"I'm like Rafael Nadal on this, I think it's up to my coach to have this skill" - Arthur Rinderknech on why he doesn't have a mental coach

Rafael Nadal at the 2019 ATP Finals
Rafael Nadal at the 2019 ATP Finals
Namit Kumar

Rafael Nadal's mental strength has been touted by many as the biggest factor in his success over the years. However, Nadal is known to keep a very close-knit group around him, and many in his team come from his family.

The Spaniard doesn't avail the services of a specialist mental health professional, and Arthur Rinderknech has a similar approach to the matter. In a recent interview with WeLoveTennis, Rinderknech claimed that he expects his core team itself to focus on the mental side of things.

"I'm like Rafael Nadal on this, I think it's up to my coach to have this skill," Rinderknech said. "I cannot separate it from the game, from training, from knowing the player on a daily basis, from his personal life."

The likes of Petra Kvitova, Iga Swiatek, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov have all used sports psychologists of some kind over the last few years. Dominic Thiem has also repeatedly stressed on the importance of mental health, especially after winning his maiden Slam title at the US Open last year.

Arthur Rinderknech
Arthur Rinderknech

Arthur Rinderknech also highlighted how different players have different approaches to the issue. The Frenchman acknowledged that some players may be more comfortable with a mental trainer than the main coach doubling up as a psychologist.

"I see it that way," Rinderknech said. "But I can also understand that others are more comfortable with a clearly defined mental coach."

Rinderknech has had a fairly decent season so far. Despite spending most of his career prior to this year at the Challenger level, the 26-year-old is currently at a career-high ranking of No. 70.

Rinderknech's results in 2021 include quarterfinal appearances at Lyon, Bastad and Gstaad, as well as a semifinal showing in Kitzbuhel.

Rafael Nadal has talked about mental health in the past

Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Barcelona Open
Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal has himself spoken publicly in the past about the importance of mental health in elite-level sport. A couple of months ago, the Spaniard revealed that he goes through bouts of stress like any other athlete.

In the same breath, however, he also reminded the fans that most sportspersons are lucky to do what they are most passionate about.

"Everybody approaches the issues in a different way," Nadal had told CBS News. "We are under pressure because the competition makes you feel more stress. But, at the same time, we are super lucky, you know, because we are able to work on one of our hobbies."

The 35-year-old will return to competitive tennis action in 2022, with a chronic foot injury having kept him out for most of the current season. Nadal has been dealing with the problem since 2005, and it flared up during his semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros this year.

Edited by Musab Abid
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