Just another person

Photo by Startraksphoto

Thanks to patzin for sending in this article from The National. It’s basically little Rafa-primer on how to live a good life.

Realise that you are just another person. This is one of the most important things I have learnt. On the tennis court you may be different, you may be a star, but when you walk off the court, you are just another person. Some people get confused about that. They think that because they are good at singing, playing tennis, football or whatever, they are good at everything. It is very important to stay grounded.

My will to win comes from my education. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you are a tennis player or whatever, education is the basis for everything.

Keep control of yourself. My uncle is my coach. When I was younger, if I threw my racket on the ground, or said something I should not have, he would throw me off the court. After that, I learnt to keep control of my temper. You can practise the forehand, you can practise the backhand, but you have to train the mind, too. You have a lot of moments of pressure in your life, not least in tennis, and if you have more control of yourself, you are better prepared to deal with these moments.

You must work hard, persist, to earn your rewards. I practise four to six hours a day, every day. Sometimes I think I don’t want to practise, but I still do. The most important thing, even more than winning, is to do your best at all times and be satisfied with your performance.

Losing is not all bad. At match point I get very nervous – in fact, I’m nervous every time I go on court because I’m scared of losing. In tennis, you win one day, but the next is like starting over. The only good thing about losing, is that it makes victory sweeter.

As told to Helena Frith Powell

36 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    Awesome. Just reinforces the Rafa love. Thanks for posting this.

  2. tiemyshoe says:

    I would like Rafa to be my life coach, if you please.

  3. johanne says:

    I love this man sfm. Vamos Rafa forever! :)

  4. Isabelle says:

    This is why we love this guy so f…ing much!!! There are plenty of good tennis players but Rafa has the whole package to admire, what a guy!!

  5. CC says:

    I love the paragraph about working hard and earning your rewards. If everyone where I work followed that, it would be such a nicer and better place to be… ;) Rafa, could you come and lecture in our assembly hall, please?

    BTW, he’s a little bit shy for everything in that photo, no? Cute. Now, if he could only iron his shirts as well, he really would be perfect… ;)

    • An says:

      Yes CC, i think nog only youre workplace would be a nicer and better place to be, but the whole world would, No?

      And don’t you see it, he needs you to come and do the ironing for him… he’ll make sure you’ll be rewarderd for youre work;)

      • CC says:

        Well…he needs to work hard and show me that he can do the ironing first, An. And when I’m satisfied with his performance, I might consider a reward for him. Might. ;)

        • An says:

          Hah! Don’t be so hard on him, just like maybe me he doesn’t like ironing AT ALL….
          But that does’nt mean that we can’t do other things verry wel, No?;)

  6. Jo says:

    Anybody who said that Rafa’s lacking in the brains department was clearly missing his own. ‘Nuf said.

    • teejustice says:

      I agree Jo. It’s why I can’t understand why he’s always cast as a one-dimensional brute as if he has no subtleties or senses about him besides power on or off the court.

      He’s amazing. I sensed something more special about him than his court presence when I first saw in 2005. No wonder I kept being drawn back to him and just became a full-on fan in 2007.

      Things like this just makes my appreciation for his game and who he is keep growing. FLOVE Rafa! VAMOS Campeon!!

  7. minerva1881 says:

    How is he so perfect? How does he always say the right thing? He’s a real sweetie – dont know how anyone could read or listen to his interviews & not love him.

  8. marcelo says:

    wow, seems like rafa is getting a little poetic now

  9. Carol says:

    “If everyone where I work followed that, it would be such a nicer and better place to be… ;) ”

    Well said CC. In fact if everyone everywhere took these points as a personal blueprint, the entire world would be better… We can only hope.

    I know it’s been said before, but: is this guy really only 23? No wonder he is a National Treasure in Spain

    Sure shows what family values and education can do: politicians everywhere take note… Never mind having Rap Poetry on the UK education National Curriculum, there should be a compulsory class in the principles of Rafa & Uncle Toni! (sorry this last comment is a bit off topic)

  10. rebel naughty says:

    I’m going to print this for my son!

  11. Ch F says:

    I agree with what you all stated. Just one more thing: he seems very mature and so does Xisca. I’ve never heard her speak or read any interviews (which kind of speaks for itself) but I like her attitude and the way she carries herself. She’s very simple and admirably calm even through Rafa’s very difficult moments. I guess there’s a reason Rafa chose her.

  12. Debbie says:

    Thanks for finding this article. I particularly love this part:

    “They think that because they are good at singing, playing tennis, football or whatever, they are good at everything. It is very important to stay grounded.

    My will to win comes from my education. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you are a tennis player or whatever, education is the basis for everything”

    He is so right. Great guy that Rafa.

    • Ch F says:

      Yes he is. I’ve admired athletes in the past but Rafa is just unique. You know someone is truly great when they don’t make a big deal out of it. When they behave like they know it, half their greatness is gone.

  13. shanih says:

    What a great guy…the more you hear the more you just have to love him. I’ve followed Tennis and it’s players for a long time and have admired many of them over the years…but no one comes close to Rafa, he really is the best there is.

  14. Priyooo says:

    Very true indeed and these are the reasons why we love Rafa more than any other ATP player .

    He teaches us the values of life . He is able to live a normal life like any 23 year old would , not some luxurious life that others live .

    He doesn’t throw a tantrum when he loses an important point, and as i’ve read above toni is an excellent coach and he’s raised up rafa very well .

    Rafa is a great guy and i hope 2010 goes great for him :)

  15. Suzanne says:

    Hey, can anyone help me get this match online???

  16. Nic says:

    Rafa is a beautiful soul. And a beautiful specimen of human. I love him so much it’s unbelievable. Sigh.

  17. Isabelle says:

    Carol, I agree with you re a “compulsory class in the prinicples of Rafa and Uncle Toni”, but for the USA as well!!! As a whole, IMO, our cluture needs it. :~)

  18. I think tennis has a great ambassador not only in terms of playing quality but most importantly in character, behaviour on and off the court and real humility. We are lucky to have him.

  19. dr, Gau says:

    even federer has had a history of breaking rackets on court, but nadal…… never….!

    cool as cucumber…. n no wonder toni has done a great job.

  20. Mila says:

    That’s why I love this guy… *.*