Rafael Nadal’s towel
Posted by: Maria Atalanti
Published on: 06/02/2022Back to Blog
One sport, I often watch, is tennis and specifically the big tournaments, like the Australian Open, that took place recently.
I see these huge players who seem unbeatable, and I am trying to figure out what sets them apart and what is that which makes the difference. I have realized that at this level of championship, almost everyone has excellent technique, is very well-trained and knows all the “tricks” of the game. At the same time, they have courage, determination, intelligence, strength, but perhaps something else. What does it make the difference?
So, what sets them apart? For years now, I began to observe the small details and draw conclusions about the characteristics of the players that have nothing to do with their technique and dynamics.
During Rafael Nadal’s match with Berretini, but also later during the epic match against Medvedev, I have noticed the way Nadal handled the towel he had to wipe the sweat from his face, during the game. I should clarify here that in the last two years, due to the coronavirus, the children, who were there keeping the towel for the players, to give it to them whenever needed, are not there any more. Now each player manages his own towel and places it in his own box at the edge of the pitch. The box of each player has a different colour so as not to cause confusion.
So, Nadal, after wiping himself on the towel, opened it and carefully lay it out, over the box so that it would dry until the next time he required it. This move of order and care made a big impression on me. I must note here that all the other tennis players, without exception, after wiping themselves, throw the towel roughly in their box. Someone even did not hesitate to use his opponent’s towel instead of his own.
I remembered when a few years ago, I had watched another match with Federer this time. Then, there were not the boxes to put on their towels, so I do not know how Federer would handle his towel during the match. Federer’s opponent was a young athlete, incredibly talented and inventive. With his momentum, he had a good chance of winning, since he was playing in his homeland.
Federer, however, had won the match. As the players were leaving, I noticed that Federer had collected all his items from his seat, tidied his towels and then got up to leave. The other player, apart from the fact that he had used an incredible number of towels, had thrown them on the floor and stepped on them. When he got up to leave, he left all the towels on the ground, waiting for someone else to pick them up. I watched him later. His game had not been developed. His impressive talent has not been utilized to the extent he could.
These two great athletes, Federer, and Nadal are of course not so big because they tidy up their towels. Such a simple move, however, gives the characteristics of the way they handle their life and play. They have order and put everything in their place. Their game is organized, but most importantly, their mind is in order, and they clearly see their goals.
Championship sport is a manifestation of human activity that shows that our potential is almost limitless. It shows that purely targeted people are moving steadily ahead of the rest of us.
My intention is not to recommend championships for all of us. Nor the unrestrained path to glory or success. What I am trying to identify and share with you is how we can learn from the qualities and abilities of these so accomplished people and bring more happiness and success into our own lives.
Let us all remember Nadal and his towel when we try at home, at work, in our daily lives in general, to achieve goals and climb peaks. No detail is insignificant, and indeed they are the ones that make the difference. They betray the organization and purity of our minds. The surrounding order brings both order to our spirit and soul. When we are confused or need to make difficult decisions, it would be good to arrange the space around us first. Automatically, our spirit will find itself in an environment more suitable to function positively.
So, let us try it, to see what impact will have on clearing up our thoughts!
Finally, I would like to offer my congratulations to Nadal, who at the age of 36, fought an impressive battle and took an epic victory at the Australian Open, after almost 5.30 hours of play. He taught us that human ability has no limits.