Rafael Nadal: ‘He always stressed the importance of…’

Rafael Nadal had a very important evolution in his service in recent years. The Mallorcan often changed his movement and in some parts of his career he achieved some high results. Why did this shot change so much? “All the players’ shots change and it’s difficult to have the same movement for years,” said Toni Nadal in an exclusive interview with El Espanol. “In Rafael’s case it was even more difficult because he has a little complicated coordination, which is a bit similar to Rivaldo who often moved in a strange way. He sometimes makes an effort to throw the ball very high and that has an influence. Rafael stressed that the fact of being injured forced him to change the motion. In 2010, two days before the US Open started, during a practice session with Juan Monaco, Nadal decided to use a racket with a different grip, which was a very successful option as he won the tournament beating Novak Djokovic in the final, he broke only five times, as many as Andy Roddick when he triumphed in 2003. “Rafa’s serve in 2010 was totally different, but he didn’t manage to keep it for a long time and he is making mistakes. The movements change and one can feel the ball in a different way on any given day.

Rafa will play the Canadian Open and the US Open

In his book, Rafael Nadal: My Story, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, talked about how his uncle coached him during his youth days. He said, “So there was fun and magic in my relationship with Toni, even if the prevailing mood when we trained was stony and severe. And we had plenty of success. If he hadn’t made me play without water that day, if he hadn’t singled me out for especially harsh treatment when I was in that group of little kids learning the game, if I hadn’t as I did at the injustice and abuse he heaped on me, maybe I would not be the player I am today.” Further, Nadal added, “He always stressed the importance of endurance. “Endure, put up with whatever comes your way, learn to overcome weakness and pain, push yourself to breaking point but never cave in. If you don’t learn that lesson, you’ll never succeed as an elite athlete”: that was what he taught me.” In a sport like tennis where emotions are always running high, McEnroe reckons more players are similar to hotheads like him and Jimmy Connors than the cold and emotional persona of someone like Nadal. “[Players today] seem like unbelievably nice people. Rafael Nadal has claimed he’s never broken a racket in his life. But generally, I think people are, as far as tennis goes, more like me and Connors than Borg, who never showed any expression,” McEnroe said.