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Rafa Hardcover – August 23, 2011
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Take a glimpse behind the curtain of both his private and professional life - it's as exciting as Rafa himself * Woman's Own * Between them they have served up a winner -- Simon Redfern * Independent * Rafa: My Story is a terrific sporting memoir, full of memorable anecdotes and stamped with the authority of a ghostwriter who earned the complete trust of his subject. It is hard to imagine how Nadal could have done any more to get the best out of his own raw material. And it is to Carlin's enourmous credit that the book is a true reflection of the man, in every sense -- Ed Smith * New Statesman * --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Rafael Nadal was born in 1986 in Mallorca, Spain. Currently ranked #1 in the world, he has won 9 Grand Slam titles and a career "Golden Slam" all four majors plus a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. He lives in Mallorca, Spain. John Carlin, originally from the UK, is currently a Senior International writer for El Pais, the world's leading Spanish-language newspaper. He wrote the book that became the feature film Invictus.
Top customer reviews
The book has a unique format in which the first person account by Nadal is interspersed with chapters by John Carlin. The chapters by Nadal mainly talk about some of the important matches of his fledging tennis career, starting with THE MATCH - the Wimbledon 2008 final; his surprisingly strong family ties and its impact on his game; his domineering uncle and coach for 20 years - Toni and of course, his never say die spirit which is visible in most of his matches, among other things.
As the chapters go on, the book slowly uncovers the duality of Rafael Nadal - the one on the tennis court and the other off it. The one on the court is a gladiator who fights till the end, never gives up, doesn't know what fear is and ruthlessly decimates his opposition. The one off the tennis court is a soft, insecure lad , a boy next door, who is scared of dog, who is uncomfortable driving a bicycle or a motorbike and one who is scared of flying in a helicopter ! The contrast cannot be more starker.
The importance he gives to his family and friends and in turn their impact on his game is mentioned throughout the book. After a remarkable year of 2008 when he won both French Open and Wimbledon and became No.1 for the first time, 2009 was a big let down, when he was dogged by injuries, when he lost in French Open for the first time and eventually lost the No.1 ranking. As he writes, this dip in his career was as much due to the separation of his parents as due to external factors like injuries and loss of form. In fact, according to him, the mental trauma he experienced due to his parent's separation was actually the root cause for most of his injuries during that time.
In the final part of the book he also mentions his rather strange relationship with his uncle and coach - Toni. Though he gives a lot of credit to Toni for installing in him the fighting spirit of a gladiator and making him the tennis player he is now, he also mentions couple of incidents where he thinks Toni crossed the line. There are nuggets spread throughout book about their relationship and if you connect the dots you feel as if Nadal is only 'tolerating' Toni because of his gratitude towards Toni for making him what he is now. But again, that is only my interpretation.
Overall, RAFA is an inspirational read. Through a living example the book tells that to succeed you have to make sacrifices, to succeed you need to have discipline and dedication, to succeed you have to fight till the last point. Nothing comes easy in this world, but if you put an honest effort, nothing is too difficult to achieve !
The sweetness of his connection to his home island was evident. He is a strong role model of hard work and keeping your head on straight. Rafa will always be one of the top names of tennis; to read of his work ethic and humility was impressive. There is only one Rafa Nadal.
If you enjoy the game it's definitely a book to read from one of this generation masters. (I'm a Federer/Sampras fan so no bias here.)
The book uses the 2008 Wimbledon against Roger Federer and the 2010 US Open against Novak Djokovic as it's backdrops, but delves into Rafa's entire life story, as well as the intertwined stories of those who surround him. The first half of each chapter is Rafa speaking, and the latter half is John Carlin giving us a birds-eye view on the same topics (with lots of great input from Rafa's family, team and coach). We learn virtually everything of significance in terms of how Rafa became the player he is. The most interesting parts to me were Rafa and Carlin's discussions about the relationship between Toni Nadal (his uncle and life-long coach) and Rafa, which seems to be the key to Rafa's unbelievable success.
I'm surprised this book isn't brought up more often by tennis analysts and commentators (I remember Open by Andre Agassi getting a lot more press when it came out), because it actually answers a lot of the questions and queries people have about Rafa and his entourage.
This will be a pleasant treat for anyone who is a student of exceptional performance in any field- this is not only for your tennis and Nadal fans. The mind of a winner is an intricate and exceptional, and I feel lucky to have been able to look into the mind of my favorite champion.