Nadal enthralls youth

Nadal enthralls youth

Tennis IPTL : To succeed, work with right people: Spaniard

Nadal enthralls youth

 On the ordinary courts of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association, the presence of Rafael Nadal wove a spellbinding web of fantasy. Budding players from the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy got a session with superstar’s coach and uncle Toni Nadal and later a chance to hit with the 14-time Grand Slam winner himself. Nadal indulged all, sharing high fives and signing autographs on shirts of youngsters.

His entry, wearing a white tee, grey shorts and white cap worn backward, erupted the court side into the deafening chants of his name, whistles and claps. Nadal, not new to maddening adulations, soaked in everything like a homecoming king, smiling, his hands on waist.

“When I was a kid, I just dream about sometimes, anytime in my life to play in Rolland Garros, play in Wimbledon or in professional tournament, I'm not different than many kids that dream like that today. My motivation and passion to reach that dream was the key of our success. I think the kids can do it, if I did,” said the World No. 5, whose Rafael Nadal Academy has tied with up MBTA in India.

For Nadal, his uncle Toni gave shape to his dreams. He was a tough coach, as Nadal would admit in autobiography -- Rafa: My Story -- so much that he would often return home crying. But Toni helped Nadal build that fighting character that people would go on to associate with him on court.

The 29-year-old emphasised, on Thursday, on the importance of having right people towards building a successful career.   “Without Toni, nothing would have been possible. I feel so lucky that I have somebody from my family that is my coach forever,” Nadal said.
 “We enjoyed, we worked with passion, just trying to do the right thing, to improve every year, that's the secret. Toni understands the world of sport, how the sport is going to move in the next couple of years.”

Nadal’s prodigious run has repeatedly been hampered by injuries. It is the first time since 2004 that the Mallorcan has failed to win a single Grand Slam in a year. He, however, felt he had shown steady progress in the last three months. And no, he would not change his coach despite repeated suggestions from former players. Toni, sitting next him, said it was his nephew’s decision before adding with a chuckle, “I am not too expensive!”

Nadal added: “2015 has been not the best season possible. The last three months I think it was much better. Happy with the way that I’m playing now. I think that I improved so much in the last tournament.”

For someone so driven to compete and win, defeats have been never easy to swallow. When asked when he could be seen holding another Grand Slam Trophy, Nadal’s reply was firm and cryptic. “I don't know when that's going to happen and I don't know if that's going to happen. I'm working very hard to try and compete well,” he said.

His rivalry with Roger Federer will be relived in the International Premier Tennis League. Nadal was looking forward to it. “The rivalry with Roger has been great for a lot of years and we hope to keep playing some good matches and after tomorrow, we are going to have another confrontation here in India, will be a great scenario with a lot of fans. I'm delighted to be playing here against him,” he said.

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