Warriors

Which sport did Rafa Nadal nearly switch to in 2005?

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Which sport did Rafa Nadal nearly switch to in 2005?

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 22, 2011MADRID (AP) -- Devastated and "without appetite for life," Rafael Nadal contemplated a move into professional golf after a career-threatening injury sidelined him, the 10-time Grand Slam champion has written in his autobiography. The Spanish player writes in "Rafa" that doctors discovered a rare foot injury in 2005 that had the potential to sideline him for good, prompting thoughts of a future in golf. In the book, provided to The Associated Press and to be released in the United States on Tuesday, the 25-year-old Nadal describes his toughest on-court battles with Roger Federer at the 2008 Wimbledon final and subsequent Australian Open. But his off-court problems play a large part in the former top-ranked player's career. The mental toll of his parents' separation hindered his recovery from injuries in 2009, when pride led him to try to defend his French Open title despite his physical problems. Still, his lowest point seems to have been when doctors discovered a congenital bone problem in the bridge of his left foot soon after a five-set victory over Ivan Ljubicic in Madrid on his toughest indoor surface. Nadal said that joy was soon replaced by "a state of deepest gloom." "(The) diagnosis had initially been like a shot to the head," Nadal writes. "The bone still hurts me. It remains under control, just, but we can never drop our guard." Nadal wept then just as he did after losing the 2007 Wimbledon final to Federer. But he did not cry on the flight from Melbourne in 2009 when his father Sebastian revealed to the recently crowned Australian Open champion that his parents had separated. "My attitude was bad. I was depressed, lacking in enthusiasm. (My team) knew something had to give," writes Nadal, with the weight of those problems leading to his only defeat in seven appearances at Roland Garros and his subsequent withdrawal from Wimbledon. "My knees were the immediate reason, but I knew the root cause was my state of mind." Mental toughness -- instilled by coach and uncle Toni -- is a key theme, especially in his ability to bounce back, including trying for his first victory in three Wimbledon finals against Federer. Nadal was "gripped with fear," the warrior figure he'd cultivated had "lost his courage" after failing to clinch victory on several match point opportunities against Federer. Nadal credits moments like these for improving his mental stamina, with one chapter even titled "Fear of Winning." "What I battle hardest to do in a tennis match is to quiet the voices in my head, to shut everything out of my mind ... should a thought of victory suggest itself, crush it," Nadal writes on the opening page before later adding: "I think I have the capacity to accept difficulties and overcome them that is superior to many of my rivals." Toni's "cruel to be kind" coaching strategy was key in developing him into the "tennis machine" he is, comparing his uncle to a figure descended from 16th-century conquistador Hernan Cortes with a Spartan philosophy of life uncommon to his home island of Mallorca. "There was no let up from Toni. No mercy," the second-ranked player writes. "I look back at that teenage Rafael and I am proud of him. He set a benchmark of endurance that has served me as an example and as a reminder ... if you want something badly enough, no sacrifice is too great." Nadal offers interesting insight into his regimen and his family offers some surprising details about the Manacor native in the 250-page memoir, which was written by John Carlin who authored the book that director Clint Eastwood turned into the film Invictus. Nadal's mother Ana Maria Parera labels him a "scaredy cat" who sleeps with a light on; an obedient and docile child who became the "family mascot" inside a close-knit family that Carlin describes as "something Sicilian ... without the malice or guns." Perhaps the strangest revelation is Nadal's dislike of animals, especially dogs: "I doubt their intentions." Of Federer there is mostly respectful reflections of a rival and friend that he calls "a blessed freak of nature" for his talent. The closest Nadal comes to criticism is when he says Federer mis-hit a shot "the way an ordinary club player might" while recounting the epic All-England final that delivered the first of his two Wimbledon wins. Of current top-ranked player Novak Djokovic, who has beaten Nadal in five straight finals this year, there is trepidation of a "formidable opponent" who is "one hell of a player, temperamental but hugely talented."

Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors

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USATI

Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors

JaVale McGee isn't going anywhere.

McGee will re-sign with the Warriors, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Golden State could only offer the big man the minimum of $2.1 million.

In 77 games (10 starts) with the Warriors last season, he averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.

More to come...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

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Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

For the sixth time in Gold Cup tournament history, the United States hoisted the championship trophy – this time in front of 63,000 fans Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.
 
Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a beautiful free kick. However, Jamaica equalized only five minutes into the second half.
 
Stanford product Jordan Morris later scored the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure a U.S. title. 
 
Here are five things you should know about the U.S.’ latest tournament championship.
 
-- Aside from a little extra gold in the trophy case, the biggest thing the United States takes from winning the cup is confidence. They’ll have about a month worth of rest before the Hexagon resumes – and right out of the gate, it’s a date with Costa Rica, who the U.S. beat on their road to the tournament title.
 
Currently, Costa Rica sits three points clear of the U.S. in the CONCACAF’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table. A victory against Los Ticos on Sept. 1 would be the biggest win of this latest Bruce Arena era.
 
-- Speaking of Bruce Arena, it can’t be understated just how big of tournament win this is for the U.S. Soccer manager. Hired to jumpstart a team that to many pundits looked flat and lacked fire under Jurgen Klismann, Arena has now won a trophy, helped the USMNT get back into Hex contention and has not lost a match. In 15 matches, Arena has a 9-0-6 record. He now has 84 career wins as the USMNT front man.
 
-- We’re still on record breaker watch since Clint Dempsey did not start or play in Wednesday’s final. The Seattle Sounders, who recently took down the San Jose Earthquakes to move ahead of them in the standings and are Dempsey’s club of employment, play their next MLS fixture on Saturday. The risk of shot rest could explain Bruce Arena’s apprehension to not start Dempsey. He came in during the 57th minute. Captain America came really close to scoring twice. 
 
So, the record, shared by Dempsey and Landon Donovan at 57 international goals, will sit there for at least another match.
 
-- Quick look at the numbers and there isn’t a clear contender for the U.S. Player of the Gold Cup. So after stumbles against Panama and Martinique to start the tournament, what was most impressive is how the U.S. defense came together to close out the Gold Cup. In five games, they surrendered just one goal. So, hats off to Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Jorge Villafaña who were instrumental during that stretch – but let us not forget Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj and Justin Morrow who really got that impressive defensive stretch rolling.
 
-- Morris had been struggling to score all season but he may have now forced Arena’s hand with his Gold Cup performance. While he did get beat on defense on Jamaica’s goal, the search for a scoring defender by the USMNT as qualifiers creeps up is ongoing. Morris, who burst onto the MLS scene last season, is making a strong case for himself.