Nadal: You must learn to lose


Originally published on: 22/05/12 00:00

“In this sport you always lose,” the Spaniard insists. “It’s not golf, where you can finish third, you can finish fifth, you can finish 11th. In tennis you lose in the semi-finals, you lose in the final, you lose in the quarter-finals, you lose in the third round. But you lose. Only one player wins.”

While Nadal wins more regularly than most players – he claimed the 49th title of his career with his triumph in the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome this week – he has also had spells in his career when victories have been elusive. His win in Monte Carlo last month was his first for 10 months following last year’s French Open and he waited nearly a year for his next tournament victory after his Rome triumph in 2009.

“You have to accept that the normal thing is to lose because only one person can win a tournament,” he said. “You have to be patient and wait for your moment. I think I accept losses well. I work to keep being competitive.”

He added: “You cannot expect to be perfect all the time. You don’t expect your opponent to be perfect all the time either. You have to wait and when you are losing finals like I did last year and one at the beginning of this year, you have to be patient.

“You have to control your emotions when you lose and when you win. Nothing is terrible when you lose and nothing is fantastic when you win. You have to find the right point and keep working. The only way to keep winning and be competitive year by year, tournament by tournament, is to work every day, to keep your passion for the game and accept the losses and the victories, because at the end of the day that’s sport.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.