This is what makes Rafa Nadal so rare, according to Andre Agassi — and it gives him an edge over Roger Federer

Getty ImagesRafa Nadal.
  • Rafa Nadal has a “passion and intensity that rises to every match” and puts him in good stead the further he progresses in a major tennis tournament.
  • That’s according to former world number one men’s tennis player Andre Agassi, who told Business Insider that Nadal is one of the “rare ones” when it comes to mental preparation.
  • Agassi even hinted that it may be one of the advantages he has over arch rival Roger Federer, who has already been dumped out of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships.
  • Federer’s elimination has opened the men’s bracket up and gives Nadal a more realistic shot at a third Wimbledon title.
  • Nadal plays Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semifinal on Friday, with the winner progressing into Sunday’s final.
  • Read all of Business Insider’s Wimbledon coverage here.

Rafa Nadal is one of the “rare ones” when it comes to generating championship-winning motivation throughout the various stages of a major tennis competition.

That’s according to former world number one men’s player Andre Agassi who recently told Business Insider that Nadal “has a passion and intensity that rises to every match.”

Nadal is currently gunning for a third Wimbledon Championships title but must first eliminate Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semifinal on Centre Court.

A Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Nadal had been touted as a possibility before the tournament started, but after Federer chucked away a two-set lead in his quarterfinal match and lost to Kevin Anderson, the tournament opened up for Nadal to deliver an 18th tennis major and cut the Grand Slam gap between himself and Federer to two.

Speaking to BI in Lavazza’s marquee at Wimbledon, when a head-to-head was still on the cards, Agassi hinted that the difference between Federer and Nadal may come down to mental toughness, with the latter going from strength-to-strength as he progresses through a tournament.

Andre Agassi and Rafa NadalGetty ImagesAndre Agassi and Rafa Nadal.

“One thing I can absolutely assure you is Nadal has never struggled with motivation,” he said. “That guy has a passion and intensity that rises to every match regardless of what’s going on and he’s one of the rare ones that’s guaranteed to get better as the tournament goes on.”

He added: “Federer can start a tournament great, and get great at the right time. But as Nadal moves on and gets better, he is going to get better and you know it.”

Standing in Nadal’s way is now Novak Djokovic, who, until earlier this year, was coached by Agassi.

Speaking before the semifinal was confirmed, Agassi said that the Serbian would be a tough competitor if he found himself in the final week.

Now that Djokovic is in the final four, Nadal may have his work cut out for him.

“Djokovic can find his form and go from being an outsider to be a guy who absolutely expects to win,” Agassi said.

Nadal and Djokovic face off at 3.40 p.m. BST on Friday.

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