Many times people will peg genius as being to near to insanity. Some are called savants because they have a talent that holds the rest of the world awestruck. Nadal has this kind of talent in tennis. He burst onto the scene by defeating Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final when Nadal was just 19 years old. At the time Federer was considered by many to be unbeatable, but Rafael proved them all wrong. However, he has never been linked to autism and it seems that his focus is saved for the tennis court. And he remains one of the greats.
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Having raised a high-functioning autistic son for thirty-six years, I firmly believe that Raphael Nadal is on the spectrum too. He has so many similarities to my son, that make him a dead-set certainty. His walk, level of concentration, the use of his hand to remove overload from his head and lining up of his drink bottles are just to name a few.
I agree Christine, I’ve seen it in my child too and believe that Rafa Nadal has autism. His family and team are probably covering up and saying that he has rituals that help him do well in his tennis matches, but I think the obsessive compulsive behaviour in his case stems from him being on the autism spectrum.
I also believe he is autistic, my autistic son exhibits many behaviours just like Nadal – and even the scrunched up face when he doesn’t like what’s happened or he has seen!
Being a late-in-life diagnosed adult, Nadal is definitely on the spectrum. At 55-years of age I finally found a therapist that “got it” and it turned my life around. Being female and growing up in the early 1960s, I was labeled a lot of things but never autistic.
However, everything makes sense now.
Looking at Nadal play and his rituals, watching him in interviews, reading stories of how he is at home, it tics a lot of the Spectrum boxes.
However, “autism” or “Spectrum” are words that will never be uttered with the tennis great. In Spain and around the sports world, he’s “too smart to be autistic” are the common responses regarding this topic.
Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done to change the perception and stigma. But, I feel it is safe to say he’s on the Spectrum and already, the tennis association gives him extra leeway for his time consuming rituals. Which is their way of “accomodations”.