There are those amongst us that are unique.
No matter how hard they fight it, eccentricities engulf their minds like flames to a furnace.
It can sometimes be a road filled with potholes and obstacles for them as many of us are often all too quick to judge.
They need not the dubious gift of our disdain, only our acceptance.
It’s not that they deliberately set out to be different. They don’t. It’s not that they’re rebelling. They’re not.
To them their behaviour is normal. They know no other way. Try to direct them down our morally righteous path and they won’t understand where we are coming from.
And, really, why should they? They are who they are, and forever will be.
They harm nobody. Except, of course, the insecure and self-righteous, the intolerant and the judgemental. These folk will be offended, regardless. They can’t but help themselves.
This leads us to Rafael Nadal.
Without doubt, the Spaniard is a card carrying member of the obsessive compulsive’s club. His pre-match routine has become notorious amongst rivals.
Match after match, tournament upon tournament, there is a sequence of events that must be adhered to. However hard you may try to get him to change his routine, he persists. The drink bottles have to go in a certain place at a certain time. The same shoelace must be done up each time before the other. You get the point.
More than likely he is not all that interested in what others think of him. And good for him if that be the case. He merrily forges his way along the highway of life to the beat of his own drum. Mental toughness long ago met his acquaintance.
Here is a man who is far from encumbered by the few personality spasms that occupy his mind.
The reality being the twenty-five year old is one of the more level headed and well-adjusted individuals on the pro circuit.
Ranked number two in the world and the holder of ten grand slam titles, his breathless ability has helped to propel him to the dizzying heights of world number one in the past.
Nicknamed the king of clay for his exploits at the French Open, where he has won six of the last seven years, Nadal carries himself with the utmost dignity. Not for him to throw a tantrum when things don’t go his way. Lose and he’ll be mightily disappointed. But never are there tears to be sighted upon his visage. Excuses are not proffered. For he knows all too well that tennis is only a miniscule part of life, that another day will dawn, and another match will be there for him to partake in.
Such is his maturity that a win will be welcomed with a calm, sensible approach. Yes, he’ll celebrate, for sure. But always in his mind is to allow his opposition some dignity. Not for him to rub their noses in it, while they are down.
After all, he knows that with every win he is one match away from a possible defeat.
And it is this fullness of mind that makes Nadal not just a great player but also a great person.