Tennis fans watching Rafael Nadal’s final match at SW19 were left bewildered by the Spanish star’s meticulous on-court rituals, which include obsessively touching his body and hair multiple times – and adjusting his shorts – before each serve.
The world No the athlete recently added even more touches on his quirky regime.
With two Grand Slams under his belt and the Wimbledon title potentially just a few games away, Nadal, now 36, is unlikely to end his superstitious touches any time soon.
Since the grass court tournament began last Monday, legions of fans following Nadal’s matches have caught on to the star’s agonizing routine, with some even raising concerns that the tennis player may be suffering from OCD.
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A ritual that works! World No. 4 Rafael Nadal has revealed a number of superstitious habits ahead of the points on the court at Wimbledon this week
The 36-year-old star has followed an on-court ritual throughout his 20-year tennis career, but some fans who watched him at Wimbledon have wondered if his regimen has become even more complicated
Left shoulder: After adjusting his shorts, the Spanish tennis star then turns his attention to his torso
Before serving, he touches both shoulders…then transitions to his face
After tucking his hair behind his left ear, Nadal then pinches his nose
There is then another hair pin behind his right ear… before wiping his forehead and finally beginning his serve
The routine before a serve follows a pattern that includes adjusting his shorts front and back, touching his left shoulder and then his right shoulder before tucking his hair behind his ears, pinching his nose and touching his cheeks.
A final wipe across the forehead with his forearm seems to signal that he’s ready to serve.
On the second serve, Nadal drops the touch of the shoulders.
M has reached out to Nadal’s agents for comment.
@ambrose_mensch wrote, “Why haven’t I noticed Nadal’s OCD-esque pre-serve ritual with the shirt collar pulling, hair and headband pinching and face-wiping thing until now?”
@GoldCascade added, “He seems to have gotten worse… I didn’t see that, but I think he’s still doing the ritual of lining up the bottles under his chair.”
Yesterday, Star defeated Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition – where he meets Taylor Fritz
@CanIjustsayy__said: “Has Rafa Nadal ever spoken publicly about OCD? I just watched Wimbledon and noticed he does the same shirt-tug, nose-ear-nose-ear ritual before every serve. He looks really stressed. I hope he’s okay and not struggling with anything.”
Not only is it a pre-serve ritual that the tennis champion is known to follow, his attention to a set regime apparently begins as soon as he steps onto the court.
The star often takes off his jacket in view of the crowd, jumping as he does so, carefully placing two Evian bottles side by side to ensure the labels are always facing the pitch.
The tennis champion’s late-career success has seen him win the French Open and Australian Open this year, with the possibility of a third Slam at Wimbledon this week that would take him to 23 major titles.
He will next play Taylor Fritz – the 11th-seeded American who defeated Nadal in the final at Indian Wells earlier this season – but remains hopeful of reaching the semis:
“The positive is that the first two games weren’t good and then two games at a high level,” he said.
“The improvement is there and I’m happy to be back in the quarterfinals after three years of not playing here.
“It will be a tough quarter-final. But at the same time we’re in the quarter-finals, so you can’t expect an easy opponent out there.”
Ahead of the tournament, Nadal announced that he will become a father later this year and told reporters that his wife Mery Perello is expecting their first child. The couple were together for 14 years before tying the knot in a British fort in Mallorca in 2019
Ahead of the tournament, Nadal announced that he will become a father later this year and told reporters that his wife Mery Perello is expecting their first child.
The tennis ace confirmed the news at a press conference in Mallorca last month following rumors she was pregnant, saying: “If all goes well, I’ll be a father.”