Rafael Nadal explains why he won’t smash rackets after narrowly avoiding Indian Wells loss

Novak Djokovic reacts to his recent media coverage

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Rafael Nadal has opened up on the reason he never smashes rackets during his matches. The world No 4 was forced to mount a monumental comeback from 2-5 down in the final set against Sebastian Korda on Saturday but was able to stay calm and collected before turning things around for a 6-2 1-6 7-6(3) win.

Nadal has enjoyed a career-best start to the season, now finding himself 16-0 and undefeated, surpassing his previous best start of 11-0 in 2014.

The world No 4 has won all three tournaments he has competed in this year, including a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, and is now hoping to make it four for four in Indian Wells.

But he was given a tough test from the off, facing world No 38 Korda in his opening match after receiving a bye to the second round.

It was the second time Nadal and Korda – a self-proclaimed huge fan of the Spaniard – faced off, with Nadal winning their only previous meeting at the 2020 French Open.

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This time, the 21-year-old didn’t let the occasion overwhelm him as he found himself 2-6 6-1 5-2 up on his hero, with the chance to serve out the match twice.

But Nadal showed why he is a 21-time Grand Slam champion by winning the next four games in a row and eventually taking the match in a final set tiebreak 2-6 6-1 7-6(3).

While some players would get frustrated while staring down the barrel of defeat, the world No 4 is known for remaining calm and channelling his emotions positively in tough situations.

He made an even more herculean comeback in the recent Australian Open final, coming from two sets and 3-3 0-40 down to win a record 21st Grand Slam title.

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Asked why he has never shown frustration in those moments like many do as a natural reaction in the moment, Nadal explained he wouldn’t have been able to play tennis if he was someone who smashed his rackets.

“The reason why I have been fighting during all my tennis career or I have the right self-control or I have the right attitude or fighting spirit during my whole tennis career is simple, because I grow with this kind of education,” he said.

“My uncle, my family, never allowed me to break a racquet, never allowed me to say bad words or threw or give up a match.”

The former world No 1 admitted his the focus of his family, which included his former coach and uncle Toni Nadal, was on his behaviour instead of his results.

He continued: “Probably when I was a kid, they didn’t care much about winning or losing.

“Of course, all the parents and family, my uncle of course, my coach, wanted me to win every single match. But probably that was not the most important thing. The most important thing was the education and the fact that I grow with the values, with the right values.”

“So I didn’t have many chances. I had to do it that way. If not, I will not play tennis. Honestly, no? If I went on court and I create a circus or break a racquet or lose my control, my self-control, I will not be playing the next tournament, without a doubt. That’s probably why I have this mentality.”

Nadal will have another challenge on his hands in his next match, facing Britain’s 27th seed Dan Evans.

They have faced off twice before in 2019, with the Spaniard coming out on top on both occasions.

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