The mind of a champion: Rafael Nadal

A true champion is seen in adversity, that is why we are taking Rafael Nadal as a model, who reached the top of tennis and then had a hard fall from which many assumed he would not recover. However, with his mental strength he recovered, but this was not gratuitous, the mental aspect worked it AS he manifests himself. All my life I have worked my head, not by myself, I am not a phenomenon to be able to train only my head, but I have been trained since I was little and I think that has been a virtue that I have had in recent years, that always or almost I have always been prepared to fight, respect for my rivals has meant that I have won many games that were complicated (Moreno and De Milá , 2009a).

Success (2008-2009):

On August 18, 2008, he became number 1 in the world, after winning the Beijing Olympics. In 2009 he won the Grand Slam of the Australian Open against Roger Federer (7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6 and 6-2), the Indian Wells Masters 1000 defeating Andy Murray (6-2 and 6-1), the Master 1000 of Montecarlo (for the fifth time in a row) against Novak Djokovic (6-3, 2-6 and 6-1), in the Master 500 of the Conde de Godó of Barcelona (for the fifth time in a row ) defeating David Ferrer and in the Rome Masters (fourth consecutive time) against Novak Djokovic . Everything was happiness and sporting success, he was at the top of tennis.


The Fall (2009-2010):

Despite sporting success, there was an issue that haunted Rafael Nadal, physical discomfort, specifically the knees (chronic tendinitis), this could be corroborated by observing white bandages that he used under the kneecaps. After returning from the Master 1000 in Miami (early April). Training in Manacor, his knees began to hurt a lot, particularly his right, he took off the bandages because it no longer hurt underneath but the entire upper part of the kneecap, so the bandages no longer served him at all and, rather, they hindered . This coincided with the separation of his parents, something that affected him a lot for being very attached to his family, so the emotional aspect did not help due to the situation of life. It is important to emphasize that he never left his city, Manacor, and to this day he continues training there with the same people he had since childhood. From then on, everything started to get worse and the pain became “patches”. He was quite used to playing with pain, we recall that the discomfort was already critical Mica, he played with pain in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, ​​Re and Madrid, during the week of this last competition he underwent medical tests since he was playing almost every game. days with anti-inflammatories. In Madrid he advances to the final after a grueling four-hour game against Novak Djokovic , the next day he loses the final against Roger

Federer (6-4 and 6-4) in an unrecognizable way. He looked slow, without reaction, something was happening, the chronic knee injury was taking center stage.

He had to play Roland Garros infiltrated (an anti-inflammatory drug that eliminates pain is injected into the affected area, the knee,). Reo burn that pain has an adaptive function in the body and is to warn that something is not right, however, high-performance athletes are generally trained and reinforced to withstand considerable loads of pain, which at the level of sports results s Specific can be positive but prolonged abuse of this can lead to chronic injuries by ignoring the information provided by the body through pain.

At Roland Garros 2009 he lost in the quarterfinals against Robin Söderling (2-6,7-6,4-6 and 6-7) for the first time in his life (31 wins in a row), after this defeat his problems were made public in the knees.

Roger Federer champion and Rafael loses number one in the ranking (after 46 weeks) at his hands, as a result of this injury he had to rest completely for two months. Rafael Nadal: It was a blow not to be able to compete at Wimbledon and the loss at Roland Carros. (Moreno and De Milá , 2009b).

  • I return to the courts: Previously when returning Rafael Nadal declared: I am now a sea of ​​doubts (Moreno and De Milis, 2009b). Dr. Ángel Ruíz-Cotorro discharges him: the player evolves favorably and will continue his physiotherapy and muscle strengthening treatment and will begin his progressive tennis activity from next Monday, July 20, estimating his return to competitive activity at the Montreal Tournament on August 8. Source: He returns to compete in the Montreal Master 1000 (August 10, 2009) being eliminated by Juan Martín del Potro, falls to third place in the ranking. Then he lost in the semifinals in the Cincinatti Master 1000 against Novak Djokovic (6-1 and 6-4), in the US Open in the semifinals against Juan Martin del Potro (2-6, 2-6 and 2-6), previously In the zenith quarterfinal matches to Fernando González, he had experienced severe abdominal pain and had requested medical attention, something unusual for him. Master 500 in Beijing lost in semi against Marin Gibe in Masters 1000 Shanghai loses the final against Nikolay Davidenko (6-7 and 3-6), pri mere end to then accessed injury (mid October , approximately four and a half months had passed). In the Paris Masters 1000 he lost in the semifinals with Novak Djokovic (2-6 and 3-6) and finally in the lomeo of the great masters (8 best tennis players of the year): he lost all the games of his series:
  • First match: Robin Soderling (4-6 and 4-6).
  • Second match: Nikolay Davydenko (6-7 and 3-6).
  • Third party: Novak Djokovic (6-7 and 3-6).

He saved the end of the year by winning the Davis Cup with Spain. However, he ended the year without being able to win a title or beat any top-five since his return from injury. Regarding the 2009 season, his uncle and coach Toni refers: He has not ended up playing too well and that has caused him uneasiness, but with work he will overcome it (Delgado, 2009). This situation definitely undermined their confidence and more so with all the external comments that came out in different media. This brings up a whole series of doubts: Will I be able to recover? Will I ever be able to play without discomfort? Will I be able to get back to my level? Frustrations and helplessness: “I can’t unfold all my tennis because of the pain.”

  • The fight to regain his level of play: He begins 2010 by losing the final of the Masters 250 Doha against Nikolay Davydenko (0-6, 7-6 and 6-4). In the Australian Open Grand Slam he reaches the quarterfinals falling to Andy Murray (3-6, 6-7 and 0-3), leaving due to a right knee injury, a different ailment than the previous ones but he continued to show physical difficulties that diminished his confidence, the ghost of injuries appeared again. In the Indian Wells Masters 1000 he reaches the semifinals falling to Ivan Ljubicic (6-3, 4-6 and 6-7), in the Miami Master 1000 (hard court) he loses in the semifinal with Andy Roddick (6-4,3 -6 and 3-6).

The resurgence:

In the Master 1000 Montecarlo he defeats Fernando Verdasco (6-0 and 6-1) in the final , he defeats David Ferrer (7-5 ​​and 6-2) in the Master 1000 in Rome and in the Master 1000 in Madrid Roger Federer 6-4 and 7-6 (5). With this great season on clay, he arrives with great confidence at Roland Garros, accessing the final to play again with the only person who had beaten him on this surface exactly one year ago.In relation to this, there are two perspectives that can be taken:

  • Fear: Too bad, I’m just going to have to play the final against the same player who knocked me out last year. This can lead to the appearance of the ghosts of the elimination and of the mud suffered during a year to reach the level again to be in that place.
  • Challenge: How exciting, I am lucky to face the same opponent who eliminated me last time and in the final. Life gives it revenge and I love it.

What do you think was Rafa Nadal’s perspective?

  • Outcome:

– Champion at Roland Garros selling it 6-4, 6-2 and 6-4 (June 6).

– He won without giving up a single set, he had already done it in 2008.

– Win the Clay Golden Slam (first tennis player to do so): Win the Clay Golden Slam : Masters 1000 (Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid) and Grand Slam Roland Garros).

– After eleven months, it regains first place in the world ranking on June 7.

  • Pressure: during the awards he broke down, never seen before, he cried when he won and his voice was cut off when he spoke. Heroes are also people and they perceive pressure but they know how to channel it and handle it properly. He accumulated a lot of pressure, many things were said, that he was finished, that his knees were those of a 33-year-old man, that he no longer had tennis and that his physique did not respond, that new names had appeared, etc. Toni Nadal (uncle and coach): It’s the satisfaction after a difficult year. You read the things that the newspapers put, sometimes, and you read that if Rafael is finished, if he will not be up again … ( Infobae , 2010).

Mental strength: To overcome this critical Aryan Rafael Nadal has shown great mental strength, we will break down some concepts in this line that he presents, which will surely make him continue to have many successes in tennis. For Rafael Nadal, mental strength is the following: Mental strength, I think it is overcoming difficult situations

  • know how to face difficult situations with a positive mindset. Learning to suffer while enjoying is another, because many times you get to long matches, at a fifth set the end of the match is decided by two balls and the one who is more prepared to hold the concentration, that one more point is what makes you win and that is a work of years (Moreno and De Milá , 2009b).

  • Perspective on life:

– Committed: with his dreams and his goals, they are beyond a tournament but an entire career, he is not carried away by the emotion of the moment such as retaking the crown of Roland Garros 2010 after a year as difficult as the one that has had, but is still working to achieve new goals in view of Wimbledon. I’ll celebrate … training tomorrow in Queens. Source: – nadal-lo-cele Brare -entrenando- morning -en-

– Balance: On the final of Roland Garros 2010 against Sóderling : I approach the final as another title, important for my career, but if I win I will not be the best, nor will it change my life, and if I lose the same From experience I know that, both after victories or defeats, after five months we will be exactly the same. Source: HtHr (wm.rafa-nadatcominofida-rafa-nadal – se-feel-to the-level-perfect-to-win-the-Roland Garros-and-Ilegar-a1-1_1694.aspx

-Tranquility: It puts the competition in the right perspective, without tremors. I’m one game away from being number one, at my best. In 2008 he did not play better than this year. The season is very positive after last year. I have managed to play at my best level again and compete with the best. If I lose tomorrow there will be other goals. Fountain:

– Learning: You learn from mistakes or else you have to try to learn, the reality is that you
have to try not to repeat the things that have gone wrong. (Moreno and De Milá , 2009a).

  • Personality: He does not give up any ball and plays each point as if it were the last, in many cases of his life. This is observed in his temperament (more hereditary aspects of the personality) since in the first game he competed, at the age of 8, according to his uncle Toni Nadal: he was already running like a madman on the field (Nadal and Nadal, 2009). This is how he felt about tennis from an early age and this has been enhanced with the learnings made throughout, shaping his personality traits to create a combative and fighting character in each match.

– Perseverance: I have worked all my everything for that and I continue to do so. I am not going to stay for work or out of good will either (Moreno and De Milá , 2009b). In relation to the games: I like to suffer, I have learned to enjoy suffering and I think it is a virtue that I have. Source: (Nadal Confessions, 2009a)

1 Optimism: Despite adversities and difficulties, he is always expectant, waiting for his opportunity, ready to take advantage of it, looking at the Wall with faith that things will turn out well. I am quite a positive and cheerful person (Moreno and De Milá , 2009a). You are burning to come back from your injury: I feel mentally prepared to return and I have no doubt that when I am well, at least I will return for the mud, then you know that the results will arrive late, arrive soon or do not arrive, but I am going to do everything possible so that they arrive sooner rather than later, or more importantly so that they arrive (Moreno and De Milá , 2009b).

  • Psychological constructs:

– Self-esteem: His uncle finds him crying after losing the 2007 Wimbledon final to Roger Federar. His uncle and coach Toni Nadal tells him: Rafael man, what are you going to cry about, you are number days in the world, we have lost a Wimbledon final but you have reached the final … and he tells me: I don’t know if I will ever again I will reach a final. If you never get to another final it will be that you are not good enough and that would be the same as me crying because I do not have a Rolls Royce , what are we going to do (Nadal and Nadal, 2009). The message is that he is valid for what he is and not for what he achieves, with that “hard” message the uncle is doing the opposite, he is containing and valuing him as a human being beyond his sports results. Every human being, without exception (including myself) by the mere fact seriously, it is worthy of unconditional respect for others and if it; it deserves to be esteemed and esteemed (Bonet, 1994).

– Motivation: After winning Roland Garros 2010: if at almost 24 years old I have no motivation, my life is very bad, I would have a problem. I love playing tennis, / a competition and being where I am for as long as possible. And my daily motivation is to live games like the semi or the final. Surpass myself, be better than me. Source: ESPN (May 15, 2010).

– Achievement motivation: A person’s effort to master a task, excel, overcome obstacles, perform better than others and take pride in their qualities (Murray, 1938). Achievement motivation is an orientation of the person towards the effort to be successful in a certain task, persistence despite failures, and the feeling of pride in the performances carried out (Gill, 1986). Source: ( Weinberg and Gould , 1996). 

  • Performance goals: It is oriented to make the necessary efforts to be able to perform its best performance, its sporting approach is not to win or lose but to do things the best it can and as a consequence of this the results will come by themselves. Before the final with Süderling at Roland Garros 2010: The nerves will always be there. It will be a very difficult game and it will only be worth playing at my best level and that is how I will try, and if not I will go to Queens with a very clear conscience, because I am having a season, the best of my life so far, and about all level, because in all the tournaments I have been to before Monte Carlo, I was there to win them. Now you have to try to make the effort and win the final. Source:  perfect-to-win-the-Roland Garros-and-Ilegar-el-1_1694.aspx

– Self – efficacy: It is perceived as quite capable and does not set limits: My role model is me. I have always been the first in the different categories and I try to follow my own trail. Source: http: lies.wikipedia.orglwiki (Rafael_ Nadal 

– Attribution: What do you attribute your successes and failures to? To himself, he feels in control of himself . After the injury: I felt that I had not done things as I should, the schedule, my mistake, here I am the most responsible for myself, the problem is mine, of not knowing how to assess when to stop, when to rest. You have to understand that it is very difficult valued because it has happened to me so many times, being with dokr , with problems and many times, always or almost always I have gotten ahead, that one does not know when you can give a little more and when not. (Moreno and De Milá , 2009a).

  • Control: You feel in control of yourself and what you can do
  • Stability: You feel that difficult situations are situational, unstable, that is, they are going to happen.
  • Locus of control: intimate, he attributes his successes and failures to himself.
  • Tolerance of frustration: He is calm despite the difficulties of a match, that is why he is the best defending, the worst of circumstances in tennis. His uncle doesn’t think he’ll ever make a bad gesture on the field. For example, it will never break a racket. He is respectful, in victory and in defeat (Delgado, 2009).
  • About the competition:

– Game planning-strategy ( Roland Garros 2010 final vs. Robin Süderling ): It will be a difficult game but it is not / or the same to throw bombs from a meter from the court behind, and that depends on me. My job is to make him run as much as possible and if he still beats me, congratulate him because he will have been the best. Source:  nadal-it-feel-to the-level-perfedo-to-win-the-Roland Garros-and-Ilegar-el-1_1694.aspx

– Routines: carry out the psychological warm-up prior to the competition, to make the transition from the person self-to the competitor self and enter the competition with the mental attitude. Before each game he performs intense warm-ups that make him sweat considerably so he likes to shower before each game, he puts tape on his fingers to prevent blisters or for the keys. He arrives at his place on the field, he places his briefcase, his rackets, puts his two bottles of water, one large, at the same time, and another small ice, on the side, he places them on the clay and will always put them throughout the game in you will mark the same. Then he makes some healthy and makes an intense change of rhythm from side to side to enter running to the center of the field, to the side of the net, for the draw while, I wait for himself to raise his heels to the buttocks of his legs.

– Fun: My only objective is the same as always, or even if it is difficult for people to understand it or not believe it, my only objective is to be well, be happy playing tennis and improve To improve I have to be well (Moreno and De Milá , 2009b).

– Anxiety management: about the 2010 Roland Garros final : It is an exciting day, a really difficult year , a very important tournament and for which I have worked a lot. I couldn’t contain my nerves or anxiety, I was thinking about what happened and last year’s defeat but I was able to overcome it, I am very grateful for everyone’s support, even on the track, which has been better than in other years. This year I am having a great season, the most important thing is to have Roland Garros in my hands, not to be number one. Fountain. http: //www.rafael-nadal.net2010/06/06/rafael-nadal-lo-celebrare-entrenando-manana-en-queens/

Data sheet:

  • Name: Rafael Nadal Parera
  • Date and place of birth: 06/03/1986 (Manacor, Mallorca, Spain)
  • Height: 182 cm.
  • Weight: 75 kg.
  • Professional since: 2001
  • ATP Ranking: 1
  • Residence: Manacor, Mallorca
  • Hand: Left-handed, although he hits backwards with two hands (he is right-handed for the rest of his activities).
  • Sponsor: Nike
  • Brothers: A sister
  • Idol: Carlos Moya
  • Toni Nadal
  • Representative: Carlos Costa
  • 1st Championship: Balearic Islands, when I was 8 years old
  • Hobbies: Fishing, Playstation and soccer
  • Grand Siam: 7
  • Parents: Ana María Parera and Sebastián Nadal
  • Uncle: Miguel Ángel Nadal (former player of Barcelona and the Spanish team).


  • Grand Slam :

Roland Garros 2005: Vs. Mariano Puerta, 6-7 (6), 6-3.6-1.7-5 1 Roland Garros 2006: Vs. Roger Federen 1-6.6-1.6-4.7 -6 (4) 1 Roland Garros 2007: Vs. Roger Federen 6-3.4-6.6-3.6-4

Roland Garros 2008: Vs. Roger Federer 6-1,6-3,6-0

1 Wimbledon 2008: Vs. Roger Federer , 6-4,6-4,6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7

1 Australia Open 2009: Vs. Roger Federer , 7-5,3-6,7-6 (3), 3-6,6-2 1 Roland Garros 2010 Vs. Robin Süderling , 6-4,6- 2.6-4

1 Finals:

  • Wimbledon 2006: Vs. Roger Federer , 0-6, 6-7 (5), 7- 6 ( 2), 3-6.
  • Wimbledon 2007: Vs. Roger Federer , 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 2-6.
  • Masters 1000 (18):

1 Montecarlo 2005 (clay): Vs. Guillermo Coda, 6-3.6-1.7-5

1 Roma 2005 (clay): Vs. Guillermo Corla, 64.3-6.6-3.4-6.7-6 (6) 1 Montreal 2005 (hard): Vs. Andre Agassi, 6-3.4 -6.6-2

1 Madrid 2005 (hard and roofed): Vs. Ivan Ljubiiflié , 3-6,2-6,6-3,6-4,7-6 (3) 1 Montecarlo 2006 ( tiera whipped) vs. Roger Federer , 6-2,6-7 (2 ), 6 -3.7-6 (5)

1 Rome 2006 (clay): Vs. Roger Federer , 6-7 (0 ), 7-6 (5), 64.2-6.7-6 (5)

Indian Wells 2007 (hard ): Vs. Novak Dkokovic , 6-2,7-5

1 Monte Carlo 2007 (clay): Vs. Roger Federer , 6-4, 6-4 1 Rome 2007 (clay): Vs. Fernando González, 6-2, 6-2 1 Monte Carlo 2008 (clay): Vs. Roger Federer , 7-5, 7-5

1 Hamburg 2008 (clay): Vs. Roger Federer , 7-5.6-7 (3), 6-3 1 Toronto 2008 (hard ): Vs. Nicolás Kiefer , 6-3, 6-2

Indian Wells 2009 (hard): vs. Andy Murray, 6-1, 6-2 1 Montecarlo 2009 ( tiera whipped): Vs. Novak Djokovk ,

1 Roma 2009 (clay): Vs. Novak Djokovic , 7-6 (46-2

1 Monte Carlo 2010 (clay): Vs. Fernando Verdasco , 6-0, 6-1 1 Roma 2010 (clay): Vs. David Ferrer, 7-5, 6-2

1 Madrid 2010 (clay). Vs. Roger Federer , 6-4, 7-6 (5) 1 Finals:

  • Miami 2005 (hard): Vs. Roger Federer , 6-2,7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 3-6,1-6
  • Hamburg 2007 (clay): Vs- Roger Federer , 6-2.2-6.0-6
  • Paris 2007 (hard): Vs. David Na Iba ndian , 4-6, 0-6
  • Miami 2008 (hard): Vs. Nikolay Davydenko , 4-6, 2-6
  • Madrid 2009 (clay): Roger Federer , 4-6, 4-6
  • Shanghai 2009 (hard): Nikolay Davydenko , 6-7 (43-6 1 Olympics:
  • Beijing 2008 (grass ): Gold, Vs. Fernando González, 6-3,7-6 (46-3.

1 Davis Cup:

  • 2004 (clay): Vs. USA (3-2, local)
  • 2008 (clay): Vs. Argentina (3-1, visitors)
  • 2009 (clay): Vs. Czech Republic (5-0, home)
  • Titles obtained (40):
  • 9 on hard court
  • 29 on clay
  • 2 in grass
  • 1 in closed coliseum

1 Records:

  • Player with the most Master 1000 titles: 18
  • Record wins at fields clay ( tiera whipped): 81
  • Spanish tennis player with the most:
  • Individual titles: 40
  • Most Grand Slam titles : 7
  • Most Masters 1000 titles: 18
  • Most weeks at No. 1 of the ranNng global ATP 46
  • Only Spanish tennis players to obtain
  • Australian Open
  • Olympic gold medal

1 Awards:

  • Prince of Asturias of sports 2008

Bibliographic references:


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