A former student of the Rafa Nadal Academy has shared concerning thoughts about the policies in place at the famous training center.
The academy was founded by 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal back in 2014 and officially opened its doors in 2016 for up-and-coming juniors looking to hone their skills and fast-track their tennis development.
It has emerged as one of the world's leading sports centers because of its world-class facilities and infrastructure purposely built for the modern era. The academy is not limited to tennis youngsters, even seasoned veterans have spent time training there.
However, Ariana Geerlings, an 18-year-old from Spain, shared surprising comments in an interview with Punto de Break. Geerlings, who features predominantly on the ITF Tour, was quizzed on life at the academy while she studied there.
The young upstart stated that the academy relies heavily on Nadal's pragmatic approach, which is to train a lot and with insufficient rest time. This has resulted in "many injuries" because players couldn't keep the pace of the training routine according to the rising star.
While it is a dream for many young players to earn a spot to further their tennis education at the famous academy in Manacor, Geerlings admits she made the right decision to leave this year.
"They try to rely a lot on their career. They train for many hours, and Toni (Nadal) is very present. He trained me a lot. They take the same philosophy as Rafa, a lot of training and little rest, totally focused on the court."
"That caused many injuries because no one has Rafa's physique. Many of us couldn't keep up with the pace of training five hours a day and not having rest days."
Despite her unreserved criticism, the 18-year-old was pleased with her experience during her three-year stint there. She acknowledged their wonderful support and care from the day they opened the gates for her. Geerlings has since returned home to Murcia where she trains at the Murcia Tennis Club.
"Very cool, it is an incredible experience, they supported me from the first day. Maybe I left when I was very young, you move away from your parents and that is hard, although it was good for me to mature and realize the sacrifice that this career entails. They also made it easier for me in my studies; at home, it would have been different."