Creativity, courage, persistence, self-control, prudence, perspective and humility: seven psychological virtues that explain Rafael Nadal’s mental strength


Rafael Nadal after winning his 21st Grand Slam by defeating Medvedev at the Australian Open/EFE/EPA/Joel Carrett

At the moment, Rafael Nadal is the tennis player who has won the most Grand Slams in the history of this sport: 21, one more than Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, both with 20.

To date, he can be considered the greatest of all time.

At 35 years old, he has won Roland Garros 13 times, the US Open four times, two on the London grass at Wimbledon and, with the victory this Sunday, January 30, 2022, the Australian Open twice.

He was not the favorite in Melbourne, after a serious injury for months, but he has achieved it by coming back, in addition, two sets to the most fit tennis player until yesterday: the Russian Daniil Medvedev.

How is it possible? Can you explain why Nadal is able to overcome tests like Hercules?

We turn to psychology to lay out the foundations of your mental toughness.

The psychologist Pilar Conde, technical director of Clínicas Origen, has joined the debate to explain why Nadal has the “mental strength of a giant”.

“It is an example of optimal emotional management in situations of adversity,” says Conde, who collects the seven basic strengths stated by the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman.

“These are qualities that complement each other and that Nadal has exhibited throughout his career,” says Pilar Conde, who briefly develops them in Nadal’s game and attitude.

Creativity: His ability to create new point opportunities on the track is notorious, without his rival being able to sense them.

Courage: Don’t shy away from commitment. Despite his latest injury, he went to Melbourne with hope, enthusiasm and enthusiasm, without fear of defeat.

Persistence: Never gives a ball for lost.

self control: In situations of adversity, he has and demonstrates the ability not to lose concentration or sink. He is aware of his strengths and knows how to take advantage of them.

Perspective: Planning of your career in all terms, short, medium and long, global work and vision of the whole in your career.

Prudence: Although the marker benefits her, she is cautious in expressions and celebrations. In his press conferences and interviews, he is cautious when making predictions and speculating about his rivals.

Modesty: Recognize your opponents and your own limitations.

Leadership on the track and in society

There are seven great support points on which Nadal’s mental strength stands, but also his social leadership, the psychologist emphasizes.

A leadership that Pilar Conde explains as follows: “Rafa generates motivation, provides energy to meet difficult challenges, opens awareness to the possibility of knowing that difficulties do not determine the result, but the management of them.”

«He does not avoid the commitment when responding to controversial issues such as Djokovic’s non-vaccination; He also does not hesitate to take a broom and start bailing out water in some floods together with his neighbors », he adds.

The leadership traits that the psychologist points out are civility, justice, humility, courage and integrity. “Values ​​backed by a great consistency that she maintains over the years under the spotlight of public opinion and serves as an example to all,” completes the expert.

Rafael Nadal poses for EFE with the cup of his second victory at the Australian Open, his 21st Grand Slam/EFE/EPA/Joel Carrett

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