‘Rafa Nadal is a mental beast – you can learn a lot from him,’ says rising ATP star

Spanish youngster Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has described Rafael Nadal as a ‘mental beast,’ admitting he has employed a psychologist to help him emulate it. 

Along with Carlos Alcaraz, Davidovic Fokina is the biggest hope Spain has of another top player once Rafael Nadal retires, not that there is any sign of that happening any time soon.

Nadal has been able to maintain a position in the world top ten for over 15 years, despite his brushes with injuries, and Davidovic Fokina believes much of that is down to his mentality.

“We all have our different pasts,” Davidovic Fokina told AS.

“Mentality in tennis is of very high importance. Then the talent, the physical, influences.

“In Spain we have a player, Rafa Nadal, who is a mental beast. You can learn a lot from him by watching how he manages the matches.

Davidovic Fokina has been working with psychologist Antonio de Dios for some time now, and he believes it has been a large factor in his rise in the rankings to just outside the top 50.

“We’ve been together for eight years and I’ve been listening to him and paying attention to him from less to more.

“Years ago my mind was still out of place and now I see that sports psychology is fundamental, because it solves many frustrations and internal fights that in the end are silly and you should not have them.

“If I miss a ball, I know that afterwards there is another point, for example. If you train those things, the results are coming.”

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