Roland Garros: Rafa Nadal, 36-year-old immortal one of history’s greatest men

He turned 36 on Friday, a prohibitive age not only for any tennis player but for some of the greatest athletes in history, such as Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Eddie Merckx hey Michael Phelps, However, for a long time, Rafael Nadal Compete only for eternity.

Jordan’s “Infinite Library”

Much has been written about Nadal’s rituals with water bottles, hair ribbons or track lines. a behavior on the verge of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is related to Michael Jordan, accustomed to repeat, almost sick, same pattern. Before getting ready a coffee, a chewing gum, your Shorts The millimeter alignment of the laces of his sneakers, always new every night, under his shorts from North Carolina, protection at his elbow and left calf… and the battle cry after dropping the last on the track: “What’s the time? Game time!” With victory settled, he enjoyed the fourth quarter off the bench with snow on his knees.

“His head was like an infinite library of images, moments, and plays. He remembered every action and how he responded to it. He knew what to do,” declared his physical trainer Tim Grover, as if That was talking about the Manekor tennis player. And the wait for Jordan in the season of his goodbyes was an outstanding challenge. injuries of Scotty Pippen You Steve Kerro They forced him to play an average of 39 minutes over the course of 103 games. He turned 35 in February 1998.

The last shot for the sixth ring at Delta Center cannot be understood without thousands of hours with Grover showing up at his mansion in Highland Park between five and seven in the morning. “Sometimes, when he arrived, he had already started and I looked at the clock, as if I had made a mistake at the time,” said the physio. Jordan gave them a one-month trial and their relationship lasted for 15 years. “When he retired, he told me: ‘If I see you in my neighborhood again, I’ll shoot you.’

Ali: “I hate it, but I can stand it”

Behind the wheel of a beat-up car, Gene Kilroy and Bundini Brown traverse the hills of Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, tossing a champion in the low hours. It was the summer of 1978 and Muhammad Ali He sweated like hell to get rid of the pockets of fat that had attracted so much attention during his fight in February Leon Spinks, “My chest burns, my throat is dry, I feel like I’m going to pass out. My body tells me to stop, but I force myself to keep running. Everything hurts.” I hate it, but I tolerate it because I know I will have to suffer. A few more weeks of pain to live the rest of my life well,” he admitted. the greatest, He wanted to eliminate this unknown, who had snatched his council and world federation belt from him, by a 15-1 margin.

Ali’s poor preparation in Miami Beach led to one of the most infamous defeats in boxing history. Surrounded by a group of sycophants, the Colossus who sent Sonny Liston to canvas, George Foreman hey Joe Frazier Couldn’t even complete the first dozen sessions Fight,

So Kilroy and Brown, under the supervision of Angelo Dundee, he decided to return to Deer Lake Training Center. And last year’s discipline paid off for Ali, who on September 15, at 36 years and nine months, will seek his revenge against Spinks in New Orleans. His last victory as a professional. Because as he himself learned later, he should never have entered the ring in 1980 larry holmesnot in front of a year later Trevor Berbick,

Merckx: “I desperately wanted to continue”

On July 19, 1977, many fans were still wondering why not a single French rider was listed among those positive for doping on the Tour. whereas, Jacques Godet, the race director reiterated his criticism against the peloton, which had given him two very difficult weeks. After 16 stages, only 49 seconds separated the top four overall. whereas, Eddie Merckx He waited for his turn at 3:02.

This was the seventh visit of cannibalwhom Raphael Geminiani Fiat was convinced to lead the team. His last chance to break the record Jacques Anquetilla, every two years in Valoire after the first damn. Double fracture of jaw, arrival in Paris living on rice porridge. He later confessed, “I insisted on continuing, excessively, but there were consequences for my body during the final stages of my career.”

However, under the heat of Hell in Chamonix, Merckx remains confident of his strength. Bernard Thawne, current champion. He just turned 32 and doesn’t even care about the liters of water he drank the day before to urinate under his food poisoning or doping control. But more than six hours on the way to Alpe d’Huez would be the biggest test of his life. “To this day I still wonder how I got to the top of the Glendon. I had to replace the wheels a couple of times, just to see if I could make some improvements, but when I got down I vomited. I hurt so much. Never happened,” he said years later. , When he crosses the finish line at 1:51 pm. Henny CuiperoThe Dutchman has already received his trophy as the winner of the podium.

Phelpso’s pain

bob bowman, the coach with whom he had a love-hate relationship since the age of 11, described him as a “lonely man” who had an amazing ability to concentrate during training, but had an “extraordinary attitude towards children”. kinder than heart. Contacted after each session. Ultimately, Michael Phelps He saw in children the love that had always been missing in their childhood, which was marked by a hyperactivity disorder.

His obsessive preparation under Bowman, coupled with seven hours of daily work, added to unique genetics, propelled Phelps to the top of the Olympics. 28 medals, 23 of them gold, in four sports. However, the Spartan discipline exploded after a bye in Rio de Janeiro, when he was just 31 years old. “When I swam, the pool was my outlet. I channeled all the suppressed anger and used it as inspiration. But now that outlet is gone.” The dark side of the game, through anxiety and suicide attempts.

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