“My nephew is my nephew”, the Spaniard told ATPTour.com on Friday in Paris. “I told Felix that when he asked me to work with him. I want Rafael to win. If he were to lose, it would be a less painful loss because the player I work with would win, but I don’t like to deceive anyone; I’m Rafael’s uncle and he’s more than just a distant nephew. If Felix played against my son… I wouldn’t want him to win. This is the same.”
“I’m not going to go and watch the match,” said Toni. “I’ll watch it on television. I’m not going to sit in a box. If they give me a standard ticket, maybe I’ll go and watch,” he added. “I’ve told Felix’s coach that tomorrow [Saturday] I’ll be at the training session, but I won’t on Sunday. I don’t want to know what he tells him so that I’m not tempted to tell Rafael, whom, of course, I won’t be telling any tactics either,” he remarked.
- Three To See, Roland Garros Day 8 | tennis.com
Still, as FAA says, we all know that Rafa is in another class. The Spaniard won their only meeting, in two sets in Madrid in 2019. Auger-Aliassime says he’s a different player now, and that’s true. His serve is a big weapon, his return has improved, and he does a better job of moving around his backhand to hit as many forehands as he can.
But therein lies the problem for him in this matchup: Rafa’s lefty serve and forehand are tough to run around, which means FAA will probably have to hit more backhands than he wants. Advantage Rafa. Winner: Nadal
- This world-class athlete talks like Aristotle and acts like Confucius. We can all learn from him | CNN
Sports, it’s been said, reveals character. It also reveals something else: philosophy.
There’s no better example of this than Rafael Nadal, the 35-year-old professional tennis player who’s competing this week at the French Open. Nadal is not just a gladiator on the court — he’s a philosopher at heart.
But it is Nadal’s mind that may separate him from his greatest rivals. His ability to play with physical pain, to come back from devastating injuries, to problem-solve during a match — all are part of his greatness. So is his attitude — his visceral delight in competing, whether he wins or loses.
Whatever happens at this French Open, one outcome is certain. Win or lose, Nadal will react not just as an athlete but as a philosopher — with humility, temperance, and as someone who “enjoys the suffering” that comes with every noble pursuit of excellence.
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