In an exclusive interview for French Review Tennis Magazine, Rafael Nadal talks about his rivalry with Novak Djokovic. He congratulates the Serbian on his current domination and acknowledges that in 2011, Djokovic was his major problem on tour.
Asked if he could hire a “supercoach” instead of his uncle Toni Radal, Rafa answers that he is the only one to blame when he plays badly, like he did sometimes in 2015.
Videos: Tennis Magazine
Our Champion is STILL the BEST!!! Asked about his team, without hesitation, he took complete responsibility for losing to Djokovic!!! No one can ever say that Rafael Nadal did not take responsibility for losing a tennis match. He ALWAYS does so, and he gains more fervent respect from his fans and opponents each time he does. In this context, his wins are that much sweeter for everyone concerned. VAMOS RAFA!!! PARA LA DECIMA!!!!!!
Rafa has always admitted his shortcomings and never blamed anyone for his loses. Also, he has been so respectful of other players, even praising much lower ranked players to whom he has handed crushing defeats. Humility, graciousness and honesty are his signature characteristics. And I luv his sense of humor.
NADAL BEATS KOHLSCHREIBER
Bearer of good news – I think I love you😘🙌
Now he must get past Kyrgios. It may be a nail-biter.
RAFA first set vs Kohlschreiber @ Rome.
Sigh of relief! I can’t watch – scaredy cat!
Cheer up. Nadal is up 5-3 in the second set. 😊
You may look now. Nadal won match!
Rafa’s only ‘supercoach’ having credentials to help him better himself would be Andre Agassi. Andre has done it all in tennis and he can help Rafa complete his already illustrious trophy collection. Both Andre and Rafa are Golden Slam Career champions and the only men to achieve this feat in the Open era, but Andre has also the Super Career Slam and he can help Rafa achieve that as well. Vamos Rafa for more wins to come!
Agreed. Agassi is my first choice too. Rafa will benefit a lot if he get him added to his team. Sooner the better!
His “crisis ” I think started after his lost Australian open final against Stan…..He was different after that….not the Rafa we know. I think this lost got huge mental impact on him.
True – Rafa has had many set backs before and has always bounced back and I’m hoping and waiting for him to do so again. But the set backs have usually been due to injuries and also the changing pattern of play – others were getting to know rafa’s tennis and he was/is finding it difficult to make changes in his game. This was becoming more evident from time to time and in the last 15 months if not more, he has not had injuries and it seemed/seems to be more of a mental problem. There have been times when he has looked lost – as if he didn’t know what to do – not making the right choice of shots – and his body language has openly shown how he felt. Before he was more discreet and controlled not to let his opponent see his frustration and nerves and other emotions.
I more than anyone am hoping for him to eventually bounce back rather sooner than later.
I agree, your comments make sense and at times he looks lost on court. I watched the 2012 Australian semi-final last night, he looked terrified in the tunnel. He was ‘tic-ing’ quite badly before the game started and played badly until he eventually settled down. Of course somehow in 2013 he had a great year. His ability to access ‘Beastie Boy’ these days has become harder.
‘This past forgettable year is not the first time Rafa has suffered a setback. After all, the years 2006, 2009 and 2012 (BIZARRELY ALL AT THREE YEAR INTERVALS, INCLUDING LAST YEAR, 2015), have all provided Rafa with hardship. However, what has shaped the player’s fortitude, personality and legacy is the fact that he has always bounced back and returned to winning ways.’
Totally agree with mental assessment. It has been so obvious in the last 2 years especially. Also someone Rafa 86 said something astrological predictions and zodiac signs – well,whether he meant seriously or not – I’ve read many of those concerning Rafa and most have seem to be coming true. Also read about Rafa’s mind and mental problems and unfortunately not good. These things can be overcome but people need proper help and a lot of work and time. I was/am hoping that Rafa can overcome this in time (needs to be very soon) and put all the negative predictions to bed. Jut want to see him happy playing his best tennis. Too painful to see him as he has been these past 2-3 years.
Come on Rafa you can do it!!! Vamos!!!
I think you’re spot on Margo. It is probably is/was accumulative. OCD when left unchecked can feed back into itself. Sadly, as we get older, our vulnerabilities remain and often get worse. The problem with OCD is that it is usually accompanied by an involuntary thought process which can be exhausting. Rafa has refused a sports psychologist in the past (knowing Andy Murray saw one). He said he could sort things out within his team (which is typical!). I really think he would have been a better player (if that’s possible) without these compulsions. His rituals have been dressed up as the same we see other sports stars use which can be helpful. Yet there is evidence (that I wont go into) that Rafa is embarrassed by what he does which indicates to me that he has no control. Of course, I stress, I cannot possibly know, but I’ve looked at all the evidence I can find including what Rafa himself has said (contradictory).
Let’s just hope he can find the help he needs.
As cannaDiana said I think a coach that adds psychological strength is important. I highly recommend a recent Spanish documentary ‘Informe Robinson’ (although in Spanish and excuse me if you have seen it) in which Rafa and his team are quite candid. Rafa is in tears when he talks about losing to Dustin Brown at Wimbledon and they show a scene of him not being able to even concentrate on bouncing the ball on serve. Instead of playing fluidly he was overthinking every point. It suggests that the reason for his problems are psychological hence changing his coach/tactics are secondary. Rafa from a very young age had been able to work opponents out and learned as he played. There is no reason to believe he is not still capable of working out different strategies himself. I speak as a mental health practitioner. Rafa, I noticed years ago is polarised in personality – he appears to live out a super strong character on court to compensate for a very sensitive/introverted one in reality. He is extremely vulnerable to stress hence the need for complete unchanging continuity in his life and hence the ritualistic behaviour/s – a control mechanism for anxiety. I believe, this has manifested more significantly to the point it has been interfering with his mind and play. It may be linked to the fear of further injury. He has been ‘cut down’ significantly at least twice in his career. For a person who lives to compete this can be extremely distressing. Just my penneths worth but also what he appears to be alluding to himself.
I am Mental Health professional myself and totally agree with your comment!
I am no mental health expert so I welcomed your assessment.
I now feel comfortable mentioning his parents’ separation as one of many possible causes for his anxiety. I don’t think he has accepted that yet. His fear of injury could be another.
Of course I am not in his head but as an outsider I can only guess.
Hi Margo, his parents divorce affected him horribly which he admitted to himself of course. But his anxiety pre-dates this. His mother said he was an anxious child. I have seen a YouTube video of him ‘tic-ing’ (as his family call it) at 5-7 years old. Still let’s hope he can do the necessary ‘Zoning Out.
Hi Teresa, WOW I had no idea!
I have also been thinking that his current slump could be a cumulative effect of many past unresolved issues. Any thought?
Rafa, you cannot resolve the problem on your own. As you said, the reason you are not winning is because of you. WE KNOW THAT. But it is also obvious that you (alone) have not resolved it, that uncle Toni has not resolved either, that none of the members of your staff have done it either,…
Please, stop been so loyally stubborn and get someone else. One to reawaken you confidence in your (once) masterful game. Still time, … DO IT!
If uncle Toni and the rest would have the solution they would have given it to you by now. They don’t know how, and are as we, watching you falling appart while we eat our nails in frustration.
Totally agreed with you. He needs fresh ideas from totally difference prospective, but it’s frustrating how he is wasting his time. Unfortunately it’s not too much time left. He must act fast! And the coach should be outsider,not another spanish or latin friendly coach.
I hope that Rafa can maintain good physical health. This is the most important thing. Of course his emotional state of mind is just as important. I continue to hope and pray that he bites the big trophy at the French Open this. I am feeling good about Rafa. Good luck in Rome Rafa. Vamos and God bless you. Love, Marylynn
I am a huge fan of Rafa. But I am frustrated by his stubborn unwillingness to try more to improve. Such as, by changing his grip to the one he used to win the U.S. Open in 2010, when he was routinely serving 130 mph and getting free points on serve. Such as, by getting advice from another expert coach on what he can do to improve his game. Federer, Djokovic and Murray all have hired new coaches for a fresh perspective and taken steps to successfully improve their games. Only Rafa refuses. He says Uncle Toni isn’t to blame when he doesn’t play well, only he, Rafa, is to blame. Well I agree. But with the limited time he has left to maximize his potential, he should go to any lengths necessary to do so. But he refuses. And his level has definitely dropped from 2013. It is sad to see him refusing to try anything different to get back to his former elite level.
Agreed with you. New coach added to his team needed ASAP! He should do that last year…so much time wasted unfortunately! And his stubborness is so frustrating!
Rafa needs a new coach added to his team period! His team is great, but it’s just not enough anymore. Sooner the better. He wasted already too much time last year not changing anything ….,but the tennis and competition changed!!! I disagree about Moya. He will feel too comfortable with him. He needs someone to kick his ass(lol) to do something new and different what will surprise his opposition. I hope he do something, because tennis became so boring without him….last year.
I agree, the last thing he needs is another Latin honorary family member. He needs an outsider.
Would love to see him poach Carlos Moya from Milos Raonic. Moya was a huge part of Nadals Junior development and a real mentor for him. Would inject new motivation into his tennis. Just my opinion
I think RAFA IS DOING GREAT! He can’t win every tournament. His match with Andy in Madrid was excellent. Both guys played at an extremely high level and it could have gone either way. No matter what Rafa will always be my champion. Anyone can rise to the top but it takes a true champion to climb all the way back and he has done that and continues to play at a level that is a true gift to watch I wrote my thoughts on my timeline over the utube video of Rafa.
Thank You Rafa for what you teach us all. Strength courage and faith in the face of adversity. Now you are showing us with that determination what a true champion means.
Well said your comments are so true
Actually it’s not that bad that he lost to Murray. He would be beaten to pulp by Djoker. At least he spared his fans from agony of his repeating defeat to Djokovic. But I really hope Andy Murray for once mans up and beat the crap out of Djokovic.
“beaten to a pulp”?????? The way your brain has been, by zika?????? O_O
God bless u the great sir
U r right. The ignorant crew here already hailed Rafa as the future rg champ. But the reality caught up with them again.
I noticed a change in Rafa’s game ever since his change to a new racket that was supposed add more spin and power. Problem is that now he OVER Spins the ball. This has resulted in shots over spun into the net, over spun short in mid court which sets the ball up for his opponents.
The added power has resulted in balls slung long. I can see Rafa struggle at times as he over compensates. For example, his last service game in Madrid against Andy Murray, he was broken to lose the match. He slung a ball long, botched a regulation overhead, and then over spun a ball into the net. You could feel his nerves get the best of him and I feel that a measure of confidence in the consistency of his forehand has been a big factor. After his wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, I thought that vintage Rafa was back. At Madrid, some of his recent issues have come back to haunt him….over spin the ball into the net, over spin it short in the court, sling the ball long….all due to that racket that was supposed to add more SPIN and POWER. Combine that with a slight lack of confidence and nerves at crunch time, and Rafa has “suffered” as he puts it, as a result. Just my two cents.
not sure which time-zone you’re in, but Rafa dumped the new racquet more than 2 months ago ….
Thanks for your update, I still stand by what I have seen of late and only by comparison now to what I saw when Rafa first rose to prominence , the way he used to play instinctive virtually errorless tennis against Roger Federer, making unbelievable, impossible shots time after time.
Anyone who can not see the difference now is in some kind of denial. I was hoping to see Rafa continue to find his best and win Madrid. Thought he might keep Novak from winning his first French, but now not so sure. By the way, I live in Pacific zone, USA.
Things can be confusing. Rafa used to be so incredibly good, that “looking like a shade of himself” is still pretty good. I shall not be fooled though. The real Rafa is gone (but not forgotten).
Perhaps Rafael might benefit from adding a supercoach, someone who could add psychological strength to his team. Modern life is full of stresses, even for those who not elite athletes. Congratulations on fighting back, and enjoying competition
again. It is evident every time you make a great shot or win a tournament-keep it going-stay fierce!💪👊💪👊💪👊💪👊👑🏆♥️
EVERYTIME I WATCH YOU PLAY IASK WHY YOU ALWAYS AIM STRAIT
FOR YOUR APPONENT , MAKE THEM RUN NOT YOU FED DOES THAT ALL THE TIME SAFES YOUR ENERGY ,ANYWAY TAKE A REST AND STOP THINKING ABOUT IT ALL XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Rafa has referred to his loss of confidence and getting mind and body together a few times recently. Djokovic on a Spanish documentary said Rafa had gone through a ‘crisis’ and seemed to try to backtrack on the statement (as opposed to Federer who said he just took longer than expected to recover from injury). Here Rafa says ‘I was not mentally well’. Is his mental health more significant than we think it is?
Stick with what you have got, Rafa. You and uncle Toni make the perfect team. Yes, get some outside help but keep the team you have. Together you have conquered the world and will continue to do so.
conquered the world? what world? elaborate please.
Try nine French open titles yes NINE..two Wimbledon ..two US Open and one Australian open Grand Slams ..god knows how many Monte Carlos Rome Madrid Barcelona ..Indian Wells .Argentina Brazil..is that enough of the world for you numb scull
ignorance truly is BLISS ……. O_O
FA IS NOT FAR FROM HIS BEST,HE JUST NEEDS TO CUT DOWN HIS ERRORS.HE WILL ALWAYS BE A CHAMPION