(10 customer reviews)

Rafa – My Story

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Rafa – My Story

Rafa Nadal is one of the world’s most famous athletes. He knows what it takes to be a champion and shares his secrets with us here.

His life story begins in Mallorca, a small island off the Spanish coast. His family has resided there for centuries, and his uncle Toni has trained him since he was 4. With his parents’ advice and humble background, Rafa became one of the most recognized athletes ever, always retaining composure.

Now he takes us behind the scenes, from winning the Wimbledon 2008 final–described by John McEnroe as the greatest game of tennis he had ever seen– to the family problems that brought him low in 2009 and the numerous injuries that have threatened his career.

With candid honesty, Nadal invites readers to join him on his dramatic and victorious journey. He never loses sight of what he holds most dear: the love for his family that binds them together.


From Rafa

During a match, you are in a permanent battle to fight back your everyday vulnerabilities, and bottle up your human feelings. The more bottled up they are, the greater your chances of winning, so long as you’ve trained as hard as you play and the gap in talent is not too wide between you and your rival. The gap in talent with Federer existed, but it was not impossibly wide. It was narrow enough, even on his favorite surface in the tournament he played best, for me to know that if I silenced the doubts and fears, and exaggerated hopes, inside my head better than he did, I could beat him. You have to cage yourself in protective armor, turn yourself into a bloodless warrior. It’s a kind of self-hypnosis, a game you play, with deadly seriousness, to disguise your own weaknesses from yourself, as well as from your rival.”


About the Author

Rafael Nadal, who was born in 1986 in Mallorca, Spain, currently ranks first in the world. He has nine grand slam titles and a career Golden Slam – winning all four major tournaments plus an Olympic gold medal. He lives in Mallorca, Spain.

John Carlin, originally from the UK, is currently a senior international reporter for El Pais, the world’s leading Spanish-language newspaper. He previously wrote one of his most famous books which would go on to become a successful feature film in cinemas worldwide.


Specifications of Think to Win: Strategic Dimension of Tennis

  • Number of Pages: 288 Pages
  • Date of Publication: May 22, 2012
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Hachette Books
  • Idiom: English
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.8 ounces
  • Reading Age: 18 years and up

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10 reviews for Rafa – My Story

  1. Jsmith

    This is easily one of the best biographies I have eve read. I am a huge fan of Rafa: never has an athlete engaged me more. To get to look into his mind was very sincerely an enlightening experience.The book uses the 2008 Wimbledon against Roger Federer and the 2010 US Open against Novak Djokovic as it’s backdrops, but delves into Rafa’s entire life story, as well as the intertwined stories of those who surround him. The first half of each chapter is Rafa speaking, and the latter half is John Carlin giving us a birds-eye view on the same topics (with lots of great input from Rafa’s family, team and coach). We learn virtually everything of significance in terms of how Rafa became the player he is. The most interesting parts to me were Rafa and Carlin’s discussions about the relationship between Toni Nadal (his uncle and life-long coach) and Rafa, which seems to be the key to Rafa’s unbelievable success.I’m surprised this book isn’t brought up more often by tennis analysts and commentators (I remember Open by Andre Agassi getting a lot more press when it came out), because it actually answers a lot of the questions and queries people have about Rafa and his entourage.This will be a pleasant treat for anyone who is a student of exceptional performance in any field- this is not only for your tennis and Nadal fans. The mind of a winner is an intricate and exceptional, and I feel lucky to have been able to look into the mind of my favorite champion.

  2. ash1599

    I expected this book to be somewhat of a biography, but it isn’t and it is…………”Rafa” is the name of the ‘Warrior’ who we see on the court. “Rafael” is the man behind thewarrior on the court as it were….I have been an avid fan of tennis and of Rafael Nadal for the entire open season and since he arrived in the ATP.Watching Rafael play a match can be intense, what this book does is explain the intensity we see on the court.The most wonderful thing about this book, is that Rafa allows you into his mind…..his thought processes, his fears, his triumphs, as well as his relationship whith his coach (Uncle Tony) and his family.The Warrior is the person that has been trained and continually trains himself to give 100% at all times on the court. The Man is the 24 yr old who has become the Warrior; but continues to be sensitive, appreciative, respectful and above all else, a good person.I am pleased that I didn’t know the content of the book before hand. As I read, I became more appreciative and more of a fan of Rafael Nadal’s than I had been before.As he describes his various matches; especially his first slam title on thru to his 8th slam title (and I have seen each of the matches that he talks about), I began to relive each match, point by point along with him. By his own words, his best year was 2010; he held all 4 grand slam titles.To be a part his physical, mental and emotionaL well being throughout these matches, was an amazing experience both for me, the fan and me, the reader.If you are a fan of the game, wheather a fan of Rafael Nadal or not; this book is an exceptional read.You’ll know him as well as his closest friends do, by the time you finish reading this book. Enjoy !!!!!!

  3. JPK

    I have been a big fan of Rafael Nadal (and Roger Federer) for many years, and have enjoyed watching many of their great Grand Slam matches. I recently had a chance encounter with Rafa, which was very special. What a kind and sincere person! After that, I decided I wanted to learn more about him. I am thrilled that I choose to read his 2011 Memoir “Rafa” (even though it was written over a decade ago). What an extraordinary read!! I loved learning about his upbringing, his incredible drive and determination and, best of all, insight into his incredible competitive mind. One of the most interesting and powerful books I have ever read. Highest recommendation!!

  4. Mario&Lore

    Rafa, if one day you are able to read this:I love tennis and I love you in particular which is why I enjoyed reading your book so much. Despite that, I must adhere that reading your book is reading a guide that helps in ways beyond being a good competitor in a sport.I am currently pursuing a masters program in a field that has been demoralizing for how poorly my grading outcomes have come to be in spite of how much effort I am applying in pursuit of success. Your book describes in extreme detail the concentration habits to succeed (your concentration developments), the schedule adhering guidelines in order to make one’s study/job a profession one from which to bear fruit, the importance of social/family factors in order to be able to sustain the ‘profession’ for long, and much more. I just wanted to thank you and John Carlin for writing such a great book.Seller: the book came in perfect condition. Thank you.Valeria.

  5. Mrs GV Ravenscroft

    this was a realy great book it inspired me to do lost of stuff when i grow up i want to have a mind like rafa nadal

  6. Patricia

    “Rafa” gives a powerful insight into the world of men’s professional tennis and in particular to one of its superstars – Rafael Nadal of Spain. The opening paragraph describes the feeling of playing on Wimbledon’s Centre Court – the profound silence. You hear the sound of your own racket hitting the ball – a cathedral hush he calls it. The silence is broken when there is a good shot – and this audience knows the difference. Those first few chapters set the atmosphere and are well worth reading! And I loved all the insights into the locker room – he and Federer locked into the same little room at Wimbledon during some of the most intense periods of their professional lives.The book starts with the marvelous 2008 Wimbledon final between Rafa and Federer and in between fills in details of his life and gradually works its way through to the year 2010 when Rafa won the U.S. Open (not much silence in that stadium!). Rafa is definitely an unusual person – his family ties are the core of his life and affect everything he does. By American standards, where we expect young people to move away from the family and gain their independence, he seems held back. But this family-based lifestyle is more typical of the Spanish, particularly on his island of Mallorca and his beloved villa of Manacor. When the family is not stable, his tennis suffers. The insights into his training and conflict with Uncle Toni are intriguing.As a Rafa fan, one thing I particularly enjoyed was hearing Rafa’s true voice – not the limited English we normally hear from him. Because it was co-written by John Carlin (who speaks both Spanish and English) we get to hear Rafa translated into full English and I found that very helpful.If you have any interest in tennis or in superstar athletes, I highly recommend this book.

  7. connie titone

    Well written, interesting, and spiting!!!

  8. O. Gordillo

    Rafa Nadal shows what commitment meansHow human he is at the crucial points. And how mind overcomes bodyQ buen libro. Q buena historia.Thanks Rafa for your greatness

  9. Exegesis

    First the disclaimer: I’m a sold out Rafa Nadal fan. I appreciate everything about his game but, even more what is seen as him the person. In an age of Egos larger than life in professional sports, and lifestyles that overstep the limits of decency, Rafa could not be more different. This book not only outlines this as fact, but reinforces what many would take for granted these days; there are few things more priceless than a strong family.In terms of reading this from a tennis player’s perspective, this is not a book about technique. However, Rafa’s first-person account of what he was saying to himself, what his mental success and failure points were, is in my perspective, in the same league with, if not of more practical use, than The Inner Game of Tennis, Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert, or any other book that addresses the mental approach to tennis. There is a tremendous amount to learn from his approach.Second disclaimer: The book has only been out for 24 hours and I’m only 2/3 of the way through it. Specifically, the book is just starting to discuss the 2010 US Open. But, I can’t put it down (Well, in fact I have to. I have to go to work). I’m willing to bet that, if you read about tennis, play tennis, or in any way are interested in Rafa, you’ll have the same experience I’m having reading this book.One last perspective. If there’s aver a second book written By Rafa and his team, I hope it’s about how he transitions from Tennis to whatever is next in his life. That could be a sequel even more interesting to read.

  10. Gloria

    I am enjoying the Rafa memoir. Initially, I wondered how a memoir could be written so early in this young man’s life, and not be “fluff” for over 270 pages. I quickly learned that not only is there no fluff, it sucked me in as a reader.The format is almost like “Forrest Gump” in print. It starts with Rafa prepping for his 2008 Wimbledon match against Roger Federer, the slam he’s always wanted to win. Rafa writes somewhat of a diary/journal entry of his thought as he gets ready for the match. And as he goes through these motions, he has “flashbacks” of times earlier in life that has gotten him to where he’s at: lessons he’s learned, the family’s who’s been a solid foundation of support, and the human side of of who Rafa’s become of these things. The flashbacks come back to the present match and integrates itself whole.Once a short entry of that match is read, John Carlin interjects with words and mini vignettes/interviews from family and friends who fill the “gaps” of the thought processes of how Rafa thinks and what he’s become.The story then heads back to that Wimbledon match and Rafa writes more. The cycle continues.I bought this book right as I was about to go to sleep and ended up reading nearly 20% of the book and took it to work to read during my lunch. I could not put it down, but had to because the eyes were drooping. At this rate, the book will not make it to the weekend. Rafa draws me in and paints a story of an every day man who happens to do something extraordinary professionally. Nadal speaks with desires of a simple life and yet, with a profound sense of thought of in how to approach it. Tennis is the backddrop of this story, but many life lessons are learned as well as we watch someone grow into their own.UPDATE 9/9/11:I finished the book and it was quite satisfying. The memoir covers the first 25 years of Rafa’s life, but there was much that’s happened within that time: mentally, physically, and emotionally. Rafa and Carlin explain the moments in time and their impact upon who Rafa is today and will become.Is the book premature in its writing? Yes and no. I thought that the book should have been done after his career was over so we get the “full scope.” However, by writing the book now while still actively competing, Rafa lets the readers understand who and what he is now. I have been following Rafa throughout this 2011 U.S. Open and the memoir has shed a different perspective on how I view Rafa’s mentality on court, for the press, and how he carries himself. In short, it’s an even more intriguing ‘front row ticket’ into someone’s life.

5.00 average based on 10 reviews

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