What can an autobiography of a tennis player teach someone about a desk job? Plenty.

Rafa – the autobiography of Rafael Nadal starts with one of the greatest matches between him and his arch-rival Federer. In arguably one of the greatest games of tennis, Nadal won after a marathon of rallies. But the opening of the book is the climax. The chapters that follow tell a story of how a young boy became the great legend the world came to know.

An oft-quoted phrase – it takes a village to raise a child – fits well with Nadal’s story. How his uncle and family ensured that despite the success (and some failures), Nadal keeps his head grounded and focusses on becoming better with every passing day – a better player, a better person. Despite challenges at home, Nadal was able to keep himself focussed on the game. Another important theme is untiring persistence in improving the skill and building upon the hunger for winning. Every once in a while, there is a shortcut available, which might seem efficient or easy but can cost way more than one can assume. Nadal worked through sweat and pain rising above his humble background.

The book is candid to some extent. It opens a window into Nadal’s life, but refrains from opening a door. Probably a reflection of his personality.