Roland-Garros 2022: fear of the dark, Shakira clip, admiration for Tiger Woods... Fourteen things you may not have known about Rafael Nadal

Roland-Garros 2022: fear of the dark, Shakira clip, admiration for Tiger Woods… Fourteen things you may not have known about Rafael Nadal

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At 36 years old, Rafael Nadal won his fourteenth title at Roland-Garros on Sunday June 5 by dominating the Norwegian Casper Ruud (6-3, 6-3, 6-0). Seventeen years passed between his first and twenty-second Grand Slam titles. But do you really know the “Toro de Manacor”? Afraid of the dark, fan of Tiger Woods, star of a Shakira music video… Here are fourteen things you may not have known about Spanish.

1He is right-handed on a daily basis.

His left arm is feared by all his opponents on the courts. But in everyday life, Spanish speaks with the right hand. In his autobiography published in 2012, Nadal explains how he became a left-handed tennis player, around the age of 10: “When I was little, as I lacked strength, I played all the shots with both hands and my uncle told me: “No professional plays like that, we are not going to innovate, we have to change.” Naturally, the left won.”

twoHis quirks help him focus.

In addition to his incredible track record, the slightly superstitious Nadal is also known for his on-court rituals. Well-aligned bottles, clothes readjustments, cleaning service lines… “If I don’t do that with the bottles, I sit down and can think about other things besides the game. When I always do the same things, it means that I am focused in competition mode, willing to think only about tennis.”

3He is a fan of Real Madrid.

The Mallorcan has never hidden his love for Real Madrid. Invited to the Champions League final at the Stade de France between Merengues and Liverpool on May 28, the tennis player, an honorary member of the club since 2011, explained that it was difficult for him to get to Saint-Denis. “I had to get out of the car on the highway and finish on foot.”

4One of his uncles played for Barça

If the family is a fan of Real Madrid, it is in the rival club that Miguel Ángel Nadal, one of Rafa’s two uncles, played for a time. The player with 62 caps for the national team played for FC Barcelona from 1991 to 1999.

5 An asteroid in his name

Since 2008 there has been not one, but two Rafael Nadals. The name of the tennis player was given to an asteroid, discovered five years earlier, by researchers from the Astronomical Observatory of Mallorca. Located between Mars and Jupiter, the star measures 4 kilometers in diameter and moves at a speed of 20 kilometers per second.

6He appeared in a Shakira music video.

In 2010, the Spaniard stepped out of his comfort zone by appearing in the clip of the Colombian singer, Gypsy. The 24-year-old player at the time played his boyfriend Shakira, in a clip that caused a stir.

7He has his statue at Roland-Garros

In June 2021, the organizers of the Parisian Grand Slam had decided to pay tribute to the Majorcan champion, thirteen times winner of the Porte d’Auteuil at the time, by inaugurating a statue in his likeness. Designed by Spanish sculptor Jordi Díez Fernandes, this stainless steel statue is three meters tall and shows the Majorcan champion performing a forehand, mouth open and feet up.

8Play handicap golf.

Sometimes Rafael Nadal trades his racket for a golf club. Accustomed to the greens, he has a handicap of +0.3, a level considered professional.

9He is a fan of Tiger Woods.

Agile with a golf club in hand, the Spaniard closely follows the performance of American golfer Tiger Woods, his sporting idol. “I’ve always said I don’t have a role model, but if I did have one, I’d have to say it’s him. said in 2019. He is a great inspiration. Everything he has achieved in sports, fighting so much, has always been an example. I hope one day we can play golf together.”

10He hesitated between tennis and football

From the age of 3 to 13, Rafael Nadal played soccer and tennis, before finally choosing the yellow ball. Ten years of playing round ball that explain why the man with 22 Grand Slams is so nimble on his feet on the tennis courts.

elevenHis career started at Auray

The first success of the Spaniard came in Morbihan. In 1998, when he was 11 years old, Rafael Nadal won the Auray Open Super 12, an international junior tournament, against Jamie Murray.

12he is achluophobic

Even champions have flaws. Nadal recently spoke about his fear of the dark. “Being home alone at night makes me very nervous. I can’t sleep in my bed. So I sleep on the couch, the TV on, he told the Italian program Che Tempo Che Fa in May, at the tournament in Rome. I am not very brave before the things of the life. In tennis yes, but in everything else no.”

13never broke a racket

Nadal is the complete opposite of a John McEnroe or a Marat Safin, known for their fits of rage and racket throws. “When I was little, my uncle told me: ‘If you drop your racket, I will stop training you.’ He explained to me that he had to treat my racket with respect. If I miss a shot, it’s my fault and not an object’s.”

14Listen to Julio Iglesias and Bon Jovi

Like most current players, the Spaniard listens to music during the warm-up before entering the pitch. Asked in 2009 about his musical tastes, Nadal replied that if he had to keep only three songs, he would choose back to you by Brian Adams, in these arms of Bon Jovi and Fly friend, fly high by Julio Iglesias.

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