Rafael Nadal should stop condemning himself



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Rafael Nadal should stop condemning himself

Rafael Nadal’s repeated self-reproach sounds like the penitential rite of Catholics -- mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. When he fumbled, he blamed nobody but himself, accepting the fall with grace and integrity; for sure he is loved for a lot many reasons other than that blistering forehand or the amazing grit.

But we can hardly wait for his redemption the same time. Nadal’s words imply that he has gone beyond that phase of assessing his weakness and reflecting on what that’s needed to be done. While there is a general consensus between him and the rest (fans, experts) regarding the first part, i.e.

his weakness -- the lacklustre forehand, there is a conflict regarding his future plans. Someone had to say it first, that ‘the emperor has no clothes’, and the vociferous John McEnroe did that job, when Nadal got stunned by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon.McEnroe, with some hesitance, then told the BBC maybe it is time for some fresh blood in the Nadal camp, adding “Can we say that?”.

When Tim Henman teased the superbrat for being too diplomatic, the latter made it clear -- "I"m saying, get a new damn coach!" McEnroe duly acknowledged Uncle Toni’s role in the making of the phenomenon called Rafael Nadal, but suggested that a fresh pair of eyes could help turn things around.

It was just a subjective opinion, but an opinion shared by many. It wasn’t easy for Nadal to face all those questions directed at him regarding his action plan and change of coach. For him, it wasn’t just about the game, but also a family matter.

When your coach and mentor is your own uncle, things are pretty much entangled. Had the coach not been his kin, would Nadal have fired Toni? Very unlikely, given that he had won 14 Majors under the latter’s guidance. Instead of shunning Toni, Nadal should rather include a new expert, like how Djokovic did when he hired Boris Becker without axing Marijan Vajda or Stan Wawrinka resorting to Pierre Paganini -- who has been Roger Federer’s fitness coach for the almost 15 years -- for optimising his fitness.