Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Rafael Nadal's Secrets for Success

    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Rafael Nadal is on course to be the greatest player in the history of the tennis. The 25-year-old Spanish wonder just won his sixth French Open, racking up another Grand Slam title for a total of 10. He also helped snag the Davis Cup – twice – for the Spanish team, and brought home an Olympic gold medal from Beijing in 2008.

    Introduced to the game as a toddler, Nadal has been winning ever since. Here’s what keeps him going.

    Recommended Related to Fitness & Exercise

    Surrender to Yoga

    By Therese Borchard In the last 30 years, a flurry of research has surfaced about the positive effects of yoga on depression and anxiety. A recent study from the Duke University Medical Center suggests that having a regular yoga practice can be as effective as an antidepressant for relieving mild depression. How? Regular practice of yoga raises GABA levels, which you need if you want to feel peachy. Can't keep your Downward Dog on the up and up? See if any of these anti-yoga excuses ring a bell: ...

    Read the Surrender to Yoga article > >

    Staying Passionate: Former tennis world champion Mats Wilander says one of Nadal’s strengths is that, even though he’s number one, he keeps changing his game, keeping it fresh and keeping his opponents guessing. That’s because the game still thrills him as it did as a child. “It is still exciting and I still get nervous these days!” Nadal says.

    Rolling with the Punches: Tennis has not always been easy on Nadal. He’s suffered a string of injuries over the years, some of which forced him out of major competitions. “His heart is too hungry to let his body get in the way,” Wilander says. “Sometimes he oversteps his boundaries.” But he always gets back in the game. A 2004 injury caused him to miss the French Open. No worries. He won the next five.

    Taking It Easy: Nadal says that he doesn’t stress much about tennis – “In the end, it’s only a game,” he insists – but he makes a point to enjoy life off the court. Sometimes that means sequestering himself in his room with a video. Other times he’s sightseeing, playing golf, or at a restaurant – his favorites are Spanish, of course – with his friends. “Spanish food, I think, is the best,” he says.

    Being a Family Man: On his way to number one, Nadal has never been alone. He has always had the support of his family, in particular, his uncle Toni Nadal, who has been his coach since he first put a racquet in the young Rafa’s hands. “My Uncle Toni loved the sport of tennis, and he is the one who showed me about the sport and transmitted to me that passion for the game and the respect,” Nadal says.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    acupuncture needle on shoulder
    10 tips to look and feel good.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    pacemaker next to xray
    Treatment options.
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.