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Nadal the Animal!
Nadal the Animal!
Roger Breternitz | 09/16/13 | 11:09 PM EDT 0 Comments
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Another U.S. Open tennis final is in the books with the two most likely competitors on the court were who everyone assumed were going to be there.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been at the top of the world “Tennis ladder” for a while now and it was no surprise that they both meet, and test each other, in the finals at one of the most prestigious and defining grand slam tournaments of the year.

Tennis is a very interesting, complex and fickle sport because of the unplanned variables that can befall the competitors, such as the weather, the uneven surface (grass & clay), physical injuries, and don’t forget the crowd of spectators. All this goes together to test stamina, and concentration in a way that nothing else can.  Sometimes it even seems like there is an unseen force, as in the myths of Greek Olympiads, where on of the “Gods” would use his or her powers to give aid to one of the warriors and sway the balance of domination in that person’s favor.
But, let’s not forget why man invented sports in the first place, and that’s to provide an event where the competitors could be tested in a way that illustrated their physical and mental powers, and still allow all of them to be ALIVE at the end of the contest. Tennis is a shinning example of that very typification of testing.
So why is it that the same two or three competitors (man or woman) always seem to be at top of the list of finalists? There have been many studies on the process of winning as opposed to just playing a sport, but it’s been found that strength is not always the determining factor even though it is a major factor. Many tennis gurus and coaches have taken the position of “After you learn to hit the ball, it’s all mental anyway”, and that pretty well sums it up.
So what is it about Rafial Nadal that gives him that edge, and puts him in a separate class of competitors? Most people would agree it is a combination of physical attributes, and mental toughness. Almost anyone can develop the physical aspect of their game, by training, muscle memory repertory techniques, but the mental part is a much different “Animal”. That is what tells you what you WILL achieve, no matter how much you work out, train, and develop your body. That part of your brain was and has been a mechanism for survival for thousands of years. That’s why an animal has such good concentration. Can you imagine a Cheetah chasing a Gazelle thinking, “Boy this is a lot of work, this is one fast little sucker, I wonder if I can do this, I’m getting tired, I think I’ll just slack off, I wasn’t that hungry anyway.”

NOT! They’re killers, and failing never enters their mind. Just like failing never entered Nadal’s mind, he’s a killer on the court, or at least has the mind and intellect of an animal as far as focus, concentration, and purpose. There’s no backing off, or worry about where the ball will land if he hits it too hard or not hard enough, he just knows. The “Eye of the Tiger” would be an understatement for him. This is what separates all the champions from the rest of the field in any sport there is. When the pressure is on to WIN...they win.

It's been said, "Its much harder to win that to keep from losing", and all you have to do is look at some of the previous matches in tennis to bear this up. The lower ranked player gets ahead, and it's match point in their favor. Somehow they manage to miss the easiest shot that would have given them the victory, and that's the last you every hear about them in the tournament, because the defending champion comes back to prove why he or she is the champion and wipes up the court with them.
Once in a decade this kind of “Animal” comes along with the physical charicstics matched up with the mental focus and toughness to become this “Killer” of opponents, and if the physical body holds up, they will go on to set new records as long as this body preforms the way it should.

But as Nadal has found out, sometimes the body needs a rest, or just becomes a little too worn because of over use and its time to regroup.
It will be interesting to see how long his body lasts considering the amount of force, and energy he puts into his game, but I think he’s got a few years left.
Keep up the good work Rafa, we’re rooting for you!
Roger the Tennis Pro

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