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Rafael Nadal Says the Meticulous Placement of Water Bottles During Matches Doesn’t Have a ‘Superstitious Notion’

Published 07/20/2022, 6:10 AM EDT

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For over two decades, the on-court routine of Rafael Nadal has been among the most discussed topics in tennis. In almost every match, the Spaniard takes a sip of each of his two bottles and places them in a certain position. Many call the whole process a ‘superstition’. However, the 22-time Grand Slam winner has a different perspective.

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Going back in time, in 2012, Rafael Nadal released his much-awaited biography, Rafa: My story. The 9-chaptered book had Nadal talking about several unknown topics. In one section, Nadal denied claims about his on-court routine being a ‘superstition’.


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The on-court routine of Rafael Nadal

The book started with the Spaniard walking down the memory lane, recalling probably the best tennis match of his career, the 2008 Wimbledon Championships finals against Roger Federer. Presenting the memoir, Nadal began by elaborating his journey from the locker room to the lush green Centre court of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Going ahead, he went on recalling him settling on the player bench and performing his on-court routine. “I sat down, took off my white tracksuit top, and took a sip from a bottle of water. Then from a second bottle,” he started.


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Tennis fans following Nadal are well versed with his routine. However, not many fans have heard Nadal explaining the routine in his own words. Going ahead, he further said, “I repeat the sequence, every time, before a match begins, and at every break between games, until a match is over. A sip from one bottle, and then from another. And then I put the two bottles down at my feet, in front of my chair to my left, one neatly behind the other, diagonally aimed at the court.  

Nadal’s take on the routine being labeled as superstition


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Nadal is one of the most loved stars on the men’s tour. However, what goes without saying is the fact that immense popularity also comes at a cost. As mentioned earlier, his on-court routine has, for a long time, been labeled as ‘superstition’. Many have also asserted that these ‘superstitions’ have played a major role in his success.

Watch this story- Rafael Nadal’s biggest fan, Serena Williams, cheers for his success at Wimbledon Championships 2022

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Denying such baseless claims, Nadal went on explaining the reason behind his disciplined approach of following the same routine in every match. Calling it a way to match his mental order, the former World No. 1 ended by admitting, “some call it superstition, but it’s not. If it were superstition, why would I keep doing the same thing over and over whether I win or lose? It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.”


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Written by:

Ahmar Wasif


One take at a time

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas