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Rafael Nadal: ‘I want to be remembered as someone who left a good example for boys and girls’

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Rafael Nadal hair

He will go down as one of the all-time greats of tennis once he hangs up his racket for good, but Rafael Nadal insists his “only objective” is to leave a “good example for boys and girls”.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner won title No 85 over the weekend as he downed Taylor Fritz to win the Mexican Open for a third time in his career.

The trophy leaves him nine behind Ivan Lendl in third place on the all-time title list for most singles titles with Jimmy Connors (109) and Roger Federer (103) ahead of them.

Rafael Nadal action
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However, the 33-year-old Nadal is not too bothered about the titles as he wants to leave a lasting legacy.

“In the future, I do not want to be remembered as a tennis player who won numerous titles, but to have left a good example for boys and girls,” he said.

Rafael Nadal
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“This is my only objective, then winning or losing is part of the sport in general. If one thing I wish I could say that I have done well is that I have transmitted positive things on and off a track and that makes me very satisfied on my part.”

Rafael Nadal’s Rituals: The Mechanism Behind the Rhythm
Rafael Nadal sneeze
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Tennis players are known to have strange match rituals. Rafael Nadal tops the list and has one of the most eccentric routines on the court. The Spaniard is quite famous for his unique match quirks. However, many doubt Rafael Nadal’s rituals and feel that he suffers from OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder. Nadal contradicts the popular judgement.

The Mallorcan has a list of superstitions, which he refers to as his routine. He has a series of well-documented habits which apparently helps him to stay focus in the game. Even though he denies suffering from an OCD, he needs these things to be done in a certain and exact way before, after and during his matches.

Rafael Nadal
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“When I do these things it means I am focused”: Nadal
When Nadal enters the court, he places his energy drink slightly in front of his water bottle. He also makes sure that both labels on the bottles are perfectly facing the court. At every change of ends, he takes sips from the two bottles and ensures they’re perfectly aligned to the court where he is going to play.

“I put the two bottles down at my feet, in front of my chair to my left, one neatly behind the other, diagonally aimed at the court. Some call it superstition, but it’s not. If it were superstition, why would I keep doing the same thing over and over whether I win or lose? It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.” said Nadal.

Rafael Nadal bottle

One of the other famous Rafael Nadal’s ritual includes his routine before serving. He places his hair behind his ear, pulls his nose and adjusts his shorts while bouncing the ball. Furthermore, he towels himself after each and every point. Many accuse Nadal to use this routine as a tactic to break the momentum and rhythm of his opponents. However, Nadal explained that these routines are for his psychological benefits.

“It is something you start to do that is like a routine. When I do these things it means I am focused, I am competing – it’s something I don’t need to do but when I do it, it means I’m focused”, he added.

Rafael Nadal wave

The series of Rafael Nadal’s rituals

  • Nadal takes a freezing cold shower, 45 minutes before the match.
  • He wears both socks at the same height.
  • He carries one racket onto the court, and five rackets in his bag.
  • Takes off the jacket while jumping, facing the audience.
  • He always places his bottles in the same exact position.
  • Jumps at the net during the coin toss.
  • Runs to the baseline for warmups
  • He places his hair behind his ear and fiddles with his shorts or underwear before each serve.
  • Crosses the sidelines with his right foot only and avoid stepping on it.
  • Nadal uses a towel after every single point.
  • He ensures his opponent crosses the net before he does during a changeover.
  • He sips his energy drink and then his water, always in the same order.
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