I was at school until roughly 5 or so on Monday, and then I had to stop at the grocery store after work, so by the time I got back to my apartment the first set was completed. I felt safe enough to turn on US Open Radio. However, it soon became apparent that I was jinxing Rafa. He lost the second set and was down a break in the third. I turned it off. I did lesson plans, I watched Youtube videos, took surveys about commercials, but avoided turning on US Open Radio. I would periodically go on Google and check the scores, and then to my surprise I saw that Rafa had won the third set. I began checking the scores more frequently, until at last(!) I saw that it was 5-1. I felt it was safe to turn US Open Radio on again. I managed to hear the last game of the match, and I was expecting it to be much closer or more intense than it was. (I was thinking of Murray and Djokovic at Wimbledon this year.) I did get to hear match point, as well as Rafa sobbing on court, just like last time.
It was a surprise to me. I never thought that Rafa would win two US Opens. When he went down that second set, he seemed especially vulnerable. Especially against Nole. I found myself talking the computer, or rather at Rafa.
Me: Rafa, I’ve said it before, if you are in danger, we go to the police. I do not say that lightly. I know what it could do to you fandom, but if it’s the only real choice we have, if it’s either that, or you getting shot when you open your door… That’s the truth. Tennis player, bad knee? Desperate for money? Roped into working for, unable to quit? You’ve told me that yourself Rafa. Jesus Rafa, what was I thinking? Let’s both stop trying to justify this whole thing and admit you’re in danger.
Then, in the third set, he suddenly answered me.
Rafa: Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? One of the greatest tennis players in history would go belly up, disappears. He ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to so let me clue you in. I am not in danger Emma. I AM the danger! A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!
Say my name.
Me: You’re Rafael Nadal…burg.
Rafa: You’re goddamn right.
Anyway, I also want to talk about a music selection for the US Open final. There are some sporting events that call to mind specific songs.
For the 2008 Wimbledon final, I easily recall two songs.
First of all, I recall Viva La Vida, by Coldplay. Mainly because it summed up Federer’s position after the Wimbledon final, because we could sense that this was a major blow to Federer. “I used to rule the world, seas would rise when I gave the word,” Plus, it’s Coldplay! A great song from a great band.
Second of all, I think of All Summer Long. After watching the final, I went to Mass later that night, and as I drove there, still abuzz from the final, this song was on the radio. I never liked it before, but at that moment, everything seemed great. I turned it up, and sang along as loud as I could in the summer evening, and feeling good. I still love that song. It still has the power to transport me back to that wonderful day in July. “Sometimes I hear that song, and I start to sing along, and think, ‘Man I’d love to see that match again.'”
After the 2011 final, I think of the song Hold On by Wilson Phillips. After the loss of the final, Mom insisted that I go out to see Bridesmaids. It was a good movie, if not a great one, and the song Hold On features prominently in the film. I spent a lot of time that next week listening to that song.
For the US Open, I deliberately picked Rhianna’s S&M song.
If you want to enjoy a Rafa and Nole match, you have to first get into the mindset of pain=pleasure. Case in point, 2012 Aussie Open.
For the 2012 Open, it ended up being “Why So Serious?” from The Dark Knight Soundtrack.
I wrote about why that is on another post.
For the 2013 US Open, is there a song that resonates with this final? It seems to be two.
First of all, I pick One Direction’s Best Song Ever. It’s just a song of joy and nostalgia, so that’s part of it. It’s not a great pick, but it’s one of the first songs that leaped out at me after the final. I also heard it in the car on the way to work.
A much better fit is Katy Perry’s Roar. This is very much about winning and being a champion.