Rafael Nadal had the merit of exploding at very high levels when he was still very young, considering that the Majorcan won his first Slam a few days after turning 19. Many insiders have identified a strong link between the early success of the Spaniard and his incredible mental resilience.
Perhaps just to pass on these skills, the former World number 1 has founded a beautiful Academy in his Manacor, with the stated aim of helping talented young people and teaching them the ethics of hard work. When he is not around the world, the 19-time Grand Slam champion often trains in his Academy, in addition to following the boys in the various activities that the huge complex in the Balearic Islands makes available.
Under 14 coach Jeremy Paisan has revealed that Nadal is often involved in operations that affect the students of the Academy.
Paisan on Rafael Nadal
"Rafael Nadal is at home here," said Jeremy Paisan. "He is very often with us when he can.
As soon as he is not on the circuit, he hits the ball on the courts, it is a treat for the students who can also compete with him from time to time. Rafa is very involved and always wants to stay informed about what is going on with the students.
He is very attentive to all the small details, nothing is left to chance. He really wants the students to feel good, that they have the means to flourish, that we are ultimately as much life coaches as tennis coaches," continued Paisan.
"We also carry a vision that Rafa instilled in us, these are values like honesty, work, respect. It all has to be focused on the attitude on the court." Toni Nadal was appointed as the director of the Academy. "Toni has very clear principles in terms of play, technique, tactics," asserted Paisan.
"His advice is invaluable and his experience is incredibly rich. He comes to the courts every day to support and encourage us. He acts almost like a father with his children, reinforcing the idea that we are a big family."
The Academy has cemented its prestige thanks to its annual programme for maximising the potential of each player at a high-performance centre where, from September to June, they can combine tennis with excellence in their studies.
The main objective is that students continue their tennis careers, with their training based on the methodology that has taken Rafa to the highest level, while also maintaining their academic studies. This has been the case with young British players such as Max Basing, Barney Fitzpatrick and Oliver Foran, who has graduated this year from the Rafa Nadal International School, which is part of the Academy complex.