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Rafael Nadal's cousins find success in tennis too, register their maiden professional wins

Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals
Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 14:46 IST

Toni Nadal Vives and Joan Nadal Vives, the cousins of 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal , have scored their first professional victories on the ITF World Tour.

The 17-year-old Toni Nadal Vives and 16-year-old Joan Nadal Vives are the sons of Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal. They are both currently playing in the ITF event being held at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain.

Toni Nadal Vives was competing in his first match on the pro circuit, and he scored a 6-2, 6-2 win over 19-year-old Lennart Melzer. Joan Nadal Vives meanwhile registered a 6-2, 5-7, 10-8 win over 22-year-old Denis Klok, ranked No. 661 in the world.

The 16-year-old Joan Nadal Vives had made his pro debut at the ITF World Tour event in Manacor last week, but he lost in the first round of qualifying.

The wins move Joan and Toni into the second round of the qualifiers. Both players received a wildcard into the qualifying draw, and will be hoping to earn their first ranking points this week.

Toni Nadal Vives and Joan Nadal Vives follow their legendary uncle Rafael Nadal on the professional circuit

Prior to last week, not much was known about the two nephews of Spanish legend Rafael Nadal. Neither of them competed regularly on the ITF junior circuit, nor did they hold a junior ranking.

Reports suggest they were both coached by their famous father Toni Nadal, who has played an instrumental role in the career and life of Rafael Nadal.

Toni Nadal coached his nephew from the latter's childhood right until the early part of the 2017 season. Over the last three years, Uncle Toni has been focused on his duties as the Coaching Director at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain.

Uncle Toni with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in June 2017
Uncle Toni with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in June 2017

The Nadal teens are not the first nephews to follow in the footsteps of their illustrious uncle on the ATP tour. Last year, Brazil's Felipe Meligeni - the nephew of former World No. 25 Fernando Meligini - won his first ATP Challenger Tour title. The 22-year-old is now ranked No. 230 in singles and No. 119 in doubles.

One thing remains certain: the two Nadal siblings will be keenly followed as they make their way around the professional circuit.

Published 11 Jan 2021, 13:23 IST
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