I am of course talking about my tennis idol, Rafael “Rafa” Nadal, a 13-time Grand Slam-winner, who, as of this writing, has won his quarter-final match and on his way to play against another tennis great, Roger Federer, in the semi-finals of the 2014 Australian Open. (Update: Rafael Nadal continued his domination of Roger Federer, creating more distance in their long rivalry with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3 win in the Australian Open semifinals Friday at Rod Laver Arena. Nadal’s record against Federer now stands at 23-10. Nadal will now be seeking his second Grand Slam title in Melbourne and his 14th overall against another Swiss, No. 8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka.)
But, what I am writing about and sharing the video later with you is how Nadal wins more games and losses fewer games with his “routines”.
Nadal calls them his “routines”, but a psychologist describes it as some form of an obsessive-compulsive behavior.
The “routines” being talked about here are the repetitive pre-service preparations that Nadal does behind the service line before he finally tosses the ball and hit it.
One may call it Nadal’s mannerism or habit, but he goes through an identical routine every serve, which includes choosing the ball, pocketing one of them, picking his butt, touching each shoulder, tucking his hair behind both ears and touching his nose.
Nadal has been observed to have his way of arranging his towels when seated or when distributing it to the ball boys for his use.
It has been noticed also that Nadal leaves his water bottles lined up with the labels facing a certain way every time he resumes playing.
Nadal also refuses to step on lines between points, and one Australian player told a story about how Nadal takes his shirt on and off repeatedly before leaving the locker room.
It is said that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness, one of the most common anxiety disorders.
I do not know if this is true with Rafa, but I would like to believe that those are just Rafa’s quirks and the rituals are prelude to his brilliant display of high quality tennis every time and any where he plays tennis.
(Final update: Stanislas Wawrinka made history by claiming his first ever Grand Slam in the Australian Open beating the ailing Nadal, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3, thus improving outright his world ranking from No. 8 to No. 3.)
The video of Rafa’s “routines” was taken during the 2013 US Open.