LONDON—Rafael Nadal, who has reached the third round at Wimbledon, says he had doubts about whether he could return to the top of the game again.
Nadal won the French Open in 2014, but then injuries and illness forced him to pull out of a number of events. It took Nadal three years to win a major again, as he took the French Open last month without dropping a set.
“It's normal to have doubts on everything when you have to take positions. If you are not too arrogant, you have different ways, and it's normal to have doubts in life,” said Nadal. “In sport it's exactly the same, no? When you are not playing well, when I had more injuries than I would like, it's normal to have doubts. And I did.
"And I tell you one thing, if I had doubts when I was winning almost every match, how can I not have doubts when I am in a bad situations, no?"
Yet Nadal credits that attitude with helping him come back, as long as he doesn't get too down on himself.
"In my opinion, doubts are good," he said. "If it's too much, it's too much. If you have too much doubts, then to practice sport is more difficult because you need to have determination at the same time.
"Respect for every opponent, that's important. When you're on court, you know that every opponent is dangerous. Then don't relax yourself when you are winning. Keep having the motivation to improve. Don't consider yourself too good. And I think this kind of stuff help me to have a longer career.”
The 30-year-old Nadal has won 15 Grand Slams. He won his first major in 2005, when he won Roland Garros as a 19-year-old. Along with his 10 titles there, he has also won the Australian Open once, the U.S. Open twice and Wimbledon twice.
Nadal says that he played with less pressure when he was young.
“I was very good when I was young. When you are older sometimes you have more, a little bit more scared about things,” he said. “When you are younger, everything is new so you have the energy.
“You are not scared about anything because didn't happen to you in the past, no? When you are older probably you had negative experiences—[also] too, that you have positive experiences that help, but at the same time you have negative experience that push you to the other way.”
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