Rafael Nadal has ended his 2013 competitive year as Number 1 on the ATP rankings. This is a spectacular and amazing achievement for a young man who had to leave his beloved sport of tennis for over 6 months because of a serious knee injury. He only returned to the game earlier this year. With the support of his family, friends and numerous others, hard work and determination have proved again to be the key attitudes and attributes that lead to favourable results of any kind in life.
What I like about this story is that Nadal acknowledges his own foibles and struggles as a person and professional sportsman with a degree of humility. He also holds a rational view of the world and a judicious understanding of himself as a human being in it.
Nadal is a great role model for everyone; but perhaps more so for younger generations who may feel they’ve been abandoned and lost in the ‘kingdom of glass’; somehow cast adrift in a virtual world where it may appear that they are owed a living rather than having to make one for themselves.
It could be counter-argued I guess that Nadal and other professional sportsmen and women get paid a handsome price for their work and this in itself is their main motivation. But none of these sports superstars were born as such. Initial guidance and direction perhaps supported them on their way, but this was surely followed by sheer hard work and failure after failure to produce the kinds of successes in their sport we are able to enjoy as spectators today.
The story of Rafael Nadal’s success as the world’s number 1 professional tennis player is a welcome antidote to the kind of ‘it’s my time’ and ‘my dream’ reality television and consumer based celebrity culture that is so seductive and titillating, yet at the same time so misleading to 21st century digitally raised children and young people. I guess the moral to Nadal’s triumph is that there’s no short cut in life to any place worthwhile going to, and with appropriate support, hard work, determination, and a rational view of the world, victory against adversities is guaranteed.