Rafael Nadal: Post-US Open Media Tour Videos and Photos

Newly crowned U.S. Open winner Rafael Nadal began his media tour the second he fell to the ground after defeating Novak Djokovic in the championship. All eyes were on him then and not much has changed in the past 48 hours.

Gone are the days of trying to decipher Rafael Nadal’s words in an English-speaking interview. With his heavy Mallorcan accent, he created sounds that the average American hardly knew what to do with. Add on top of that his unique facial expressions that further strained his enunciation of certain letters and it quickly turned into a frustrating venture, even for die-hards fans. Today, however, his English is starting to look like a legitimate second language next to his native Spanish. And it came just in time for his first win at the U.S. Open this year.

One theory I actually have about why Rafa didn’t win the Open earlier in his career, is that he needed to perfect his English for media and fan purposes first. Seems like a silly notion, but think about the times you have listened to athletes, political figures, and leaders express joy in a language you didn’t understand. If the language barrier is significant enough you may not have connected with them on an emotional level at all. Knowing the language of the country you are in strongly accelerates the fanbase you have there, the U.S. Open and Americans notwithstanding. So kudos to Rafa for improving not only his game during all these years, but also his dedication to improve his English. Without it, we may not have a new Career Grand Slam Champion.

We can also finally understand all the great interviews he gave us during his media tour following his win in Flushing Meadows — without having to pause and rewind after each sentence. Let’s get started!

If you missed the Men’s Trophy Ceremony on Monday night like U.S. viewers did when ESPN2 cut away just before Rafa hoisted the trophy, fear not. Now you can watch it in full here and giggle in his boyish charm:

Rafa made his way to the press conference room two hours after the last point was played and one of the journalists wasn’t afraid to ask him “What took so you so long?” Rafa said that he already had “control antidoping,” met with the “US Open staff,” the “President of the Spanish Federation” and his “family for a few minutes.” Then after in the locker room he had sponsor obligations before his presser. The man barely won and already a flood of responsibility! Catch his full press conference here (video and transcript): http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-13/201009141284439013666.html

Via @EsteAcostaRubio on twitter, the ATP’s Media & Marketing Manager for the Americas, we got a glimpse of Rafa still on-court later that evening giving an interview.

The champ finally earned his sleep, but only for a few hours before making the rounds at the early-morning talk shows in New York City. First up was the Today Show on NBC. Sporting a casual look in jeans and a navy Nike polo, Rafa talked about his goals.

Part two happened on the show Live with Regis and Kelly. Not only did Rafa meet Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively (who was also a guest star), but Regis had a total man-crush on Rafa. He couldn’t get enough of his smile and even asked if he had a girlfriend!

Next up was the traditional photoshoot in New York City’s Times Square. If you’ve never been, it’s already one of the most hectic intersections in all of the U.S. Add on top of that a handsome 6’1” Spaniard with striking looks, screaming fans and security galore and you have a scene straight out of a movie!

Rafa and Team Nadal

Watch the video on Yahoo!  http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/21899049

Rafa then joined John McEnroe for a Q&A session at Niketown New York honoring his historic victory.

Rafa really doesn’t like to let go of that trophy!

And one more interview with Candy Reid from CNN International as a send-off before the champ headed home.

If you thought the U.S. media was crazy so far, the Spanish media didn’t even let Rafa leave the Madrid-Barajas Airport without holding a press conference first! He was all-smiles of course and stuck around to sign autographs.

“As a tennis player, I took an important step forward with this [win] and these have been six unforgettable months,” Nadal said shortly after touching down in Madrid. “I can’t say that I’m the best Spanish sports person of all time because I have no idea. But it’s an honor to be considered.”

Eurosport commentator Miguel Seabra tweeted that Rafa also did a Spanish interview with El País journalist Juan José Mateo. If you’re comfortable with your Spanish, you can read the full interview here, but I did my best on translating a few key points below (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/he/terminado/historia/elpepidep/20100915elpepidep_2/Tes).

When asked about his emotions between winning Wimbledon and winning the U.S. Open, Rafa had an interesting insight. He said that at the U.S. Open, he “was much more calm [before the final], nervous obviously because it was a final of a Grand Slam, but more calm … I was more nervous before the final of Wimbledon and Roland Garros.”

Rafa was also asked about all the knee treatments and shots he’s had to endure in the past to stay healthy and ready. “It was painful the first time: the following times were not so painful because I asked to be sedated. I could not stand it … I almost fainted the first time. It was between Monte Carlo and Rome. A pain so great that I nearly fainted!” It looks like Rafa is human afterall.

The last tidbit that was entertaining was when Rafa was asked about whose serve he would steal from the tour. He answered that he “would take Karlovic’s serve, no doubt. With that serve it would be very difficult to lose.”

The last stop of Rafa’s media tour was fitting. As he is an avid soccer fan, his final appearance was at the start of the UEFA Champions League game between Real Madrid and Ajax at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain. A short clip was shown of his win and he acknowledged the crowd with his killer smile, one that hasn’t faded since he won. Amazing. Catch the action below:

I leave you with this great poster Nike made in commemoration of Rafa completing the Career Grand Slam.