In an interview ahead of the 2024 Brisbane International, where Rafael Nadal has made his comeback after a year-long hiatus from tennis, he shared a time in his illustrious career when winning games was a part of his daily routine.
Rafael Nadal has won 92 ATP singles titles, including 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles. He is one of two men to achieve the Career Golden Slam in men’s singles, with titles at all four majors and the Olympic singles gold.
In a recent interview with El Pais, Nadal acknowledged that despite his extraordinary success at events like the French Open, there were times when victory felt like an everyday task, similar to completing a regular workday.
The 37-year-old expressed the importance of avoiding such complacency in sports and feels that playing sports without passion is an ugly feeling.
Rafa Nadal says it was an ugly feeling when people used to expect him to win Roland Garros as if it’s a normal work day:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 6, 2024
"There was a moment in my career when winning was a draw, & that feeling is ugly. It is taken for granted that you have to win. Suddenly, winning Monte Carlo… pic.twitter.com/WJ1r3NIsO0
Talking about himself, the Spaniard has tried to stay away from such emotions during his career, and whenever he did he did not take much time analyzing and getting rid of it. For him, sports has never been a job but something that he has fulfilled with sheer passion and madness.
“I have not usually let that happen, it has rarely happened to me, and when it has, I have met with people and told them: “Let’s analyze this, get rid of this thought.” Because sports cannot be a job where you go to fulfill the record. There has to be illusion, madness, flame.”-Rafael Nadal in an interview with El Pais
Toni Nadal holds an optimistic outlook for Rafael Nadal’s prospects despite Brisbane International’s setback
Rafael Nadal‘s journey at the 2024 Brisbane International came to an end after suffering defeat to Australian tennis player Jordan Thompson in the quarterfinals. However, his uncle Toni Nadal who has been a guide to him since his childhood is optimistic about his nephew’s future in tennis.
37-year-old Nadal returned to the court after a year-long injury layoff, after suffering an injury at the 2023 Australian Open. Nadal initially hinted that 2024 would be his last year on tour, but Toni now believes that he might continue to play if he wins the Roland Garros.
He mentioned the example of Roger Federer who continued to play for several years without winning a slam and feels that Nadal’s passion and competitiveness could extend his career if his body cooperates.
“Federer went 4-5 years without winning Grand Slams, but even if he didn’t win he was in the semis he knew he wasn’t far away and that’s why he continued. If his body responds well and he is successful, it is not unreasonable that he could last.”-Toni Nadal in an interview with SER