Rafael Nadal has received the advice of former tennis star Jimmy Connors, who informed the Spaniard that his game will change following the birth of his first child. Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello announced the birth of Rafael Nadal Perelló in October.
It has been quite the year for the Spaniard, who recovered from near retirement 12 months ago to win both the Australian Open and French Open and become the sport’s most successful Grand Slam champion. Since the birth of his son, Nadal has featured just once on the court.
He fell to a round of 32 defeat to American Tommy Paul in the Paris Masters earlier this month. The loss will be a quickly forgotten one for the Spaniard though, as he turns his attention to the end of season ATP Finals at the end of November.
Whilst Nadal is no stranger to winning whilst out on the court, eight-time Grand Slam champion Connors believes there will be some changes to the Spanish star’s game after stepping into fatherhood. Speaking on his podcast, the American said: “He [Nadal] is a bit older and we can say that this year things have been really good for him.
“In addition, Rafa has always played less at the end of the year and can enjoy his son quietly and get through the next two months, then he can prepare for tournaments in Australia or whatever his next event is.
“It’s new, but I don’t want to interpret it in a negative way also because I believe that Rafa can manage it. In any case, he will have to make some changes if he wants to continue training and playing. He is a worker and in the coming months we will understand the situation better.
“For me it was different, I was 26 when I became a father, it was different. It took me two years to find the right balance between fatherhood and my role as a tennis player. Rafa is much older and has a great career behind him.”
Despite his remarkable career, and arguably securing status as tennis’ greatest player alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Nadal is still yet to win the ATP Finals. The Spaniard will no doubt be out to end this run when he takes to the court in Turn later this month.