Rafa Roundup: “I’m going to die to be ready again to compete for everything”

Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2016 Nike Outfit (3)

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“I’m going to die to be ready again to compete for everything,” he says. “I’m going to work more than ever to try to make that happen and I have big determination to put me in a position to fight again for important things.

“When I had the problems in my knees when I was younger it was so tough when I used to wake up in the morning and go to practise, and I didn’t enjoy that. When you are not healthy then it’s tough. It’s tough now, but it was also tough when I was 20. But at the moment I am enjoying what I am doing and having fun. For me, it takes a lot of effort to come from last year, when I had a tough year and it was hard work, to get back where I was before the injury this year. So I’m really motivated to come back to where I was before the injury happened because I feel ready for it.”

“I’m really here to honour the great man, Rafa. I think it’s wonderful that he’s taken this journey on to give the kids something back,” Federer said. “I’ve been around the game 17 years. I’ve seen a lot of hard workers and inspiring players, but you’ve been the one in my opinion who has been the most inspiring and most influential and made me the player I am today. Because you’re left-handed, because of your spin, because of the intensity you bring to the court, I had to re-invent and re-work my game entirely. And that’s because of the person you are and how much you’ve trained.”

Their tennis styles differ, but their work ethics and values are one and the same. They understand that life is much greater than being perhaps the greatest players to play their sport.

Their camaraderie grows as they slip into the twilight of their careers, but they have left indelible footprints in the sands of yesteryear.

Fedal is a special rivalry. It’s a warm day in the midst of a nuclear winter, a refreshing example of sportsmanship and friendship, first and last.

“I think Rafa wants to get to 10 French Opens, that’s obvious. I think Roger Federer’s 17 majors are still within reach. He’s only 30 years old,” Wilander said on the sidelines of the tennis academy opening.

“People are worried about his health. Yes, he’s going to get injured because he’s a crazy man. He takes himself into the ditch. He drives himself into the ground and comes back. Realistically he’s going to win at least another grand slam...”

“The last two months before the injury I had been playing at the highest level, competing against everybody with good chances, and winning events,” he said.

That’s what I need — be healthy and keep practicing with the same motivation and the rest of the things are going to come back. I believe that I can fight for important things.”

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