'Rafael Nadal had to smile, throwing a racquet was not an option,' says Toni Nadal



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'Rafael Nadal had to smile, throwing a racquet was not an option,' says Toni Nadal

Toni Nadal introduced his nephew Rafael to tennis at three or four, teaching him how to act correctly on the court and always draw the most from himself. After every success, Toni would show the list of previous champions from that event, explaining to Rafa that many of them are not in the game anymore, as they did not work hard enough or did not have his opportunities.

Giving 120% in every match regardless of the opponent, Rafa embraced a pro career at 15 and moved to the verge of the top-200 by the end of 2003. In 2004, the young Spaniard toppled the newly-crowned world no. 1 Roger Federer in Miami and claimed the first ATP title in Sopot before claiming the first Major crown in June 2005.

As we all know, the rest is pretty much history, and Rafa stands among the most accomplished players of all time with 20 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 trophies by his name.

Toni Nadal revealed the first tennis lessons given to his nephew Rafael Nadal.

Over the years, the Spanish fighter has experienced incredible battles against Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and every other rival from the top, suffering severe losses and enjoying brilliant victories while never forgetting his uncle's first lessons.

Nadal has not thrown a racquet despite spending three decades on a tennis court, learning how to channel his frustration and turn it into his strength. Toni Nadal stayed with his nephew until the end of 2017, winning the last Major title with him at Roiland Garros and heading home to Mallorca to take care of Nadal's tennis complex and the ATP 250 event.

At 35, Nadal is still among the world's best players, failing to secure a Major trophy in 2021 but staying inside the top-10 despite playing only a couple of tournaments and missing the rest of the year due to an injury.

"Rafa ended up getting used to my tennis philosophy, assuming a very high demand that I placed on him. When he was a child and we trained, I first asked him to smile and have a positive attitude. He never threw a racquet because that would have allowed frustration to overcome him.

I'm bothered by the complaint and frustration, considering that it begins from a feeling of personal overvaluation, of believing that you can't fail. I did my best to fix that in his approach," Toni Nadal said.