World No. 1 Rafael Nadal says he feels blessed to be living the life he has and could never have imagined being World No. 1 at the age of 33 or winning Roland Garros 12 times in his career in an interview to the CBS show 60 Minutes, which will air on Sunday 12th January.
The Spaniard says, "I’m happy playing tennis, and I love competing. I’m very privileged to be able to live the life I am living. I never lose sight of the fact that I’m very lucky to have gone through unique experiences—and still do.
All of this thanks to tennis. The feeling I have when I’m on the tennis court and I see these stadiums full of people sitting there, looking, cheering—this is something amazing and very difficult to describe. It’s very satisfying, because at this stage of my career, everybody is still supporting me.
People are fond of me. And I think this means that I have done things right, both on-court and off-court. I think that my attitude has always been right. And this has been a source of satisfaction.No one could have predicted this.
I always repeat the same things. No one could have foreseen that I was going to be a 12-time Roland Garros [champion] or No. 1 in the rankings as a 33-year-old. Things don’t go zero to 100. But with the day-to-day, trying to win a match here, a match there, trying to improve.
. . . People say, “This is a sacrifice”. But for me this is not a sacrifice because I do it with enthusiasm." Nadal is also quick to dismiss any notions that his life remains only about tennis. "I can say very loud and clear that I’m very lucky for all of the things I have enjoyed in life.
But I have to say that my life is not only tennis. I have been out partying with my friends. Not every Saturday night, as they did, but I’ve been out partying with my friends. I have been fishing with my friends. I’ve had a normal life.
Maybe less often than my friends, but I don’t think I’ve missed out on important things in my childhood. I’ve done all of the same things that my friends did, but less frequently. Which makes me feel very happy."
At the age of 33, the Spaniard has had several serious injuries but says his physical condition is okay. "I’m O.K. The body is O.K. Sometimes I feel better, sometimes I feel worse. This can be tough during the bad times.
But I always hope that things are going to be fine. I have encountered many problems, this is true. But I have been able to overcome the problems in a positive way." Nadal also speaks highly of his coach and mentor Corlos Moya in the interview.
"He has brought many things, like a different way of training compared to the way I had been doing it all my life. And now at this stage of my life, I think it has worked very well. This more organized way of training has been very useful, and it has allowed me to have a longer career.
All my life I admired Carlos. So having someone that was an idol for me is very positive and very reassuring. He builds my trust, my self-confidence. And he makes my life easier as well, which is very important at this stage. The impact was not only on my tennis."
Rafael Nadal will be the top seed at the upcoming Australian Open where he will be aiming to win his 20th Grand Slam title - that would tie him with Roger Federer for most number of Grand Slam titles won in history. Federer will also be in Melbourne where he will be seeded third.