Why Nadal’s feat is so special
It is not just about the number of wins but his sheer dominance over the last two decades that matters. Nadal has won 13 French Open titles out of the total 20 Grand Slams that he has won. Nobody else is even closeto that. Out of the 102 matches he has played in the French Open since 2003, has won 100 matches and lost just 2. There have been other outstanding clay court players like Lendl and Wilander but Nadal has clearly taken clay court tennis to a different level altogether.
Avid tennis watchers who watched the French Open final between Nadal and Djokovich would not have missed Nadal’s passion and his preparedness. Of course, what you also cannot miss are the five important tutorials that he left for Indian investors.
1. You can actually get better over time
For those who are watching the IPL and cringing at the sight of so many 30+ players struggling to move around, Rafael Nadal was a study in contrast. He just gets better over time. Like in tennis, so in investing; you can actually get better over time. What you miss out in terms of enthusiasm and testosterone, you make up with wisdom and finesse. Remember, Nadal was up against Djokovich who holds the formidable record of winning 17 Grand Slams. At the age of 34, Nadal showed that it is actually possible to get better with age. That is of course, if you channel your thinking and your efforts in the right direction.
2. Lesser the mistakes, the more you win
Talking in his inimitable style, Warren Buffett once said that there are only 2 rules in investing; “Rule one – don’t buy bad stocks and Rule two – don’t forget rule one”. That was actually demonstrated in action by Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros on 11 October 2020. When two players with almost equal level of class and finesse are up against each other, the winner is the one who makes fewer mistakes. On Sunday, Nadal proved just that. While Djokovich made a total of 52 errors during the game, Nadal made just 14; something commendable in any form of tennis. At the end of the day, that proved to be the difference.
3. You don’t beat the market; you beat competition
In stock markets, there is a grand craze about beating the market. Actually, what you need to do is understand what others are doing and better that. That is the core of smart investing. For starters, Nadal did exactly that in the final match against Djokovich. Take a simple example. Normally, the French open is held in June when the weather is warm and Nadal had the perfect advantage in spin and drop shots. Autumns are cooler in Paris and the ball travels flatter. Instead of trying to spin the ball, which would not have worked in this weather, Nadal worked more on pace and angles. Also, knowing Djokovich’s ability to cover the court, Nadal relied less on the drop shot.
4. You make it big when you give it your everything
Nadal has long admitted that clay was his natural home. This time around, the French Open posed a major challenge as it was held in autumn and came up after the US Open. For Nadal, the choice was clear. He would give his everything for what he really wanted to win. Nadal decided to opt out of the US Open to enable him to prepare better for the French Open. The result was that he was better tuned and also physically fitter to take on the battle of attrition.
5. You are just as good as you are today
This is extremely important if you are an investor. You may have lost money in a volatile market or in IT stocks or in trying to short sell the market. All these things belong to the past and today is another day. In fact, Nadal would certainly have a mental block. Before the French Open final, Nadal and Djokovich had played 55 matches and Djokovich was leading 29-26. In their last 14 matches, Nadal had lost 12 to Djokovich. The statistical odds were heavily stacked against him. What Nadal proved on Sunday is that your job is to give your very best because you are as good as you were today.
Most investors in India are grappling with two contradictory forces. On the one hand, valuations are climbing a wall of worry and on the other hand liquidity is making valuations redundant. In this melee, it is the saner tutorials from the likes of Nadal that make a whale of a difference!