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Rafa by Rafael Nadal & John Carlin

Rafa by Rafael Nadal & John Carlin

Author:Rafael Nadal & John Carlin [Nadal, Rafael & Carlin, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Autobiography.Sports
ISBN: 9781401303921
Google: GDVb1trIKGQC
Barnesnoble:
Goodreads: 12294949
Publisher: Hyperion
Published: 2011-08-01T00:00:00+00:00


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Mallorcans

It was no surprise when Sebastián Nadal and his wife, Ana María, rejected the apparently inviting offer their son received during his teens to take up a tennis scholarship in Barcelona. And it was even less of a surprise that he should have responded to his parents’ decision with relief. The island exercises a powerful pull over Rafa Nadal: he always misses home when he is away competing in international tournaments; he always rushes back at the earliest possible opportunity, by the fastest available means.

It says much about his competitive grit, and something about the gap between his sporting and his private personas, that he only feels fully himself when he is at home. Nadal the tennis player triumphs on tennis courts everywhere; outside Mallorca, Nadal the man is like a fish out of water.

The reasons why have to do with the strong sense of identity that characterizes the islanders, but also with the fact that Mallorca is the one place in the world where he can feel normal, where the nature of the inhabitants is such that they relate to him as he thinks people should: not on account of what he has achieved, but by virtue of who he is.

The Nadals take pride in the belief that they define, and are defined by, Mallorcan culture, nowhere more manifestly so than in the diamond-hard tightness of their family ties, the foundation on which Rafa’s drive and mental resilience are built. The strength of the family bond in Mallorca is unusual even in the context of a country as rooted in Catholic tradition as Spain. Another characteristic of the Spanish is their loyalty and sense of belonging to the town or village of their forebears. But in this instance, too, the Mallorcans take things a step further, all the more so in the case of the Nadals, who keep their closest relationships within their home town of Manacor, the island’s third biggest town.

Sebastián and Ana María were born and raised there, as were their parents, and their parents’ parents; so too were Rafa and his girlfriend of more than five years, María Francisca. So intimately does Rafa identify with his birthplace that it is hard to imagine him having a relationship with a woman from anywhere else. His natural habitat is Manacor, and for him to be sentimentally involved with someone from Miami or Monte Carlo would seem almost as unnatural as the crossing of two different species.

Rafa’s extended family, stretching three generations, all live in Manacor or in the town’s satellite beach resort of Porto Cristo. And Rafa’s closest male friends are almost all Manacor natives too, not least among them Rafael Maymó, his physical therapist. Two intimates from out of town, Carlos Moyá and his physical trainer Joan Forcades, were born close by in Palma, the capital of Mallorca.

As for the presence of two Catalans, Carlos Costa and Jordi Robert, on Nadal’s globe-trotting professional team, that has an explanation too. For Mallorcans there are two classes of “foreigners”: Catalans and the rest.



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