Paul Annacone says Rafael Nadal has a rare mental talent to ‘stay in the moment’ that is the bedrock of his enduring success.
Nadal is bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the French Open, where 13 of his previous 20 have been won.
He has not been at his best yet this year, but has not dropped a set either, and former Roger Federer and Pete Sampras coach Annacone thinks that is simply down to mental strength.
“Rafa is so amazing in that he has such a great ability to stay in the moment,” Annacone described to Roland Garros.
“And I think, in his heart of hearts, in the rare time where he does actually have to dig deep, you know, the experience of winning so much helps, but he doesn’t have to do it that much.
“And yet he also just stays in the moment. I think it’s pretty honourable.
“I mean, if you’re a coach, you’re like, ‘how do I teach someone to do that?
“How do I teach someone that really all that matters is the next 10 seconds and then just do that over and over and over again?
“But yet if you start to lose, have the confidence to know that you have done this all in the past. He does that balance quite magically. And it’s pretty amazing to watch.”
Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.
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