Records and rivalries aren’t the fuel that power Rafael Nadal.
The world No. 2 says there’s one simple reason why he still competes: passion.
In an Instagram Live video, the king of clay says his love of the game is his primary power source.
“My motivation is very easy to understand: I love what I am doing,” Nadal says at about 22:20 of the video below. “I feel super-lucky person for all the experiences that I am able to enjoy because of tennis.
“So honestly I want to keep doing the things that I like.”
The two-time Olympic gold-medal champion says the joy of competing is what drives him most.
“So it doesn’t matter if I achieved a lot or not that much,” Nadal said. “I like to be out there. I like to play in the best stadiums. I like to play tennis. I like the competition.
“So I am just trying to stay healthy and to do my job and do my routines every day to be ready when I have the chance to come back. That’s all that I can do today. I am just trying to do my best to be ready for what’s coming later.”
Conceding he has heard criticism over the years that his body could not withstand the physically-punishing style he played, Nadal said the motivation for capturing his fourth US Open crown last September was not about silencing the skeptics—it was about achieving his own ambition.
“I have never played to silence anyone’s mouths,” Nadal said. “My motivation has never been what others can think of me or to show something to those who thought I couldn’t do it. It is a context from which I try to run away also in my personal life. Ambition and motivation must be personal. You have to have it for personal reasons, not external.
“It is a spirit of revenge that conceptually I do not like to have and I escape from it. You can’t compete or get things from resentment. My motivations are positive, and not external and negative.”
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve