Rafael Nadal is one of the world's greatest tennis players, winning 64 career titles. To make sure he's always on top of his game, he has a strict list of quirks and traditions he religiously follows.
Like how his water bottles must always be aligned perfectly with the logos facing the court
“I put the two bottles down at my feet, in front of my chair to my left, one neatly behind the other, diagonally aimed at the court. Some call it superstition, but it’s not. If it were superstition, why would I keep doing the same thing over and over whether I win or lose? It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.” - Rafael Nadal.usatoday.com
In the match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson at the Australian Open two days ago, Nadal's water bottle fell and rolled over...
But thankfully, an observant ball boy across the court spotted the monstrosity
The boy rushed over, interrupting the game and set the water bottle down very carefully, making sure the logo faces the front, just how Nadal likes it
You can see how that gesture made Nadal smile sheepishly...
If you thought that water bottle tradition was crazy, here are 9 other ritual Nadal follows in EVERY. SINGLE. GAME.
1. Right before a match, Nadal must have a cold shower 45-minutes before a match to get him in the zone
"Forty-ﬁve minutes before facing Federer I began the last phase of my pre-game ritual. I took a cold shower. Freezing cold water. I do this before every match. It’s the point before the point of no return. Under the cold shower I enter a new space in which I feel my power and resilience grow." - Rafael Nadaltelegraph.co.uk
2. He then always walks with one racket in his hand...
3. While having five racquets packed in his tennis bag
4. Nadal always starts walking with his right foot and makes sure he never touches the baselines
5. Oh, Nadal usually waits at the net post so his opponent reaches his seat first
6. He also does the recognisable wedgie. “That is something I am doing all my career,” the Spaniard said of his undershorts, “something I cannot control.”
7. He makes sure his nose, ears, hair and shirt are all intact
8. And just like every game, he scans the crowd for his family
"The last part of the ritual, as important as all the preparations that went before, was to look up, scan the perimeter of the stadium, and search for my family members among the blur of the Centre Court crowd, locking their exact coordinates inside my head. I don’t let them intrude on my thoughts during a match – I don’t ever let myself smile during a match – but knowing they are there, as they always have been, gives me the peace of mind on which my success as a player rests. I build a wall around myself when I play, but my family is the cement that holds the wall together." - Rafael Nadaltelegraph.co.uk
9. Last but not the least, his socks must be levelled at the same height when he plays
Do all these rituals help him win? Well, thanks to the ball boy's careful observation, Nadal did win that game. Superstitions aren't that crazy after all...