He won in Beijing 2008 in singles and in 2016 in doubles. Two olympic gold medals. Rafael Nadal, the incombustible Spanish tennis player, revealed some of his innermost thoughts on success, failure and sport during a relaxed conversation with Germany’s Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula 1 world champion.
“Being arrogant and self confident can help you for a while, but at the longer term, doesn’t give you the chance to work the proper way,” Nadal said during a chat on his fabulous yacht, anchored in Monte Carlo harbor during Monaco Yacht Week.
During the visit, Rosberg is amazed at the number of televisions Nadal has on the yacht, and compares the design to that of his own boat.
“Yes, we have this on mine too, yes, this is the same,” Rosberg says during the tour, until he enters one of the yacht’s four suites and is struck by the layout of the beds. “Ah, no, this is different for me.... And here it looks somehow better”.
Nadal explains that everything was designed together with his wife, Xisca, and admits that one day he didn’t listen to the captain, went out to sea in bad conditions and damaged part of the boat.
After an informal ping-pong match in which, to win a point, Rosberg lies and tells Nadal that Prince Albert of Monaco is about to enter the yacht, the two sit down for a conversation that begins with a joking agreement: “Winning is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing”.
“When you get a little bit older the feelings are a little bit different in al, terms,” Nadal answers when Rosberg asks him about trying to reach his top level and ranking again. “I had a very bad period of time with my left foot”.
“I know the process,” to come back. “I’ve been there many times, and I’m very excited with the process. I’m confident that if I am able to play without too much pain, I will have my chances”.
How do you cope with doubts, Rosberg asked.
“The doubts let you work the proper way. If you don’t have doubts in this life it is because you are too arrogant. In this life, most of the things are not 100% clear”.
“Being arrogant and self confident can help you for a while, but at the longer term, doesn’t give you the chance to work the proper way”.
It is then that the German dares with a comparison always sensitive for Nadal. “If you take Djokovic he’s not probably on the sensitive side,” Rosberg says.
“He’s more a machine in terms of mentality, but I’m sure he has his doubts too,” replies Nadal, who is tied with Djokovic and Switzerland’s Roger Federer in number of Grand Slam titles won: 20 each.
“But there is not only one way to have success or to accomplish your dreams”, finishes off the Spaniard, who after a 2021 with a serious injury problem in his left foot is preparing to return in top form in 2022.