Rafa
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Rafa

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,496 ratings  ·  283 reviews

What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport? Rafael Nadal has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success. It begins in Mallorca, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his u...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Hyperion (first published 2011)
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Open by Andre AgassiRafa by Rafael NadalA Champion's Mind by Pete SamprasYou Cannot Be Serious by John McEnroeThe Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
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2nd out of 139 books — 81 voters
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90th out of 547 books — 46 voters


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Surshank
This book is priceless. Open, straight and deliciously honest, this gives a first hand account of both - Rafa the tennis champion and Rafa the human being. It also depicts how these two people are so different from each other - Rafa the human is beset with doubts and insecurities, is indecisive, is scared of thunder, lightning and the dark and is wary and scared of any small incursion that can upset his tightly knit family life. Rafa the tennis player, in stark contrast is a decisive, ruthless,...more
Rachel C.
Less of an autobiography and more of a detailed breakdown of two particular matches (Wimbledon 2008 v. Federer and US Open 2010 v. Djokovic) with some personal history mixed in.

This book definitely doesn't have the broader appeal of Agassi's "Open." I liked it because I'm a big Rafa fan, and you get a lot more info here than you do from his generally stilted and uninformative interviews. Turns out he's quite a Jekyll and Hyde personality: very timid and sensitive off court despite being an absol...more
Scott
First I'll say, I'm a big fan of Rafa and there's not much in here that I didn't already know. When I saw this guy beat Roger Federer in 2005 at the French Open, I was very pleased as a tennis fan that Federer finally had his kryptonite. The book was an easy read, but not as captivating as Open (Agassi's bio). Plenty of information in here about Rafa's relationship with his uncle Toni (it's not all peaches and cream). In fact Toni's tough (borderline cruel) training of Rafa was meant to teach hi...more
Kristin
I was quite disappointed by this book. It's really not much of an autobiography at all. Instead, it is practically a point by point breakdown of the 2008 Wimbledon final and, to a lesser extent, the 2010 U.S. Open final. The reader learns very little of Nadal's life, and what tidbits can be found are repeated frequently. (There is a lot about the closeness of the Nadal family, for instance. A LOT.) I did enjoy learning the meaning of his last name (which is the same meaning as mine, in a differe...more
Amalie
I did like the book, i did. But something lacked. Nadal seems very humble, and very down-to-earth - and you can only applaud him for that. But the book becomes too mondane. I was not a huge Nadal before I read the book, and I haven't become one since I finished with it. I wasn't told anything new about the sport or about how an athlete behaves. He works hard, has his routines and his uncle/trainer wasn't always very nice. The truth is that is pretty much every tennis-player life.
But it was inter...more
Isabelle
Oh, Rafa. I must admit that I was one of those who expressed some scepticism at the notion of him publishing an autobiography at the ripe young age of 25, with a good part of his career still stretched out before him, but clearly I couldn't resist getting my hands on this. (I am that much of a tennis junkie.) I'd already read assorted chapters that'd been posted on the web, ones that related some interesting tidbits about his family, his sometimes tenuous relationship with his uncle, and so on,...more
Cheryl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mimansa Bairathi
Not a very celebrated autobiography of a hugely celebrated athlete. I recently found out about this book and decided I had to read it.

The book is written in the form of Nadal reliving his important matches, particularly the 2008 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer. Every chapter of the book starts with a new peculiarity of a match and goes on to explain how the experiences of a lifetime came into play in making Rafa Nadal the feral champion he is on the tennis court. It is deeply insightful ab...more
Arshiya Srivastava
The book that I am currently reading is a biography about Rafael Nadal and is written by John Carlin. The book is called "RAFA". So far this book has really been gripping and inspiring from the beginning.This book is about Rafa's life and what it took to become what he is now and all the hard work that he put into it every day of his life.The most important person who helped him in his tennis career is his uncle who became his coach his name is "Uncle Toni". Uncle toni really pushed Rafael to hi...more
Holly Cline
I'm struggling a bit with how to review this book, because I really love Rafa. I do. But this book is lacking, particularly in comparison to other sports books out there that have been genuinely good reads.

There isn't a lot of new information within if you are already a tennis or Rafa fan, and there isn't much appeal for someone that DOESN'T fall into one of those categories so I'm a bit confused as to the vision behind all this. It is mentioned to an almost annoying level how much Rafa doesn't...more
Tara
I enjoy following Rafa's career not only because of his sheer brilliance as a player but his demonstrated class and humility in the world of sports where ego and arrogance often dominate. Whenever I attend the US Open, I am always most struck by Rafa's speeches after a game that make clear his respect for both his opponents and the fans.

This book drives home that Rafa has worked hard to be one of the world's best tennis players without success going to his head and making him exude less effort f...more
Aditya
Absolutely delightful read for a Nadal fan. And a good read for any tennis fan who enjoyed the Federer-Nadal rivalry.

The story starts off with the epic wimmbledon final that Nadal won in five sets against Federer. The match runs for more than half the length of the book as it interspersed with Nadal's childhood, his team, his family, his injury history, his struggles, whims and fancies etc. Nadal's view of the match forms the backbone of the book while the rest of the story is told. So as the m...more
Beth
Aug 08, 2011 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sports
So, why would a 25 year old athlete write a memoir when for all accounts he is still on the top of the game? Sure, Rafa is no longer #1 in the world but he still is #2 and with a good 5 or 6 years left in his career. Not that I'm complaining because I am fan of his and I'm fascinated by what makes athletes tick. I always wonder what is going on in their heads during matches, especially the big matches.

The book is kind of a memoir/bio. It goes back and forth between Rafa's own recollections of m...more
Faith Spinks
What makes Nadal the champion that he is? What makes him play with such determination and will to win? What makes Nadal such a strong player on court but such a gentle, polite, unassuming guy off court?

I found this book a fascinating insight into the childhood and life of Nadal as well as into his attitude to tennis and the way he plays. Not just a 'this happened, then that happened', or a 'he won this and then he almost won this'. The book is built up around some of the biggest matches of his c...more
Er Shafique
After all the success this man has had in the tennis world. He comes out and reveals what makes him a champion. The reason for his inherent humility, respect for his opponents, gratitude, and his rituals on the tennis court; the book provides a reason to his enigmatic lifestyle. The book is written with two narrations, one by Rafa himself and another by the assisting author. They narrate alternate chapters.

Wimbeldon 2008 final with Roger Federer is described with extraordinary detail. The book a...more
Tania
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
May 29, 2012 Amy added it
I'm such a huge Rafa fan, that I could read his grocery list and find it fascinating. So, I did enjoy the book (though maybe not as much as I had expected.) For me, the upside was the insights into his life, his upbringing and his training. I gained understanding of his routines and tics (that I've been watching for years now) and the reasons why he plays so intensely, every point of every match.

What I found jarring was the sections told in the first person, as if in Rafa's own words, yet they...more
Sarah
*may contain a few spoilers*

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish (being an adoring Rafa fan, who could blame me?).

When I bought the book, I was expecting it to be a typical autobiography, with lots of back-story, history, childhood memories, private life, etc. but was pleasantly surprised with it, taking on the form of half a chapter written from Rafa's point of view, and half from the ghostwriter.

There was a good focus on the sport, much of the book taking on an almost point-for-...more
Marisabel Bonet-Cruz
I admire Rafael Nadal.

During the 2012 Australian Open, I got the chance to watch Rafael Nadal compete. I enjoyed every moment, and have been a follower of his career for some time now. Along with Roger Federer, he is my top favourite tennis player. He is one of my heroes. The reasons I admire him are similar to those of other Nadal followers from across the world: he is kind, humane, quiet, and humble. He is handsome and talented, and a fighter. He loves family and pushes himself to the limit. N...more
Sylvie
Sep 12, 2012 Sylvie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tennis fans, people interested in sports in general and of course Rafa fans ;)
Shelves: english, favourites
If you're a fan of Rafael Nadal (like me), this is a must-have. I wanted to know more about the "real person" Rafa behind all the media hype and all the standard infos that we have heard more than a hundred times, and I wasn't disappointed. It was very interesting to get a glimpse behind the scenes and his personal story to success. The book is written in a very personal and touching way, which makes it easy to read. The chapters switch between Rafa's first person perspective and others with som...more
Rachel
You think you have worked hard and showed determination in life? Well think again, cause I bet you haven't showed anywhere near as much as Rafa. This guy is fully committed to tennis and deserves every title he has won. He not only plays at 100% in matches, but also in training. He explains how tough his uncle Toni has been on him since he started tennis, which would put any player off training, but not Rafa. What I love about Rafa is how humble he is and how he always praises his opponents. Thi...more
Martin lyon
I think this book is really inspiring because he talks about when he was a boy and how his Uncle Toni trained him extremly hard. Rafa was pushed to his limits.He loves soccer as well as tennis and didnt want to have to give it up when he was a yough boy.
I decided to read this book because I like tennis and Rafeal Nadal is one of the best tennis players in the world. The category on the bingo board this fits is the biography. The most intersing character was Uncle Toni because he was so ruff and...more
Katrina
Interesting memoir by Nadal; well-written by John Carlin. It is different than other tennis and sports figure memoirs that I have read and it is a welcome change. There is no gossip, no tales of drunken nights out with starlets, no details about his sex life, no jaw-dropping revelations, no dissing of other ATP players. Instead of a detailed account of all the big championship matches that Nadal has played, his memoir focuses on just one, the 2008 Wimbledon final against Federer. Through the dis...more
Cheyenne Blue
I'm a great fan of Rafa and his muscular power game. I like his humility and how he's unfailing generous to his opponents in his post-match interviews, whether he's won or lost. And yeah, he's serious eye candy as well.

However, much as I like Rafa, this book was a disappointment. Written in alternating chapters by Rafa and his co-writer, the book rehashs a Wimbledon win and a US open win, almost point by point. In between, we learn about Rafa's close family unit in Majorca, his relationship with...more
Shishir
Hmm... Rafa is a great sportsman and a terrific athlete.
But seriously where's the story in this book?
If you have been a tennis fan for the past few years, you pretty much know everything that the book talks about repeatedly except the following (spoiler alert!):
- Toni was NOT responsible for forcing Rafa to play left handed
- Rafa is scared of dogs, lightning and thunder and number of other things
- Characteristic of Mallorcan people
- A few more details about Rafa's injuries

I personally thought th...more
Udit
"People shouldn't write autobiographies in the middle of their careers" -Maybe read that somewhere. Perhaps mine own creation. A true example, this one.
***The review starts here***
What a truckload of PR.
I admit, I read Andre Agassi's Open, perhaps one of the best sport autobiographies, I did have high expectations from it. It didn't even come close to matching a fraction of it.
Firstly, it isn't even an autobiography. It's basically two matches - The 2008 Wimbeldon vs Roger "The best ever playe...more
Bookaholic
În colecţia „Victoria Books” a Editurii Publica, destinată biografiilor unor personalităţi din toate domeniile, o parte semnificativă este dedicată figurilor din domeniul tenisului. Alături de biografiile „greilor” Andre Agassi şi Pete Sampras, colecţia propune şi povestea starurilor în vogă acum, precum Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic şi Andy Murray. Autobiografii sau biografii, aceste cărţi fac cunoscut universul personal al jucătorilor, dificultăţile pe care le-au înfruntat, felul în care carier...more
Shweta Ramdas
I was hesitant about reading Rafa. A book slated to be his autobiography should have his voice, and I just wasn’t convinced that was likely. Besides, I’m too used to his uncertain English to be able to digest Rafa speaking in prose. I’m glad to report my fears were unfounded.

‘Rafa’ is a book that stays true to the man himself--it is intense, straight to the point, and devoid of frills. It traces Rafa’s journey from his hometown in Manacor to the center courts of the world. The book is as much ab...more
Sophia
Rafa is the perfect book for anyone who loves tennis. It is an autobiography and Rafa gave the play by play of various grand slam finals such as Wimbledon and the US Open. I felt as if I was in his shoes because he describes every point in great detail. In the book, I was able to learn a lot more about Rafa not only as a player, but as a person. Every match he described kept me so engaged and I could not stop turning the pages. This book was filled with intense and exhilarating moments.
Samantha
One of the best biographies I have read in quite some time. Extremely well written and highly detailed but by no means dry or uninteresting. Filled with quirky family stories and suspenseful recounts of Grand Slam wins and losses, Rafa has revealed a new talent to add to his already bulging repertoire, writing. With contributions from journalist John Carlin a very well put together biography awaits fans and looky-Lou's alike. Highly recommended for absolutely anyone!
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