Today we saw an amazing match in the final of the Australia Open 2022 between Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev... and I just feel like saying THANK YOU.
As we witnessed Rafa's exciting comeback, most people only look at his success! Success on every point, every set, every grand slam and every record beaten. Rafa Nadal's achievement is indeed inebriant and inspiring.
Perhaps by professional default, I prefer to look at what the best do. What allows them to achieve so much success? I have been listening to Rafa Nadal's statements for 1 month and I’ve listen to a speech with no result expectations and focused on recovering and enjoying competing. WANTING TO WIN is very different from HAVING TO WIN!
"I am very happy to be able to play at this level and the truth is that I feel good",
"very grateful to be living these days, when 3 months ago I did not even know I would compete again",
"it is not a match that will change my life (the final), but obviously I will try to put my best version on court"
"I have to be very tuned (process) to have possibilities (of result)"
I interpret that regardless of how much desire there is to win, one should be at peace with the opposite scenario. It doesn’t matter how close defeat may be, that possibility should not be devastating / blocking before time or generate embarrassment after the match. There is the humility of knowing that every time you get on the court you can lose and the important thing is to be out there putting the best tennis possible at every moment, whatever the score.
Very easy to say, but very difficult to put into practice. An adverse score, unforced errors or opportunities not taken to get advantage usually invade, for sure, our mind ...
There's no way around it... just how to manage it. And I’m never tired of repeating it! It all starts with humility facing the possibility of defeat, which allows us to expect and get comfortable with most adverse scenarios. It seems like a simple detail, but it involves significant management of expectations and pride.
With this starting point consolidated and possibilities enabled, we need to have the most relentless and almost robotic discipline to repeat 2 things:
1. interpret any event of the match as natural and expectable. Next, no matter how much it hurts our pride, it doesn’t have to affect the next moment. In one word, ACCEPTANCE. This acceptance allows us to continue to believe that it is still possible and to have energy for the next step.
2. choose to refocus our attention into the task details which we know that suit us best. Details that make us feel more confident and looser when hitting the ball.
This second step was very clear in the immediate reactions after mistakes, in the execution of the different routines, on the raising of his fist celebrating and getting pumped, revealing a gaze of absolute concentration on what really matters during a match. Good decisions, good shots and balls inside!
Having witnessed once again, live, an exhibition of exemplary processes I feel grateful and eager to say thanks.
Thank you for making my job easier, illustrating what science teaches us and we try to pass on to other athletes.
Thank you also for teaching me that success and fame do not have to destroy authentic humility.
Thank you for inspiring me to work with humility and with the desire to put my best version on a daily basis.
Thank you for making me proud to dress in uniform.
Thank you Rafa