Rafa Roundup: “Every single time we practice, Nadal kind of destroys me a little bit”

Photo by Matthieu Mirville/Icon Sport via Getty Images

“Now we are back to Rafael Nadal, the ageless clay court king. I mean, he is closer to 16 years old than he is 36 years old emotionally, and that is where he separates himself from the others in the ‘big three’, I have to say.

“I’m sure there are some professors out there or scientists that never, ever get bored of challenging themselves and finding the result of the next problem. For Nadal, that is the same thing.

“So no, I don’t think there has ever been a professional tennis player that finds it more enjoyable to feel fear, to be afraid of the outcome, to be nervous, to not really know what is going to happen at the end of a match.

“He is so in love with the problem-solving part of his profession that he is willing to feel that pain and to feel that anxiety just to find out what is around the next corner. Rafael Nadal is willing to take that chance.”

“Every single time I practice with him or play with him, I feel I’m getting better and better,” said Korda. “It’s progress. He’s one of the greatest players of all time right now. He’s super hot, hasn’t lost a match this year. To kind of push him to the edge was awesome. Shows a lot of my game, how dangerous it can be against tough opponents.

“To be that close, it’s a lot of positives. It shows me that my game is going to hurt a lot of people. People are going to get nervous. People are going to get worried.”

Rublev said, “No one athlete in the history of sport is as (mentally) strong as Rafa. In an individual sport you can struggle a lot mentally. If you fight with someone close on the morning of the match, you are disturbed, but you still need to play. In a team sport, if you are not in a good mood, but your team is good and in the right mood, you don’t feel it. Rafa is the only one who manages it, doesn’t matter what happens outside the court. Somehow he’s able to completely turn it off and just be in the moment. He can do that even when he’s losing.”

“It inspired me a lot,” said Swiatek, who only won three of the 14 matches in 2021 where she lost the opening set.

“I was thinking that if he could win against a guy who was serving that fast, and break him in the last few games, anything is possible.

“I’m believing in myself and trying to do as he does.”


  1. I am so pleased that l started to watch rafa in 2004 not knowing he would be a great tennis player l have great admiration for nadal team and family l visit the academy as often as l can all the best for your next match rafa

  2. Going better now, touch wood. I think it’s a wise decision to miss Miami, though. It’s a shame, because he seems destined never to win it and he’s so popular there, but there’s no sense in overdoing things.

  3. I hope Rafa’s foot holds up. I saw him walking gingerly after the Korda match and he said it was sore when he woke up. Pace yourself champ!

  4. Thank you for confirming our beliefs-Mats, Sebastian, Andrey, Iga🙏All the best to Rafa in round 3.
    Stay safe. stay healthy.👍👏💪🤛🍀🎾❤️

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