Over the years, Rafael Nadal has proven himself to be one of the strongest players to ever set foot on a tennis court. As a clay court specialist early in his career, the Spanish phenomenon has found a way to become competitive on other surfaces as well. Thanks to yet another triumph at Roland Garros last year, the former world number 1 has equaled his eternal rival Roger Federer for the first time in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The 34-year-old from Manacor will go on the hunt for overtaking in the 2021 edition of the French Open, although the clay season has not given him any particular satisfactions up to now. Rafa did not go beyond the quarter-finals either in Monte Carlo or in Madrid, defeated by Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev respectively. The Majorcan won his (so far) only title in 2021 in Barcelona, after having canceled a match point to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last act. In a press conference during the Mutua Madrid Open, Nadal reflected extensively on his childhood. Unlike many of his colleagues, the Iberian admitted that he did not make great sacrifices at a young age.
Rafael Nadal on his childhood
Reflecting on his childhood, Rafael Nadal stated, “Honestly, I didn’t miss the things that the rest of my friends of mine did. I did less times but yes I was not the kind of guy or person that I was just focused on tennis tennis tennis every single day. I was practicing very hard yes I was focused when I was on court 100%. But outside the court I would enjoy my life, I was able to do the things my friends did.” Nadal said, “I was just not able to go partying every Friday and Saturday. Instead, I went to a party one Saturday every few weeks but I had been to a lot of parties in my life too. I went to the beach, I played football. I even went to the cinema a lot of times I spent time having dinner with the family and everyone. I don’t think I missed anything. The only thing I can say is if they did 1000 times I probably did 100 times.” Superstar footballer Lionel Messi and tennis legend Martina Navratilova extended their congratulations to Rafael Nadal after the latter won the 2021 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award on Thursday. Nadal beat Joshua Cheptegei (athletics), Armand Duplantis (athletics), Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1), LeBron James (basketball) and Robert Lewandowski (football) to claim the coveted accolade for the second time in his career. Rafael Nadal first won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in 2011. The Mallorcan has been nominated for this prize on four other occasions – 2009, 2014, 2018 and 2020.