The Spaniard doesn't live for practice, he lives for improvements. Does practice make perfect? From Rafael Nadal’s perspective there is no perfection, only the quest for improvement. And that’s what the Spaniard says gets him out of bed in the morning.

“I think things are not easy, never, at all even if you are very good,” 32-year-old Nadal told reporters after winning the Rogers Cup on Sunday.

Nadal admits that he may have lost a step—okay maybe a tenth of a step—over the course of his 16-year professional career, but he says that he can make up with that by adding to his game in other ways.

It’s a challenge he has embraced emphatically throughout his career, and it explains the rapid rise of his backhand over the last few seasons, and his ability to do more with the drop shot than ever before.

He doesn’t just practice, he aspires.

“And my way to understand my career and this sport in general is if my career already is for 16 years, during this 16 years, I am sure that I lose things when comparing when I was 18 or 19 years old,” he said. “So if I lose speed sometimes, if I lose this energy that when you are younger, we need to add other things on my game.”

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“So it's about always improving,” says Nadal. “So if you want to keep having the same success than you had 10 years ago, you need to add things to your game. So that's why I wake up every morning.”

Nadal says when he’s done improving, he’ll be done playing.

“And I don't understand go on court to practice,” he said. “I go on court to improve something. That's the way that I understand my career, the way that I understand the sport. … And when arrive the day that that not happens, that's going to be the day that I take a boat and I go to go fishing. That's it.”