Interviewed at press-conference at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open, Toni Nadal, uncle and coach of Rafa Nadal, talked about his relationship with his nephew.
“I started to work with Rafa when he was three. I think that the ideal age to start playing tennis is around 5-6 years old, in this way the child has many other alternatives and a lot of time to learn how to play. But it hasn’t to be necessarily like this. Rafa was always enthusiastic to train, I never had to force him. He has a true passion for sport. He has always loved also soccer and now, when he can, he also plays golf.”
I perfectly remember the first title he won in Sopot in 2004. Rafa was dealing with an injury already for a long time before the beginning of the tournament. It was an incredible victory.”
“I was hard with him, not too much, but being his uncle never braked me. Now I can be sure to say that it was better like this, because I can allow myself to do some things that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. We also went through hard times, but our professional relationship has never interfered and never won’t in our personal relationship.”
Talking about the future of men's tennis, Toni is high on the young Polish tennis player Jerzy Janowicz, currently number 24 in the rankings: "There haven’t been many changes on the top of the ranking in the last years. The finals of all the big events are always between the same players. But I saw Janowicz during the Master of Paris- Bercy ( the 22 years old of Lodz last November reached the final at the Parisian tournament, lost then for David Ferrer). He’s young and talented. Up to me, there are good possibilities that in the future he will be the world’s number one.”
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.