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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nadal Nervous in First Set Against Berdych; Reveals his Mental Toughness

Rafa Nadal is a very honest man. Sometimes he says things in the media about how he feels that I personally would suggest that he keep private. But, hey, how can you knock a person for telling the truth?

Nadal admitted that he was feeling nervous against Berdych in their Quarterfinal match at the 2012 Australian Open. It is not the first time he admitted to being nervous. And, I believe it confirms that he is as mentally tough as they come because it is not the absence of nerves that defines mental toughness. It is the ability to cope effectively and perform great when you are feeling nervous.

The following quotes come from

"The first set especially I felt that I started the match too nervous, no?" Nadal said. "I wasn't able to hit the ball long.  My movements weren't fast enough. I was nervous because he was playing well.  I thought that I didn't put enough balls in when I was returning, so I only had break points in second game."

"It's difficult against a player like him, because you don't have chances on return.  He hit the ball very, very hard and very flat.  Very difficult to find the rhythm." 

"I felt it was really important match for me, because quarters to semis is a big chance.  You start with very good feeling the season.  You know, quarterfinals is not a bad result, but at the same time is not a good one, no?" Nadal explained.

"That's why maybe I start the season a little bit nervous, and that's human. But my attitude was positive, which was the right way to overcome the situation. I think I finished the match playing at one of my best -- fourth set was one of my best levels on this kind of surface, returning inside the court, making a lot of winners from with the first ball."

Again, Rafa is able to accept that he gets nervous and adjusts during the match. I have the greatest respect for Nadal. He works hard, he is honest and fair, and treats the game and his opponents with respect. Rafa gets the mental game and does it better than anyone in my opinion.

Nadal identified in the middle of an intense, pressure-packed match that his ball was falling short and he was feeling pressured by Berdych's big play. By staying positive and becoming more aggressive Nadal won the next three sets and turned a disappointment into another triumph.

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