Science Fiction

Rafael Nadal says the key to his fitness is playing “some golf,” may not be telling the whole truth

January 21, 2022

21 years. 89 ATP titles. 20 grand slams. Rafael Nadal has worn the tread off the tires and then some over the course of his two-decade career. He’s had a few injuries, to be sure, but he always seems to bounce back fitter and stronger than before; a huge reason why he is still in the running (especially if Djokovic keeps finding new ways to DQ’d from slams) for the title of greatest of all time. What’s his secret? What keeps the engine turning over after all those years? Well, Nadal was asked exactly that after his third-round win over Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open on Thursday night, and he finally decided to let the cat out of the bag …

“I play some golf,” Nadal said as the crowd erupted in a mixture of disbelief and awe. “That’s the truth. I never have been a gym guy.”

It’s a great quote and obviously it receives The Loop’s coveted gold stamp of approval, but the truth? Rafa? Really? We are all for the health benefits of getting out and walking 18, but that doesn’t prepare you to go five sets in the blazing Aussie sun. We know playing through the group ahead can give even the coolest customer jelly legs, but it’s a far cry from a dusty Rolland-Garros final with thousands of people shouting French curse words at you between sips of Moet. So sorry if we’re not fully buying that “some golf” is Nadal’s primary workout. Is this the look of a man who subscribes to the Ben Roethlisberger Offseason Method™? No, no it is not.



But even if Rafa isn’t telling the whole truth, exactly, we get it. He’s a competitor. He can't give away his trade secrets. Phil has already come for his calves. What’s next? His glutes?