"If you are trying to achieve anything, there are bound to be obstacles and everyone will have them. But what will matter in the end will be not how they stopped you but how they motivated you to make your victory even sweeter."
9 finals since his comeback, 59-1 record at Roland Garros and eight French Open titles at the age of 27 - Rafael Nadal proved to the world why he is indeed the greatest player the red clay courts in Paris will ever witness.
Five grueling sets and down a break in fifth set during the semi finals, many great players have succumbed to the pressures of sustaining their legacy but not Rafa Nadal. He has been the undisputed king of this turf since the last 8 years and he was not yet ready to pass his crown to the World No.1, Novak Djokovic this time.
The list of achievements is amazing but what surprises me is the player who was out for almost a year has comeback even stronger and better than before. Honestly I am not a Nadal fan ( probably I will cite the reasons some other day) but today he made his not so ardent fan bow down in respect for the qualities that he possesses.
Tennis might not ever witness anyone in future who may surpass his determination and fighting spirit on clay. With every shot you can see the hunger and intensity growing in the eyes of this champion. The way he pounces on the balls is like witnessing a cheetah in motion moving smoothly to hunt its prey and the more the match goes on, the better he seems to become in terms of agility and shot making.
Players including the great ones have lost in the past when they have squandered chances to win the matches. But with Rafa, you know that it doesn't matter as on clay, he knows for sure that playing point by point is the best strategy and if there is anyone who can pull himself away from the clutches of the jaws of the tiger, it's him and only him.
For me, the highlight was witnessing Rafa make even the longest rallies in the game look so easy and effortless. During the semi finals, Even 21 points shot rallies where Novak Djokovic ended up panting, he seems to be like he has just hit an ace.
The point here is not that how gifted Nadal is but the fact that how much effort he has put in to reach to a place like this. Obviously everyone has their own vulnerabilities and so does Rafa but the process through which he has transformed his vulnerabilities into his biggest strengths is the point to note here. Day in and out working hard, ensuring that he is never behind in his efforts to succeed has been the biggest highlight for me when I look at him. A 9 month layoff is bound to create doubts in your mind but the way he has progressed destroying one opponent after the other is the hallmark of a warrior who has been chiseled into a diamond through the process of taking one step at a time and focusing on his inner strengths.
How many of us have the confidence that if we comeback after a year on our jobs, we will perform the same way as we did earlier? How many of us have the belief that there is no obstacle that great which can stop us from accomplishing what we have set out for? How many of us think that there is no easy road to success?
I believe that is what separates the winners from us as they know it's not the obstacles they fear, it's the lack of discipline in their work ethic. If you can just stay out there for one more point, you have the ability to make the difference between ending up being a loser or a winner. And in Rafa, I bow down today to the spirit of playing one more point, giving a little bit extra every time he is down and out, ensuring that he reaches where he wants to.
Hail the greatest clay court player ever…..
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