Rafael Nadal, John Carlin
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What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport?
Rafael Nadal has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success.
It begins in Mallorca, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four and taught humility and respect by his parents, Nadal has managed the uncommon feat of becoming an acclaimed global celebrity while remaining a gracious, hardworking role model for people in all walks of life.
Now he takes us behind the scenes, from winning the Wimbledon 2008 final-described by John McEnroe as "the greatest game of tennis" he had ever seen-to the family problems that brought him low in 2009 and the numerous injuries that have threatened his career.
With candor and intelligence, Nadal brings readers on his dramatic and triumphant journey, never losing sight of the prize he values above all others: the unity and love of his family.
"During a match, you are in a permanent battle to fight back your everyday vulnerabilities, bottle up your human feelings. The more bottled up they are, the greater your chances of winning, so long as you've trained as hard as you play and the gap in talent is not too wide between you and your rival. The gap in talent with Federer existed, but it was not impossibly wide. It was narrow enough, even on his favorite surface in the tournament he played best, for me to know that if I silenced the doubts and fears, and exaggerated hopes, inside my head better than he did, I could beat him. You have to cage yourself in protective armor, turn yourself into a bloodless warrior. It's a kind of self-hypnosis, a game you play, with deadly seriousness, to disguise your own weaknesses from yourself, as well as from your rival."
the doer in the family. Toni’s project has been me, and he’s done his job impeccably. But my father, two years older than Toni, has started one business after another from scratch; he’s single-minded about his objectives, but he’s made his family his first responsibility. He’s very honest, jealous not to dishonor the family name. He’s employed dozens of people in his various businesses and created the conditions for us to live well and for Toni to dedicate himself to me. One thing would not have
can out of every opportunity every single time, as if it were your last. Toni had conveyed that message to me in words; now, as I recovered impatiently from my injury, I felt it in my flesh and blood. The more the years pass by, the more loudly you hear the clock ticking. I know that if I manage to keep playing at the top level at the age of twenty-nine or thirty, I’ll be a very lucky and very happy man. That first serious injury I had made me aware at an early age how quickly time passes for a
and I understood immediately that, for all the years of hard work I had put in, this victory had not been mine alone. Without thinking, the first thing I did after shaking hands with Puerta was rush into the crowd and clamber up the steps to hug my family, Toni first among them. My godmother Marilén was there and she was crying. “I couldn’t believe it,” she told me later, recalling her reaction to the final point. “I looked at you there, a big, grown-up champion with his arms in the air, and
and now it really was back to square one. Two sets all—for all practical purposes, love-all in the match. * * * Mallorcans It was no surprise when Sebastián Nadal and his wife, Ana María, rejected the apparently inviting offer their son received during his teens to take up a tennis scholarship in Barcelona. And it was even less of a surprise that he should have responded to his parents’ decision with relief. The island exercises a powerful pull over Rafa Nadal: he always misses home
which luckily remained numb, not bothering me at all. Titín put his head down and quietly got on with his tasks. Toni’s job was, as it had been all our lives, to find the right words for the occasion. But he was struggling this time. He later admitted that after the rain came in that fifth set he had resigned himself to me losing. He tried to put a brave face on it, tried to suppress what he was really feeling, and began a little speech that I’d heard before and which, I could tell, his heart was