Rafa Roundup: What does Rafael Nadal do before a match?

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Q. After so many years and so many victories, what routines do you follow and which have you changed?

I always shower in the same shower stall in the locker room, the one furthest to the right; I also always have the locker 159. I haven’t changed much honestly. I have introduced some new things and what I do now may not be the same as what I did eight years ago. I used to get to training 20 minutes early, wrap my hands with bandages and move around a little and that’s all… now I arrive an hour early, I go to the gym, I warm up a lot more seriously. Routines change depending on what is required.

Criticism of Nadal on these grounds is obviously not valid. While he always peaks for clay, it’s not as if he’s given up on other surfaces. Over the last year and a half. Nadal has played 14 hard-court events, and 10 on clay. Since 2005, he’s missed Wimbledon just twice, and he plans to be there again in two weeks. Like Federer, Nadal has the exemptions he needs to skip every mandatory event if he chooses, but since the start of 2015 he has played 25 of 28 Masters 1000s and 13 of 14 majors. His 67 wins last year, including seven at the US Open, were the most he had in a season since 2013.

No GOAT candidate has ever been as dominant on any surface as Nadal is on clay. However, Nadal also has been successful enough on the other surfaces that he has a strong case as the best tennis player of all time. His success at majors outside of the French Open compares very favorably with anyone in the Open era — including Federer. Nadal is the unquestioned King of Clay, but taken as a whole, he is very likely the King of tennis as a whole. Long live the King.

“You can always improve something, and I think that everyone can improve. There is no limit. You never know where is the limit,” Nadal said. “If you don’t have the will to improve, you don’t understand the sport, because the sport is always about improving. That’s the meaning of sport. It’s playing with the dream of doing something better than what you’re doing before… When you’re not working with passion of doing something better, I think that sports will lose its sense.”

“I remember when he won the first time at Roland Garros, someone said to me ‘Rafa’s going to win a lot more of these trophies.’ It seemed outrageous to think he’d win 10 more after that but I can see how he’s managed to do that. He works as hard as possible; he’s always trying to lift his game to new heights.”

VIDEO: Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem | Roland Garros


  1. Rafa you are who you are and we all believe you are the best player,
    and turn up for all surfaces.

    All the best for Mallorca and Wimbledon.

    Love and prayers,


  2. Great effort by Andy Murray. Although he lost in 3 sets to Nick – it was a great come back match. Also huge congrats to Kyle Edmund who won against Harrison in straight sets and who has earned his no. 17 position in the atp rankings. He should get a good seeding at Wimbledon. But as Maria says – its not the same without Rafa which is why its going to be a great wimbledon.

  3. In Andy’s first competitive match in almost a year Andy narrowly lost to Kyrgios: 6-2, 6[4]-7[7], 5-7. So happy for him and hope he continues to improve.

  4. ELEVEN, that’s 11 of Rafa’s 17 Grand Slams come from clay. And obviously some fans are not aware that Rafa earned the moniker King of Clay way back in 2005 when he first dominated the clay season.

    Rafa is the King of Clay and he is ALSO an ALL COURT player. I am a very proud King of Clay fan. Rafa said he wants to be the best clay-court player in the history of the sport. I doubt he would be offended being called King of Clay.


  5. In fact, I wish pundits and fans alike would stop denigrating Rafa by calling him the king of clay. He is the king of tennis

    It is known by all tennis analysts that the so-called ‘channel slam’ is the most difficult achievement in tennis which among men only Rod Laver (once), Bjorn Borg (thrice), Rafa (twice) and Federer (once) have put on their CV. Rafa managed it by beating Federer once in Wimbledon and once more Soderling in Wimbledon. If this slam is on Federer’s CV, it is because he managed to win Roland Garros once playing against Soderling who had previously beaten Rafa (a feat which McEnroe joked about saying that Soderling still asked himself how he had managed to do it!).

    Wamos Rafa for a third channel slam in 2018.

    Wamos Rafa, you are the best.

  6. Missing you at Queen’s this week Rafa , but lovely to see Stan back on the courts and especially great to see Our Andy back after nearly a year . Hope to see you at Wimbledon Rafa 😁🇬🇧💂

  7. Rafa is more than the king of clay. He was the prince and now is the king of tennis and will be remain that forever.

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