Over the last few years the Everyball Academy has taken a number of our juniors to train at the world famous Bruguera Academy in Barcelona. One of the top coaches there is a great guy called Javier Gutierrez or 'Guti' for short. He's been over to visit us at Halton and is a great supporter of what we do - one day we'll try and persuade him to join us!!
Anyway, Guti sent me the following e mail today. His English is so much better than my Spanish but I know he would have taken a lot of time to put this together - thanks Guti!
Mike, thanks to dedicate your time with your interesting blog. I wrote something that you could add in comments wherever you think is more appropriate.
“In final of Masters Series of Madrid (2005) Nadal was losing 3/6 2/6 against Ljubicic. Nobody believed this time Nadal could change the direction of match (nobody except Nadal, his coach and ... Ljubicic). The conditions were the worst for Nadal; hard court, indoor, altitude of Madrid (where the ball runs faster) and most difficult thing was Ljubicic playing his best tennis. Nadal had only one chance... to continue “fighting for every ball”. He was looking for solutions but nothing was working against so good level of Ljubicic. The only thing he could do it was tell to his opponent “Ok, you are playing amazing... but can you play so good till the end of the match? Remember that if you go a bit down... I am here waiting for you!!!”.
Obviously Nadal didn’t talk with words; but he sent this message to Ljubicic “fighting for every ball” with all his courage and determination. For all players is hard to know the opponent is waiting for your first signal of weakness. We could think even of the “magic” Federer.
Probably everybody knows, or can guess, that Nadal won the final (7/6 in final set).
Did he was sure of victory? No, he just was fighting for an opportunity. Nobody has warranty of success (what is success?) and this is why is interesting tennis competition and everything we do in life. We feel happy when we get something that we weren’t sure to get.
We can understand easily the way to see competition for Nadal with his words after match.
-Interviewer “Were you nervous? What do you think in so difficult moments?”
-Nadal “Yes, I am nervous. Then I think. If I am nervous, my opponent must be nervous as well”.
The next words of Nadal could be “...therefore, I continue fighting for every ball”.
Very simple, very clever. He don’t waste his thoughts around bad feelings, he just think how to win next point...”
I think Mike, Nadal is the perfect example of philosophy of your academy.