Despite having won 13 titles at Roland Garros, a simply unreal figure, Rafael Nadal still has the same motivation as when he was a kid. For the fourth time in his career, the Majorcan phenomenon won the Parisian Grand Slam without giving up a single set along his path, dominating World number 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.
The former World number 1 has thus equaled the 20 Grand Slam record of eternal rival Roger Federer, who is still struggling with rehabilitation after two operations on his right knee. Francisco Roig has been in the Majorcan team for the past 15 years, having contributed to Rafa’s success together with his uncle Toni and Carlos Moya.
It goes without saying that not many people can say they know Nadal like Roig. Interviewed by La Vanguardia, the 52-year-old Iberian analyzed the approach of the Manacor phenomenon.
Roig on Rafael Nadal
“In the circuit you hear things,” Francisco Roig said.
“There are players with more rankings that are believed to have privileges. Rafael Nadal is open to dialogue, he listens, he is spontaneous. He doesn’t think he’s Rafael Nadal. He does not enter into believing himself to be more important, he does not see himself with more rights than any other person,” Roig continued.
“Obviously, he has certain social privileges. But their treatment is the same from day one. I guess his uncle has something to do with it”. Rafael Nadal’s serve was a bit of a weakness in the early part of his career.
“Rafa has been getting more out of the service for three years,” Roig said. “This way you add free points. It was not so much a problem of speed, as of the bounce, especially in the second serve: when the ball bounced, it did not skid.
We fixed that and now he identifies the serve as a weapon. We do not do it (improve serve) for that, but to remain competitive,” Roig explained. “Although it is true that he is the age he is, and does not move like his 20 years.
He must play more left-handed, open the court with the backhand, go to the net”. In late 2016, Rafa hired Carlos Moya as his new coach and effectively Moya replaced Toni Nadal as Rafa’s main coach in 2018. A former World No.1, Moya has had supreme success with Nadal.
Moya has been credited for saving Nadal’s career after the Mallorcan had injury setbacks in 2015 and 2016. Moya helped Nadal extend his career and tweaked Rafa’s game to ensure that he remains consistent and injury-free.