Great players master the game, but legendary players change the game itself. Illustrating the same is the iconic half grass-half clay battle of surfaces between Roger Federer and the King of Clay – Rafael Nadal.


Skidding and swerving through the clay like a rally car, there’s a lot about Rafael than what you see on the surface. He has a resilient personality that brings out the fighting spirit in him. This, coupled with a supreme confidence in himself and the ability to adapt to the game, makes him among the top contenders for every tournament he steps into.



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Owing to these qualities, Nadal can boast of some unique achievements like being able to defeat Roger Federer in their very first match, which Nadal played when he was just 17 years old. Also, winning the French Open the first time he participated in it, and eventually winning it for four consecutive years add to a pretty impressive sporting resume’.


The Spanish matador is known for his never say die attitude, something that students should follow too. So let’s see what we can learn from this inspirational athlete.



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Lesson #1: Work harder when the chips are down


Rafael’s fans expect him to win at least one Grand Slam in 2018, as he is currently piercing through the Australian Open by winning the preliminary rounds. The Spaniard’s comeback is a testament to the fact he has overcome his troubling knee injury, the one that made him pull out from ATP World Tour Finals. Rafael had mentioned that he’s been able to make a comeback late in his career only due to his passion for the game.


So what can you learn from him? This teaches MBA students, especially those aspiring to start their own companies, to have the passion and courage to stay strong during setbacks and achieve their goal.





Lesson #2: Never let negative criticism get to you


The entire world watched Nadal’s crushing defeat at Wimbledon and people even stamped a question mark on his tennis future. In 2017, he attracted bad press coverage and was also criticized for his conduct with a ball boy. However, the current No.1 ranked ATP player dismissed the negative comments with his hard work to prove to the world what he is really capable of delivering.


Students of MBA FinanceMarketing and HR should learn to take criticism in a productive way, not just as learners but as professionals too. Like Nadal, transform your criticism into your driving force and reach your dreams.



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Lesson #3: Adapt your game to stay on top of things


Unlike many players, Nadal is great at playing on any surface – grass, clay or hard court. This quality can be credited to his powerful behind-the-baseline forehand play and ambidextrous abilities. However, what really sets the sixteen times Grand Slam winner apart from others is his ability to win tournaments and matches on the very first go, illustrating how quickly he can understand the opponent’s strategy and adapt to the gameplay. This quality makes him one of the only two players to win two Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces.


These real-life lessons show the importance of adaptability to get around challenges using innovative ways. After all smart work is as important as hard work. What else do you think distance learning students can learn from Nadal? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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