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Tennis-Nadal says his family instilled a fighting spirit in him

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open Day 6
March 12, 2022; Indian Wells, California, United States; Rafael Nadal (ESP) celebrates after defeating Sebastian Korda (USA) in the tiebreak of the third set at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 13, 2022

By Rory Carroll

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal credited his uncle Toni and the rest of his family with teaching him from a young age how to control his emotions on the pitch and fight for every point after his epic win from behind on Saturday in Indian Wells.

The Spaniard overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set, beating young American Sebastian Korda 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(3) to advance to the third round of the tournament.

“The reason I’ve fought or had the right self-control or the right attitude and the right fighting spirit throughout my tennis career is because I grew up with that kind of education,” Nadal told reporters after the game.

“My uncle, my family never allowed me to break a racquet, never allowed me to say bad words or give up a game…the most important thing was the fact that I was raised with the right values.”

The 21-time Grand Slam champion has won all 16 matches this year but, for all his success, said he lacked superhuman confidence.

“If people think I’m a believer all along, that I’ll come back, that’s not true. I am not like that. I don’t have that amazing confidence that even if I’m 5-2, I’m going to come back. No.

“But in my opinion, okay, it’s almost impossible. I do not want to give up. I’ll keep trying…just try to keep going and make things a little bit harder for the opponent.”

Korda said he noticed Nadal changed his strategy when he was 5-2 down with his back against the wall in the third.

“He started playing very differently. He was getting closer to the baseline,” Korda told reporters.

“I could see he was a little concerned and was changing his tactics. I just wasn’t making good games and he took advantage of that.”

While victory wasn’t certain, Nadal said he would have been had he just laid down.

“In that position, you’re probably going to lose 90 in 100 games,” he said.

“But if you give up, you will lose 100. If you are there, you can gain 10%.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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