Rafael Nadal: ‘Regardless of the rival, I’m always trying my best’

Rafael Nadal has been around for two decades, playing his first pro tournaments in 2001 and winning the first ATP match a year later. The Spaniard stands among the greatest players of all time after winning 20 Major titles and 36 Masters 1000 crowns, staying in the top-10 since April 2005 despite numerous setbacks. Dealing with permanent injuries, Nadal has always known how to draw the most from his game and remain competitive for almost two decades, still eager to chase notable titles and high ranking positions. At 35, Nadal will have to overcome another challenging period and a nasty foot injury bothering him since June and forced him to skip the rest of the season.

Rafa claimed two titles this season, prevailing over Stefanos Tsitsipas in that epic Barcelona Open final after nearly three hours and 40 minutes and lifting the 36th Masters 1000 crown in Rome a few weeks later. Nadal lost in the Madrid Open quarter-final to Alexander Zverev and faced another tough opponent at the beginning of his Rome campaign. The young gun Jannik Sinner stood on the other side of the net, and the Spaniard praised his abilities and determination to work on his game and deliver constant improvements. Rafa noted that he has always given his best, regardless of the rival, round or the event, preparing for more against the Italian teenager, whom he beat in straight sets after a solid battle. 

Rafael Nadal spoke about his approach and game philosophy in Rome in May.

“I played great in Madrid before a couple of bad games against Alexander Zverev in the quarters. Everything went wrong after that, despite the fact I looked good on the practice court. Here in Rome, we have to adapt to entirely different conditions from Madrid. Jannik Sinner is one of the best players I could have drawn. He is very young and makes constant improvements. His ranking position is getting better, and he is very confident. He played great in Miami to reach the final, and it will be tough to beat him. Regardless of the rival, I’m always trying my best, and I will do the same against Jannik. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not; that’s a sport. I know how well he plays, and I have to match that level. I’m excited to face him again and to compete in Rome for another time,” Rafael Nadal said.