Born: June 2, 1986, Spain | Successful For: Tennis Player | Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Inner Keys to Success:
- MAKE A TRUE DECISION AND STICK WITH IT UNTIL MASTERY: Being an athletic kid, Rafael Nadal had a tough dilemma in his early teens and he had to choose between 2 passions: to play football or tennis. Not only was Nadal an amazing tennis player, but he was also an avid football (soccer) player and his father told him he had to make a choice between playing football or staying with tennis. The two sports were deterring him away from his education and his parents were becoming a bit frantic due to him being too occupied with sports. His coach didn’t want him playing both sports at the same time either as he was losing direct focus. At age 14, and even though soccer was extremely popular in Spain, Rafael Nadal decided to go with his gut and made the decision to become a professional tennis player and stuck with it until he absolutely crafted his skills on the court. “As a tennis player you can win and you can lose, and you have to be ready for both. I practised self-control as a kid. But as you get older they both - winning and losing - get easier.” Nadal’s true strengths are a combination of being mentally tough and having inner confidence, which has allowed him to become freakishly great.
- DO WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY ADORE AND AIM FOR EXCELLENCE:“I always had the theory that the most important thing is be happy, enjoy what you are doing, and be fresh mentally.” Rafael is no hypocrite as he absolutely loved playing tennis from a very early age. His inspiration and desire for the game arose by watching his uncle Toni, who was a professional tennis player himself. “I am a guy who likes to do what I am doing with passion.” Aside from Tennis, he has never been afraid to pursue passion whether golfing, fishing, or playing soccer, which he loved and became very skilled at. To this day, if his favorite soccer club Real Madrid is playing an early game, he admits to getting up extra early, even if he has his own tennis match later. Passion is a driving force of life, and excelling in the one that really hits your nerves leads to a ton of success. In junior tennis, Rafael regularly beat his older opponents giving him empowering beliefs and determination to reach his destiny. "My motivation and aspiration is the same, being number one or being number five. So that's the truth. And my goal is the same - it's to always be happy playing, it's to enjoy the game and improve always." Aiming for excellence, Nadal at just 17, beat Roger Federer the first time they played and became the youngest man to reach 3rd round at Wimbledon. A passion driven individual is a successful individual. Rafael Nadal's belief: “The glory is being happy. The glory is not winning here or winning there. The glory is enjoying practicing, enjoy every day, enjoying to work hard, trying to be a better player than before."
- UP-LIFTERS WILL MAKE THE DREAM THAT MUCH EASIER: Nadal was surrounded with people who were successful and supportive. His uncle was a soccer legend who played in 3 world cups and his other uncle, Toni (who became his coach) was a big believer and had a very strong faith that Nadal had what it takes. Toni was a professional tennis player himself and showed the young Nadal everything about the game. At 8 Rafael won the Under 12 Regional Championship and began his amateur career. This motivated uncle Toni to train him even more and he would encourage Rafael to play left handed because it would be an advantage on the court. When Nadal was 14, he was asked by the Spanish Tennis Federation to move to Barcelona to continue his training but his family had declined because they feared his education would start slipping along with his uncle who had said “I don't want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places to be a good athlete. You can do it from your home”. Because Nadal didn’t go to America to continue his training, he didn’t have much financial support to pursue his dream. Given the circumstance, his father decided to back him financially, and at 15, he turned pro. Rafael Nadal succeeded thanks to a lot of helping hands along the way, and he’s had many personal role models as well. He claims “I admire a lot of people, but in terms of sport I’ve always loved the mentality of Tiger Woods on a golf course. I always love his eyes when he’s setting himself and focusing on his decision; he has a really strong, focused face and believes he can make the shot.” Hanging around people who believe in your dreams is essential to achieving them.
"You just try to play tough and focus point for point. Sounds so boring, but it's the right thing to do out there."
– Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is known for his humility and honesty. Despite being extremely rich, he is very humble and still drives a Kia (a company he also endorses) and he even borrows his father's boat to go fishing. He even admits to being a very shy and reserved person and is modest about not speaking English very well. Rafael is also considered a very charitable champion and supports the City Harvest and Laureus Sport for Good charity foundations. When the masters were in India, Rafael Nadal was impacted immensely to make a big contribution to the country after seeing the harsh realities of poverty. He opened up a “Rafael Nadal Tennis School” in which he donates $100,000 a year for the project. “It gives me a great deal of happiness knowing I’m helping them have a better childhood and I really hope they make the best out of this opportunity”.
"If you don't lose, you cannot enjoy the victories. So I have to accept both things. "
- Rafael Nadal
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