Rafa Nadal plays like ‘his life depends on it’ says Gilles Simon

French tennis player Gilles Simon has been discussing why he thinks World number two Rafa Nadal has an extra special quality on the court.

Simon is well-placed to comment, having personally faced Nadal a total of nine times in his career.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he has only won one of those head-to-heads in the Madrid Masters in 2008 when it was moved to hard court.

Nadal, who last year equaled the record for 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer, has claimed the other eight.

Talking to Tennis Majors, Simon believes Nadal’s unique trait is the way he is able to combine intensity with consistency, moving out of his comfort zone, especially when things are not going well.

“Rafa starts from what works when things aren’t going well: ‘I am going to put a lot of intensity in my forehand range on the backhand side of the other. I’m going to be around a lot by putting energy into it…’

“If his life depends on one point, he’s going to play this. That’s what’s so special about him, and then you see the construction.

“Then he’ll play longer, and sometimes he comes forward, etc.”

Nadal is currently in Adelaide preparing for a one-day showcase named ‘A Day at the Drive’ taking place on Friday 29 January alongside Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Jannik Sinner.

He will then captain Team Spain in the ATP Cup starting on 1 February before he attempts to win his second Australian Open title.

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