The Tennis world is very familiar with Rafael Nadal. The Spanish star from Mallorca has been a fixture at the top of the tennis world since he exploded onto the pro scene at seventeen, a force at nineteen. He has held the number one position five times and his fourteen Slam titles are second all time tied with Pete Sampras and trailing only Roger Federer (17).
Though only 29, Nadal has fought through injury woes recently but is looking to do big things at this years U.S. Open.
“I feel well, now I need to win.”
“I have to be patient and wait for my moment.”
He sees how unique his rise at an early age was, something he sees not as easy to duplicate. “My feeling is not at all. It’s because something changed,
It was a period of time with me and Roger (Federer) but not every generation is the same.”
We learned about these at the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. John McEnroe invited him and Nadal showed his character by coming without a fee while also serving verbal lessons to younger stars like Nick Kyrgios, whose mouth has made waves in the tennis world recently. “He’s done me a huge favor coming here and I owe him big time.” John McEnroe said.
“Rafa has been a class act for many years on the tour.”
As a result, he was removed from a doubles match that had Kyrgios as partner and moved into a singles match with Lleyton Heweitt. Nadal entertained the crowd with smiles and at times hints of world class shotmaking in his single set win.
“I think I recovered alot of the things I lost, namely intensity and passion.”
Its those emotions that fueled Nadal in his early years and its that which has been tempered by time and health yet Nadal feels he is starting to regain some of his form. The U.S. Open will test that idea from the start. “The passion is there. I have my ups and downs.” Nadal said,
“During the season there are moments that change the dynamic. My feeling is I am playing better most of the time.”
The fundraiser Nadal took time to appear in has been a boon for inner city children as John McEnroe has been working dilligently to find the next stars that are hidden in the United States. “You can see how inspired the kids are in Spain because of Rafael and my goal is similiar as all the money will be going to that cause to help out as many kids as possible.” McEnroe shared. Nadal agreed,
“Its a great inspiration for the rest and a great example for the next generation.”
Nadal is also doing his own work in providing facilities in Spain for young kids, something that appeals to him and as he noted other sports fail to pursue.
“I want to give something back to the kids.”
Nadal said, “I want to give them the benefit of my experience.” Nadal is a role rodel for Latino youth and the world at large and if he returns to the top or not, his legacy is intact.
“He is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest effort players I have ever seen.”
McEnroe points out,
“He is one of the best two players ever.”
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