Novak Djokovic hits the ball cleaner, but his pace in practice is not as high as Rafael Nadal: Emil Ruusuvuori

Rafael Nadal (L) and Novak Djokovic at the 2014 Sony Open
Rafael Nadal (L) and Novak Djokovic at the 2014 Sony Open
Namit Kumar

Rafael Nadal's rigorous training sessions have always been a part of his aura and legacy. The Spaniard is famous for practicing as hard and with as much focus as he plays in his professional matches.

In a recent interview with The First Serve, Emil Ruusuvuori talked about what it felt like to train with Rafael Nadal at his academy in Mallorca. The Finn revealed that Nadal hits the ball hard and high from the very first rally, which makes him truly unique.

"Last two years we went to his academy in Mallorca to practice and both times I was able to practice with him," Ruusuvuori said. "So, the first time I was more nervous... and he hits the ball so hard from the first ball. I would say there is nobody with whom you can get this kind of an experience."
Rafael Nadal hitting with Emil Ruusuvuori in Mallorca (🎥 @rnadalacademy)

Emil Ruusuvuori went on to compare the training methodology of Rafael Nadal with that of Novak Djokovic. Ruusuvuori said that even though the Serb hits the ball "cleaner", the intensity at which he operates during practice is not as frenetic as Nadal.

"It's just a different kind of way with which he approaches practice and of course, how he plays," the Finn said. "Even, say, Novak (Djokovic) is nice, and he hits the ball cleaner. But the pace in the practice is not as high, and that's something very, very different."

Emil Ruusuvuori is currently ranked at a career-high World No. 66. The 22-year-old has produced a string of strong results on hardcourts this year, and is expected by many to make a Slam breakthrough next season.

"Rafael Nadal is a great guy" - Emil Ruusuuori

Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Laver Cup
Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Laver Cup

When he is not participating in tournaments, Rafael Nadal spends most of his time practicing at his academy in the Balearic islands. Emil Ruusuvuori trained with the Spaniard in both 2019 and 2020, and he also won the Rafa Nadal Challenger in 2019.

During the course of the interview, Ruusuvuori called the 20-time Grand Slam champion a great guy. The Finn added that he wishes to be able to train with Nadal and spend more time with him in the future.

"In practice he is so focused and everything that you do not really chat about anything," Ruusuvuori said. "But of course, he is a great guy. And it has been great to get those experiences for me, and hopefully I will get more of them in the future."

Rusuuvuori's interview can be seen in the video below:

Edited by Musab Abid
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