A fantastic insight into the life of my favourite tennis player. I remember watching every moment of that Wimbledon match and it was great being able to learn what he was thinking at the crucial parts. He's as gracious and as good hearted as I thought he was and I adored his book.
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What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport?
Rafael Nadal has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success.
It begins in Mallorca, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four and taught humility and respect by his parents, Nadal has managed the uncommon feat of becoming an acclaimed global celebrity while remaining a gracious, hardworking role model for people in all walks of life.
Now he takes us behind the scenes, from winning the Wimbledon 2008 final-described by John McEnroe as "the greatest game of tennis" he had ever seen-to the family problems that brought him low in 2009 and the numerous injuries that have threatened his career.
With candor and intelligence, Nadal brings readers on his dramatic and triumphant journey, never losing sight of the prize he values above all others: the unity and love of his family.
"During a match, you are in a permanent battle to fight back your everyday vulnerabilities, bottle up your human feelings. The more bottled up they are, the greater your chances of winning, so long as you've trained as hard as you play and the gap in talent is not too wide between you and your rival. The gap in talent with Federer existed, but it was not impossibly wide. It was narrow enough, even on his favorite surface in the tournament he played best, for me to know that if I silenced the doubts and fears, and exaggerated hopes, inside my head better than he did, I could beat him. You have to cage yourself in protective armor, turn yourself into a bloodless warrior. It's a kind of self-hypnosis, a game you play, with deadly seriousness, to disguise your own weaknesses from yourself, as well as from your rival."
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Rafael Nadal, John Carlin
A fantastic insight in...
I grew up watching ten...
I grew up watching tennis - Connors and Borg, McEnroe and Lendl, but Rafael Nadal rose to prominence on the tennis scene during a period of years when I didn't really watch the sport. I started watching again around the time that much of the book revolves around: Rafa's victory over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final. Since then, I've begun watching tennis more intensively again and I've also become a big fan of Rafa's. Much of what I like about him is explained in this book, from his graciousness in both victory and defeat, to his even-tempered demeanor on the court. In interviews, Nadal is often an intriguing mix of candid and reserved, and the same holds true in this book. Much is made of his Mallorcan upbringing and sensibilities which keep him balanced and yet also seemingly unable to really relish his accomplishments. The best analogy I can think of is that although he loves the game of tennis and loves to compete, it's still his job. He punches in when he's on the court, becoming Rafa the tennis machine and punches out when he leaves, becoming Rafael the cautious bundle of anxieties. The book alternates between chapters narrated by Nadal and chapters narrated by his coauthor which provide insight into the people around him, and a glimpse into Mallorcan character in general and the Nadal family in particular. Personally, I walked away with mixed feelings about Uncle Toni's coaching techniques and life lessons for Rafa, but it's hard to argue with his success.
I didnt finish this o...
I didn't finish this one - it was OK. I like him as a player, but was feeling sorry for him as a person. Plus, he's a bit young to write an autobiography. Seems like not much has happened to him outside of an amazingly successful tennis career. It will be interesting to hear his perspective on his career and his life when he is older.
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