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Rafael Nadal, the Mental Giant, Ferocious Competitor

Rafael Nadal, the Mental Giant and Ferocious Competitor
Rafael Nadal

I like watching tennis on TV every now and then. Especially when Roger Federer, the most elegant tennis player I've ever seen, is playing. But I like Rafael Nadal -Roger heir apparent-- more on one thing: his resilience and tenacity, his fearless and never-give-up attitude. Many top ten tennis player just consider Roger as invisible; as much as top ten golfers see Tiger Wood in his heyday.

Even the boom-boom player like Andy Roddick thinks so. Rafael Nadal does not. And that's why he becomes the only one among the top ten tennis players who can beat Roger Federer more than anyone else. Nadal himself acknowledge in an interview that his tenacity and fearlessness are his greatest assets in attaining his mercurial achievements.

And we, Indonesians, should watch Nadal more closely. Because many of us don't have that kind of characters Nadal has which are badly needed for facing any challenges ahead; not only challenge without but also within ourselves.

We tend to avoid challenges given to us instead of facing it unless 100 percent sure that we are capable of doing that challenge. If you have some Indian or Chinese colleague, you must be aware of what I'm saying. Frankly, among ethnic Malays - Malaysia, Brunei, Pathani (South Thailand) - Indonesians are one step ahead in terms of skills and tenacity. But, let's face it, we certainly lag behind those of other ethnic such as Indian and Chinese in terms of confidence and gut in facing hard and pressure-cooker challenges.

The lack of tenacity, perseverance and resilience symbolize more clearly when our football team are playing and concede two or three goals in the first half of play. You'll see the team look disoriented, desperate and crest-fallen. What's wrong with us? Is our Javanese culture--sopan santun, ewuh pakewuh, priyayi-abangan system--contributes to this phenomenon?