Rafael Nadal’s fighting spirit is one of his trademark qualities. It’s played a crucial role in pulling himself up from the brink of defeat on numerous occasions throughout his career, as well as bouncing back from several serious injuries.
But for the Spaniard, it’s not the biggest key to his success.
“I think my success is not only because of the spirit of the fight,” Nadal said after his US Open quarter-final win on Wednesday over Argentine Diego Schwartzman. “There is lots of things after this.”
Nadal believes that fighting spirit is common on the ATP Tour and his less overt characteristics have played a bigger role in his achievements. The second seed treats every player across the net as though they’re the toughest opponent he’ll face and remains unflappably positive in the bleakest of moments.
A humble attitude doesn’t necessarily make for a headline-grabbing image, but it does lead to 18 Grand Slam crowns and 83 tour-level singles titles.
“I think I had stable character during all my life, all my career. That helps to be…mentally focussed, mentally relaxed and mentally always ready to respect every opponent, to play every point, to play every game, to play every set and every match until the end,” Nadal said. “But of course the stories say that I have been a good fighter on court with good character, positive character, and I am not the only one. There is a lot of ones that fight a lot.”
Nadal will need all of his positive attributes for his semi-final against Italian Matteo Berrettini, the No. 24 seed. The Spaniard is two matches away from a fourth crown in New York and his 19th Grand Slam title, which would put him one shy of all-time leader Roger Federer (20). But as usual, he is only looking ahead to Friday’s showdown.
“I need to be ready to play my best tennis,” Nadal said. “Today I made a step forward, in my opinion. That match gave me confidence. Two matches in a row against two tough opponents. [This is] a moment to increase the level a little bit more and I really believe that I can do it.”
Source: ATP World Tour