The Humble Rafa- Part I

Richard Evans recently mentioned a less known story about Rafael Nadal in his latest article:

Marc Lopez, Rafa’s close friend who played doubles with Nadal on Wednesday night, smashed a racket when the pair were playing a doubles match here a couple of years ago. At practice the next day, Nadal told Lopez, “Don’t ever do that again or we won’t play together anymore.”Lopez looked at him as if he was joking. “No, I’m serious,” Rafa shot back. “Don’t ever do it again.”

After I read Evans’ article, I did a quick Google search on players who have broken racquets in their career. Yes, Yes, everyone including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, John Mcenroe have all had their share of anger management issues in the past! Currently Ryan Harrison- the future prodigy is no exception.

But one name which stands out amongst all these is Rafael Nadal. I did more research on him and found out never once Rafa has broken a racquet. Nadal is known for his game, stamina, determination but I think one quality which has never gained that much attention in the media is his ability to control his emotions on court. As per Uncle Toni:

“Nadal has never broken a racquet. It would be showing a lack of respect to people who actually have to buy the equipment to play the sport “

The player who plays with so much intensity is an excellent example for all those who are unable to control their emotions. How did this happen: Uncle Toni is the man responsible behind this impeccable quality of Rafael Nadal. As per Richard Evans: Toni Nadal, essentially told a 6 year old Nadal, “You throw one racket and I’m no longer your coach. There are millions of kids in the world who would love a racket and don’t have one.”

In today’s world where anger is becoming a major issue,Nadal is an inspiring example to all the kids who watch tennis and aspire to become the future Federer/Nadal/Djokovic! Even if we are fans of Federer, Djokovic, Murray or anyone else- think about this example as a neutral tennis fan and if your kid is watching tennis: Whom would you want him/her to emulate? Honestly, there is no better example than Nadal for the above!

Compared to the Harrisons of today, Safins/Mcenroe’s of yesteryears, this Spaniard is a living proof that in tennis, greatness can also be achieved by looking within yourself and setting an example for the society. Yes, Nadal is known for a lot of qualities but for me this quality very well defines the kind of personality he has. Determined, mentally tough, brilliant player but above all a humble Rafa who respects not only his fellow players but also people out there who don’t have resources to buy a racquet.

I will be back in my next article talking about his other qualities but right now for me Rafael Nadal stands right at the top when it comes to the following:

Most of us would have reacted to disappointment the way Harrison did. Being a pro means making yourself, at a psychological level, into an exception.- Steve Tignor

And Rafael Nadal is an exception- No doubt about it! 

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