Despite having conquered everything a tennis player could dream of, Rafael Nadal always amazes with his dedication and his hunger for victories. 2021 has not been the best season for him so far as the Spanish legend has failed to lift his 14th title at Roland Garros.
It is true that two titles have arrived, respectively in Barcelona and Rome, but extraordinary feats are always expected from a champion like him. After the defeat remedied in the semifinals in Paris, the 35-year-old from Manacor announced that he would not take part in either Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics, a painful choice but aimed at extending his career.
A few days ago, news came that the 20-time Grand Slam champion will return to the field at the 'Citi Open' in Washington, having accepted the wild card offered to him by the organizers. This will be Nadal’s absolute debut in the tournament, which kicks off on 2 August.
Rafa is an athlete who is admired by many colleagues, including those from other disciplines. Speaking on the 'OuiHustle' YouTube channel, Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez used Nadal as an example to follow for any sportsman.
Mahrez praises Rafael Nadal
"There is constant questioning in football," Riyad Mahrez said. "We saw it with Mbappé. He won the World Cup three years ago. Then (Euros 2020) he missed the penalty. Everyone has fallen on him.
Everything you did yesterday they don't care it is the past. You have to look ahead." In that regard, the Algerian cited the example of Rafael Nadal and how the Mallorcan once had to battle his inner demons during one of his matches in Paris.
"When you win, next year you have to come back and try to win again. It's the right mindset," added Mahrez. "And those who have it are very successful. It's like Nadal. Once, he had won Roland Garros 11 times and he was losing in the final of another tournament.
He says he heard a voice in his head telling him 'it's good Rafa, you've already won 11. Well he, no, he continues, he will try, even if he is injured, he pushes and he wins. And that's the real champion. When you win, you have to win again otherwise people will say that we are finished.
You have to surpass yourself all the time." Due to the ongoing pandemic outbreak, Tokyo Olympics has many rigid restrictions. Therefore, numerous top players have taken the difficult decision to withdraw, including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, determined on his path to Golden Slam, Novak Djokovic will travel to Japan and try for the gold medal.