Record 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has earned a praise from one of the greatest rugby coaches, Wayne Smith. Smith is a tennis fan and he is a big admirer of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. In his interview with Stuff, Smith admitted he once thought Djokovic didn't have the mentality but the Serb proved him wrong as his mental strength is now considered as one of his biggest assets.
After mentioning toughness, Smith was asked to give his thoughts on Nadal. "If anyone can suffer it’s Nadal. He builds his game on suffering doesn’t he? I admire Rafa and Djokovic and Federer. Best era in history," Smith told Stuff.
Nadal plays his best when everything is against him
Nadal appeared to be on the brink of suffering a straight-set defeat in the Australian Open but then created a stunning comeback to beat Daniil Medvedev in five sets. After the match, Toni Nadal explained how his nephew was taught to always work hard and to never give up.
"Going back to why Rafa is able to act as he does, my answer is simply: because he got used to it. My nephew prepared himself, practically during his entire life, to face adversity. For this reason, I was a very demanding coach," Toni wrote for El Pais, according to Gaspar Ribeiro Lanca.
"From my extensive experience, I've seen how frustration, boredom and the immediate abandonment of something that bothers them or does not immediately turn out as they wish have been accentuated in young people.
"My nephew had the obligation, instilled by me at the beginning, assumed by him later, to not complain, to enter the court every day in good spirits, to accept that things do not go well immediately and to assume the difficulties as much as possible.
"He accepted the demand, absolutely every day of all the years, to enter the court with a good spirit, not break a racket, train longer than expected. But above all to understand & accept that even if we did all this, things would not necessarily turn out well."