Rafael Nadal’s Parents Divorce – Did it Affect Rafa’s Performance?

Published 12/26/2019, 2:33 AM EST

Rafael Nadal has always been admired for his resilience. His strength of character has helped him to shake off the negative things happened on and off the court. However, after Rafael Nadal’s parents divorce in 2009, did the Spaniard lacked the virtue of fortitude?


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Rafael Nadal’s parents and other family members are usually present in his cheering box. They play a huge role in boosting his confidence during tense times on the court. However, his parents – Sebastian Nadal and Maria Parera decided to split ten years ago. This left a void in their son’s life and also in his guest box on the court, further leading to hurt is play.


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How did Rafael Nadal’s parents split affected his performance?

For Nadal, good health and family are the two things that are most important to him. He is a very family-centric man. He considers his family extremely important, partly because he grew up in a small village in Mallorca. The Manacorí is used to having his relatives around all the time, but also because he dislikes being alone.

In 2009, the 23-year-old Nadal was still so dependent on his family that he even slept with his lights and TV on when they weren’t allowed. In this condition, he found out that his parents were getting a divorce. With his parents separating, Nadal’s safety net was suddenly taken away.


The Balearic describes in his autobiography how the experience “destroyed” him, his emotional turmoil eating away at his physical condition. The 19-time Grand Slam champion was depressed, cold, and distant. Furthermore, his state of mind started affecting his game, and his knee injuries flared up during the rough period. As a result, he started losing to more.

The ‘King of Clay’ lost the French Open, the only year between 2005 and 2014 he lost on the Parisian clay. According to Spanish media reports, his poor play was connected to his parents’ split. He was also unable to defend his title at Wimbledon. It took Nadal almost a year to rebuild his composure and win another title.


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“I was depressed”: Rafael Nadal

Nadal wrote in Rafa: My Story that his parents split was devastating. “They were the mainstay of my life and that pillar had crumbled. I was depressed, I lacked enthusiasm. I had lost all love for life,” he wrote.

He also explained that assimilating the news that his parents had been going through such a crisis after nearly 30 years of marriage was heartbreaking. Rafa’s family had always been the holy, untouchable core of his life. The Spaniard admitted that they are his centre of stability and a living album of his wonderful childhood memories.


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“My attitude was bad. I was depressed, lacking in enthusiasm. On the surface, I remained a tennis-playing automaton, but the man inside had lost all love of life,” he added.


Who are Rafael Nadal’s Parents and How Have They Influenced his Life?

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He further revealed, “My team members were at a loss as to how to react to the gloom that descended on me. I became a different person, distant and cold; short and sharp in conversation. They worried about me, and they worried about the impact of my parents’ separation on my game.”

Nadal’s parents reunited in 2011

Going by the reports of Tennis Canada, Rafael Nadal’s parents, Ana Maria and Sebastian were reunited in 2011 after two years of separation. The couple was spotted next to each other in the Royal Box for Nadal’s first-round match at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

Rafael Nadal’s story describes how the personal life of a sportsperson plays a vital role in their performance.




Varun Khanna

1313 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.