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The record seven-time Roland Garros champion
Without question what makes Rafael Nadal the greatest clay court player of all time is his unbelievable strength of character.
As a youngster his uncle Toni trained him in much the same way that young boys were treated in ancient Sparta. Rafa’s family were often appalled by Toni’s methods, which included making him train in hot weather without water breaks, never praising any of his achievements, continually telling his nephew that he wasn’t good enough, that he hadn’t won anything yet and needed to improve every aspect of his game.
But how much of Rafa’s strength of character came from his uncle and how much from the man himself?
From a young age Rafa was obsessed by sport, whether it be soccer or tennis. Defeat for Rafa at anything was nothing less than a total disaster. But win or lose, Rafa’s family never made him feel any more than a normal child and told him that he must always respect his opponent no matter what the outcome.
So on one side there was uncle Toni driving his nephew forward and on the other, the family telling Rafa that everything would be all right and that he should enjoy his life and concentrate on being a good person.
And there in the middle of all this was Rafa, taking it all in, enduring, listening and developing the strength of character which manifests itself as the—"King of Clay”.
Seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is the greatest clay court player of all time and the undisputed "King of Clay"!