by Rafael Nadal, John Carlin


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What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport?

Rafael Nadal has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success.

It begins in Mallorca, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four and taught humility and respect by his parents, Nadal has managed the uncommon feat of becoming an acclaimed global celebrity while remaining a gracious, hardworking role model for people in all walks of life.

Now he takes us behind the scenes, from winning the Wimbledon 2008 final—described by John McEnroe as “the greatest game of tennis” he had ever seen—to the family problems that brought him low in 2009 and the numerous injuries that have threatened his career.

With candor and intelligence, Nadal brings readers on his dramatic and triumphant journey, never losing sight of the prize he values above all others: the unity and love of his family.

From RAFA:

"During a match, you are in a permanent battle to fight back your everyday vulnerabilities, bottle up your human feelings. The more bottled up they are, the greater your chances of winning, so long as you’ve trained as hard as you play and the gap in talent is not too wide between you and your rival. The gap in talent with Federer existed, but it was not impossibly wide. It was narrow enough, even on his favorite surface in the tournament he played best, for me to know that if I silenced the doubts and fears, and exaggerated hopes, inside my head better than he did, I could beat him. You have to cage yourself in protective armor, turn yourself into a bloodless warrior. It’s a kind of self-hypnosis, a game you play, with deadly seriousness, to disguise your own weaknesses from yourself, as well as from your rival."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401310929
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/22/2012
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 104,893
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.84(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rafael Nadal has won a total of ten Grand Slam titles and a career “Golden Slam”—all four majors plus a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

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 film Invictus.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Cast of Characters ix

Chapter 1 The Silence of the Centre Court 1

"Clark Kent and Superman" 18

Chapter 2 The Dynamic Duo 26

Uncle Toni 49

Chapter 3 The Football Star that Never Was 58

The Clan 77

Chapter 4 Hummingbird 80

Highly Strung 104

Chapter 5 Fear of Winning 115

Mallorcans 140

Chapter 6 "An Invasion of the Purest Joy" 145

The Longest Day 167

Chapter 7 Mind Over Matter 172

Murder on the Orient Express 194

Chapter 8 Paradise Lost 199

Rafa's Women 222

Chapter 9 On Top of the World 229

Manacor 247

Career Highlights 249

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Rafa 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Bookwoorm More than 1 year ago
I'm not finished the book yet, I'm only halfway through, but I must say that I'm thoroughly enjoying this beautiful book. The wisdom of Rafa, his family and team is poetic. If you are a person that enjoys a book written by someone strong in character and morality then you will enjoy this book. You learn how close of a connection Rafa has with his family and you start feeling like you want to be a part of the clan - because it is so loving and grounding. If you love tennis, there is plenty of that in there too but not overwhelming - everything is well balanced. There are life lessons to be learned from this book and it reinforces the love we all have for Rafa. You learn how connected he really is to tennis and the mental strength it begs him to have every day of his life. Also I must add that I'm really proud of Rafa. Most celebrities (sports and otherwise) really over promote their books but it seems to me that Rafa just wants to strengthen the relationship he has with his fans and I like that. And that is just what this book does.
sarvo More than 1 year ago
As i read the book i love how accurate Rafa and John express how Rafa is in life and in tennis. A really good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I'm a huge Rafa Nadal fan and this book did not disappoint me. He is very deserving of all the good things that have come his way. It was very refreshing to read about a close knit family especially because of all the tabloid families that exist in the new today. I highly recommend this book whether you are a tennis fan or not.
NatSko12 More than 1 year ago
The Man behind the Racquet The title basically explains the book; Rafael Nadal’s memoir of how he became a tennis player. It begins in Mallorca, in the Mediterranean Sea, there Rafael was coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four, taught humility and respect. Nadal has balanced out being a world renowned celebrity while still being down to earth and a great role model. The book goes back and forth connecting things from his past to how they have helped him in his future. He tells the story behind the greatest win of his life, Wimbledon 2008, described as the greatest tennis match ever seen. Above all Rafael shares what he values most the unity and love of his family. All the fame and fortune that Rafael has received hasn’t changed him. This is one of the messages he is trying to get across. He was taught by his Uncle Toni at a very young age to never celebrate his wins. This may seem like such a cruel thing to do, but it has made Rafael very humble for every opportunity he gets. The biggest thing Nadal tries to make readers understand is that his family is the most important thing to him. They encouraged him and made him who he is. Even though it seemed he had a tough upbringing, Rafael disagrees with this. Without the tough love he received from his Uncle Toni he would not have the mental state of mind that he has to play tennis. The story jumped around too much at times and did not flow quite as well as it could have. That was really the only problem, but the rest was fantastic. The fact that it was not written just about his huge win at Wimbledon in 2008, but how he acquired that place and who influenced him on the way there, changed my point of view of every tennis player being way to confident and outgoing. After reading this it is hard for anyone not to like him. Also the descriptions gave such a visual and were so vivid; it felt as if you were living each moment with him on that court in 2008. Of course not everyone who reads this will like it, but it is definitely for “Rafa” fans. Nadal gives the feeling that he wants to just tell his story and who he is, instead of promoting a book or basking in the glory of his wins. He is just a normal guy, which probably is the reason why it is so easy and a joy to read. The second best tennis memoir would have to be Open by Andre Agassi because it is such a touching story of what a successful tennis player had to go through to become number one in the world. It is more about Andre Agassi’s history and Rafael Nadal’s is how he deals with life and tennis. Rafa: My Story is definitely a worthwhile read, but really either one is a great.
majid javed More than 1 year ago
Vamos Rafa!!!!
ursula on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I grew up watching tennis - Connors and Borg, McEnroe and Lendl, but Rafael Nadal rose to prominence on the tennis scene during a period of years when I didn't really watch the sport. I started watching again around the time that much of the book revolves around: Rafa's victory over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final. Since then, I've begun watching tennis more intensively again and I've also become a big fan of Rafa's. Much of what I like about him is explained in this book, from his graciousness in both victory and defeat, to his even-tempered demeanor on the court.In interviews, Nadal is often an intriguing mix of candid and reserved, and the same holds true in this book. Much is made of his Mallorcan upbringing and sensibilities which keep him balanced and yet also seemingly unable to really relish his accomplishments. The best analogy I can think of is that although he loves the game of tennis and loves to compete, it's still his job. He punches in when he's on the court, becoming Rafa the tennis machine and punches out when he leaves, becoming Rafael the cautious bundle of anxieties. The book alternates between chapters narrated by Nadal and chapters narrated by his coauthor which provide insight into the people around him, and a glimpse into Mallorcan character in general and the Nadal family in particular. Personally, I walked away with mixed feelings about Uncle Toni's coaching techniques and life lessons for Rafa, but it's hard to argue with his success.
fdholt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the sport of tennis, there are few players who stand out. Rafael Nadal is one of those players, along with his chief rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Now Nadal has written a tennis biography with writer John Carlin. It is appropriate that I read the book during the Australian Open 2012; at the time of writing the review, Rafa beat Federer for a spot in the men¿s singles semifinals.The book revolves around several crucial Slam events: 2008 Wimbledon and the 2010 US Open. Nadal has detailed narrative about the matches and intersperses his life story in tennis. In between the nine chapters, Carlin writes about different aspects of Nadal¿s life. I made the assumption that Carlin was responsible for editing this book and he did a wonderful job. The story flows well and Rafa comes across as a thoroughly nice young man as well as a gifted tennis player. If watching tennis is your game, you will enjoy Rafa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players that this generation has seen and possibly the greatest ever player on clay, giving an insight into his life. The autobiography, written along with John Carlin is a great read, especially for some who are not as naturally gifted and aspire to be a tennis player. Rafa explains so many details that you will never know from the tv, newspaper, internet or other sources. I learned a lot from this book. For example, he has one of the greatest mentally in the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. He never smashes his racket on the court, he never curses on the court, and he always shows his respect for everyone. And I learned that routine is really important on the court and outside of the court. I think that Rafa has the most routines in the Association of Tennis Professionals tour. He actually respects his routine and he never skipped his routine in his life. Routines make him better preparing, mentally, and physically on the court. Also, he puts the most effort in the practice in Association of Tennis Professionals tour. He never quit or skips the practice even he loses the match. I think that is the most important thing to do to become better athletes in any sports. Overall. this book is good to read because you can learn so many things from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not written candidly and seems less personal then, say, Sharapova's novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever! I read the sample in 30 min. and it was epic. Not to brag but I am a really good tennis player and Nadal os one of my favorite player so I bought the book and now it just got better! It is worth every single penny! Buy it, it inspired me and probbly it will inspire you too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. I really enjoyed reading this very informative account of Nadal's early life on the tennis court and his play by play of the 2008 Wimbledon final .
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You always see rafa as this outgoing energetic guy this shows you that there is more to him than that.i love this even for federer fans like me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provides an interesting look at the personal side of rafael. Very candid
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Great book but still loyal to roger federer!!
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