“My father drove me there, as usual, and

“My father drove me there, as usual, and I lost. I still remember the score: 6–3, 6–3, against a guy I should have beaten. On the way back home in the car I was deathly silent. My father, who’d never seen me so gloomy, tried to cheer me up. He said, “Come on. It’s not such a big deal. Don’t feel bad. You can’t always win.” I said nothing. He couldn’t shake me out of my dark mood. So he went on. “Look. You’ve had a fantastic summer with your friends. Be happy with that. You can’t have everything. You can’t be a slave to tennis.” He thought he was presenting me with a convincing argument, but I burst out crying, which shocked him still more because I never cried. Not then. He insisted. “Come on, you’ve had a terrific summer. Why’s that not enough?” “Yes, Dad,” I replied, “but all the fun I had then can’t make up for the pain I’m feeling right now. I never want to feel this way again.”

— Rafael Nadal


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