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Rafa Reveals What Keeps Him Humble

Rafael Nadal is this week practising in Mallorca to prepare for the final stage of the season, which will include attempts to secure the year-end No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings and his first Nitto ATP Finals title. Before he heads off to Asia, where he will play in Beijing (beginning 2 October) and Shanghai, the 16-time Grand Slam champion talked to the Spanish newspaper EL ESPAÑOL.

Nadal has achieved almost everything he could over what has been a successful decade, so how does the Spaniard remain so humble and grounded? Nadal, of course, has a clear answer.

Rafael Nadal hopes to finish 2017 with more big titles, including a first Nitto ATP Finals crown.
“It’s related to your background, the place where you come from, the people who surround you and the education you have received,” said Nadal. “I grew up in a very normal environment and I still live this way. If I didn’t get a big head being 19, when all of a sudden everything happened and could go to my head, it won’t happen now when I am 31.”

Nadal has tried to maintain a modest attitude throughout his career, even after winning 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and 16 majors.

“I am a normal and a common person. I do not see myself as a role model of anything,” explained Nadal. “I am a guy who plays tennis well. Things have worked out great, but I took it as something normal, as my family and people around me did. I have tried to have the right attitude on and off the court. But I make mistakes like everyone else. I am not the perfect son.”

Nadal, who has suffered multiple injuries over the past two years, has been healthy this season. It has been as perfect a year as he could have hoped for thus far.

“Seriously, I don’t want to talk about pain,” said Nadal. “I don’t like to talk about it. I try to manage everything the best way possible, the better I can. My goal is to finish the season healthy and then see if we can improve things for 2018. Today I am focused on what I have to do now: play well during the Asian swing and try to get ready for the last part of the season. That’s the only important thing for me right now.”

The addition of Carlos Moyà to the team has had a great impact on his success, says the World No. 1.“Carlos has been a great support,” said Nadal. “He came with excitement and also the belief that with a few things, I could improve my results. And it has helped. It has been a breath of fresh air, positive energy. We have changed the way we practise and for Toni (Nadal) it has been also good.”

Nadal says that while it is sometimes difficult to change practices after doing them the same way for a long stretch, Moya has made it easy.

“When you have the same routine for years it’s difficult to change,” said Nadal. “Carlos has been someone new who arrived in Mallorca to our daily practice sessions with new ideas, more specific ones. When someone new arrives, it’s easier to listen because it’s something different. And for Toni, having Carlos’ reinforcement when he had to talk to me, has made everything much easier. They have been a great team and I am very satisfied with their job, with the three of them.”

Nadal doesn’t rule out the option of playing doubles alongside Moyà, something he did with one of his other coaches, Francisco Roig, in the past.

“If Carlos is healthy we could play and be competitive,” said Nadal. “We’ll see. Depends on the schedule. I play a few tournaments when it comes to doubles, only when I think it will help me in singles. Normally I play at the beginning of the season or at a specific tournament.”

Does Nadal, who won Grand Slam No. 16 just weeks ago, think about the possibility of surpassing Roger’s Federer record of 19?

“Honestly, no,” answered Nadal. “To me, reaching the No. 1 place was not a goal and now could be a goal to finish the season up there after everything that has happened. Federer’s record? Now it’s not a challenge nor a goal. If there are options in the future, then it would be. I am happy with what I do, I am focused on my career and I don’t worry about the other ones.”

Lastly, Nadal addressed the possibility of becoming a coach in the future.

“I don’t know if I would be a good coach or not,” admitted Nadal. “I don’t think about it, but I won’t say no because there were a lot players who said that they wouldn’t become coaches and here they are. I can see myself in the academy helping kids every day, playing with them. In five or 10 years, we’ll see what happens.”

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nadal-feature-2017-lunes

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