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"When I am upset or lose my concentration, I say, I am not this kind of guy; I like to be positive, not negative" - Rafael Nadal on being booed by Roland Garros crowd in 2005

Rafael Nadal looked back on being booed by the French Open crowd in 2005
Rafael Nadal looked back on being booed by the French Open crowd in 2005

During a press conference at the BNP Paribas Open, Rafael Nadal recalled an incident from Roland Garros in 2005 when the crowd was constantly on his back. The Spaniard said the atmosphere at times was "unplayable" but that his job was to maintain his focus and find a way to carry on.

Nadal made his debut at Roland Garros in 2005. He defeated home favorite Richard Gasquet in the third round, much to the crowd's displeasure, and was drawn to face another Frenchman in Sebastien Grosjean in the last 16.

In 2005, Rafa Nadal received his first ever Grand Slam trophy from Zinedine Zidane at the French Open 🤩🏆Nadal is still winning Grand Slam titles 17 years later 🐐#AusOpen | @RafaelNadal https://t.co/C5TS8ADO48

The 21-time Grand Slam champion began the clash in dominant fashion, taking the first set 6-4. After a controversial line call early in the second set that went in Nadal's favor, the audience decided to take matters into their own hands. They continually booed the Mallorcan, making it impossible for him to serve.

The jeering continued for minutes on end, despite repeated requests for calm from the chair umpire and Grosjean himself. After play resumed several minutes later, Grosjean took control of the second set, winning it 6-3.

Rafael Nadal at 18 years old was bullied and whistled by 15,000 people in the 2005 french open.Later he went on to win the tournament.@pavyg if you don't know don't speak.video credits: @WivoRN . twitter.com/pavyg/status/1… https://t.co/UjkqA6cOmY

But Nadal was unfazed and bounced back in the third set to take a 3-0 lead. An unexpected downpour forced the match to be abandoned, but the Spaniard returned the following day to close out a 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win.

Speaking at his press conference after beating Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters on Friday, the Mallorcan reminisced about his state of mind during the ordeal.

19-0!The crowd may have been thrilled by the Nick Kyrgios Traveling Carnival of Tennis & Tantrums, but Rafael Nadal wasn't interested.Instead the Spaniard stayed focused on the fight, coming through an amazingly hard-hitting match to reach the semifinals, 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 https://t.co/FwPPfc1edm

The World No. 4 admitted pointed out that while some players managed to weaponize their anger when confronted by such a crowd, he was not capable of doing so. Instead, he relied on positive emotions to steer him through difficult times both on and off the court.

"I've always had a very basic point of view and it's to do the things that are going to help you play better or win more. You can be sad, you can be very upset - if that helps you play better or win more, do it. But that's not true in my case," Nadal said. "When I am upset or lose my concentration, I say, I am not this kind of guy [who gets upset]. I like to be positive, not negative. Not just on the tennis court, in my normal life too."

The Spaniard added that the atmosphere in Paris was extremely hostile but that it was not his job to control the crowd. Nadal asserted that he simply tried to do what kept him going, which he could not have achieved by becoming sad or upset about the crowd's behavior.

"So, of course, I remember that match and for a moment it was unplayable, but was not my job to stop that. It was the referee's job to stop this atmosphere that was making it impossible to play tennis in that moment," he said. "But then I think we stopped for light or rain, I don't know, and then we come back the next day. But I just tried to do the things that help me to keep going."

Rafael Nadal will take on Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters

Rafael Nadal takes on Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters
Rafael Nadal takes on Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters

Following his victory against Nick Kyrgios, Rafael Nadal will square off against compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the 2022 Indian Wells Masters on Saturday. Alcaraz defeated defending champion Cameron Norrie in straight sets in the quarterfinals to set up a meeting with his idol.

A Alcaraz vs Nadal semi in Indian Wells! 🔥Passionating clash of generations at @BNPPARIBASOPEN! Carlos Alcaraz mastered defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-3, while Rafael Nadal has beaten Nick Kyrgios after 2h45 of fight https://t.co/ir7a6mNk81

Nadal won the only previous meeting between the two players, at the 2021 Madrid Masters, in straight sets. A win in the semifinals would mark the Spaniard's 20th straight victory of the season.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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