Rafael Nadal's journey from precocious teenager to 19-time Grand Slam champion has been analysed and dissected time and time again. The boy from Mallorca has become one of the greatest ambassadors for tennis and among the greatest athletes to have ever emerged from Spain, and his story seems scarcely believable.
At the centre of his journey lies his relationship with his uncle Toni Nadal, who taught the World No. 2 how to hold a racquet and everything else about tennis. Rafael Nadal's coach till 2018, Toni's relationship with his nephew has largely been in the public eye, and many credit the Spaniard's success to the work and wisdom of his uncle.
During the lockdown period, Toni Nadal has given many interviews and spoken extensively about his relationship with his nephew as well as his main rivals, the future of his career and his past titles. Now speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Toni explained how he comes off as a good coach only because of the abilities of his star pupil.
Very lucky to be Rafael Nadal's coach, says Uncle Toni
Toni, who has now turned into a TV presenter, was asked what the biggest difference between being coach and pundit is. The Spaniard used that as an excuse to sing high words of praise for Rafael Nadal, and said that being coach was much easier because of the World No. 2's level of talent and hard work.
"What is the most difficult thing between training Rafael Nadal or being a TV presenter? Neither. If it was very difficult, I could not have done it. I was very lucky because I had a very talented boy who made people believe that I was a good coach," said Toni Nadal.
Toni further went on to commend not only his nephew but also the excellent team of professionals that surrounded both him and Nadal during the course of the Spaniard's career. Toni said:
"I was fortunate to have a very professional team that made things easier for me. Therefore, it was not very difficult to do either."
Toni then warned the viewers that they should not expect a lot from his punditry, given his inexperience in the field.
"In tennis, Rafael Nadal made me believe that I was a good coach. On TV, I don't know if they will make me look like a good presenter," Toni said with a laugh.
Rafael Nadal eventually parted ways with his uncle in 2018, and hired fellow Mallorcan and former Roland Garros Champion Carlos Moya as his coach. Before becoming a TV pundit, Toni Nadal's predominant duties lay in training young athletes at the Rafa Nadal Academy.Published 22 Jun 2020, 19:26 IST