Marc Lopez thinks of Nadal as a player who is close to perfection

"I found it a bit difficult to give instructions to a player who is close to perfection" - Marc Lopez on his relationship with Rafael Nadal as coach

Shyam Kamal
ANALYST

Marc Lopez recently revealed that the transformation from friend to coach of Rafael Nadal was not an easy one. He said it was made even more difficult since it involved critiquing a player whose game was virtually perfect.

Lopez was a late addition to Nadal's entourage and the move has worked wonders for the Spaniard. Since his appointment as coach in December 2021, Nadal has yet to lose a competitive match. Going 7-0 in 2022, he already has one ATP tour title under his belt and is three matches away from a record 21st Grand Slam.

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Speaking in an exclusive interview with ATPTour.com, Marc Lopez expanded on the new professional relationship he has undertaken with his long-time friend. The 39-year-old revealed that after the initial shock, he gradually grew accustomed to his coaching role.

From friend to coach

Our chat with the new member of @RafaelNadal's coaching team: Marc L贸pez
09:03 AM 路 Jan 23, 2022

The Spaniard now feels more comfortable pointing out things the World No. 5 needs to change in his game. This came from the understanding that it was for Nadal's own good.

"I鈥檝e shared many moments with Rafa, but as a friend. Now it鈥檚 different. I found it a bit difficult to give instructions to a player who is close to perfection. Although I always say that from the outside, there are things that can be improved," Lopez said. "I know Rafa very well. I鈥檝e been watching his matches for many years and I know what he鈥檚 thinking when he plays. I feel obliged to tell him things because I want the best for him."

Lopez regards the two roles he has served in the 20-time Grand Slam champion's life as equally essential. Despite being a coach, he stressed that it was important to alleviate Nadal's doubts as a friend off the court.

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"Off court, Rafa is a person who has his [own] thoughts and doubts. My role is to try and give him a hand with as much as possible," Lopez said. "On court I change my mindset and tell him what I鈥檓 seeing, and off court we have the same relationship as before. His surroundings are very important to him."

"I was going through a difficult time in my career when the opportunity to play doubles with Rafael Nadal came up" - Marc Lopez

Marc Lopez attributes his success as a doubles player to Nadal

Marc Lopez also credited Rafael Nadal for being the spark that began his career as a doubles player. Lopez recalled how the opportunity to play doubles with Nadal came at a low point in his career when he was considering retirement.

From being a singles player up to that point, Lopez made the switch to playing doubles and ended up winning a Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open. Lopez attributed all his success to the first time he partnered with Nadal at the 2009 Qatar Open, a tournament the Spanish duo went on to conquer.

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"When [the 2008] season was over, I was going through a difficult time in my career. I considered stopping. I didn鈥檛 know what to do," Lopez said. "That鈥檚 when the opportunity to play doubles with Rafa in Doha came up. That's when I realized I was good at doubles. We won the tournament, beating the World No. 1 pair on the way."
It's another Olympic gold for Rafael Nadal!

He and Marc Lopez win the men's doubles

bbc.in/2bbuYCY
06:10 AM 路 Aug 13, 2016

The most notable achievement of Lopez's career was a doubles gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which he won with Nadal as his partner. The Spaniard called it his favorite memory with the World No. 5 and hailed Nadal for making the effort to play doubles for his country.

Lopez referred to their time together as "two amazing, intense weeks," made sweeter by a gold medal at the end.

"My favorite memory with Nadal is the Olympic gold medal. Rafa made a huge effort to play in both disciplines, and he put his trust in me. People don鈥檛 realize, but all the tennis players were in one apartment," Lopez said. "I slept in a room with Rafa with two small beds. It was really amazing, two intense weeks that ended perfectly with that gold medal."
Marc Lopez makes a speech as Rafael Nadal laughs after they defeated Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in the doubles final during the Exxon Mobil Qatar Open Tennis on January 9, 2009 in Doha, Qatar.
5:05 PM 路 Oct 25, 2018

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
 
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