Nadal says his family taught him fighting spirit and values
Reuters, INDIAN WELLS, CA
Rafael Nadal has thanked his uncle Toni and the rest of his family for teaching him from an early age how to control his emotions on the pitch and fight for every point after his epic win at Indian Wells on Saturday.
The Spaniard overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set to beat young American Sebastian Korda 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) and advance to the third round of the tournament.
“The reason I’ve been fighting my whole tennis career or having the right self-control or having the right attitude and fighting spirit is because I grew up with that. kind of education,” Nadal told reporters after the game. “My uncle, my family, never allowed me to break a racket, never allowed me to swear or give up a game… The most important thing was the fact that I grew up with it. the right values.”
The 21-time Grand Slam champion has won all 16 of his matches this year, but said despite all his success he does not possess superhuman confidence.
“If people think I’m a believer all the time I’m coming back, that’s not true. I’m not like that. I don’t have this incredible confidence that even if I’m 5-2, okay, I’m going to come back – no,” Nadal said.
“But in my mind, okay, it’s almost impossible. I don’t want to give up. I’m going to keep trying… I’m just trying to keep going and make it a bit more difficult for the opponent,” he added.
Korda said he noticed Nadal changing his strategy with his back against the wall, trailing 5-2 in the third.
“He started playing very differently. He got closer to the baseline,” Korda told reporters. “I could see he was a little worried, changing tactics. I just didn’t play good games and he took advantage of that.
While victory was not assured, Nadal said it would have been if he had simply laid down.
“In that position, in 100 matches you’re probably going to lose 90,” he said. “But if you give up, you’re going to lose 100. If you’re there, you can gain 10 percent.”
World number 3 Aryna Sabalenka suffered a shock defeat in her Indian Wells opener on Saturday, losing to Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round.
The Belarusian committed eight double faults and converted just three of his nine break point chances on a hot day.
Paolini said she was as surprised as anyone to come out on the winning side of the match.
“I’m so happy. I didn’t expect this moment,” she said. “I’m just happy to be here in the third round. I think I played an amazing game. The crowd was amazing. I enjoyed it very much.”
Sabalenka was one of the favorites to win the event after world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and world No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova pulled out before the start of the WTA 1000 tournament.
Sabalenka follows Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza out of the tournament after the top two players lost on Friday.
In women’s doubles on Saturday, Chinese pair Xu Yifan and Zhaoxuan Yang beat duo Magda Linette of Poland and Chan Hao-ching of Taiwan 6-1, 6-3.
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