Toni Nadal, uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, recently claimed that forging a player like the 20-time Grand Slam champion would be much more difficult in today's era. The 59-year-old feels that young people now are not as patient or persevering as they were in earlier generations.
"Evidently," Toni Nadal replied when asked whether it would be tougher to forge a player like Rafael Nadal in today's times. "The world is going along paths in which it is increasingly difficult for people to make an effort. We are in a world where everything has to go very fast and perseverance requires that things do not go so fast."
Toni Nadal also asserted that Rafael Nadal would have become an elite athlete in any other sport too, since he embodies all the qualities that a top athlete requires. However, the Spaniard did add that Nadal might not have been just as successful in other sports as he is in tennis.
"Rafael Nadal has a few things that are necessary to be a good athlete. The first, a high sense of competition, he likes to compete a lot. And that is essential to be an outstanding player. This already my nephew has it. And then he has good fighting ability, very good coordination. But, I am convinced that he would not have been as great in other sports as in this one, of course," Toni Nadal added.
Rafael Nadal is a better tennis player than he is a human being: Toni Nadal
Toni Nadal has played an instrumental role in the career and life of Rafael Nadal, having coached his nephew since he was a child. 'Uncle Toni', as he is famously known, was Nadal's main coach till early 2017; since then, he has taken on a lead role at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain.
Besides his on-court achievements, Rafael Nadal is extremely well-liked by fans across the world and his peers. He has also won the ATP Sportsmanship award on three occasions.
During the interview, Toni Nadal was asked whether Rafael Nadal was a better tennis player or a better person, and the 59-year-old chose the former.
"Clearly his tennis, for a very simple reason. My nephew's tennis is one of the best in history, and in terms of (human) values I don't think he is one of the best in history. It's that simple, even though he is a very good person," Toni said.
"I don't think any of these wanted me to train him," Toni said. "They will prefer someone much better than me. They would do better with others than with me."