.

So when it gets to summer and it’s the World Cup or the Euros I get rather excited. I try to watch all of Spain’s matches live (and get very invested and shout at the TV in a mixture of English and Spanish) and am generally quite invested in the stupid sport. In a World Cup I also cheer on Ghana since my mum grew up there – Swarez’s handball against Ghana in South Africa in 2010 caused me and mum to swear and shout quite loudly, the consequent penalty shoot-out was incredibly stressful.

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My Top 10 Sports Related Movies

I re-watched Invictus earlier in the month and I enjoy it a lot even though I’m not a huge rugby fan. This then led me thinking about the sports related films I very much love, no matter what the sport if the characters are interesting and the story can pull you in I enjoy it.

sports movies

Invictus
I rewatched this after seeing Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom as it ends at just the perfect place to then watch Invictus, it’s like continuing with South Africa’s history. Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Morgan Freeman is wonderful as Mandela but one of my favourite parts is with his body guards who are both black and white and watching how they go from being hostile towards eachother to working together and even playing rugby together.

Fast Girls
This British film is about the clash between street smart runner Shania Andrews (Lenora Crichlow) and wealthy young athlete Lisa Temple (Lily James) and how they must come together to compete in the relay for Great Britain. Like any sports film really (let’s be honest) it is a great, feel-good film. It has a great cast, is funny and has a brilliant soundtrack too. I remember where I first watched Fast Girls; I was on a plane to New York and ended up bouncing in my seat with excitement through the final act.

Cool Runnings
I’ve grown up watching Cool Runnings whenever it was on TV. It’s a super funny film about the first Jamaican bob-sled team. It has one of my favourite motivational scenes in it “I see pride! I see power!” and it’s generally just a fun, great movie.

Rush
I love this film a lot even though I know next to nothing about F1. The relationship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda is portrayed brilliantly by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. The racing scenes are interesting and pull you in (even though it’s just cars going around a track) and there’s the perfect balance between tension and emotion throughout the film.

Warrior
This may be a film about MMA but what it’s really about is family. I couldn’t decide who I was cheering for – Brendan (Joel Edgerton) or Tommy (Tom Hardy) – as they both deserved and wanted to win so much. I may have been a little choked up at the end.

The Blind Side
This is also a film more about family than a sport, but this time it’s the family you choose. I love the relationships between all the different members of the family and this is another one that left me with tears in my eyes.

Escape to Victory
Allied Prisoners of War against the German’s in a football match – what could possibly go wrong? I just love watching Pelé, Bobby Moore, Mike Summerbee and all of the other great footballer’s of the seventies and eighties playing football with Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone.

Remember the Titans
I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a film starring Denzel Washington and Remember the Titans is definitely one of my favourites. It’s the true story of a newly appointed African-American coach (Denzel Washington) and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. This is a wonderful snapshot of history as well as having some great American football matches that pulls you in.

Bend it Like Beckham
This is British humour at its best. Jess has to try and balance her parents’ wishes and her desire to play football. Again, this is another film more about family than football but it’s also got some great friendships and comedy too.

Wimbledon
I never used to like tennis, I found it boring and annoying especially when Wimbledon came around and my mum had it on all day every day. Nowadays I love it and always find myself cheering on the underdog (unless they’re against Nadal and then I’m cheering for him) and Wimbledon (the film) is all about cheering for the underdog. Plus it’s got John McEnroe as himself which is fantastic.