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RAFAEL NADAL, Spanish Tennis Triumphs

What is his secret? It is his attitude, his capacity for not relaxing during the good times and being able to overcome the bad times. When his rivals abandon the court mentally, he just hangs on in there, fighting for that ball that seemed to be a lost battle.

Having just turned 21, Rafa seemed predestined to becoming an elite sportsman on account of his family origins. His Uncle Miguel Ángel was part of the “Dream Team”, the best team Barcelona Football Club had succeeded in forming during its over 100 hundred years of history. Moreover, his Uncle Toni (his present coach) has spent all his life training the best national tennis players.

In 2001, when he was just 15, he started on the professional circuit and only needed a couple of years to become a reference point for national and world tennis, thanks to his victory over Andy Roddick in the Davis Cup Final in 2003.

From then on, his career just rocketed and he has been winning one tournament after another. He has also inscribed his name in gold letters on the winning list of the most Spanish Grand Slam: Roland Garros.

Now that he is comfortably positioned in second place in the ATP ranking, Rafa can boost about being the world tennis player with the most points achieved during 2007, even ahead of Federer and just beginning to threaten his supremacy.

What are his limits?

It seems that the improvements he has made to his playing have no limits. He has reinforced those aspects he mastered and increased his performance in those he was weakest in. The result is that without excelling in any specific area of tennis, he is among the first 3 best players on the circuit. Besides, he has managed to suppress his demonstrations of enthusiasm on the court, which only caused an excessive and unnecessary waste of energy.

However, his weak point is fast surfaces, although he is getting used to them little by little, as he showed in the final of the Wimbledon tournament in 2006. When he has succeeded in improving his playing on these types of surfaces, he will have taken a big step to becoming the number one.

His duels with Roger Federer, the other genius who will go down in history as one of the greatest, are becoming epic encounters and Rafa is on the way to replacing him as the great master of world tennis.

Best national tennis player?

Without a doubt, Rafael Nadal is already the best tennis player in history, not only for his indisputable triumphs, but also for his social recognition and he is only 21 years old.

Santana, Gimeno, Orantes, Bruguera,… Spanish tennis has contributed some excellent tennis players to the game, but all of them have been outshined by Rafa’s unquestionable playing as he offers such a consistency in victory no other Spanish tennis player has offered up to now.

Undoubtedly, we are before one of those geniuses that appear once in the blue moon, who will be fairly acknowledged the day he is no longer around. If we compare him to cycling, Rafa is on his way to becoming another Indurain. A great man when he was running, but greater still when he gave it up and no-one else could repeat his accomplishments.

Nevertheless, until that time comes, we can go on enjoying Rafael Nadal’s playing as each match he plays is another match for history.

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