Rafael Nadal: ‘I always think they must be much better than me’

Paraguayan junior Daniel Vallejo couldn’t hide his happiness after getting the chance to hit 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. Vallejo, 18, entered this week with an ITF junior ranking of No. 2. As Nadal prepares for the North American hard court tour, he had a training session with promising Paraguayan Vallejo. “What’s better than this? Thank you Rafael Nadal,” Vallejo wrote on Twitter. Nadal, 36, won the first two Grand Slams of the season and his next goal was to win his first Wimbledon title since 2010. At Wimbledon, Nadal was making good progress by reaching the semi-final. Sadly, Nadal was hampered by an abdominal injury during his quarter-final match against Taylor Fritz and that injury forced him to give Nick Kyrgios a ride in the semi-final. Withdrawing from his Wimbledon semi-final was not easy for Nadal, but he did not want to risk aggravating his injury. “I can’t imagine winning two matches and out of respect for myself in a way I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough,” Nadal explained at Wimbledon. “A couple of weeks ago I saw my career very differently because of the foot injury. The most important thing is happiness more than any title. I can’t risk that match and stay two or three months out of the competition. I am very sad and it is very hard.” It has been three weeks since Nadal’s withdrawal from Wimbledon and now he is preparing for the Montreal Masters, which starts on August 7. “Nadal is really looking forward to coming to Montreal and his hotel rooms they are already reserved”, revealed the director of the Montreal tournament, Eugene Lapierre.

Rafa clinched his first French Open in 2005

Rafael Nadal turned pro in the year 2001 with his mind already in the league of the legendary players. The 16-year-old entered the ATP with strong will power and a well-crafted list of ambitions. As he said, “Well, I guess it would be to go as far as I can, to become a great tennis player. I just have to keep working hard every day. I know it won’t be easy.” Thereafter, he added, “There’s so much high-level competition out there. Normally, when I play in tournaments because I’m younger than everyone else, I always think they must be much better than me. But then you get on the court and because I’m a fighter and I really hate losing, things tend to level out.” The Spanish young blood staying true to his claims bagged his first ever Grand Slam trophy within four years of his debut.