Rafael Nadal set for 2024 farewell after pulling out of French Open
Up-and-coming tennis star Ariana Geerlings has criticised the training methods used at Rafael Nadal’s academy. The facility was set up seven years ago in the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s hometown of Manacor, while his uncle, Toni Nadal, is also heavily involved.
Geerlings, an 18-year-old prospect from Spain, is only just beginning to make her way in the senior ranks. The youngster is bidding to break into the world’s top 700 after recently parting ways with the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy.
And she seemingly believes that her career will be better off for the split, having pointed out that the extensive workload placed on those learning their trade at the academy is leading to complications.
“They try to rely a lot on their career,” Geerlings explained. “They train for many hours, and Toni [Nadal] is very present. He trained me a lot.
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“They take the same philosophy as Rafa, a lot of training and little rest, totally focused on the track. That caused many injuries, because no one has Rafa’s physique. Many of us couldn’t keep up with the pace of training five hours a day and not having rest days.
“I think what they need is to specify more about each player, analyse and understand them more, decide what is best for each profile. But hey, I understand that it is an Academy, and there are many people, you cannot define a plan for each person.”
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Geerlings didn’t paint an entirely gloomy picture of her time at Nadal’s academy, which she also called an ‘incredible experience’. But the comments are unlikely to sit well with Nadal himself, who hoped that introducing prospects to his training methods would help the next generation of tennis stars.
The 37-year-old has been out of competitive action due to injury for almost a year, slipping down to 663rd in the ATP men’s rankings after spending nearly two decades inside the top 10.
Plans for Nadal’s hotly-anticipated comeback were made official earlier this week when the veteran revealed that he would be taking part in the Brisbane International, which gets underway on January 7.
“After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back,” he said in a video posted to X. “It will be in Brisbane the first week of January. I’ll see you there.”
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