May 23, 2024

Open Court


Fun ball tricks, with Rafa Nadal

WIMBLEDON – If you get the opportunity to watch Rafael Nadal practice a lot, one thing that stands out is that when he’s not hitting the ball, a lot of time he’s playing with the ball.

It’s like every moment of practice time is maximized to get a little extra hand-eye – or foot-eye – coordination in.

He’s not the only one; we’ve seen a lot of players do it. Well, a lot of European players. It’s probably ingrained in their DNA at this point.

Here’s Rafa, on a low-key practice day with no coach in sight, picking up his own balls after a little serving practice. (We wish we could have video of this, but it’s not allowed at Wimbledon unless you’re a rights holder).

He decided that the best way to pick them up – not the quickest way – was to flip the balls up in the air with his foot, and catch them in the bucket. Success rate? Probably about 75 per cent. Not too bad.

Here are a few more pics from the practice session.

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