“Always Under Good Self-Control”: Rafael Nadal Reveals His On-Court Mentality at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 05/05/2021, 4:05 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea


The El Matador, Rafael Nadal, is inarguably one of the fiercest competitors in the entire sports fraternity. But outside the tennis court, he is known for his humility and friendship. To maintain these traits, the Spaniard upholds the importance of self-control.

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Currently, the 34-year-old Mallorcan is playing at his home tournament, the Mutua Madrid Open 2021. During his pre-tournament press conference, Rafa talked about his reputation as a hard worker on tennis courts.

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Rafael Nadal details the difference between his on and off-court persona

One thing that differentiates Rafael Nadal from other tennis professionals is that he rarely loses his control. Moreover, the Spaniard naturally turns his warrior switch off as soon as the match is over.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea

To get to the bottom of this, the interviewer inquired whether he works hard on every single point as his reputation would suggest. In response, Rafa said“No, I think I’m a relaxed guy outside of the court. On court, I think I have always been playing with a positive attitude and, of course, try my best, no? But almost always under good self-control, no?”

Furthermore, the 20-time Grand Slam champion revealed the mantra behind his mentality and said, “I play with passion, with clear goals, and with love for the game, no? So that’s the main issues that I have been working on in my tennis career, no?”

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea

Summarising things, the Spaniard clarified that it was not hard but consistent work that worked for him. “Just keep playing with the right intensity and at the same time have enough passion to go on court every day and try to be better player. That’s the whole thing,” Nadal concluded.

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What are Nadal’s chances of winning the Madrid Open title?

At 34, the five-time Madrid champion will again start his campaign in Madrid as the top seed. He will face 17-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz Garfia as his first opponent.

Given the absence of Novak Djokovic, the Spaniard is the clear favorite for the tournament. But the likes of Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Matteo Berrettini will give Rafa a hard time.

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Above all, Nadal will be looking forward to preparing himself thoroughly before the French Open 2021. It remains to be seen whether he will be unstoppable in Madrid for a record-extending sixth time.

Do you think Rafa will win his 21st Grand Slam at the French Open this year?

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Purav Joshi

810 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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