© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal has been enjoying himself on and off the court during the Australian Open.

The Other Side Of Nadal's Australian Open

World No. 1 relaxes by bowling, playing Ludo and eating in St. Kilda

“Rafa has enormous amounts of pressure on his shoulders, but he’s been away from home for a long time, since 28 December. I think he needs to do other things to reduce the focus and forget about tennis a little bit.”

These are the words of Carlos Moya, one of Rafael Nadal’s coaches and a former No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Moya is the first to defend the 19-time Grand Slam champion’s breaks and he frequently suggests moments of downtime so that Nadal can disconnect from competition, freeing his mind from the pressure he is under.

Before the top seed plays against No. 23 seed Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday night, Moya spoke to ATPTour.com about how Nadal’s other life in Melbourne is going.

On Bowling Across The Globe...
“We were in Abu Dhabi and there was a bowling alley by the hotel. We played there for a couple of days and then we saw that there was also one where we’re staying here, so we’ve been a couple of times," Moya said. "There are a few of us on the team who play, but Rafa normally wins. If he’s playing at night, we’ll go bowling the day before. There’s no schedule, just whatever we feel like.”

On Team Ludo Games...
“We play Ludo almost every day,” Moya said. “The normal players are Rafa, his father, Sebastian, [fitness trainer] Rafa Maymo, and me, although new players come along sometimes. He was good at bowling, not so much at Ludo in recent days.”

On Family Nights…
“His family are here in Melbourne: his wife, his father, his sister… If I see that they are making plans, I step back a little,” Moya said. “With the pressure he’s under, as well as the pressure from the team, it makes it important to give him space. It’s necessary to do it, even though he is very respectful about that. And it’s necessary to do it so that later, our point of view has an impact. For example, we went to eat together in St. Kilda on some of the first few days.”

On Quality Over Quantity In Training...
“I far prefer quality to quantity, but I understand that at 18 or 20 years old, you need a lot of the latter,” Moya explained. “At this point of his career, the demand has to be as high as possible, and the wear and tear as little as possible. He shouldn’t be on court just for the sake of it. It’s better for his head and for his body.

“That’s what we’ve tried to do. Of course, there has to be a balance. If the results don’t come, it means something has to be changed. We always have to apply what we think is required in each situation.”

On Effective Communication...
“When it comes to talking to a professional player, it’s very important to find the right moment, particularly in his case,” Moya revealed. “Rafa has 10 billion things in his head. As much as you want to tell him something, it’s difficult for the message to get through if he’s not receptive. I’m patient and always wait for the right time, although sometimes if that time doesn’t come, I tell him anyway.

“For example, Rafa likes to have the pre-match talk after his warm-up. We talk when he is preparing his racquets and other things.”

On Watching Tennis Together...
“We watch tennis together sometimes,” Moya said. “We watched some of the Federer-Millman match together, but you can’t really be in his room for four hours. He stayed there having his dinner. I went to my room and we ended up watching it separately. There’s no guide telling us what to do. There are a thousand different situations and it’s a question of trying to figure out when I have to be there and when I don’t.”