Five life lessons from Nadal

As Delhi prepares for the big Nadal- Federer showdown, Times of India met up with Rafael Nadal who also guest-edited the TOI’s sport pages today. Humble, gracious and down-to-earth in person, the free-wheeling chat with Nadal offered a rare window into his mind but also some wonderful life-lessons from the champion.

Don’t waste time thinking what could have been. Focus on what you can do
When asked about his injury lay-offs and if he had regrets, Nadal was matter-of-fact. “Yes, injuries are there. The term “if you don’t” doesn’t exist. Injuries happen and are a part of a sportsman’s life. If you start thinking about what could have been, the injury doesn’t disappear. I have it and that’s it. You can’t spend time thinking about what could have been. It doesn’t work like that. I have missed key tournaments this year because of injuries but I am finishing this year as world no. 5. That for me is a reasonable achievement.”

Be happy with what you have. Don’t spoil it with jealousy about those doing better
When asked about how he motivates himself about getting back into the top bracket, he says, “I am no. 5 in the world, you know. I am not no. 15. That’s the top. I want to be better, yes but… I never considered myself that amazing to say that no. 5 is a disaster. I always try and be happy with the things that happened to me. I feel so lucky with the career I have… My motivation is the love that I have for the game, the passion and I am happy playing tennis and the things I am doing today.”

You can’t rest easy at the top
“Even if you are no. 1 you have to constantly keep improving. Somebody else out there will keep coming at you and you have to keep thinking, adjusting and lifting your game.”

Doubts are good but learn to deal with them
“Doubts are a part of life. Doubts are good. If you don’t have doubts, maybe it’s because you are too arrogant and because nothing is clear in the world… In 2012 I was playing great. I had a big chance of being no. 1 in the world but I got injured for 7 months. In 2014 again I was no. 1 in the race but I broke my wrist practicing in Mallorca…But it’s not right to feel unlucky for that. I feel very luck about all the things that happened to me. With all the other things that happened to me, I still got 14 Grand Slams and an Olympic gold, so I did much more than I ever dreamt.”

Be a good loser
“I am a good loser. I always accept losses very well. We lose more than we win as sportsmen. Every week just one player wins and the rest lose. You need to accept that and be positive and see where you can improve. Fur sure the family helps but I am a good loser and I am not a guy who becomes sad for three weeks after losing. I accept it and move on.”

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