Toni Nadal reveals approach that helped Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer

Toni Nadal gives his take on what he feels is an issue in today's tennis.

by Dzevad Mesic
Toni Nadal reveals approach that helped Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Toni Nadal believes there is just "too much information" out there today and suggested that his approach to coaching Rafael Nadal was far more simpler and ultimately helped the Spaniard find a way to beat Rafael Nadal. Uncle Toni, who coached Nadal from the beginning of his career until 2017, guided his nephew to 16 Grand Slams during their time together.

Since 2021, Uncle Toni has been working with Felix Auger-Aliassime. In the tennis world, Uncle Toni is widely recognized as one of the biggest coaching names. When Nadal first arrived on the scene, he was dominant on clay right from the jump but he still needed to figure out how to play on other surfaces.

But Nadal was constantly progressing and improving, and by 2010, he had a Career Grand Slam.

Toni Nadal on players being exposed to 'too much information' today

“Today, there’s too much information, it’s confusing, and it’s all about positive criticism.

That does not always work: on the contrary, it leads to greater frustration for players when they lose. It’s a case of dusting yourself down and training more, working harder, constantly improving your game and moving on to the next tournament.

That’s what I always instilled in Rafa and that’s why he’s so mentally strong. There will be very few players ever as good as Federer, for example – he played the perfect game. But Rafa beat him. The teams behind the players have become so large, so many stats, analysis, nutritionists and mental health coaches.

And it is the latter (mental health coaches) that I believe are the cause for so many young players getting frustrated and being unable to handle defeat and the pressure. Rafa never had a mental health coach, never mind a nutritionist.

I’m not his mother, I don’t know what he ate or eats or how much he weighs. It used to be just Rafa and I. Some days I would play him with used old balls, take him to poor quality courts to train and forget to take water so he could be mentally strong and get used to accepting defeat and making mistakes.

And I used to tell him when he was making mistakes," Toni Nadal told the Majorca Bulletin. Over the last few months, 23-year-old Auger-Aliassime hasn't had much success and some have been wondering what's the reason behind the Canadian's struggles.

This past week, Auger-Aliassime showed some signs of improvement as he made the Tokyo quarterfinal and won his first back-to-back matches since March.

Toni Nadal Rafael Nadal Roger Federer