Rafael Nadal is a perfectionist, says Carlos Moya

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Modified 23 May 2020

In an exclusive Tennis Legends vodcast on Euro Sports, Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig provided a sneak peek into the mind of Rafael Nadal. Moya and Roig, both former professional players, are two key members of the 12-time Roland Garros champion's coaching team.

Rafael Nadal is renowned for his winning mentality on the tennis court, and is someone who fights for every point in every match as if his life depends on it. And that apparently has something to do with his obsessive attention to detail.

Carlos Moya said during the interaction that Rafael Nadal has a 'perfectionist' attitude on the court. The 33-year-old left-hander does not like to miss a ball even during practice, which helps him stay focused in matches.

"To me he's a perfectionist," Moya said. "He wants to do all well. Even when we practice, we do like duel, it's 40 balls, unbelievable, so hard. If he misses the first ball, he's upset. So I tell him 'Come on, you're not gonna have playing and hitting like that. None of your rallies you're going to have is gonna last 40 balls. So don't worry the point is gonna finish before.'"

Moya added that Rafael Nadal is a fierce competitor who is very demanding with himself, and that he wants to feel 100% for every point in every match. And when he is not able to achieve that, he gets stressed.

"He always wants to be better, he is a competitor," Moya stated. "He never give up. He's very demanding with himself. So that's one of the things that I think make him so good. And on the other side, he gets a lot of stress from that."

The coaching team often needs to step in and ask Rafael Nadal to chill and relax a bit, because they understand it is not humanly impossible to stay at 100% during 80-odd matches during a season.

"It's not just about winning, he wants to win and play well. He wants to feel 100%," Moya said. "He wants to play well every point and that's not possible. So we have to put a lot of pressure on that with him, to chill, relax a little bit. You need to play 100% maybe 10, 15 matches per year. The rest you have to try to win and to stay in shape, practice well. And then when you have these important matches try to be at 100% but it's impossible to play 80 matches a year playing your best, that's impossible."

Moya reveals what it's like to be a key member of Rafael Nadal's coaching team

Francisco Roig and Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal
Francisco Roig and Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal

Carlos Moya said that there is a good camaraderie among the members of Rafael Nadal's coaching team, who unanimously agree on 99% of all things discussed. The team has clear expectations from the player, which helps them arrive at decisions easily.

"I mean, you never agree 100 percent with everyone. That's that's not possible," Moya stated. "But the thing is that what I said before, that the whole team we have a clear view of what we want from Rafa, that we agree on 99 percent of things."

The 1998 Roland Garros champion also mentioned that along with Francisco Roig and agent Carlos Costa, who was a good player himself, the trio have a wealth of combined tennis experience that hugely benefits Rafael Nadal.

"It's good to have four eyes, two different voices, to pass the message to Rafa. And I have to say that we also rely on Carlos Costa, Carlos is his agent, but he was a top player before. So he's also a voice of experience, of knowledge of tennis. We can talk to him not as an agent, but also as someone who knows about tennis a lot. So I think we fit very well. We talk a lot."

Moya also said that there were no ego issues within the coaching team, since everyone realizes the importance of putting personal issues aside when working for a player like Rafael Nadal.

"With the changes we wanted, with the serve and some other things we were talking a lot, he was sending videos and he was giving his opinion, we were talking. Once you have a player with that calibre, you have to put your ego aside and work for him. That's something that I have no doubt about that. And I think Francisco [Roig] is the best partner and part of the team that I can have, I am very happy with him and with the rest of the team."
Published 23 May 2020
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