Unfortunately for all who love tennis, Rafael Nadal is sitting out the 2012 U.S. Open with tendonitis in his knee. But fortunately for Pop Culture Has AIDS, Nadal has agreed to preview the tournament as our special tennis correspondent.
After the jump, Nadal offers his exclusive thoughts on this year’s Open.
Hello, friends. My name is Rafa. I am very sad today.
I am sad because I cannot play in U.S. Open. I cannot go to New York and go to the big M&Ms store in Times Square. I cannot try to make history by winning another Grand Slam. I cannot go to the Bronx Zoo and see the monkeys in the monkey house. I cannot compete with my good friends Roger and Novak. I cannot ride the Cyclone at Coney Island and throw my hands in the air and scream “WAHHHHHHHH!” as we rush down the hill. I am sad.
Thankfully for me, I have my Uncle Toni here with me to help me through this tough time. Uncle Toni makes sure I do my rehab and get my rest and Uncle Toni says I will be back on the court very soon.
So what will happen in this year’s Open? I am not sure. Roger is best of all time and he would beat me for sure so he will probably win. And Novak is so good he would kick my butt all over the court so he will probably win. I am very lucky to ever win a match against either Roger or Novak. When I was a boy in Majorca, I would dream I was playing against my heroes like Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg. But to have the honor to compete against Roger and Novak is an even better dream come true.
Uncle Toni, my knee is starting to hurt again. Could you please go get me an ice pack and a Capri Sun? Roarin’ Waters flavor, please! Oh, I guess it is lunchtime so can you please get my my Lunchables too? Thank you, Uncle Toni. You are too good to me. You make me feel better when I am so sad that I cannot play in the U.S. Open.
OK, Uncle Toni is gone. Now I can tell you. I am not sad. I am not sad at all. I am very very happy. Knee injury is the best thing to ever happen to me in my life.
All day now I can play my PlayStation 3! I play Madden and I play FIFA and I play Assassin’s Creed and I play Uncharted. It is so fun. This is all I have ever wanted. My friends come over and we play video games and then we talk about girls but then I giggle and I play more video games.
Sometimes, Uncle Toni comes and I have to pretend I am watching tennis videos to try to get better. Uncle Toni does not know that I really do not like tennis very much. He says I have chance to be one of the best ever if I work hard and apply myself but I do not like to work hard and apply myself. I like to have fun and play my PlayStation and go to the waterslide park and play football. Sometimes when I play Roger he gets so mad at me because during the changeover, I will say to him, “This is so boring, no? I wish we could just go have a race at the beach instead,” and he will say, “What is wrong with you? We’re in the fifth set of the most epic Wimbledon final of all time and all you can think of is going to the beach? Focus, man!” and I will say “Oh, I’m sorry Roger. You are right. You are best ever. But the beach would be really fun, no?” and then he will shake his head and walk to his side of the court in disgust. Then I will look at Uncle Toni and he will make mean faces to me.
Do you know what I am going to do tomorrow? I am going to see The Avengers for the 17th time. When I am healthy, I am not allowed to go to the movies. To tell the truth, my knee does not hurt very much anymore…
Oh, hi Uncle Toni! Thank you for my lunch! You are good uncle and coach, Uncle Toni!
So, I am very sad not to play in U.S. Open. I think Roger will win and I think Novak will win.
Bloody typical, Rafa.
Aren’t you forgetting someone?
Like maybe the reigning Olympic gold medalist? The Brit who brought the mighty Roger Federer to his knees while you were at home “resting”? Or perhaps you were just too frightened to play me in my home country on the exalted grounds of Wimbledon.
My God, Rafa! What a feeling! To be finally accepted by my homeland and to win her the most prized trophy in all of sports, all on her most sacred soil! To finally be accepted by my people and erase this label as a choke artist.
I know now how Admiral Lord Nelson felt upon his homecoming after Trafalgar. I know how Richard the Lionheart felt after reclaiming his throne.
And while you speak of girls, Rafa, look what is waiting for me in my bed after I return home from another hard-won victory on the courts:
Not a bad shag, if I do say so myself.
I arrive at the United States Open the favorite and the ruler of all I see. I shall do it for Britain, for my home!
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this…
Now, now, Andrew. Let’s not get carried away, yes?
First of all, my good man, you are a Scot, not an Englishman, and as we all know, Scots are an inferior species mentally and physically. You may think me a bigot for saying so, but simply look at the facts. Your country lacks independence and has in fact been subsumed by a tiny island nation with a pretend monarchy. Your cuisine is, quite frankly, dreadful. And your most accomplished “athlete” is either a golfer or a middle-distance runner, which really tells you all you need to know about the desperate straits of your gene pool.
Poor, poor Andrew.
I am actually quite pleased for you that you won the men’s draw in the Olympics because I was beginning to despair for your mental health. How many times can one man be defeated before he can’t bring himself to get out of bed in the morning? How many times can one man arrive courtside, knowing he has a chance to win a Grand Slam that very afternoon, only to see it slip through his fingers yet again because of his own lack of ability and fortitude.
Many nights in bed I would turn to Mirka and say, “Mirka, my treasure, I grow concerned for young Andrew. If he did not have the misfortune to play in the same era as the greatest champion of all time, he surely would have won several slams by now. Perhaps I should let him have one, just to ease my conscience?”
But Mirka would say to me, “Roger, my sun and stars, moon of my life, that would be an insult to you, to Andrew and to the very spirit of competition. Just as you do not let our twin 3-year-old daughters, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, beat you on the court, neither should you show Andrew mercy. If he were a good enough player, or perhaps not cursed with Scotch blood, then he would win of his own volition.”
And I would say, “Of course you are right as always, Mirka my jewel.” And I would know it to be so.
But let us be honest with ourselves, Andrew, if you and I can share this moment as men and as comrades. If somewhere in my subconscious I did not fear for your well-being, or that you might harm yourself in some fashion, then there would be no gold medal for you.
During the Grand Slams I can usually quiet my empathy and my guilt and defeat you as nature intended. But during a lesser event like the Olympics, I believe my subconscious got the better of me. And of course if this tournament unfolded on a normal schedule I would not have lost. And of course if my semifinal against Del Potro had not been such an all-time classic I would not have lost. But congratulations, Andrew. Well earned.
Now, it’s on to New York! I arrived in this fine city early as a friend threw me a little soiree in honor of my birthday.
I enjoy the U.S. Open for several reasons. First, because I usually win it, as I plan to do again this year. Unfortunately, poor Rafael is at home nursing his injury. It just goes to show you that the gods did not intend for this gentle sport to be played by unfeeling brutes who bludgeon their opponents with force rather than graceful, well-rounded athletes who use grace, intelligence and command of their perfect bodies to honor their competitors. But I wish him only the best.
Second, I am a great enough champion that I can both compete in the Open and experience the finer pleasures that New York has to offer. On the days between my victories, I can have suits custom-made for me on Seventh Avenue. I can take in lunch with my good friend Lorne Michaels at Gilt. I can enjoy a helicopter ride through the city thanks to a special waiver from the no-fly zone by my good friend Mayor Bloomberg. I can visit my underground gold reserves deep beneath Midtown. The city is my oyster and I shall slurp her up.
I wish good luck to Rafael, Andrew, Novak and every other man and lady in the draw. I have a feeling this year will be a special tournament indeed.
HOLY SHIT ROGER YOU AIN’T FUCKING AROUND. NEW YORK IS THE TITS. THIS TOWN IS THE FUCKING BEST.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS THING BATH SALTS? I WAS HANGING OUT AT THIS SERBIAN CLUB ON STATEN ISLAND AND MY MAN DRAGOMIR, WHO, OH SHIT DRAGOMIR KILLED SO MANY FUCKING RATS IN THE WAR. RATS IS WHAT WE CALL CROATIANS, ROGER. ANYWAY, DRAGOMIR HAD THIS SHIT, HE CALLED IT PURPLE LIGHTNING AND OH MY GOD IT MADE ME NEVER WANT TO DO METH AGAIN.
I DID LIKE HALF A BAG OF PURPLE LIGHTNING AND THEN WE TOOK A CAB INTO MANHATTAN AND I JERKED OFF ON A HOBO BEHIND A DUMPSTER AND I WAS THINKING OF MIRKA THE WHOLE TIME. I HOPE THAT YOU AND I ARE STILL COOL.
THEN WE WENT TO THIS CLUB ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE WHERE MARKO NASTIC WAS PLAYING, OH MY GOD HE IS THE BOMB. I JUST DANCED AND DANCED BUT I WASN’T SWEATING AT ALL, IT WAS REALLY WEIRD. SOMETIMES WHEN I AM ON THE COURT I HEAR MARKO IN MY HEAD, THEN I AM JUST LIKE “FUCK YEAH, SERVE SERVE SERVE, FOREHAND FOREHAND FOREHAND.” THAT IS WHY I BEAT YOU AT THE US OPEN LAST YEAR, ROGER. YOUR SWISS CLASSICAL MUSIC THAT YOU HEAR IN YOUR HEAD IS FOR TWATS.
LATER ON THEY TELL ME I TRIED TO EAT DRAGOMIR’S FACE BUT I DON’T REMEMBER THAT AT ALL SO I THINK THEY ARE FUCKING WITH ME.
I FUCKING LOVE NEW YORK. THESE VAGABOND SHOES ARE LONGING TO STRAY, MOTHERFUCKERS.