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Rafael Nadal as a father: “A major change in my life, you need to adapt”

The Spaniard will play his first tournament as a father in this week’s Rolex Paris Masters in Paris

Rafael Nadal, Rolex Paris Masters 2022 Rafael Nadal, Rolex Paris Masters 2022 | © Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Rafael Nadal was able to spend three weeks at home with his newborn son before he left to play the Rolex Paris Masters 2022, his first tournament since becoming a father for the first time.

Announcing himself “happy to be back on the Tour” and obviously “happy” to become a father, Nadal couldn’t hide that he does not know how he will deal with it all in the coming weeks, in terms of his tennis.

“It has always been tough to leave home, honestly, and this time a different approach to usual,” the Spaniard told reporters at Bercy on Tuesday.

Every change of this kind, it’s difficult to adapt for me, to be honest.

Rafael Nadal

Like all new parents, Nadal admitted leaving his new son was hard.

“It’s quite interesting how, even after two or three weeks knowing him, even if you can’t interact that much with a three weeks baby, you start missing him. It’s a new life experience. All the changes are difficult in this life, and you need to adapt.

“Every change of this kind, it’s difficult to adapt for me, to be honest,” he added, in Spanish. “I think it will be more complicated, logically. I have to be more flexible. It’s something unique compared to anything in the past.”

But the 22-time Grand Slam winner admits he is the one with the easy role. “The life of the ones travelling is less difficult than the life of people staying at home with the baby,” he said.

“And at the same time, it is true that we are lucky today that, with the technology, everything, we can do video calls any time that you want, so that helps. My friends who had babies in the past didn’t have this option.”

This was the first time the 36-year-old Nadal has mentioned his son in public since his short tweet confirming a Spanish media leak, five days after the birth of the baby.

It did give me a huge energy boost and motivation.

Novak Djokovic

Nadal’s rival, Novak Djokovic, highlighted that having a child didn’t prevent him from compete at the highest level.

Quite the contrary, actually.

“I had one of the best seasons, actually, after I became a father, end of 2014,” he said. “In 2015 (and also 2016, editor’s note), I had one of the best years. It did give me a huge energy boost and motivation.

“On the Tour, you have your team. Back home, it’s different. You know, everything is about the child and making sure also that the mother is feeling good, taking over the responsibilities. Of course, everybody has a different way of seeing the parenthood and how it affects them.”

Nadal will play American Tommy Paul in his first match at Bercy.

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