Rafael Nadal debuted on the tour twenty years ago. Two decades later, the Spaniard is still among the best players in the world, working hard to improve and suffering multiple injuries. Two and a half years ago, Rafa was asked to build his perfect player.
Nadal mentioned some of his big rivals and some more players who fit into his module thanks to his unique shots or mental toughness. Rafa highlighted the best shots of his great rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
The Spaniard also mentioned Dominic Thiem, David Ferrer, Ivo Karlovic and Gael Monfils as an image of his perfect player. Further, he self-picked in the area of determination, saying that despite injuries and setbacks, he always did his best.
“Conversely, I have to choose Novak Djokovic. He’s great at defending from this side and attacking down the line and across the pitch, with a lot of options in rallies. I have to choose Roger Federer’s forehand when he picks up the ball very early and creates winners from everywhere on the square.
Roger can flatten his right hand or add spin to it; it is a powerful weapon. Ivo Karlovic’s serve is the strongest opening shot in the game. With a good serve from Ivo, as happens in almost every match, the returnee cannot create a chance before the tie-break.
I would choose in the determination segment. I’ve had the right solution throughout my career after all my injuries. I continued to train with passion to achieve my goals and to fight in every game. In terms of fitness, Dominic Thiem is my pick.
Gael Monfils has to be the fastest player and I think Andy Murray has the best shot selection.”
Rafa Nadal is a 22-time Grand Slam champion
In his autobiography Rafael Nadal: My Story, the former world No. 1 has revealed that his uncle never received paychecks from him for his coaching services.
Speaking about it, he said: “One wouldn’t have happened without the other. Toni has not received any money from me or anyone in my family for the lifetime of attention he has given me, but he was able to do it because he owns half of my father’s business and takes half the profits with him without earning any of it do work”.
He further added: “It was a fair exchange because I would never have had anywhere near the same hours of coaching from Toni if my father had not worked so purposefully throughout his life.”