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Book recommended by Jayshree Aradhyam

A book that is categorized as a biography, Rafa – My Story is nothing short of a fast-paced thriller. John Carlin, renowned journalist, has teamed up with Rafael Nadal himself to bring out a book that is a page-turner from beginning to end.
The reader walks into Wimbledon’s Centre Court on opening the pages and the writers take them through the 2008 final between Rafael Nadal (Rafa as he is endearingly called) and Roger Federer, the two most loved tennis players the world has ever produced. One of the “greatest matches ever played” according to the legendary tennis player, John McEnroe, the match is going to remain a reference
point for sportspersons. With every shot Nadal plays, readers get a glimpse into the hard work, persistence and preparation that led to the class. And with every shot from Federer, the most formidable opponent for Rafa, readers get a peek into the sheer admiration in Rafa’s eyes. A detailed account of the match itself is recounted in the pages that follow, and the reader is treated to a parallel game Rafa’s emotions played inside his mind, unseen but speculated upon by every member of the audience. Rafa literally fanboys when he speaks of Federer, while giving his readers a clarity of how the best of friends off the field can offer such fierce competition and its viewing pleasure to fans and others, across cultures and continents.
With every turning page, readers are treated to the simplicity that surrounds the tightly knit family Rafa comes from. The grace with which the family handles celebrityhood, and the back-breaking hours and hours of disciplined training his uncle put him through are presented in a matter-of-fact manner, which matches the humility with which Rafa receives victories on the tennis courts around the world. And when he beats a champion like Federer, whom he so admires, there is almost a tinge of guilt for beating such a talented player. This phenomenon is clearly depicted as the book takes readers through games and sets of the Wimbledon 2008 Men’s Final. What comes out most strikingly is the honesty with which the player repeatedly admits to his lack of talent when compared to Federer.
The readers are allowed to peek into Rafa’s family and his personal life just enough to get an idea of circumstances that have made him who he is. The simplicity and ease with which Rafa has accepted celebrityhood is a life lesson for lesser mortals. And the trust Rafa has in his uncle, who never misses an opportunity to remind Rafa why he has to work that much harder to reach the heights of sports excellence, makes the readers only love Rafa that much more.
Although the book is titled Rafa – My Story, it could easily be anyone’s story as all of us, lesser mortals, wade through the successes and failures of our lives, famous or otherwise. Nothing short of a thriller, the book gives reason for every reader to read it not once, but many times, because what it guarantees is life lessons that every person of any chronological age can learn. The takeaway from the book is the fact that fairy-tale endings are a result of an undying spirit that underlies every mortal.