Nadal's win in Monte-Carlo represents his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title since 2014, and more importantly, represents a return to championship form that he has been lacking over the past 2 years. Injuries, age, and a surging Novak Djokovic have not helped Nadal's road back to the top, but here he is once again holding the trophy in Monte-Carlo and marching his way to Paris. It took a champion's mindset and approach to fight through the struggle and the setbacks, and Nadal's experience is full of learning opportunities for all players.
One of the most common questions I get from players is "I am working hard, but why aren't the results coming?" These are players who are returning from injury, making changes to their games, or who simply have not broken through the way they thought they would by that point in their careers. Regardless of the situation, the message is pretty much the same; each time you step onto the court is an opportunity to go out and get a step closer to where you want to be. Find the small wins in the losses as a way of maintaining and building your confidence; in doing so, your mindset will become more engaged in personal progress and finding solutions.
If you go back through Nadal's press conferences over the past year, you will hear him working through this process of finding small wins. In Buenos Aires and Rio, Nadal lost two three set matches, and while he was not happy with the outcomes he was pleased that he kept competing through his struggles. This year at Indian Wells, Nadal pointed out that even though he is losing to Djokovic, the fact that he is going deeper into tournaments to play against him is a big step forward. Further, he noted that he was gaining more confidence in his forehand, and he was more competitive against Djokovic than in prior meetings. Not surprisingly, Nadal stated his forehand and level of competitiveness were the main reasons for his success in Monte-Carlo.
Maintaining confidence is an active process, especially when going through difficult times. If you choose to focus on the negatives, you will keep finding the negatives at every step along the way. By finding the small wins in the losses, you train your mind to sift through the negatives and locate what you can build upon and what you can control.