Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, is one of the few people to have seen the rise of the Mallorcan over the years from close quarters. However, his nephew's ability to triumph against the odds still seems to surprise Toni.
Speaking during an interview with Cadena SER, Toni Nadal opened up on one of the most memorable Grand Slam campaigns by his nephew, who he termed "the best in history." The coach expressed that fighting to the limit is in Nadal's DNA, but admitted that he never imagined the 36-year-old could win the French Open this year.
"It is incredible that my limping nephew continues to win. Fighting to the end is in his DNA," expressed Toni. He was at a great level and wanted to continue fighting, he is the best in history. What he has done is incredible, I never would have imagined it."
The 61-year-old further stated that he cannot wait to congratulate his nephew on the Roland Garros title.
"As soon as I see him, I'm going to congratulate him. This year has been more comfortable than expected, because of everything around me, I'm excited," he said further.
Upon arriving in Spain after the conclusion of the French Open, the 22-time Grand Slam champion underwent treatment for his injured foot in Barcelona and was seen on crutches soon after. After Sunday's final, he briefly spoke about the course of treatment, which involves a radio-frequency injection on the nerves in his foot for semi-permanent relief.
He is expected to rest for a few days before testing his fitness in a few practice sessions and subsequently making a decision on his participation at Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal's uncle is optimistic about his nephew's tennis future
There has been a lot of talk about the former World No. 1's potential retirement from the sport. By his own admission, the foot injury is currently worse than ever and he does not wish to continue playing if the new treatment and other options do not work.
However, Uncle Toni believes that there is still more tennis left in his nephew and wants to see him play in Paris again.
"Rafa has been living with pain since 2005, but it always goes on. If there is a shred of hope left, he keeps trying. That is his sporting greatness. I hope that he be in Paris next year, watching him play. We will see the evolution of the coming months. There is a time when the body does not give for more, and I trust that this point has not come for him," he expressed.