Rafa is one talented tennis player. Though a natural righty, his Uncle taught him to play tennis with his left hand, giving him a considerable advantage on the court. Nadal’s biggest weapons are probably his topspin forehand and all around court coverage. But just like any great champ, the key to his greatness lies in his mental toughness.
For Rafa, it would be his ability to come back from the brink of defeat (either in a point, a game, or a match). Nadal has an uncanny ability to turn the tables on his opponents. No matter how much his opponent seems to have an advantage, up 40-0 in a game or 5-2 in a set, don’t count Rafa out. He will come back from the edge of that cliff and regain the momentum.
Take a look at the epic 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer. Nadal was up a set but then down 1-4 in the second. Playing against a quality opponent like Federer, one would assume that Nadal would lose the second set. Not the case. He pulled off five straight games to take the second set 6-4. Though Nadal was up by two sets, he lost the next two to even the match. While the momentum was now in Federer’s favor, Nadal maintained his focus in the fifth set and held on to win in a dramatic 9-7 finish. Having a blistering forehand or a consistent serve is helpful, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t play the big points well. Thankfully, Nadal has both.