Nadal stresses need to set goals, strive for constant improvement

Madrid, Oct 19 (EFE).- Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal said here Tuesday it is essential in his quest for continuous improvement to work toward achieving concrete goals, insisting that otherwise “things become much more difficult.”

He made his remarks during a colloquium with the chairman and chief executive officer of Madrid-based multinational telecommunications company Telefonica, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, on the opening day of enlightED 2021 Hybrid Edition, a major world conference on education, technology and innovation.

The 35-year-old said he gets up every day “eager to learn,” adding that training at all times with the goal of improving one or more aspects of his game is imperative.

“Mentally, that really helps you to be alert and active. I don’t understand life any other way,” he said at the event organized by the Telefonica Foundation in conjunction with Spain’s IE University and the South Summit innovation platform. “Working and training for the sake of training, without any goal to get better … makes no sense. It’s boring.”

Nadal, winner of a record 13 French Opens and co-holder along with arch-rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic of the men’s Grand Slam record (20 titles apiece), is currently recovering from a left-foot injury that forced him to bring his 2021 season to an early close.

The Spaniard, who gave no indication of when he will return to the courts, focused his remarks on the values he lives by and the role of education in today’s society.

“With effort, dedication and humility you always achieve something, which is to make progress” toward your objectives, Nadal said. “There’s no greater personal satisfaction than going home knowing that you’ve done everything possible to achieve your goals,”

The native of the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca also emphasized the importance of having the same team around him throughout his illustrious career.

“That allows you to establish a relationship of trust that enables you to say things with total freedom. That’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. Having people at my side who are willing to tell me things how they see them, without thinking how or when they should tell me,” Nadal said.

He also pointed to the need for self-criticism and to “recognize when you make a mistake, without looking for excuses.”

Referring to his own foundation, which marked its 10th anniversary this year, Nadal said it has been a source of great satisfaction for him to have helped 900 low-income families.

“I was lucky to have been born where I was born, and life has been good to me in every sense. It’s only fair that I should give something back to society. People who have been fortunate have an obligation to be role models for society,” the tennis great said.

Spanish King Felipe VI, who presided over the conference’s opening ceremony, asked at the end of the colloquium what tools the Manacor, Spain-based Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar uses to spot young talented players.

Nadal responded that technology has taken on a bigger role in tennis training but that “without passion, without effort and without people around you who help you” it is very difficult to achieve one’s goals. EFE


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