The agony of overcoming
Once again, Genny would like to share something with you.
by Pedro G. Cuartango (as translated by genny_ss)
The will to win
The agony of overcoming
It was Nadal himself who best defined his tennis when he said that “without suffering there is no happiness.” Nadal lacks the natural ease with which Federer hits the ball or the insurmountable shot of Djokovic that crushes his rivals, but he has a quality that has risen him to the number one: his determination to win.
I have enjoyed the game of great tennis champions. In my childhood, I admired the three extraordinary Australian players: Emerson, Roche and Laver. Early in the morning I saw on television the two finals in Australia in which Santana could not realize his dream of winning the Davis Cup. Then came the era of Nastase, the Romanian of prodigious wrist. And later I admired players like Borg, Vilas, Connors, McEnroe, Edberg and Sampras. All are part of the history of the sport.
If Nadal has already surpassed them with his 13 victories in Grand Slam tournaments, only behind the aforementioned Federer and Sampras, it is not for his excellent technical qualities and for his innate talent to read the matches, which are indisputable. No, he is not a great for that. He is because no player in the history of the sport has shown so much will to win and jump over the obstacles that have stood in his career.
An ascetic in constant struggle
Nadal is an ascetic who fights against himself, who mortifies his flesh to purify the spirit, who turns suffering into a lever to victory. If Federer embodies the virtue with that velvety shot which seems to caress the ball, Nadal turns every point he disputes in a desperate act of sheer survival. That is why his game is focused, almost edgy, always pushing the boundaries.
To win a tennis match, you have to hit an average of about 1,500 shots where strength, movement coordination and strategy are essential. And all this while the crowd watches two athletes who cannot hide anywhere on the court. The psychological game and mental strength are vital in an activity that also requires the qualities of abstraction of a geometrician, who projects lines and perfect angles in his mind.
Tennis is probably the sport that carries a higher intellectual wear, which will sound like a quip to those who have not ever caught a racket, but will be understood very well by those who practice it. If Nadal has overcome his painful injuries and continues to reap victories, it is simply for his incredible determination and capacity to endure that allow him to overcome difficult situations.
Nadal has turned tennis into an exercise of asceticism, word that etymologically means “purification of the spirit”. And that is reached by the inner discipline to be found in a Cistercian monastery.
Pain and suffering are the sources of self-knowledge. And the Majorcan has gone further than anyone in the alchemy of transforming that volcano he carries inside into a geometric art, as understood by Descartes and Spinoza, who saw in the abstraction of the laws of the lines and angles the expression of a higher truth. Nadal does not exist, he reinvents himself every day in the agony of overcoming.