Rafael Nadal: ‘Arrogance and excessive self-confidence can help…’

Rafael Nadal advanced to his fourteenth Roland Garros quarter-final in 16 trips to Paris last October. The thirteen-time defending champion played at a high level in the first four rounds, losing just over 20 games in 12 sets. The Spaniard dropped Egor Gerasimov, Mackenzie McDonald, Stefano Travaglia and Sebastian Korda to reach the quarterfinals after spending just seven hours and 15 minutes on the court. Playing just one tournament before Paris after the season restart, Nadal’s fans didn’t know what to expect from him, dealing with tough weather conditions in Paris and playing with Wilson’s new balls. Despite all that, Rafa was still a player to beat in his beloved Major, defeating all opponents in style and never losing more than four games in 12 sets. Having to adapt to deliver his best tennis, Nadal had been aggressive in all four games, doing a lot of damage on serve and looking for punches instead of embracing endless baseline rallies. Praising the Spaniard, Boris Becker said Nadal had to change his focus to bring more efficient tennis under these conditions, betting riskier shots and finishing points on his terms. Nadal lashed out at young American qualifier Sebastian Korda in the fourth round, saving five of six break opportunities and losing four games to advance to the next round. As we all know, the Spaniard would beat Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic on his way to his 20th Major title, rising above the conditions and above his opponents to celebrate the crown of milestones and equal Roger Federer’s record. “In an example of how Rafael Nadal is always prepared to adjust his game, it seems that he has been flattening his shots in the early rounds. His usual heavy spin is not entirely convincing given the slowness of the balls and the conditions, so is hitting across the court more.”

Nadal underwent treatment for his feetĀ 

Rafael Nadal stated that a healthy combination of doubt and confidence is the best way to get work done. “Yeah, because doubts let you work the proper way, I think. Because when you have doubts, you always work with the goal that you never think it’s enough. ‘It can be better, it can be better…’ but at the same time, if you have the confidence that works in the proper way, you will be able to be back. Then, you are back or not… you never know.” Arrogance and excessive self-confidence can help people to a certain extent, said Nadal. But he also argued that it doesn’t work in the long-run and may end up affecting the athlete negatively. “That’s why it’s been hard work during my entire tennis career. I think being, sometimes, arrogant and very self-confident can help you for a while, but for the longer term, if that, in some way doesn’t give you the chance to work the proper way, with the goal to improve, it can be a negative thing.”

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