The Most Focused Athletes of All Time> > > Team Ecuador’s Witch Doctor Superstitions originated thousands of years ago, when most men lived in tribes and knew very little about the world around them. Today, similar rituals still exist in sports – just with a more modern spin to them, although there are exceptions. In the spring of 2006, Team Ecuador sent a shaman, Tzamarenda Naychapi, to all 12 of Germany’s World Cup venues to banish evil spirits before the tournament. The shaman apparently drove some of the spirits out, leading Ecuador to its most successful World Cup ever (they’ve only made one other trip). Still, their run ended in a 1-0 loss to England in the Round of 16, after enjoying victories over Poland and Costa Rica in the group stage. Rafael Nadal’s Neurotic On-Court Habits Rafa’s behavior may not seem too out of the ordinary when you watch him on screen during the later rounds of Grand Slam tennis tournaments. However, this champion has a number of peculiar habits and world-views that set him apart, not only from the general population, but also from most of his opponents, who also take part in the lonely, often superstitious pro tennis circuit. In his autobiography, he revealed some of the things he hates (not dislikes, hates) off the court – ham, cheese, storms, animals and several other things. On the court, he has a number of habits that have been noted – Will Swanton of The Australian listed a slew of them (Inside the Mind of Rafael Nadal the Neurotic). Some examples: Nadal takes a cold shower 45 minutes before every match, he towels down after every point (even for aces and double faults), he points the labels of his drinking bottles toward the end of the court he’s about to play from and he never stands up from his chair before his opponent. If you’re not this neurotic, that’s why you’ve never made it to the Wimbledon Final.