Q: A long journey has come to an end?
JKR: Yes (laughs). I feel like a burden has been removed from my shoulders.
Q: So now its back to real life, is it?
JKR: I suppose so (reluctantly giggles). Even if only for a while. I find it very hard to stop imagining.
Q: Tell us, which parts of your fable were inspired by elements of reality?
JKR: Well I always search for magic in the real world, and the sport of Quidditch is a direct example of that.
Q: Really? Most muggles can only dream about playing Quidditch. Tell us what inspired you to envision such a sport?
JKR: Moon-balling! It’s a technique in tennis where you just lob the ball high over your opponent’s side. The higher the ball goes, the better the moon-baller! I distinctly remember; after my tenure as a teacher in Portugal and writing of the third draft of the first book, I had a hiatus in Spain, and I was passing this club, where I saw an 11-year-old boy practicing tennis. I think it was Rafael Nadal. Every ball his opponent flung at him, he lobbed back high in the air, and this went on and on. He never had problems in returning the balls if the opponent smashed it back…you see, because he could cover his court area very well, but he slowed down the game considerably, …and this went on and on till the ball just kept going higher and higher and it kind of hung in the air refusing to come down. And I started imagining things…What if the ball just stayed there? What if it grew wings? Obviously, the players would need to jump or fly high enough to get to it. And what better way to do it than navigate yourself with broomsticks? So there you have it, the origins of The Golden Snitch (see pic) and Quidditch!
Q: Wow! So you’re saying that Nadal was the real inspiration behind Quidditch? You’ve never mentioned this before?
JKR: Well, no one ever asked me this before (shrugs). People blindly assume that the game was based on soccer. (guilty now) But I have mentioned Nadal as the inspiration…in my own ‘mysterious author-like’ ways. Since he enjoyed digging his nose into the clay court so much, I kind of named the sport after him replacing the suffix ‘pro-quo’, with ‘ditch’. Besides, I even surnamed the protagonist after him.
Q: …Harry ‘Potter’?
JKR: Yes. It was so charming; the way Nadal rolled on clay every time he won a point. Since pots are made of clay, I felt this might be an apt tribute… In fact, the complete name was ‘Hoggy Potter’, but my contacts at Bloomsberry declined, saying the name wouldn’t sell (rolls her eyes). They settled for a household name instead. As you can see, they weren’t half as imaginative, but it can’t be undone (regrets).
Q: You piggy-backed on a tennis-prodigy for your personal writing glory. And yet your tributes to him have been so secretive till now. Explain.
JKR: Now, now…You are reading things out of context.
You’re making it sound like I’m hogging on the limelight all by myself. That’s not true. You are forgetting that I even named the school ‘Hogwarts’,hoping it would spawn an entire generation of moonballers! What can be a bigger tribute to the world of sports, huh?
Q: Was he the only inspiration?
JKR: For Quidditch…yes! But the inspiration for the series came when I was travelling in a train. I happened to see a cow chewing grass delightfully as if there was nothing better in the world…And all of a sudden I had the complete vision (closes her eyes meditatively and slips into a trance)…
When contacted, World # 2, Rafael Nadal had a few good words for the author himself:
Nadal: She very good, no? She write very creative, for sure. I also very creative. When I moonball, I try to very hard concentrate, so I jump. Try to fly, hit very high the ball, so it stay there. But Harry even better. He have broom, no? I not that good without broom. But I young. Still only 21. Have great years ahead of me. We will see.
Courtesy: ANON. Nadal effect. National enigma. TNE’s spoof enterprises.