Toni Nadal introduced his nephew Rafael to tennis at three or four, teaching him how to play 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 were not in the game anymore, as they did not work hard enough or did not have his opportunities.
Giving 120% every time on the court, 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 world no. 1 Roger Federer in Miami and claimed the first ATP title in Sopot in August before lifting the Davis Cup crown.
The youngster was getting ready to attack the ATP throne from 2005 when he claimed the first Major crown on Roland Garros debut. The rest is pretty much history, and Rafa stands among the best players of all time with 21 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 trophies by his name.
Toni Nadal explained the first tennis lessons given to his nephew Rafael.
Over the years, the Spanish warrior has experienced incredible battles with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and many other rivals 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 together in Paris in June that year and heading home to Mallorca to take care of Nadal's tennis complex and the ATP 250 event.
Continuing with his good friend Carlos Moya, Rafa has played at a high level in the past five seasons, winning a Major crown in four of them and passing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. "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, the first thing I did was to ask 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 not fail. I did my best to fix that in his approach," Toni Nadal said.