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Tennis Update From Alix Ramsay in London • No Golf for Rafa… but Andy’s not so Sure

By Alix Ramsay

Fear not: Rafa Nadal is still playing tennis. In fact, as you read this, he is probably on a clay court at his academy in Mallorca getting ready for the Monte Carlo Masters.

This is hardly breaking news, we hear you cry (Rafa practicing on clay in the springtime – who’d of thunk it?) but, even so, the 11-time Monte Carlo champion saw fit to make the fact quite clear on social media.

His Spanish followers must have wondered why their hero was stating the bleedin’ obvious on Instagram on Thursday but, then again, in Spain they do not have April Fools Day (their chance to wind up the rest of the world falls on December 28 and is called Día de los Santos Inocentes). Unbeknownst to them, in other parts of the world rumours were circulating that Rafa was ready to hang up his racket for good and switch allegiance to the professional golf tour.

Much as Raf loves his golf, he was at pains to point out that he is still hard at work in his regular day job and posted a picture of himself and Casper Ruud taking a little breather between practice sessions with the message: “In Spain it’s not today… but in many places today is April fools day!
So don’t believe everything you read today… 😉”

Andy Murray, meanwhile, is thinking of golf. Interviewed by the Gentleman’s Journal in the UK, he pondered life after tennis – and becoming a golf caddy is on his wish list.

“Because I really like golf, being a caddy on a golf tour would be exciting,” he said, “to be up close and personal with top golfers and to learn about another sport like that.

“There’s probably also some crossover between tennis and golf on the mental side and helping a golfer with that might be interesting.”

This opens up a raft of new possibilities….and problems. The Muzz is used to being the boss – indeed, it is one of the things he struggled with at the start of his career. In his teens and early 20s, he was employing people and telling them what he wanted. Sometimes he had to fire them. And all of them were older than he was. It was a tricky situation. But as a caddy, he would have to be the subservient member of the team. This would be new.

That Muzz would have to study into the small hours to know every green and fairway like the back of his hand would not be so much of an issue; Muzz loves his sports geekery and now he would be paid and praised for it. But that Muzz would have to organise another athlete, would have to book cars and practice times, would have to make sure that the golf bag was packed with every possible accoutrement from dry socks (should a chap’s ball land on the edge of the water and some paddling be required) to a spare a bacon butty (and there is no occasion that cannot be improved by a bacon butty – Princess Anne has them waiting for her at Heathrow when she returns from an official overseas trip) is something of a worry.

And then there is the praise – or lack of it.

Pity Muzz’s team. They sit at the side of the court as he plays. They to be encouraging at the right moment and quiet when needed but regardless of what they do, he gives them pelters. Eye-wateringly sarcastic pelters. Not that they complain, mind you. They know it is just Muzz in competition mode (he is fiercely loyal to those closest to him and what he says on court matters no one jot).

But if Muzz were to be the sidekick to another athlete in competition mode, how might that go down? All those hours of study would go for a burton if his boss screws up the approach to the 17th. All those words of support and encouragement as Muzz hefted that humongously heavy bag around the course would be forgotten as his boss fluffs his putt on the 18th. If the boss wins, the boss is the superstar. If the boss loses, Muzz is the culprit. That is the life of an underling.

No matter. Muzz has another idea: “Getting my coaching badges in football – that would be fun.”

Oh, no; please no….