Before flying to Australia for the first Grand Slam of the season, Roberto Bautista Agut spent some time with compatriot Rafael Nadal to refine the preparation. The two are close friends off the pitch and will join forces to lead their national team in the second edition of the ATP Cup.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has taken care of every detail in preparation for the Australian Open, which he has won only once in all. his career (in 2009) and where last year he was folded by Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals.
The 34-year-old Majorcan played his last final in the Happy Slam two years ago, when a wild Novak Djokovic dealt him a very severe blow on the Rod Laver Arena. During an interview for the ATP website, Jose Vendrell - coach of Bautista Agut - commented on the training sessions between his protégé and the former world number 1.
Vendrell illustrated how Rafa always plays at maximum intensity, also forcing his sparring partners to raise the bar to keep up with him.
Vendrell on Rafael Nadal's intensity
"Rafael Nadal raises your level in all aspects," Jose Vendrell said.
"He sets a (high) bar and a supernatural demand with a lot of intensity in training. That helps a lot. They were very good days, of great quality for both of us." Venrdrell asserted that Rafael Nadal pushes his practice partners to their absolute limit.
He also pointed out that the Spaniard's competitive streak is evident even in his training sessions. "(With) Rafael Nadal, the margins of error do not exist, if you make a little mistake he takes advantage of it very well," Vendrell added.
"It takes a lot of intensity, start each point aggressively, even if you hit hard and you know well that you can reach the defensive phase because he counterattacks... he raises the physical, tennis, mental and tactical levels.
It is like a centrifuge. He takes you out of your comfort zone, removes everything from within and demands a lot from you." Vendrell believes that training with Bautista Agut would have also been beneficial for Rafael Nadal, especially since Bautista Agust is equally intense and serious about his practice sessions.
"I don't think there is much difference between how they train and how they compete, bridging the gap because competing always creates more stress," Vendrell added. "But at the level of intensity and seriousness, the two get very involved.
For both of them it has been positive because having a player of Roberto's quality and intensity will also have added to him (Rafael Nadal) and will have focused him a little more even if possible for the beginning of the year."