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3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,848 Ratings  ·  432 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
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2011)
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Alan Pallath yes, of course. If she's interested in sports, then the book will be perfect for her. I'm a die-hard Rafa fan, and that made me buy this book.
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Community Reviews

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Jun 04, 2013 Surshank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-challenge
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
Aug 23, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x-2011-read, sports
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
Sep 16, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, nf, reviewed, read-in-2011
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
Vinayak Kesarwani
Jun 07, 2017 Vinayak Kesarwani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The success of Rafa has always appealed to me more than Federer's.Federer, has always appeared like a God who was born with a tennis racquet in his hand, to wield and establish his supremacy on this world. In Rafa's case it hasn't ever appeared so. He always seemed like someone who toils hard for all his successes, for whom things don't come as naturally as his other compatriots, but fuelled by his massive hunger and desire for winning he keeps on pushing, through sweat, through pain.

The book p
Akanksha Chattopadhyay
As I sit to review Rafael Nadal’s autobiography, fresh from having watched del Potro triumph over Wawrinka in a hard fought Wimbledon second round (an unfortunate fixture for this stage of the tournament with both men capable of winning Grand Slam finals on their days), memories come flooding my mind. Nearly six years from where the book leaves off and Nadal being far from the top of the ATP rankings, “Rafa-my story” doesn’t fall short of putting into perspective all it says, all Rafa Nadal come ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Amalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Елис Емин
Nov 20, 2016 Елис Емин rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Необичайна читателска година се оказа 2016-та. "Моята история" на Рафаел Надал е третата спортна биография, която прочетох. Досега си мислех, че нехудожествената литература и особено спортът няма как да окажат притегателна сила върху мен. След Алекс Фъргюсън, сега и Рафа ме опровергава. Книгата проследява 2 от най-великите двубоя на тенисиста: този с Федерер на Уимбълдън през 2008 и с Джокович на Откритото първенство на САЩ през 2010. По време на описанието на тези паметни игри проследяваме пътя ...more
Aug 20, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
Jul 04, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Morgan Lyons
Rafa is an amazing athlete and possibly the greatest competitor I've ever seen. No one consistently gives more effort or better epitomizes the "it's not over till it's over" mentality, and it's fun to see the success that's brought him on the tennis court. It was also neat to learn about some of the idiosyncrasies that make him so different from every other player on tour. While I don't agree with the way he does a lot of things (most notably refusing to fire his uncle coach who frankly sounds l ...more
John Boettcher
Feb 20, 2015 John Boettcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing for several reasons. Let me explain. Most times when I am reading a book, I am sitting down, lying in bed, or at most riding a bike at the gym. Rafa's book makes you motivated to be more than what you currently are in some of the most personal and honest ways I have ever come across.

Yes, he has accomplished some of the greatest feats in tennis history, and for tennis fans, we take that for granted and do alot of armchair commentary as he is playing some of the top level pl
Holly Cline
Jul 20, 2011 Holly Cline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
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
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
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
Muddle head
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
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
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
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
Feb 10, 2017 Julien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Rafa, I love his book
Jul 22, 2017 Anupama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Everybody should know their place in the world. The point is that the world is quite big enough already without you imagining that you're big too." - Toni Nadal

As a huge Rafa fan, receiving his autobiography as a gift had me whooping with delight. The book is a gem - completely frank, humorous, poignant. It reveals the man behind the "King of Clay" - the human side of champion - the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of a player often invincible on court.

Which tennis fan can forget the 2008 Wimble
Poornapragna Rao
5 stars for the man, Rafa. Make no mistake on that. There is no other personality outside of my personal life I've admired as much as Rafa Nadal. He is the embodiment of the ideal character I've always imagined. The ever humble athletic genius that he is. Outside of my personal life, I've not been as emotionally invested in any human being as in Rafa. I thrive on his victories and suffer in his defeats.

The book, more than an autobiography, is like a treatise on the philosophy of the Nadal team.
Feb 04, 2017 Constanza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gran libro. Soy una fan del tenis, y si bien no sigo a Rafa, sentí que debía leer su autobiografía, porque no es sólo su historia; es también el relato de estos altos y esforzados muchachos que cada día entrenan para seguir sus sueños. Creo que los fans del tenis deberían leer este libro, porque es un recorrido íntimo por las emociones e historias de un tenista, todo aquello que no vemos en el court. Rafa nos muestra que el tenis es un deporte muy complejo y que detrás de cada triunfo y derrota, ...more
May 25, 2017 Prajnashree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
All the Nadal chapters were awesome. He is such a wonderful human being. But the story telling was a bit irritating. Like he would be describing something and then go off in a completely different tangent. I didn't like other prospectives in this book. But it is a really good book for both Nadal fans and others to see how humble and down to earth he is.
Hector González Díaz-Barreiro
Interesante autobiografía de una tenista que hoy, a sus 31 años, ganó por décima vez el Torneo Roland Garrós.
El libro ayuda a entender la preparación, la historia y la "filosofía" de este deportista extraordinario, que pone toda su concentración exclusivamente en "el siguiente golpe".
Jul 11, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, amazing, favorites
*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-
Feb 18, 2012 Tania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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