Rafael Nadal has been on the tour for 2 decades and has had his fair share of ups and downs. The Spaniard turned Pro in 2001 at the age of 15 and by the end of the decade had become not only of Spain’s greatest tennis players but one of the greatest athletes as well having won 6 Grand Slam titles and a Singles Olympics Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
While his initial years were all filled with successes given his enormous strength both physically and mentally, Nadal saw one of the worst phases of his career in 2014 and 2015 due to his struggles with injuries and dip in form. He broke out of the Top-3 for the first time in March 2015 and did not breach the mark again till May 2017 in a time when he was highly inconsistent and had shocking defeats as well.
While Nadal’s mental toughness is often lauded for winning matches from losing positions, Nadal has often talked about his off-court struggles in staying motivated and dealing with external pressures and maintaining the highest level of gameplay.
“Everybody approaches the issues in a different way. We are under pressure because the competition makes you feel more stressed. But, at the same time, we are super lucky persons, you know, because we are able to work on one of our hobbies. The most important thing in this life, in my opinion, is to be happy, more than anything else,” said Nadal.
“My approach was to keep going and slowly overcome that situation” Rafael Nadal talks about his own struggle
Nadal’s injury-filled season during 2014 and 2015 had a poor toll on his mental health as he often spoke about his struggles during one of his lowest periods professionally. Talking about that difficult time, Nadal spoke about how he overcame the issues then.
“One approach is to stop it for a while and try to recover. Another approach is just to keep trying and accept that you have this problem. You accept that you will not win. My approach was to keep going and slowly overcome that situation. So I was doing, and after eight months I started to feel much better,” said Nadal.
With mental health taking the centre stage in world sports, legends like Rafa speaking about the issue will help the conversation getting the needed limelight and attention.