Rafael Nadal Explains Why He Chose Tennis As a Career

Published 12/18/2020, 5:00 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 21, 2020 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his semi final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Toby Melville


Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has opened up on what made him play tennis and make a career out of the sport.

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In a question-and-answer session with children supported by the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the Spaniard said he liked playing tennis as a kid and the love slowly turned into a passion and career interest as the years rolled.

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Nadal literally grew up on tennis and turned professional at the age of 16. Though his family members and extended kin have their loyalties split between Spanish soccer giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Nadal decided fairly early in life the sport that he wished to excel in.

Revealing his love for tennis, Nadal said, “I really enjoyed it as a kid. I’ve always really liked sports. I played football, tennis. I liked all sports.”

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his group stage match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
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The Spaniard said seeing his uncle Toni imparting tennis lessons to kids at the Manacor club got him hooked on to the game. “I started playing tennis because my uncle was a coach at the club in Manacor, which is my hometown,” Nadal said.

The Spaniard said not long after he took up tennis, he started to excel in the sport. “I started playing there with the other kids at the school, and well, I started to get good at tennis. I think that was when I was eight or nine years old, I already stood out,” Nadal said. He added that once his uncle took notice of his talent, there was no looking back.

“And well, life led me to keep playing tennis. I enjoyed playing, I liked to compete,” Nadal said, adding that it was through the sport that he made a lot of new friends. “And thanks to tennis, I made lots of new friends. And the truth is that I had a great time.” 

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He added that the sport gave him a chance to travel to some top tennis events in his homeland and meet people. “I also had the chance when I was young to travel to some tournaments in Spain where I met lots of people and had a very good time,” Nadal said.

On the career front, Nadal picked up his 13th French Open title this year, the most by any player, and finished the 2020 season ranked second.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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