“You may think a player of that level could walk around as if he were the King of the Mambo, but Rafael Nadal is the opposite” - Ariana Geerlings
Rising Spanish player Ariana Geerlings recently offered a glimpse into the world of elite tennis and her experiences with tennis great Rafael Nadal. Geerlings emphasized how down-to-earth and approachable Nadal was during her three-year stint at his academy, despite his iconic status in the sport.
"He imposes even more, but he's a very good guy," Geerlings said during a chat with Punto de Break. "You may think that a player of that level could walk around the club as if he were the king of the mambo, but Rafa is the opposite. There is one more, always very close and familiar, I was very well hosted from the first day, both he and his family."
Reflecting on her time at the Rafa Nadal Academy and her experience in Manacor, Ariana Geerlings spoke about the intense training regime and the influence of Toni Nadal.
"They try to lean a lot on his career, he trains for many hours, and Toni (Nadal) is very present, he trained me a lot. They take the same philosophy of Rafa, a lot of training and little rest, totally focused on the track," she stated.
Geerlings also opened up about a significant challenge she faced in early 2021 - a serious injury that nearly derailed her dreams. Geerlings said about the injury:
"I was 15 years old, I wasn't aware of what it meant. I thought it would be a few months and that's it, until they explained to me what injury it was and how hard it was to recover. It was 14 months of rehabilitation, three hours of physiotherapy and four hours of gym a day. A lot of patience."
Geerlings has set her sights high for the future, aspiring to reach the top of the tennis world.
"I'm not going to settle for being #150 or #100 in the world, I want more... Be number 1 and win a Grand Slam," she said.
Ariana Geerlings' impressive run at the W15 Castellon Tournament
At just 18 years old, Ariana Geerlings made a strong impact at the W15 Castellon tournament in 2023. She overcame Kaitlin Quevedo in a challenging quarterfinal match that ended 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Geerlings went on to defeat Nadiya Kolb 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals. However, she was beaten by her compatriot and top seed Angela Fita Boluda in the final 4-6, 6-7 .
Geerlings is currently No. 752 in the WTA rankings, her highest ranking to date, having accumulated a total of 41 points from her matches. Her win-loss record stands at 19-15, translating to a win percentage of approximately 55.88%.