By Neil Harman
My sports editor suggests it is the finest piece of work I’ve done for the newspaper, which is a bit of a worry.
A discussion a couple of years ago with Rafael Nadal and his public relations chief Benito Perez-Barbadillo led to the idea of the Rafa Blog. He would write a piece as often as he could during Wimbledon, post it on the Times Online website and see what happened next. The response was been truly astonishing.
For a few minutes after dinner each evening, Rafa will sit down at his computer and, with a bit of help with the typing and translation (though his English is improving about as phenomenally as his tennis game) he gives Times readers some riveting insights into his day at tournament.
This morning, for instance, he said how moved he had been by the welcome he had received on Centre Court when he walked on to play Andy Murray.
“I have only thank you words for them,” he wrote. The other day, he mentioned that things were going very nicely for him at the championships – “no hick-ups” he wrote.
This is Rafa being Rafa. He has answered such questions as “Do you use moisturiser on your beautiful arms?” (apparently not) and “What is your favourite fish?” (prawns).
Nadal is a very fine young man as well as a brilliant tennis player. It is a pleasure for us to do business with him.
This article was first published on July 4.
Neil Harman is tennis correspondent of The Times, and was the winner of the 2007 SJA Sports News Reporter award