The moments in which a tennis player lacks confidence are very frequent, although not as much so when it comes to those who will remain in the history of the game.
At times, the holes players dig themselves are so deep that they are very difficult to come out of. For instance, the Argentines Gastón Gaudio and Guillermo Coria who were, at some point, ranked among the very best and later came down, could not stand being so low ranked and the pressure that came with it.
Others have been gifted with many talents and abilities. The sight of a Roger Federer in tears after losing the 2009 Australian Open final, with eyes leading to think that he would never get back to the highest level, only to see him, a few months later, completing his Career Slam at the French Open, winning Wimbledon, and get back to the number one spot in the rankings, show an extraordinary capacity to bounce back in the face of adversity (one which he has shown many times since).
Another case is that of Andre Agassi who, after having been on top for many years, fell outside the top 100, but got back to the top of the rankings in 1999 after having won the French Open and the U.S. Open, a story which he relates in his autobiography Open.
Those examples show that all isn’t lost for Rafael Nadal. We saw him come back several times against all odds. He might, this time, need more time to find the way back to his best game, to regain confidence in his shots and in himself. Only then will he return in the top 3, the place where he truly belongs.
(Photo montage: Rafael Nadal, Guillermo Coria, Roger Federer;
Original photos: Getty Images; Montage: BATennis World)