Don't mock Nadal's 'routines'

2014-01-22 07:46

Melbourne - A psychologist has urged TV commentators and fans not to mock Rafael Nadal's repetitive mid-match "routines" because the world number one may be showing signs of obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Christopher Mogan complained to broadcaster Channel Seven after coverage focused on Nadal's habits, which include lining up his water bottles with the labels facing a certain way.

"What upset me is that I think it's known that Rafa has obsessive-compulsive indications," he told The Age newspaper.

"Two to three percent of people have this seriously disabling condition and they would be identifying with him - when he does his square walk... how he places his bottle in a row, very carefully.

"They are routines, but the point is they're meant to try and control anxiety. It's about getting a 'just right' feeling: 'I can feel just right if I line my bottles up.'"

The 13-time Grand Slam-winner goes through an identical routine before every serve, involving pulling at the back of his shorts and touching each shoulder, both ears and his nose.

He also refuses to step on lines between points, and Lleyton Hewitt told a story during the Channel Seven coverage about how Nadal takes his shirt on and off repeatedly before leaving the locker room.

"It's being highlighted, and it's disrespectful to him," Mogan said. "(Obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers) would be very distressed by that, that they were being laughed at, basically.

"(OCD) is a mental illness, one of the most common anxiety disorders."

According to The Age, a member of Nadal's camp dismissed any concerns and his coach, his uncle Toni, has said the behaviour is merely superstition.

He is not the only player with repetitive routines. Maria Sharapova goes to the back of the court and stares intently at her racquet between points, and Andy Murray wipes his face with a towel.

Mogan, who said he could not diagnose Nadal without speaking to him, also acknowledged that he could be displaying "perfectly controlled behaviour that belongs only on the tennis court".

"It is possible it could be just a manifestation of the control athletes seek to get," he said.


  • Wally Cleaver - 2014-01-22 08:16

    Really now? Soon someone will be complaining about him stirring his coffee anti-clockwise.

      Abe Sheldon - 2014-01-22 08:25

      What about those woman with the freaking loud hailing sounds. There are certain woman matches that I just don't watch. They grunt so loud just to upset the other opponent. There should be s limit to the freaking grunting by some of these woman.

      Abe Sheldon - 2014-01-22 08:57

      What about those woman with the freaking loud hailing sounds. There are certain woman matches that I just don't watch. They grunt so loud just to upset the other opponent. There should be s limit to the freaking grunting by some of these woman.

      Heinrich Etsebeth - 2014-01-22 11:12

      Abe: They have brought in new rules regarding excessive vocalization during play. The match umpire sits with a decibel meter and can award warnings and penalty points depending on the severity. So you should see a drastic decline this year ;)

      Jaco Wium - 2014-01-22 16:49

      @ Heinrich. That is great news. Still don't hear much of a difference in Azarenka's protracted grunty squeals though. She can bring overflying airplanes down when she gets "on song".

  • Warwick Slater - 2014-01-22 08:17

    Ah shame, is he going to cry if we tease him?

      My turn... - 2014-01-22 14:17


      Jaco Wium - 2014-01-22 16:50

      Note to Warwick: Nadal had nothing to do with the writing of this article.

  • Jacques Steffen - 2014-01-22 08:28

    Usually the fat farts who has the most to say ... and @Abe Sheldon, I could not agree with you more.

  • Letmeclearmythroat Pfft - 2014-01-22 08:54

    I wont mock him, I wont mock him, I wont mock him, I wont mock him ;-)

  • Vrystaat Poppie - 2014-01-22 09:38

    I don't see anything wrong with scratching the starfish's head now and

      My turn... - 2014-01-22 14:18

      Ha ha best chirp

  • Andre Janse van Rensburg - 2014-01-22 10:00

    Cannot argue with 13 Grand Slams, if he wants to run around the tennis court with a water bottle label stuck to his forehead I say leave him be.

  • Henning Pantke - 2014-01-22 10:13

    Please, this is PC in overdrive. Everyone has their little tendencies. I have mine, numberic numbers have to be equal, if the volume control in a car is 21, it drives me insane, it has to be 20 or 22. My friends and family mock me about it, but it doesnt bother me, cos frankly, it is a stupid thing I do, but it makes me feel comfortable and lets me focus on driving. I am sure this doesn't bother Rafa....all he does is phone his bank manager and asks what the balance is, and the anxiety goes away :-)

      Chez Kri - 2014-01-22 10:53

      I agree. Nadal is a big boy and I'm quite sure he knows exactly what his issues are. He laughs at himself for being scared of the dark so I'm sure he's ok with his OCD. I'm scared of the dark as well and at 50 years old, I am not the least bit embarrassed about it.

      Jaco Wium - 2014-01-22 16:56

      Almost every living human being has OCD to some extent, even if degree negligent enough for others not to notice. If we're honest, we'll admit to things we just insistently do in our own way, for unexplainable reasons. I have an (irrational) fear of electric shocks, and will do odd things just to avoid it.

  • Abdul Ballie Holmes - 2014-01-22 10:17

    reminds me of that guy Monk.

  • Marius Roodt - 2014-01-22 11:00

    Imagine if these commentators had to do a rucby match then? All the routines of a hooker before a throw in, a place kicker lining up for a shot at goal. I reckon the whole rugby fraternity would be institutionalised after.

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