Nadal and lefthandedness


Hall of Fame
Honestly I think which hand you prefer is just an inclination. I think if I were to use my left hand for my whole life, I would become good at using my left hand, even if my first inclination was to use my right hand.

The few times I felt like trying out my left hand in tennis, I never felt there was any particular disadvantage to using it, it's just that it takes a while to get used to. I was equally uncoordinated when I started out with my right hand, if not more so.


Talk Tennis Guru
Rafa is not ambidextrous, he one of a rare number people who have cross-dominance; they favour one hand for certain tasks and the opposite hand for other things.

.............. the myth with Nadal goes that his switch from right to left was not cultural, it was design. It’s often told that ruthless Uncle Toni, the man who coached Nadal from a very early age, forced him to change to give him an extra advantage. Is that true?

“No! That’s a legend,” Toni once explained in an interview to Tennis Magazine

“It’s really not the truth. At the start, he played with two hands but using one hand to direct.

“I had the impression that he was stronger on his left side than on his right side. So, I figured that he was left-handed; it’s as simple as that.

“Besides, even if he ate with his right hand, he also played football with his left foot. However, at no point did I tell him he needs to play with his left hand because that way, he will be much stronger.

“However, since I’m not completely stupid, I simply advised him to use his strongest hand. That’s it.

“I don’t think that it’s that much more advantageous to be left-handed. Just look at the world’s best players: there are not many of them there.

“No, the only thing I did advise Rafa was that at the age of 10, he needed to stop playing his forehand with two hands because no top player had a two-handed forehand and I couldn’t imagine my nephew being the first.

“So, this is all there is to this story. Would Rafa be as strong now if he used his right hand? That’s something we don’t know and we will never know.”



Nadal is an example of cross-dominance. He does somethings with his left and others with his right. An example of what you're talking about is actually Ken Rosewall who was a natural lefty but forced to play with his right.
Good stuff. I didn't know that about Rosewall.


Rafa earlier on, was a true sportsman and decided to play tennis as a lefty to give his opponent a chance of winning! If he play as a righty, he would continuously win tournaments! Tennis would be boring!


Many people conflate ambidexterity (very rare) with X-hand dominance.

I consider myself to be left-hand dominant. I write, play tennis, boxed, do most things left handed. I use scissors with my right hand (tried lefty scissors, didn’t really take). I learned how to golf left and right handed at different points in my life, can bat as a switch hitter, though in actual play was encouraged to bat left-handed because I was the only one on my team who could.

I am also left-eye dominant, but oddly enough right-foot dominant. It made learning footwork in boxing difficult to coordinate (brain w/feet).


We all know that Rafa is not actually a lefty but instead has a dominant right hand, it was just that uncle Toni taught him to play with the left hand. However, reading about forcing people to change hands when writing, I came across info saying that it actually has a very low success rate for example to teach a righty to write with his left hand. So it's very impressive to me that with his non dominant hand he managed to get to the top of the sport, (although this is compensated by the fact that is more difficult to play against a lefty).

HOWEVER, let's stop for a moment and imagine, WHAT IF Nadal had continued playing with his right hand? Isn't his dominant hand more prepared to play tennis? Shouldn't that have ended in an EVEN BETTER forehand?

Wouldn't that overcompensate the advantage lefties have in tennis?


I write with right hand. i draw with left. i tried many times but could not solve it. imagine changing hands in exams when there's a mix of words & images.
i play tennis table-tennis football badminton with right hand/foot.
however my goto shot is always backhand, somehow i can easily track balls with right eye, but not with left ! i can't put in forehand running shots, backhand running shots are a walk in the park.

i play billiards, snooker, pool with left hand, it just feels natural.
in baseball i pitch with right, bat with left.
in cricket i bat righty, bowl lefty.
archery i hold bow with right and drag with left !
in computer games i hold mouse with left !