We’ll Get There When We Get: There Last year’s results here at Roland Garros can’t be repeated. [Nadal didn’t drop a set en route to his 10th Roland Garros title in 2017]. Just because he didn’t get off to the ideal start doesn’t mean we’re panicking. Looking back, Rafa’s start to the US Open last year was difficult as well, and he wound up winning the tournament. We just need to get through the early rounds, find our rhythm and everything else will fall into place.
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Does Nadal get nervous this time of year?
I wouldn’t call it nervous, but he does feel pressure going into Roland Garros.
So the pressure is there.
Correct. We as a team feel pressure. Team Nadal is under constant pressure to win. We’re talking about one of the all-time greats here. We know with whom we are dealing with and there’s no use trying to dance around that. Rafa will be the first to admit we’re under pressure all the time.
The Spaniard, who has a degree in clay, surprised everyone when he said of his favourite killing ground: “The court is more slippery than usual. I slid a lot when I started off or when I moved to another side. It was quite complicated.
There are many more grey zones or white zones than other years, because there are little pebbles underneath. That’s [because] you don’t have the proper grip on the court.”
His yacht is named “Beethoven” after his grandfather, who was a director in an orchestra and who was nicknamed after the German composer.
“Of course, great news that I have the possibility to have a boat since already years ago, and come back home and have the possibility to go out and spend some time with family, friends, girlfriend, going out, sleeping on the boat,” said Nadal.
“Being away of everything is an amazing feeling,” said Nadal, who turns 32 in June. “The feeling of freedom the sea gives you is something difficult to compare.”
PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal: A Photographer’s Favorite Shots | Getty Images
Celebrated tennis photographer Clive Brunskill has been following—and shooting—Rafael Nadal for 15 years. During that time, he has shot Nadal at countless tournaments—including Rafa’s 16 Grand Slam wins, and a record 10 French Open titles—but also for commercials and in private sessions. It’s fair to say that Brunskill knows Nadal as few photographers do.
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